Are marketing agencies selling you snake oil?

Recently, an agency I was working with sent me some hashtags to use on a series of tweets they'd written with the express reasoning that the hashtags would help make the tweets searchable and all the other stuff hashtags are suppose to do.

Ok, so far, so 'best practice'.

Of course, what they didn't know. What they arrogantly assumed was that:

A) They knew better than me.
B) I wouldn't simply pop the hashtags into RiteTag and take a look at their potential impact.

The results weren't favourable, unless you think that exposure in the very low hundreds constitutes 'impact'.

So, this got me thinking. Do agencies try this on all the time under the proviso that they believe they know better than you do and so it's best just to take the medicine they're spoon feeding you with?

After all, you came to them for help, right?

Well, yes, you undoubtedly did. And it's very likely that they charged you a pretty high price for the pleasure.

But are you happy with the results? Honestly.

I've spoken to several small businesses recently that have been sold all manner of magic solutions by agencies. One even suggested 'throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks.' I kid you not.

Others have worked with businesses and billed into the thousands for nothing more than a one-month campaign, a little spike in traffic, a few more Twitter followers and a couple of blog posts.

And guess what happened? The small business were quite happy, blissfully unaware that traffic would take a nose dive the moment the campaign ended and, no, 150 Twitter followers is not the tipping point where organic growth begins.

The truth of the matter is that there are a lot of great agencies that don't charge vast sums and do actually produce results. However, there is always a flip side.

I recently took over a Twitter channel for a company with the express purpose of growing their followers and making their current content work a bit harder. I haven't charged them because I want to prove that it's not magic, nor is it particularly difficult.

In one week I doubled the number of Twitter followers (for clarity the starting point was 236), grew impressions and profile visits by over 1,000%.

It's not a vast difference, but it does demonstrate that with a little know-how and experience it's possible to show actual legible growth. Now, tie this in to a robust digital marketing strategy and it's sustainable too. Which can only be good for business.

Yes, of course it costs money to achieve and does take time, but imagine having growing, sustainable, lead generating marketing channels. Eventually it pays for itself!

Why am I telling you this?

It's because I am sick of seeing businesses chance their arm with marketing companies for little to no reward, at least nothing they can sustain in the long run. You're very lucky if you can afford a marketing budget at all, so it must be soul destroying to waste it on a handful of new followers and a campaign that yielded very little results, before being dumped for the next shiny new client.

So, here's my offer to any business looking to build their marketing capability.

It all starts with little steps. Let's say you have a social media presence, but very little time to build it. You know it's important and you've tried to move things forward but time, resources, etc., keep getting in the way.

Allow me to run your Twitter* page for one week, if you have one.

I'll do it for free just to demonstrate that I can do it and that it's possible to make positive changes in a short period of time.

If you're suitably impressed enough then we can talk further about how we could help you market your business online. If not, I'll send you my top tips to help you continue to grow your Twitter presence and we'll hopefully part on good terms.

Can't say fairer than that.

*(I can grow other social channels, of course, but these are slower to grow, unless you have budget to spend).

OOTM team

We’re a team with expertise in different areas of marketing who work ridiculously well together, challenging and bouncing ideas off each other.


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