Working with a digital agency can seem like a daunting prospect, especially if you have been burnt by other agencies in the past. But we think we can change your mind; working with an agency can be easy and effective if the partnership is right.
If you’ve become disgruntled with your current agency or have a bad feeling about the relationship, then it may be time to make the switch. Here are 18 red flags you should look out for:
1. They Guaranteed Ranking Positions or Traffic Volumes
Very few things in life are guaranteed and if you’ve signed with an agency that says they can guarantee to get you ranking on page 1 or 10,000 extra visits, you should probably err on the side of caution. It’s possible they’re engaging in unethical techniques which may yield temporary results but is actually a disaster waiting to happen and could cause long term damage to your business.
At Liberty, we make sure we understand your business goals and create a digital strategy that will not only help you meet them, but also future-proof your online presence.
2. You Didn’t Meet Face-to Face Before Signing Up
Without meeting face-to-face, how can you guarantee that you’ll be working with a company you like and trust? For all you know, they could be working out of a bedroom 2,000 miles away, not in an office in a nearby city where you can just pop in to discuss progress or brainstorm.
Before signing any paperwork or starting any work, both parties should sit down together, face-to-face, to discuss the project, aims and objectives. This way the agency gets to know the company it will be representing online too.
At Liberty, we sit down with all our new clients and to get to know each other as part of our initial work stage. We also have an open door policy, so you’re most welcome to come to our offices whenever you want to.
3. There’s Poor Communication
If you signed on the dotted line and then didn’t hear from your agency for weeks on end, you should probably think about changing companies.
There’s nothing more annoying than missed calls that don’t get followed up or emails that never get replies. If an agency is taking your money, the least they can do is answer your phone calls.
There is always someone in the office between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday at Liberty, so even if your regular point of contact is in a meeting or out of the office, there will always be another person to speak to and pass on your message.
4. There’s a Lack of Transparency
Everyone wants to feel like they’re getting good value for money, but without transparency how do you know where your money is being spent? Think about it, why wouldn’t an agency be transparent unless they’re hiding something? And if they’re doing that then it’s likely they don’t really know what they’re doing.
We give all our clients their own logins to our project management system so they can see who is doing what and when.
5. They Don’t Provide Access
If your agency won’t give you access to your own accounts (i.e. Google Analytics or AdWords) get out quick!
6. They Don’t Look at the Whole Picture
Being detail oriented is a great thing, but only if this works with the overarching strategy. Many agencies hide behind specific metrics that make it look like they’re doing a better job than they actually are. For example, you may get 1,000 new visitors to your site a day, but if 999 of them are bouncing straight off your site and spending less than a few seconds on there, you have a major spam problem.
This is where access can be essential.
7. There’s No Accurate Tracking in Place
How do you know if your agency’s hard work is paying off if there is no way of tracking the progress or results? Both Google Analytics and AdWords offer their own tracking services which allow users to define a time scale and customise data categories they wish to view at any given time.
We notify our clients monthly of the latest data changes in traffic, conversions and clicks.
8. Their Fee Looks Too Good To Be True
Bargains are great, but at the same time you want to feel like you’re getting a quality service. If an agency massively undercuts all others, and their price seems too good to be true, it probably is.
You usually get what you pay for, so if your agency is extremely cheap compared to their competitors it’s likely they’re not doing the same thorough job. They could even be outsourcing the work elsewhere in order to improve their profit margins.
9. They Don’t Have Any Quality Case Studies or References
You wouldn’t hire an individual without references so why would you pay a company without any case studies? Okay, so it may be a new start-up, but they could at least provide a character reference.
Want to see ours? They’re at the bottom of our homepage. But here’s an example as a teaser:
10. They Offer Dozens of Services
From web development and design to affiliates, email and search marketing, there are a huge number of areas to be aware of and although it may be a good thing to have many strings to your bow, it’s difficult to be an expert in one field if this is the case.
At Liberty Marketing we do things differently. Each of our teams is made up of specialists in their fields. The copywriters handle all content, our digital coordinators only deal with SEO and social, and the PPC team know the ins and outs of online advertising. This way we can provide you with unrivalled, in-depth and up-to-date knowledge at all times.
11. They Change Your Price Plan Without Warning
Financial plans will often be in place months and months in advance to ensure a company is balancing the books and maximising their profit. So, if your agency suddenly decides to alter your financial agreement, alarm bells should ring in your head.
Where have all the previous payments been spent and why do they need more money? Is the company having financial issues and using your money as a buffer? These are all essential questions that need to be asked.
12. They Don’t Get to Know Your Business
How can someone truly market your business if they don’t really know what you do? Does your agency know who your target audience is, what your USPs are, and what your long-term goals are? If your agency does not truly know your company then it’s unlikely they can give you what you want.
Duplicating what your competitors are doing will only get you so far. To be the best in your marketplace, you need to spot the gaps and take advantage of the weaknesses, and that’s why we audit and research your website and your online marketplace before we put a strategy together, ensuring we’ve got the full picture from day one.
13. They Use Shortcuts on a Regular Basis
It’s important to work smart, but taking shortcuts could mean important steps are being left out. If your agency is cutting out initial work or fast tracking set ups in order to save time and therefore keep costs down you should demand they start over.
14. They Have a Reactive Approach
Fixing a problem when it arises is okay, but it would be better if an agency is proactive and prevents the issue from occurring in the first place.
For example, were your site’s rankings dramatically affected by the recent mobile update or maybe past Panda or Penguin developments? We inform all our clients of upcoming changes that may affect their site and recommend the best way forward in order to tackle them before they hit.
They Try to Force You into a Long-term Contract
Nobody should feel obliged or even forced to sign on the dotted line. And even if you do sign freely you should always ensure there is a clause included in the contract should you want out at a later date.
At Liberty we offer a monthly rolling contract, so you’re never tied in for vast periods of time.
16. Your Point-of-Contact Is Always Changing
We believe it’s important to build strong client agency relations in order to get the best results. And although it may not always be possible, chopping and changing who’s in charge of each account can not only be annoying for communications, but it can seriously affect the success of the project too.
If you get passed around a lot and are left waiting on the phone too, it may be time to start researching other digital agencies.
17. Their Monthly Reports Are Lack Lustre
You should expect a detailed monthly report from your agency as standard. This will detail work completed during the month, the latest tracked results and plans for the month ahead.
Every one of our clients gets one of these and we tailor it according to their needs.
18. They Don’t Ask for Access to Your CMS
Without access to the backend of your site they’re probably not doing much. It’s that simple. How can an agency upload content, add tracking codes or optimise site copy without logins? This could mean a lot more unnecessary work for you.
Do You Need a New Agency?
Do the above points sound all too familiar? Perhaps you’ve used this as a tick chart and there are more selected than not? Then we can help.
Liberty is Wales’ largest digital marketing agency and a Google Top Tier Partner. So, whether you’re looking for SEO, PPC, social media or content marketing services, we can help.
Learn more about what we do by browsing our website or to read up on all the latest digital marketing news, developments and stories, click here.