Does it feel like your digital marketing company is trying to get away with something shady? Perhaps your marketing expenses seem to steadily climb without generating consistent leads. Hundreds, if not thousands of heating and cooling professionals are going through the exact same story. The only question is:
How will your story end?
In today’s HVAC Webmasters podcast, Jason and Nolen share some red flags that could shed some light on your marketing company’s sketchy practices. If you spot any of these tactics, it might be time to start shopping for a new marketing agency. Look for these following signs…
SEO for HVAC Pros: Red Flags
- Blackbox pricing covering up where your ad money goes
- Sudden bumps in results immediately after you call to complain
- No visible evidence that your website has changed
- 3rd party expense reporting not directly from Google
3 Signs You’re Getting Cheated
Marketing money is an amazing thing. On one hand, you can invest it into the perfectly tuned advertising campaign and earn a double return on your money! On the other hand, you can trust it to an enthusiastic management team, only to see it slowly disappear with little reward.
Sadly, the latter story is one we hear all the time from HVAC professionals around the country. Unless you have the time, energy, and experience needed to execute your own marketing plan however, you’ll probably have to find a dependable company to handle it for you. You may have already chosen a team, and find yourself wondering if they really have your interests at heart.
The easiest way to spot a shady firm is to look for these three red flags:
- Blackbox pricing structure
- Inconsistent payoffs
- Lack of visible change in your website
Red Flag #1: Blackbox Pricing
Money is the ultimate test of character. You can tell a lot about a company by how willing they are to share their spending habits! In the same way, you can quickly get a feel for a marketing firm through their pricing structure.
If we could have our way, every digital marketing firm would have to bill month to month. That’s because monthly billing gives HVAC contractors the ability to examine results and judge whether their investment is paying off. It’s a challenging code to operate by (for a marketing business), but it motivates us to continually produce results!
Annual Bundle Deals
On the other side lies annual contracts. Annual billing (or even longer term contracts) takes away that flexibility from the client contractor and gives it to the marketing professional. Blackbox pricing further complicates the picture by preventing heating and cooling professions from seeing how their money is spent.
Say you purchase an annual service package with website design, SEO, GMB, and PPC. The company quickly puts up a basic website, PPC campaigns start up, and results start coming in. Can you actually tell how much of your package budget was spent on each segment? That brings us to our next concern: reporting.
3rd Party Reporting
When you invest money in Google Ads, your reporting should only come from one source. Can you guess where? Google Ads. Handing the crucial task of reporting over to anyone besides Google, you’re asking for trouble.
Time and time again, we’ve heard of marketing firms (especially PPC-only companies) bumping click price above the actual cost, then pocketing the difference. That’s in addition to the money you’ve already paid them to manage your campaigns. If a client complains, the firm can easily manipulate the results.
Red Flag #2: Inconsistent Results
Have you ever called into your marketing firm and complained about lack of results, only to see a sudden uptick in leads? As consumers, we like to believe that our phone call is the driving force behind the change. It also makes it feel like we have a voice in the management of our investment.
In reality, it means that your marketing company had the power the entire time to affect those results, but didn’t until you called.
Inconsistent results in your lead generation can indicate shady practices in ad spending. If your leads started slowing down a couple months after your phone call, it’s very likely your PPC management team has reduced the amount of budget going into the campaigns. You could know this for certain, if you had access to the Google Ads account or the direct expense reports. But your marketer’s third party reporting company (if there is a third party at all) makes sure that you can’t know for certain.
Red Flag #3: No Visible Change
Blackbox pricing, shady reporting, and inconsistent results are all frustrating practices. What’s even more alarming is a complete lack of action in non-PPC related activities. There’s a reason why bundled marketing packages show mixed, but ultimately short-term results.
Time and time again, budget for website optimization gets sacrificed so that more money goes to PPC, which means more money can get siphoned out.
If you’ve seen very little or no change in your website design over the past few months (assuming you’ve paid for it), ask why. There’s no reason why a marketing firm couldn’t produce some timely website progress unless they simply didn’t care about it. We’ve seen a business left struggling to survive because their marketing firm never took the time to complete and verify their Google My Business account. That’s something that anyone can do.
At HVAC Webmasters, we know the frustration and anger that comes with getting ripped off by a shady marketing firm. That’s why we started our business in the first place, to provide dependable (results-driven) service that earns your investment every month. And yes, we bill month to month.
If you’d like to see the difference we can make for your HVAC company, give us a call at (800) 353-3409!
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