A B C – Always Be Communicating!

abc

Now I know what you’re thinking, “shouldn’t that be, Always Be Closing.” Yes, if we were still living in the times of Glengarry Glenross or perhaps Boiler Room, the motto would be to “Always Be Closing.”

That’s not the times we live in anymore. At least not as it pertains to the digital marketing space. We live in a time where instead of taking clients out to golf or to dinner, you are going to be spending more time communicating and educating them.

Here’s why. Let’s take a look at the JCPenney’s and the more recent Overstock.com black hat SEO issues.

Both companies recently had the Google hammer dropped on them. Both for practicing what Google considers to be unethical linking practices. JCPenney’s for having a bunch of irrelevant links pointing to their website and Overstock for having too many .edu links pointing to their website (At least that’s what Overstock believes). Regardless of the reasonings behind their recent demotions in Google’s SERPs, these instances have raised the eyebrows for every business engaging in SEO tactics. Businesses have to be asking themselves, “Is my agency or in-house marketing department executing ethical SEO tactics?” “If huge brands like JCPenney’s and Overstock.com are getting penalized, what will happen to my business if we are practicing bad SEO techniques?” These are great questions. Questions you should be asking yourself everyday you engage in digital marketing. Not just with SEO but with every digital strategy you implement. You should take the time to sit down with your agencies or in-house personnel and learn about what they are doing.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!

Now the issue of poor communication resides on both sides of the fence. Agencies do a poor job of communicating and clients do a poor job of wanting to be communicated with. Isn’t knowledge power? The more you know the better you can call “Bullsh*t” when that time comes.

It’s obviously easier to communicate when you have in-house personnel. They are there everyday and they have, or at least should have, a vested interest into the success of the company. You can’t really say the same for most agencies. Most agencies don’t look at the success of the business, they look at the success of the project, and sometimes not even that. I’m not talking about all agencies. I’m talking about the agencies that small and medium sized business are typically dealing with. The agencies that try and talk over the heads of prospective clients just so they don’t have to say what they really do as a business. Which is crap! These agencies try and play off the ignorance of business owners just so they can get their business. The problem is that most of the time these owners have no idea what they just signed on for but are hesitant to ask out of fear or looking stupid. The end result is that companies end up feeling screwed. They feel they wasted time and more importantly money. This hurts the digital marketing space because now they are even more hesitant to engage in these services.

We make it a point to scare the hell out of potential clients. I really want to explain to them how all of this works. The who, what, when, why and where of it all. I want them to be a little scared but confident and committed in the decisions they are making. What’s not to be scared about in the digital marketing world? It moves extremely fast and changes every day. There is not just one way to do things, there are virtually hundreds if not thousands of ways to do things online. You have so many more options and unfortunately so many more opportunities for mistakes. That’s why the client/agency relationship has to be a strong one. You have to work together to overcome obstacles that you will be faced with everyday.

Business owners have to do a better job of evaluating the agencies they are hiring. Sometimes the only person you can blame for hiring a crappy agency is yourself.

Agencies, you have to do a better job of communicating. Stop trying to SELL and just LISTEN to what these businesses need. Doing so will be mutually beneficial for all.

“We have two ears and only one tongue in order that we may hear more and speak less.”  Diogenes Laertius