Avoiding Internet Marketing Headaches
Several of my recent clients have run into problems because they paid an online marketing company to manage their websites and paid search campaigns. These online marketing companies often set up features that cause future headaches for business owners. So, I wanted to share these with you so you can be on the lookout for them.
As a business owner, you will most likely get many calls, emails, and propaganda from online marketing companies that promise to optimize your website or provide you a website for free with many bells and whistles including tracking everything on the web.
They may create videos and profiles on their own websites for you. You often have to sign a contract with them for several months to a year. The salespeople are always very helpful until you sign the contract, then you are handed over to technical support as the salesperson moves on to their next potential clients.
Watch out for these Online Marketing Problems
Here are some things my clients ran into with using online marketing companies:
- Domain name registered by an online marketing company. This is like having another business register your business name.
- Website created and hosted by an online marketing company and the client could not update the website to add testimonials or other text.
- A blog was created by the online marketing company for the client, but the blog was not on the client’s domain but rather on the marketing company’s domain which did not bring traffic to the client’s website.
- A paid Yahoo Local listing was created for a client. The information in the listing was incorrect and the client could not change it. The marketing company was no longer being used and could not be contacted to change it. The client contacted Yahoo and had the listing removed. Now the client is not listed on Yahoo Local even with a free listing.
- Some online marketing companies create shadow websites so they can track traffic to your website. Clients do not have control over these websites and may never see the content. Google will penalize duplicate content on the web.
- Some companies will promise to optimize your website by ranking you for keywords without even changing your website. Often these companies will charge you on your phone bill with a monthly charge, and they do not provide a contract that details services rendered.
- And the biggest issue my clients ran into was the use of Tracking Phone Numbers by the online marketing company. This may sound good as you can tell how many people are calling this phone number. It’s usually a toll-free number owned by the marketing company, not the client. These tracking phone numbers can get onto the internet from client’s websites and profiles set up by the online marketing company. When the client decides to move away from that online marketing company, the Tracking Phone # is reassigned to a different company (in one case an online dating service), but some of the online profiles may keep that phone # associated with the client business for a long time. It’s very hard, if not impossible, to get rid of some of these phone #’s that are out on the web.
Keep Business Phone Numbers and Website Under Your Control
So, the rule of thumb is that it’s important that businesses have several things under their own control. This includes:
- Registration of domain name should always be done by the business owner.
- Web Site Hosting and Content Updating should be controlled by the business owner either through a local design firm or large hosting providers such as Go Daddy or Network Solutions.
- The business owner should be able to have a username and password access to update their website and download their website files.
- Business Phone Numbers should also be purchased from the phone company directly by the business. Tracking phone numbers from marketing companies should always be avoided.
Following the above suggestions, even if it costs a bit more upfront can help business owners keep control of important information regarding their business and prevent future problems and headaches. Online marketing and advertising are playing an ever-increasing role in business, so choose your options wisely.