Everyone wants a fast “fix”, and clients are quick to blame their whoas on whatever firm they happen to be working with that particular week. In the eyes of today’s client, digital is king, and unfortunately, those of us that understand how it all works have a responsibility to educate our clients on the unrealistic expectations many seem to have. 

Take SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for instance. I can’t tell you how many smaller businesses have been told that if they just spend a few thousand dollars, which many don’t have, that they’ll be at the “top of the list”. They’ve been told that running a PPC (pay per click) campaign will boost their rankings. They’ve been told that if they stack their site with keywords and metadata, that Google will work “faster” to improve their rung on the ladder. 

These are actual comments made to me by clients that have been very misinformed. Let’s get a couple of things straight: First and foremost, a PPC campaign has nothing to do with your ranking in Google. Nothing. It doesn’t hurt, but it certainly doesn’t help unless you’re in a very specific category called “unlimited budget”. This is marketing 101. The more people that see your ad, the more likely they are to visit your site. The more people that visit your site, the better off you’ll be in the rankings. But here’s the catch; in order to have enough people not only see your ad, but actually click… you’re going to spend a boatload. As a digital marketer, I’m telling you that digital is not the only answer. Again, you’d be amazed at how many folks I run into that have been told that the only marketing they need is either SEO or PPC. 

Not only is that unreasonable, but in my opinion, blatantly misleading. 

Here’s the other thing: SEO is a pretty formatted deal. Are there shortcuts and tricks? Sure. But for the most part, everyone starts out in the same wagon. So spending thousands and thousands of dollars trying to “beat the system” is probably a waste of money. Can it be done? Yep. Should you do it? I wouldn’t suggest it. 

My advice to clients is always to do your research. I know it’s cliche, but it’s true. Understand what you’re asking for. Purchase talent, not mechanics. Buy from companies that provide a transparent look into their process. Ask them to explain why they’re taking a certain approach. And trust your gut. If a digital marketing firm tells you that they can solve all of your issues with SEO or a PPC campaign; they’re lying. It’s that simple. Many of our direct clients are marketing people that work for a company. Many are just trying to reach their goals and couldn’t care less how they do it. I get that. But they also understand that marketing as a whole cannot be dropped into a single basket. Every effort has to be measured for effectiveness and potential return. Would you put all of your money into one stock? Right.

 

Neither would I. 

 

So for all of us in the digital marketing space; stop complaining that your clients don’t get it and have unreasonable expectations. You sold them on it! Get educated yourselves about how brands work. Learn about actual marketing instead of simply selling one piece of the puzzle. Broaden your horizons! This isn’t a client problem, it’s an industry problem. We need to stop complaining and educate our clients. Trust me, I’ve done my fair share of bitching. But I finally realized that it was us, not them. There are a lot of unethical firms out there just trying to make a buck, and it’s given our industry a bad name. Let’s fix that.