There are times when we’re meeting with a potential client that we can tell they’ve been burned badly by a marketing agency in the past. They’re defensive, questioning, and unwilling to share much about their situation — and for good reason! If they’ve had a bad experience before, it can be tough to trust another unknown group in the future.
As Ali shared so well in a recent post, we do a lot of things to try to ease the nerves of a new client, including:
- Not making them sign long-term contracts
- Keeping our links out of their footer
- Letting them choose their own vendors for things like hosting and printing
Ultimately, we try to make it very easy for people to leave us if they’re not happy, as that can offer some assurance up front. Even with that, though, some people are just nervous to make a big decision like hiring a new marketing firm. If that’s you, there are two main things I’d suggest you do:
Investigate the new agency
Look at their website and reviews, for sure. Going deeper, though, look at their reviews on sites like Clutch (here’s ours) where users can’t directly place reviews and they’re vetted far more than Google or Yelp ever could.
Another wise thing to do is to look at their portfolio of websites they’ve built in the past few years and see how those sites look today. Did they get scrapped already? Are they falling apart? Or are they humming along with fresh new content and updated images?
More importantly, though, is protecting yourself from allowing it to happen again. Most of what I’m talking about was explained above, and the big two are to not give up direct control of your assets (don’t move your hosting to their servers) and don’t sign a long-term contract. Keep your options open, and make the agency constantly be working to retain your business.
At the end of the day, trust will need to work both ways. We’ve had a few potential clients that we’ve turned down, because their past marketing trauma meant that Ali and I would have to constantly be a human shield between the client and our staff. Nobody wants that.
If you’ve been burned before, I’m so sorry. There are a lot of truly awful marketing companies out there, but there are a lot of great ones too. If you’re looking to make a change, vet the new agency carefully, do whatever you can to keep your options open, and I hope things go very smoothly for you.