Spot the Amateur

How do you handle those too-good-to-be-true approaches that come through regularly? You know… the ones telling that “your website cannot be found anywhere” (yet, they found it); and how it has several broken links; and, how with just a couple of tweaks, they will grow your business by up to 30%?

With our other agencies, it’s a monthly, if not fortnightly occurence that we’d get emails forwarded to us by our customers to cast an eye over the latest approach. We’d then flick one back that we would have received, as well, just to show our clients that we are not immune to it either. Then we’d go into an explanation usually about one of the recurring topics below. That’s usually enough to deal with these pesky approaches, but since our business acquires new advertisers regularly, the amateur marketer is a topic that we will be discussing for a long time to come with our new customers. With all due respect, the concern can also be internally as the business growth (marketing) is entrusted to an acquaintance or family member who said that they knew about marketing, social media etc.

A little bit of research, even from an untrained eye can uncover a lot; so here goes:


Hashtags ultimately turn words or phrases (no spaces) into links to a common twitter group or page. Spammers are more savvy with the use of hashtags as they will use popular hashtags to infiltrate a conversation and eventually acquire their own database out of it. So, the next time that you visit the Facebook page of a business, and you see many hashtags actually sending their own social traffic OUT and somewhere else that’s completely useless and unrelated to them, you can bet that the marketing is being handled by a novice.


Are your business messages relevant to the platform that you are utilising? For instance, are you posting job vacancies on Gumtree and expecting impressive resumes back? Or, are you advertising your Seafood Chowder on Linked-In? Posting the right content in front of the relevant social network increases the probability of reaching an engaged audience as you are targeting the best of them within the relevant arena. Inappropriate posts in the wrong forums will draw attention for all the wrong reasons, ultimately damaging your brand.


Attention spans are short; capture your audience by including vivid images or video! Facebook posts that contain media get a huge increase in engagement. It is easy to spot a bad picture with text all over it v/s a Graphic Designed advertising post with a professional layout. The same applies to Video; in a poor quality video production the lack of talent is even more noticeable. These shortcuts will compromise and damage your brand. There is a huge difference between affordable and professional quality v/s having a go.


High quality, relevant SEO’d content are used to attract attention from other media (including Social) to send traffic to your website. The more traffic that your website has on a consistent basis, the better it will rank. Writing a long essay on a Facebook Post and telling the complete story nullifies the need for your interested audience to click through. Clicking through not only leads your audience to the complete story on your website, but once there, they are likely to venture further to find out about what else your business does?

Poor grammar; a lack of depth or knowledge about the topic in question and limited knowledge of CMS (content management systems) will sort out the amateur from the experts in this field. Use the agency as a medium to share your industry opinions, your expertise and your unique selling proposition with your audience. This information gives them a chance to learn about you and/or your business and make informed decisions as to why they would choose to deal with you. Regular, useful information on your website will keep your audience coming back and grow.


When the first approach is a promise of specific percentage of growth, be alarmed. Without access to analytics; no crystal ball regarding the economies down the road; and, without knowing your own business situation regarding supplies, staffing, and your own personal vision, how can it be possible? If your own business cannot thrive on being the cheapest but delivering the best product or service, nor can anyone else. There are so many ‘hard luck stories’ of businesses finding a big promise at a very cheap offering irresistible.

Another promise, is the promise of Page 1 rank. There are 10 organic listing spots per Google page. There are thousands of other approaches making that same promise on that same week for that very category and region! There are too many variables for anyone to promise a Page 1 outcome; search engine companies themselves will tell you that. Despite achieving Page 1 ranks for our own clients, we never promise a Page 1 rank. We recommend a sound SEO structure be in place but have other effective marketing options in place so that our advertisers are not totally reliant on SEO.

The above are the common tell-tale signs centred around doing your research before jumping into an agreement with anyone. Know what to look out for. Big promises at a cheap price will most definitely have a catch. Focus on your targeted returns and who, with a proven track record, can get you there.

Have we shattered the tooth-fairy of marketing myths? If we have; that’s great! Marketing tooth-fairies cost a lot more than a gold coin!


The best thing for any business to do is to build a long, strong and trusting relationship, over time, with one marketing agency. The ‘partnership’ is much the same as using the same accountant and bookkeeper throughout the business journey. Hopping agencies based on cheaper costs and big promises has many perils; besides your business will get many approaches on a regular basis.
Before believing and being tempted by the too-good-to-be-true promises, always, ALWAYS, always ask to see and verify their current work. Ensure that it is proven that it is in fact their work that they are taking the credit for. We proudly put our agencies’ names (DowntheRoad) at the base or on the contact page of every website that we build.