Learning These Lies and Half Truths Will Make You a Better Marketer [Quick Guide Included] | Clarke Inc. Creative Marketing & Print Communication
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Learning These Lies and Half Truths Will Make You a Better Marketer [Quick Guide Included]

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A powerful  online presence is a result of hard work, spending  money on great images, and  strategy over a  period of time.

If it sounds like it’s too good to be true, it probably is.  Here are some red flags to watch out for.  The first red flag is so important we gave this half-truth its own category.

What could be easier than Googling a couple of images, finding ones you like, and putting them to work in your marketing? It’s more complicated than you may think, and the wrong choices can cost you thousands of dollars. 

“Quick Guide: How to Legally Use Images Found on the Internet”

This simple guide will explain the risks involved with finding images, how to identify the traps that lie in wait for you, and what you need to do to protect yourself. Find great images for your content that you can use with confidence.


  1. We’ll Guarantee to Get You on the First Page of Google

This is the most ridiculous claim we hear from marketers, and yet companies continue to make it almost routinely.  Nobody can guarantee #1 placement on Google because that placement is in the hands of the biggest search engine itself. Google itself has dealt with this claim in no uncertain terms. Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a “special relationship” with Google, or advertise a “priority submit” to Google. There are no priority submits for Google,” it states.

  1. We Will Only Send You High Quality Leads

Marketers often make this claim. Like getting you on the first page of Google, it’s almost impossible to quantify. There is no independent definition of what constitutes a high-quality lead unless you outline it to them for your business. After you do that it’s most likely they will back down a bit on the promises. However, if they tell you to first describe the quality of lead you want, ask some good questions, and then point to examples of past clients and the method…that’s a good sign.

  1. We Will Offer You a Free Trial of Our SEO Services

There’s no such thing as a free lunch and the same applies for a free trial. SEO is a very involved process that can require long hours of work. Very few companies will be serious about offering you this at no cost. Typically, they will want your website’s username and password to do any work and ask for access to your hosting account. If you decide not to go with their services your retreat will very quickly end up looking like Custer’s Last Stand and, chances are, some pushy sales tactics will mean you end up paying for their services.

  1. You Don’t Have to Do Anything. We’ll Do It All

This sort of promise is meant to appeal to busy small business owners in traditional settings who may not care to know too much about what they are doing online. It’s always a mistake to cede control of your online business to someone else. You may lose track of what you are being charged for and you may also lose direction over your web presence. Your online presence is the equivalent of your shop window a decade ago. You need to retain control and not let a marketing company hijack your operation.

  1. You Will be Privy to Secret and Undisclosed Strategies

Internet marketers sometimes like to mystically mention the secret sauce. They have a hidden ingredient or proprietary tool, but they can’t tell you what it is. They have a team of SEO whizz kids at a virtual Hogwarts just over the mountain. The reality is they probably have a high school dropout who is leafing through the Idiot’s Guide to SEO in his mother’s basement. Any legitimate SEO company should be able to explain exactly what they will do to your site, as well as detailing their link building strategy. A firm that mentions secrets may be planning to use black hat SEO techniques that will impact your site’s performance at some time in the future.

  1. This is An Amazing Deal for You, and I Don’t Mind that it Puts Me in a Tough Place

The martyr strategy is a tried and tested means to an end. This is such a great deal that the marketers won’t be able to feed their kids for a couple of weeks but it’s worth it for your overall gain? Ask yourself why any marketer would place themselves in a tough place for you and you will have to conclude there’s no rational reason. It’s not as if you are family. Clearly, it’s just another ploy to make you think they are bending over backwards. You really need a solution that’s a win-win for everyone so you don’t become the despised client.

  1. This is a Limited Time Offer. You Need to Act Now

The limited time offer strategy is intended to put pressure on you to make a quick decision before you can give it much thought. If you gave it more thought it might occur to you that limited time offers make little sense. Marketing deals aren’t like the last bottles of water before a hurricane. If you approached the same firm at a later date, a “deal” would likely still be available.

  1. We Work with Someone at Google, We Partner with Google

With Google accounting for about 68 percent of search engine market share, it’s easy to see why marketers would want to claim affiliation. However, this is a plain untruth. Google has no partnerships in the SEO world and no Google employee would jeopardize their jobs by illegally associating with any such firms. If a firm tells you they are partnered with Google, what else are they going to lie about? Drop them.

  1. We have a Successful Track Record

Many marketing companies make this claim but what does it mean? Ask for the names of businesses which the marketer has helped and then contact those businesses yourself to get their feedback on the marketer.

  1. We’ll Get You Off the Ground with Minimal Investment

Beware of companies that offer freebies up front but take your credit card details, and always read the fine print. Chances are there’s a catch further down the line.

  1. You Don’t Have to Worry – We’ll Take Ownership of Your Content

If you think this kind of arrangement is positive because it will take a burden off you, think again. Any agreement you sign should not give ownership to the SEO agency you work with. If things go badly the company can hold you hostage or the content could even be sold to a competitor.

We hope these tips will alert you to some red flags. The mere fact that SEO and marketing companies talk a good game and use a lot of technical terms, doesn’t mean they will be beneficial to your business. Do your research and be skeptical about all of those big promises until you have concrete evidence otherwise.

Have you been told any of these lies and half-truths by your marketing firm?  Tell us what happened in the comments box below.

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Victor Clarke

Victor began a 30+ year career in sales and marketing with Xerox Corporation following his graduation from the College of William & Mary in Virginia. He has sold copiers, word processing systems, computers, print, mail and graphic design. In addition, he advanced from a street wise sales person, to the Director of Federal, State, Local and Education Sales, to the owner of his own company. He has been the owner of Clarke, Inc. for 20+ years evolving it from a dedicated print shop to an inbound and outbound marketing firm. We deliver epic marketing truth every day for our clients. We provide real solutions for real businesses. If you want the marketing pretty boys, we’re not it.

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