Sometimes as business owners, we make business decisions simply for the sake of taking action, usually to keep up with the changing times, because that’s what your competitors are doing, right? Especially when buzz phrases like “market your business online” drift into your consciousness…and when that happens, you might think, “Is this something I’m supposed to be doing?

Before you know it, you’ve taken on an online marketer to get a plan off the ground, and they’re showering you with pretty words like, “Don’t you worry, we’ll take care of everything for you.” Any Tom, Dick or Harry can create an online ad account these days, so how can you know for sure these guys are really doing “everything” they can to successfully execute your online marketing plan when you’re not even really sure what “everything” entails?

These five indicators ought to give you a good starting point for determining whether it’s time to praise your online marketer for their efforts or kick ‘em to the curb.

Let’s start with the obvious…

1. They’re a poorly-run company with crappy customer service skills.

Do you ever feel like you’re getting the runaround when you reach out to your online marketer? Either you can’t get a hold of them when you need them, they can’t (or won’t) answer your questions, or just flat-out don’t respond to your calls and emails. Whatever reason they may (or may not, cause they’re crappy) give you for this behavior, there’s no excuse.

Who was it that said, “I love a good, crappy company!”? Oh, that’s right, no one. Ever. Certainly not you. You run your company better than that and you expect those you partner with to hold the same standards. So, if you’re struggling with the any or all of the above scenarios, it’s time to move on and find a like-minded marketer who’s actually there for you.

2. You never hear from them.

A good online marketer takes a proactive approach to optimizing your campaigns in order to drive your costs down and increase traffic to your site as much as possible. An even better online marketer shares these campaign updates and results with you on a regular basis and invites you in to review them. After all, it’s your money, your company, which makes it more relevant to you and your team than anyone else.

With that in mind, how often does your online marketer reach out to about your campaigns or to review your ad performance? If the answer is “Never,” you’re dealing with a “set it and forget it” marketer. Not ideal.

You’ve entrusted your company’s hard-earned dollars to an agency claiming they’re putting them to work to help grow your business. If you’re interested in how that’s going, shouldn’t you have informed and unlimited access to your campaigns? Maybe it’s time to find yourself an online marketer who agrees.

3. They don’t tell you how much you’re actually spending on your online ads.

It’s not uncommon for marketing agencies to offer an upfront setup fee and a flat monthly rate for managing your online ad campaigns; however, they don’t always directly disclose exactly how much goes into their pockets and how much goes towards the actual cost for placing your ads.

Um, exsqueeze me? Ooh, uh uh! You work hard for the money. (So hard for the money.) Your online marketer should be able to give you a clear picture of where every one of your marketing dollars goes. So if you ask and they won’t tell you, that’s shady. If you ask and they can’t tell you, they either aren’t watching it closely, don’t document things very well or aren’t tracking your campaigns at all. Terrifying.

4. Your online ad website traffic has a bounce rate of 100% or time on-site of 0:00, or close to.

When your Google Analytics account and ads are set up correctly, you can segment out the traffic from your online ads from the rest of your website traffic in Google Analytics to view metrics specific to those visitors. If you’re seeing something resembling the metrics above, it’s safe to say something’s amiss.


  1. People are clicking on your ads by mistake and jumping right off of your website. Sometimes this just happens and there’s nothing you can do about it, though these clicks shouldn’t make up the entirety of the clicks you get from an online ad campaign.
  2. The landing page your visitors click toon your website features content that doesn’t fit the ad.
    Well-written ads should be mirror the content and quality of the web page it links to. If advertisements and web page create a cohesive message, people are more likely to stay on your website so they can get to know you.When the two aren’t communicating the same message it creates a disconnect between your ads and your website, which is a big turn off for your online ad traffic. It makes you seem like you’re a big liar. Not cool.
  3. Your website sucks in general and is just driving your visitors away.
    If you think your website is the culprit of the less-than-desirable quality of traffic you’re getting from your online ads, it’s time to fire someone else, say…your web designer, maybe? Spending your money to send visitors to a crappy website is putting the cart before the horse. First you need a website that doesn’t stink, then you can start driving traffic to it.

When running ads online, you do have some control over the cost of your clicks. Continual optimization of your ads and campaigns leads to cheaper clicks. So if your online marketer isn’t making the effort to continually track and improve your campaign performance, you end up paying more for clicks than you have to.

This means you’re also getting less traffic to your website than you’d get from a campaign managed by an attentive marketer, because your current go-to guy is taking his cut of your budget regardless of the way your ads are performing. Think on that.

5. They’re running your ads to a cloned website.

If your online marketer hasn’t once asked you for access to your website or requested a conversation with your web developer in order to develop an online marketing plan, they may have done the unthinkable – they cloned your website *gasp!* and are running your ads to the cloned site rather than to your actual website.

Having a cloned website for your ads is no bueno for two reasons:

  1. Depending on your contracted agreement with your online marketer, they may own the website they built for you. Should you choose to end said agreement, you’ll lose all of the traction you’ve gained from your online ad campaigns because it’s all tied to a site that doesn’t belong to you.
  2. Google rewards websites featuring unique content. If an exact copy of your website is loose out there on the web, one of the two sites, if not handled properly, will be penalized for sharing duplicate content. Are you willing to take the risk that it’s your original site taking the hit and not theirs?

Why do they do this?

For one, they don’t have access to your website or can’t get access even if they try. Or it’s because they’re dumb. Neither reason justifies the act.

What’s the benefit of doing this?

Alright, maybe the “dumb” comment was a bit harsh. Marketers usually do this so they can track results — the fact that they’re tracking results indicates a certain level of intelligence. After all, why make any efforts to improve something without tracking the results to see if what you’re doing is actually working?

In the end, though, the smarter marketers understand the importance of website mojo and will encourage running ads to your original domain. And if it’s access they need, there’s more often than not a way to get it to them, so most of those website-cloning online marketers don’t really have any excuse…

Take back the driver’s seat.

It’s not a bad thing to hire an agency to carry out your online advertising plan. Delegation can actually lend to your success — leave it to the experts, as they say. The key is to get the right person for the job rather than let some fast talkers pay you lip service just to boost their own recurring revenue.

The Real Experts vs. the Self-Proclaimed Ones

If and when you’re ready to seek out a more attentive online marketing partner, keep in mind, the world of online marketing is a fluid, ever-changing one. The experts aren’t necessarily the ones claiming they know everything and can “do it all”—the real “experts” are often the ones who say they can’t know everything and continually do all they can to stay on top of the industry’s changing trends. They aren’t afraid to be transparent with you about their ideas or to explore the available online advertising tactics so they can improve your results.

Basically, they care. They care about creating the best possible campaigns designed to actually help your company grow. They care about your campaigns as much as you do, if not more. Isn’t that what partners are for?

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