Pulling back the curtain on marketing promises, impossible predictions, and what to expect from a good agency.
It’s certainly tempting – those offers from digital marketing agencies guaranteeing your business a spot on the first page of Google or promising specific revenue gains.
But are those promises too good to be true? And why can some agencies make these guarantees while others can’t – do they know something the others don’t?
When you’re choosing an agency to help grow your business, it makes sense that you’d be interested in guaranteed rankings, revenue, and ROI. But in reality, when you hear those types of promises it should make you question how or why they would make a guarantee at all.
A reputable digital marketing agency can’t and won’t make guarantees simply because it’s near impossible to do so, and would set up the business relationship on unsteady ground.
So why is it impossible to make guarantees and what should you expect instead? Read on to find out.
Why it’s impossible to guarantee results
There are several reasons why it’s impossible to guarantee specific results from a digital marketing campaign, mostly to do with parts of the process that are beyond anyone’s control.
While your agency can use their experience, tools, and tactics to get the most out of your campaign, there will always be things that they simply can’t predict.
1. Algorithms can be fickle
Whether you’re advertising on Google or social media, no matter how much strategy, time and effort has gone into creating your ad campaign, the platform algorithm will ultimately have the final say.
What ad users see, when they see it, and how it appears amongst their feed will all depend on what the algorithm decides will make the best user experience.
Google and Facebook regularly upgrade their algorithms to provide a better, more personalised experience for their users, meaning that although two people may type the same query into their search bar, they will be served different results based on their search history and location, among other things.
This makes it difficult to predict with any accuracy how people will see, interact with, or respond to your campaign – it is also virtually impossible to make guarantees about.
What you can do to encourage a better result is ensure that the quality, attractiveness, and targeting of your ads is top-notch, so you’re giving them the best chance of success.
2. Your competitors can be unpredictable
Digital marketing is a competitive space, and your place in the rankings depends not only on your own performance, but on your competitors’ too.
You could be #1 on Google and all over Facebook one month, then by the next your competitor has pumped a big injection of money into their advertising and their behind-the-scenes SEO work has started to pay off. You slip behind not through any fault of your own, but because they’ve been working so hard to overtake you.
Although your agency can do the best they can to optimise your website, paid campaigns, and overall ranking, they can’t control your competitors’ actions or performance.
3. Industry standards may not match your company goals
Many businesses look to mark their performance against industry standards and direct competitors, but with so many factors to take into account – and so many unknowns – you may find that these goals don’t align with your own.
The results that you’re aiming for should be personalised to your business and determined based on your past performance and future goals – not some one-size-fits-all promise.
An agency could entice you with guarantees to triple your leads, but what if it’s the conversion quality that’s the issue? If the leads are poor quality, won’t you spend more time weeding through them than closing sales?
A good agency will take the time to figure out what is really important to your business, and what you really need in order to grow to your full potential.
4. It sets the wrong expectations from the start
Many elements that affect a marketing campaign’s success are beyond an agency’s control. So how could an agency accurately predict – let alone guarantee – results, when they can’t determine how it will turn out?
Providing guarantees sets an expectation for the client that could be impossible for the agency to meet, and could seriously damage the longevity of the relationship.
Good agencies don’t work like this – they value the relationship and the integrity of their work over relying on optimistic promises to win over clients. Managing expectations honestly and transparently is crucial to ensuring the success of a working relationship.
What to expect from a good agency
If a marketing agency guarantees results at the start – run for the hills.
A good digital marketing agency knows that they have to first understand your current situation and future goals before they can set any targets.
They’ll dive into your current and past performance to discover what they can optimise for the future, and only then create a strategy for incremental growth that is totally personalised around your business.
Aligning on expectations is important, so you both understand exactly what the agency is expecting to deliver and in what timeframe. Potential challenges should be discussed upfront for full clarity.
Marketing is a long-term investment, not a sprint, and patience is needed to see real change (warning bells should be ringing for anyone who promises “instant results”). During the first few months, you can expect your agency to be collecting data, making adjustments, and setting various strategies in motion. At Sprocket, we tell our clients that month 3 onward is usually when they can expect to see the true effects of our work paying off.
A professional, high calibre digital marketing agency can be an invaluable addition to your business, bringing their expertise to help you reach more customers, make more sales or sign-ups, and grow your business. But while there’s plenty of things they can do, the one thing they can’t is guarantee results.
Ready to grow your business? Call the team at Sprocket Digital today!