A few days ago the last episode of one of my favorite series aired: The Walking Dead. The story of a group of survivors in a world now populated by hungry zombies. As you may know if you are bitten by a zombie, in addition to the immediate pain from being mauled alive, it follows that you turn into a dangerous zombie yourself and you, too, then go around doing damage.
What does this have to do with my work?
I'll explain it now.
For about a year now, I have been increasingly involved in consulting at small, medium and large companies that have been attacked by zombies of the web marketing. These creatures, reincarnated as "know-it-all" consultants, have not only mauled the bank accounts of many businesses, but have infected everyone they come in contact with by giving false expectations of success, convincing them to charge for tools that are free, deluding them that "just have a lot of fans on Facebook.", and so on...
The result is that the zombies ignorance spreads unchecked doing a lot of damage: to the business economy, to those who do this work seriously, and seriously undermining the trust we should all place in new forms of global communication and networked business.
To avoid this, I recommend you follow these three simple tips whenever you smell zombies.
1. When an agency or web marketing consultant comes to you with an innovative product or service, listen carefully and:
- Ask to have the names of other clients who have had success with this technique, you can also check with your contacts, acquaintances or just by doing some research on the net.
- Have the results shown there, right away, on.line. No printouts, pdfs or brochures--if you're talking about web marketing, the results should be on.line and visible to everyone. No?
- Never believe in solutions: Become rich immediately with little effort and no investment.
- One strategy is not enough, and never just get caught up in the fads of the moment. How many companies have I seen focus everything on collecting fans on Facebook and then, not even knowing what to do with it and having a website with "news" (what a lousy menu item) left over from 1 year earlier...
- Take note of everything, and then evaluate.
2. If you ask for something particular (such as a mobile app or the tracking in real time on a campaign), in 90% of cases, there is no such answer as, "you can't do it," a capable professional would tell you, "it is inadvisable in your case" or "you can implement it without difficulty, but I have to explain how to do it."
Get used to asking and asking questions, even if you think they are stupid, expensive, or things you have only heard about or read about online. A counselor is there to give you answers, not to embarrass you.
3. If you start any PPC campaign Demand that you actively participate in the writing of the ads, intervene if you see fit on the content, and always ask for a separate account for consulting in campaign management and one for the budget. You are the one paying, you have a right to know where your money is going.
- Pretend to monitor the progress of the campaign with direct on.line access (it is possible and it is free, both for Facebook that for Adwords).
- Ask if you can check the budget in person.
- Ask for the tracking of results, of the click and of the conversions (not always possible), you can also use Google Analytics (graded).
I'm not telling you to act like a watchdog, especially if you trust the consultant and don't have the time or inclination to do the above, but do things properly. After all, if you always check your regular supplier's invoice and check the bill when they deliver goods to you, why shouldn't you do it here too?
These simple tips, if applied, will save you a lot of trouble later, and not when it is too late, and you may have become a zombie yourself.
Now tell me-have you ever encountered a Walking Dead in your business?