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Should You Use a “One-Stop-Shop” Company for Your Marketing?

Note: This may be lengthy, but if you don’t read it and heed my word, it could cost you millions in lost revenues.

Getting business used to be as simple as – get yourself in the phonebook, maybe pay extra for some ad space, network with some plumbers, and in came the calls.

Today, you have to do SEO, Pay-Per-Click (PPC), Facebook, lead generation, Angie’s List, Yelp, Google Maps, etc., etc….It’s overwhelming and confusing.  As a result, some companies have  become “One-Stop-Shops,” in other words “Jacks-of-all-Trades.” In theory, it’s really convenient: You only have one bill, one contact person, one company who does it all! It’s all out of your hair, right? Well, no.

I use specialists for most everything. Last time I had an eye injury, I went to an eye doctor. My attorney specializes in corporate and tax law. I go to a barber, not a salon. My website guy only does websites.

Why do I do this? They maximize my time and money in ways generalists can’t.

Specialists do the same thing every day, every week, for years, they’ve seen it all, they know how to do it right, right away. Jacks-of-All-Trades are, well, you know…

In using a generalist One-Stop-Shop, you’re not MAXIMIZING your marketing budget and ROI that you SHOULD be getting.

Now, does it require that you have to deal with 2 sales people, 2 customer service people, and receive separate reports? YES. But who cares? Your gross revenues and ROI will be much, much higher. I’d take that over convenience any day.

Listen, each of these online marketing techniques has become such a speciality, that you not only need a specialist, you may need a TEAM of specialists.  Small One-Stop-Shops don’t have big teams. One guy or several guys are doing it all, including many hours on the phone with many customers, not doing any work.

Let me outline the potential pitfalls of working with a One-Stop-Shop:

1. They may have small staffs with one person doing several technologies. This is a problem, why? We’ve covered this.  SEO, PPC and Social Media Marketing are all SO specialized now that a generalist just can’t keep up anymore.  For example, SEO changes faster than ever, and as a result, some  companies use techniques that are years’ old.  I see it all the time. If it is a Big-One-Stop-shop, you may luck out and have an entire team of specialists, which is what you want.

2. They outsource their work to India, the Philippines, etc., or other foreign $1-5 per hour contractors to work on your project.  This is the go-to for most One-Stop-Shops, they just don’t have the manpower. Maybe you say, “Who cares?” Maybe you’re right, but aside from the obvious the security risks of having foreign strangers sharing your passwords and web data,  mistakes are aplenty and communication barriers are massive, Quality Control and a lack of ROI is what suffers.

3. They cover up their ineffective SEO results with their successful PPC results. This is the old Bait-and-Switch. They’ll tell you, “We got you 10 calls this month!” but what they won’t say is that those calls mainly came PPC, not SEO.

They can give reports showing results that were driven by PPC and cover up the fact that they got bad or no SEO results. This can avoided if they use call tracking sometimes. Each form of marketing generates it’s own ROI, they’re NOT all mixed together, so neither should your reports be, or your results.

There is also a term called a “blackbox “, which is means “a packaging up of all the separate marketing services into one service (websites, SEO, pay-per-click, social media). for one black-box price. The problem here is you never really know how effective each individual aspect of your marketing budget is. What’s making what? 

By the way, if you ever have a company telling you they’re “Google Certified” for SEO, Google does not have a certification for SEO, only PPC, AKA Adwords.

So let’s wrap it up: 

1. You need a specialist for your SEO, PPC and Social Media, each should be dealt with and managed, separately, in your budgets, reports, on your P&L and in your mind. Anywhere you mix em’ up, you’ll have unrealized revenues.

2. Vet your company. Ask them the tough questions – How are my reports separated? Who’s working on my SEO/PPC? Is it the same person? How long have they been doing it? Are they the only person doing it? Are they W2’d employees? What’s their specialty? Is the work outsourced to a guy in another country? Does he have my user names and passwords?  What calls and revenues are coming from which? On and on…

3. Don’t get lazy or overwhelmed by all this. Convenience is not your friend.  Thinking things like,  “this guy will do it all for me” and “I don’t have time to deal with all of this” are mantra’s of small companies who more than likely will not be getting ahead of the game, but struggling to keep up. No huge, successful company thinks like that. They use specialists who can realize a profit on their marketing budget spend.

As usual, it all comes down to ROI. Each services above can generate significant amounts of revenues. And each deserves it’s own amount of your attention and scrutiny.

Dan York

CEO and Founder, Stellar-eMarketing, Inc.