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How to Not Get Burned (Again) When Hiring Internet Marketing ‘Experts’

I hate the word Guru.

If you call yourself a Guru, unless you are “a religious teacher and spiritual guide in Hinduism,” (merriam-webster.com) a little robot in my head starts flashing red lights and saying, “Danger Will Robinson.”

The only thing worse than calling yourself a “Guru” is having a self coronation ceremony where you bestow upon yourself the title “Internet Marketing Guru” after reading a social media book or two.

You’ve seen it, and perhaps you’ve been burned by a “guru” in the past, or are at least fearful that you may be in the future. If this is true about you, you’ve come to the right article.

Today I’ll show you a few practical tips that will help you discern the champion from the charlatan, the voodoo from the true guru of digital marketing. Claims are easy to make, results are hard to fake.

Ways you can get ripped off by internet marketers and how to prevent it

I did an unofficial study of a ton of different digital marketing agency and freelancer reviews on Yelp, and the following  is a list of the three most common ways that people felt like they were being ripped off:

Lack of Communication:


With a digital marketing agency, you’re paying money for people to work on things that are intangible and progress over a long time. If there is not clear communication and reporting of what is being done, it can look like the people you are paying are doing nothing, or worse, they really are doing nothing.


Demand from your digital marketing agency to know how and when they will report to you. Ask them for a timeline, deliverables and goals.  If they promise results ask them how, and while we’re on the subject of promised results, be leery of any company that tells you they can guarantee massive success when they know little of your particular company or industry.

Lack of Skill:


You’re a business owner, you manage the hiring and firing of people, you make sure the product gets shipped and the lights stay on, if you had the time or desire to learn the ins and out of SEO, PPC, website design etc. you wouldn’t be hiring it out!  So when the person you hired to do just that, and that you’re paying $50/hr (for an average free lancer) or $1,000 a month (for an average marketing agency) comes back having done something you could have made yourself, it makes you a little upset!


Ask to see their past work and see if it meets up to the level that your company needs. If you’re just starting out perhaps the $8 an hour nearly post pubescent son of your best friend will be just what you need or maybe you’re a multinational corporation and your house payments depend on you finding the perfect fit. Either way, ask to see their work.

Lack of Results:


You took my advice, you finally found a company that will report to you each week, and you’ve seen that they’ve done phenomenal work in the past, but it’s been three weeks now, and THEY HAVEN’T DONE ANYTHING! Or they’ve done a lot of nothing. How can you avoid such a fate?


People get busy, even businesses get busy, so part of your investigation of which company or freelancer to go with should include asking them how much they are doing right now and how much time they could realistically put into the project. Particularly with freelancers who could very easily bite off more than they can chew.

Helpful websites:

  1. Yelp.com– Yep, the classic reviews site, it can give you starter information on seeing how past customers felt about their experience, some of these reviews should be taken with a grain of salt. 
  2. Digitalagencynetwork.com– This is a website that will help you to see the different agencies that there are in geographic locations and how they rank.
  3. Clutch.co– Clutch’s motto is “Firms that deliver” the site allows you to see reviews and rankings of different firms in a variety of fields, including advertising and marketing. We actually have a few reviews on this site, you can check them out here.
  4. Topseorankers.com– If you’re looking for SEO companies, this is a site that is dedicated to ranking who is the best in the industry. You can check out our ranking here.

Conclusion: Call me sometime.

If you’re curious how Netmark stacks up against our own criteria that we set out in this article, feel free to call me and we can talk about it. Literally, I’d love to chat.

Call this number: 800.935.5133 and ask for Bruce, then ask whatever you want.  (Or if you prefer you can always reach me by email at: [email protected])


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    Hello, my name is Bruce Peck! I love digital marketing and I am the social media strategist for Netmark.com.