OBP Super Search - Marketing Scams and How to Avoid Them
Are you struggling with trying to figure out which marketing services are genuine and which ones are actually a scam? Whether your business is big or small, knowing how to dodge being tricked into purchasing something that you're told will benefit your business when it actually won't, is harder than it may seem. At OBP Super Search, we know a thing or two about online marketing and want to help our network of corporate leaders and entrepreneurs avoid the damage scams can have on your business, your budget, and your reputation.
Common Marketing Scams.
Marketing scams can come in many sizes and can arrive to you in the form of a cold call, a postcard, email, or digital advertisement. Although you should always be cautious when investing a large amount of money into something new for your business, here are some popular scams to be on the lookout for.
Online marketing training. By targeting new marketers in the industry, training scams try to sell various types of marketing trainings (webinars, e-books, courses, etc.) to those looking to broaden their marketing knowledge at the early stages of their career. These trainings usually contain information you can find online for free and offer "certificates" upon completion that aren't reputable or useful.
Pay-to-join programs. At OBP Super Search, we are often contacted and asked to join, and pay for, affiliate loyalty programs that serve little benefit. Just know that legitimate affiliate programs are risk-free and free to join, so being asked to pay a membership or fee to join isn't right. Find out how long the program has been around and who the other members are before making a commitment.
Domain name scams. This is one we've seen too often. We'll use our personal experience as the example. We own OBPSuperSearch.com. We get an email from someone in China letting us know that someone is trying to register OBPSuperSearch.cn in China. They write with concern about our trademark and want to offer to protect our trademark in China for a fee. They asked us to register the Chinese domain name with them and tried to trick us into purchasing a domain that we didn't even need. There are various types of domain scams out there, so be careful.
Online directories. Many tech-savvy salesmen think they've mastered the art of providing businesses with a beneficial online directory that lists their information for all to see and find. Usually they call you to "renew" a listing you didn't even know you had but may also promise marketing efforts being implemented to promote the directory and drive traffic to your listing. Avoid this scam by using a reputable online listing company like OBP Super Search.
Long-term contracts. This scam is popular among marketing agencies. They lock a new or small business into a long-term, 12-month contract. This assures they continue to collect funds even if they aren't providing any leads or results. They'll try to convince you that their services need a few months to build up and gain traction before you see any return. Don't buy it.
Unsolicited Google call. Wrapping up our list of marketing scams is the oh so popular Google listing renewal Scam . If you get a call from a local number telling you that your Google listing is set to expire soon, don't fall for it. If you're managing your listings yourself or have an agency managing them for you, you won't fall for this. But if it's new to you, just know that Google does not call you randomly and you should never give your credit card information to anyone calling out of the blue.
How to Avoid a Marketing Scam.
So now that you know what types of scams are out there, let's talk about how you can avoid them. It mostly comes down to one big step: doing your research.
Google it. The easiest way to legitimize a marketing service is to look it up on Google. If it's well known as a scam, you'll most likely see reports of it or bad online reviews. Try adding "[marketing service name] scam" or "[marketing service name] reviews" to see if that helps narrow in on what you're looking for.
Find a website. Ask the company to provide you with a website that you can look at and gather your own assumptions. If they hesitate to provide one, that's your first red flag.
Find references. You can ask this potential scam company to provide you with a list of references or businesses they've previously worked with or sold the same services to. Then, with that information, you can verify satisfaction and real deliverables.
Trust your gut. If it sounds too good to be true, it's worth being suspicious about. Not all marketing tactics or online directories are scams, but it's important to be weary of potential threats that may disrupt your business operations. OBP Super Search is happy to walk you through our online listing database and show you how beneficial our listings can be. Or, if you just need a friend in the industry to network with, we're here for that too.