Three Ways to Keep Your Web Marketing Partner Honest – and Keep More Dollars in Your Pocket

By Alain Parcan, Director of Marketing, Market Hardware, Inc.

If you’re a TCIA member, chances are you’re familiar with the most common Web Marketing horror stories: SEO scams and untracked ads with no stats to back up your spending.

What is SEO?
SEO is the act of changing the  text on your site, and building up a network of with the goal of  generating leads via Page One placement for specific online searches.

With so many disappointing experiences out there, how is a tree care business supposed to figure out whether they are in good hands?

Here are the three ways to keep your Web Marketing partner honest…

1. Set your goals and discuss them with your point of contact (Hint: You should have one of these)

Many Web Marketing companies are simply out to receive a check each month. They’re in business too, and have a right to get paid. But what separates the top Web Marketing providers is that they have your best interests in mind and want to earn their pay by helping you reach your goals. Your provider should know what parts of your service area are more important than others, and what aspects of your business you’re most focused on growing (consider which of your services are more profitable than others). They should have a solid understanding of what your goals are and constantly work to help you reach them.

2. Each month, you should ask what’s been accomplished since you started working with them

Any credible Web Marketing company tracks data about their progress and should be able to share that information with you. In fact, they’ll be glad you asked because it will give them an opportunity to prove their worth. If you don’t get straightforward answers, chances are they either haven’t been doing what they agreed to do, or their results have been unsatisfactory. Here are some questions to ask your provider(s):

  • If they’re performing SEO for you, how have your rankings changed since the campaign started?
  • If they’re handling your Paid Search campaign, how have they lowered your Cost-Per-Click or Cost-Per-Lead.?
  • If they’re handling your Social Media, how have they increased your followers/user engagement?

3. Ask your partner how they plan to change their approach in the next 6-12 months

A smart Web Marketer knows that competition and Web trends are constantly changing and your efforts must adapt in order to keep up. Ask your provider how they’re going to change their approach over the next several months as compared to the previous few months. It should be a red flag if they say they’re keeping things as is. Yes. While there’s some merit to the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach, savvy Web Marketers always tweak their strategy to get more value out of a campaign. Your provider should have several plans ready in order to keep you ahead of the curve.

Did you notice how this article consistently refers to Web Marketing partners and not vendors? That’s because you deserve to be able to call your Web Marketing provider a partner – not a vendor that’s just out there to cash a check and only contact you once your contract is up for renewal.

The most successful tree care companies have a Web Marketing partner they can trust – partners who are happy to address the previously mentioned topics. And you deserve the same.

Consider this: Would you rather cycle through Web Marketing vendors every six months because you fall for the same misleading guarantees, or would you rather work with the same company for a few years knowing you’re in great hands? By asking the right questions, you can ensure that you will find a company capable of being referred to as a partner – not a vendor.

If you’re considering hiring a new Web Marketing provider, here are some tips for sorting out the good from the bad:

  • Ask for references in your industry. You’ll be amazed at how many “bad apples” this will weed out. Many Web Marketing companies take on any company that will hire them, regardless of industry. You’re in better hands with someone that specializes in tree care companies. After all, marketing trimming and pruning services requires a different strategy than trying to market emergency tree removal, and your provider should know those differences.
  • Ask how to reach them if you have questions. You should have a direct phone number and email address for contacting your provider, and a turnaround time under one business day.
  • Ask what the plan is if your results are not satisfactory. Your provider should work with you to try out new strategies if the current ones aren’t working.

Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. While Web Marketing can be confusing, it’s easier when you remember that hiring a Web Marketing provider is just like hiring a contractor. Make sure you understand exactly what you’re getting, why it’s right for your business, and what the price really is before you sign on the dotted line.


Alain Parcan, Director of Marketing for Market Hardware, Inc., contributed this article. Market Hardware helps tree care businesses compete on the web and offers special discounts for TCIA members. You can reach Alain’s team at 888-381-6925.