Digital Marketing Pricing Packages Exposed (Podcast)

As a marketing agency that handles plumbers, we’ve seen contractors get taken advantage of before joining our service plan. Many come to us after being frustrated with their previous online marketing experience. In the majority of these cases, plumbers are unhappy with their last agency’s pricing model and feel that it favored the marketer over the client. The sad part is they are correct.

We see it all the time. Marketing agencies will manipulate their prospective clients with propaganda and end up costing them massive amounts of funds. Manipulative pricing can dishearten plumbing contractors. As a plumber or other small business owner, we, as marketers, cannot expect you to understand the nuance of every promotional technique. But this lack of understanding is, unfortunately, how agencies trick their clients. 

Marketers know more about specific techniques and frame them to mislead customers. Their tactics fall nothing short of modern-day snake oil. Arming yourself with accurate information like SEO tips for Plumbers is the best way to avoid businesses like these. Here are some of the primary digital marketing pricing packages exposed:

Black Box PPC

Black Box PPC asks for an immediate upfront payment from the client. The marketing firm is then supposed to spend the money in any manner they see fit — most often on PPC advertising (Google Ads). But guess how much of the payment that many of these “experts” pocket? In many cases, it’s 50%. That’s right, half of all Google Ads money goes directly in their pocket. So what’s the problem? That money is supposed to go towards Google Ads, and therefore you should be billed by Google, not by some self-proclaimed PPC expert sitting in another state or even in some cases, another country.

  • Upfront Payment
  • Pocketed Percentages (50%)
  • Misallocated Resources

Since Google publishes the ads, it’s natural that reports should come from Google. But these marketers don’t send Google reports to their clients. Instead, they send their notifications so that they can mislead the client and exclude essential information. In worst cases, they mark your company name as a paid keyword to claim success for branded searches which you are getting from SEO, anyway. Here’s a summary of their tactics:

The Shell Trick

If your conversation with a marketing agency starts with them asking how much you can afford to spend, you know you’re dealing with the digital equivalent of a used car salesman. The question should not be how much you can afford to pay, but rather, what the best deal is for you and your marketing endeavors moving forward. This opening question is frequently associated with a pricing concept known as the shell trick. They tell you some money is going towards SEO, some towards PPC, some towards social media, and so forth. The list of categories is usually lengthy, so it seems like they spend your money on various techniques.

  • Upcharges
  • Psychological Manipulation
  • Salesmanship

When you look at it from a visual perspective, it seems logical. It seems wise to invest resources in all these different areas. That’s why it’s a great marketing pitch. But what you should focus on is the bottom line price. Honest marketers will provide all-inclusive services for a fixed price, so there are no add-ons or extras, which should be pre-included in the package. The worst part of companies that utilize the shell trick is that most of the time, the majority of services they promote are usually left unattended during your service tenure. They instead have slick salesmen send you reports that mislead you as a client.

The One-Trick Pony

The one-trick pony package is the opposite of the shell trick, but the sales pitch is similar. The “pitch” of this concept is that one particular marketing technique is all you need as a plumbing company. It can be anything from reviews generation, maps optimization, citation management, etc. These services typically cost in the range of $199 to $299, and those numbers can often be appealing to newer contractors working in smaller markets. 

  • Non-Competitive Results
  • Glorified Hosting Fee
  • Limited to Zero Work Done

Plumbers feel they are saving money on marketing services by cutting out unnecessary services. That’s why it seems to contradict the shell trick, but the result ends up being the same. In a case like this, the problem is that one service will never be enough to compete against top-ranking plumbers. In digital marketing, all concepts work together, so the one-trick pony services are bad for business. Most times, the one service they offer is a glorified hosting fee. You’re paying them to put your website up and report on its NAP citations. 

Emails & Telemarketers

Email blasts claiming your website requires an SEO upgrade is one of the oldest industry sales tactics. The marketing firm emails every address they can find without analyzing the website. Such a tactic is known as mass email blasting, and it’s nefarious at best. The pricing proposals presented in most of these emails are misleading and inaccurate.

  • Email & Telemarketers Fish for Clients at Random
  • Reports or Warnings Provided are Often Inaccurate
  • Plumbers Should Find Marketing Services Through Google Search and Reviews

The same is true for telemarketers. They are fishing for clients by going down a list of phone numbers they acquired, whether online or through data mining. You should avoid going with email or telemarketers at all costs because they can’t get clients through SEO, the service they claim to be selling. The best way to find SEO services is by using the method homeowners use to find plumbers. That’s through organic search; Google Maps listings, reviews, etc.

Quote from Nolen About Pricing

Podcast Transcript

Hey, there is Nolen Walker for Plumbing Webmasters. I’m going to enjoy this one. Online marketing prices exposed. Online marketing price is exposed. I get so sick of talking to people and hearing all this stuff … not talking to you guys, but hearing how you get screwed around over and over again. It’s one of the reasons we have a month to month pricing here. People get set up, they’re not tied in. We produce stuff.

So let’s talk about all the things that people do and they get they get so over sold on this stuff, and this is all real. There’s so much propaganda. It’s hard to tell who’s who and who’s a quality web company. So let’s dive right into this stuff because these are things i hear on a daily basis. Just saved somebody from this yesterday ….yesterday, came on board … and had what I call black box ppc billing. But what’s that Nolen? That’s when someone’s naive and they don’t know. And that’s ok, by the way, it is okay not to understand this stuff, but you sit here and you listen to videos like this and podcasts, and we explain it to you.

Okay, so black boxing the pay per click, is when you just hand them the money is when you just hand them the money and then they’re supposed to spend it. Now, i will tell you and i will not mention this company’s name. It’s a national company, name brand. We hired a guy to do some AdWords management for us and we got rid of him because he was just kind of and we got rid of him because he was just kind of not a nice guy. I’ll leave it at that, but what the company did was a black box everything. Guess how much of the paper click they took was they black boxed everything. Guess how much of the Pay Per Click they took?

People don’t ask. They go; Hey, i’ll spend three grand a month, i’ll spend five thousand a month, i’ll spend fifteen hundred. Whatever. It doesn’t matter. Whatever they can get you to do. Doesn’t have any rhyme or reasoning. Anything that gets you spend as much as possible They take fifty percent. Fifty percent of the money was spent on that. I will tell you that i believe that sometimes one hundred percent is done. I hear people going with the guys that do AdWords management. They’re like, oh, he lives in, you know, Thailand. He’s here or there. Yeah, I bet he does.

Your black box billing and he’s supposed to be getting leads or whatever he’s doing, all he’s doing is managing your AdWords. And I don’t have a problem with managing AdWords campaigns. But we’re transparent so we charge the fee to us and then your credit or debit card gets billed directly from Google. So is transparent. It’s not a black box scenario.

These people, from national companies to the kid living in Thailand doing your stuff, they’re sending their own third party reporting. There’s reporting from your Google account, but they don’t send that to you. They also do stuff like putting your company name for a Pay Per Click term and then claiming success over that for the amount of clicks you get or it drives the cost of the apparent click down. So it looks better to you. There’s a lot of stuff that goes on in the world of Adwords Management that’s bogus as all get out. You can have this done well, but you want to know where your money is being spent.

This is really good stuff. So if you think you know some of this stuff, stick around, i’ll explain it all to you, So we don’t do any of this stuff by the way. The Shell Trick, this is one of the most common ones done. This is done by hard sale, big tactic, companies, some of the most aggressive boutique private equity companies do exactly what I call the shell trick.

They’ll take your money and they’ll say Nolen … and it’s kind of like going on a car lot and saying, how much can you afford on your payments? Sir, if you spit out a number than their profit just went through the roof, right? Not how much I can afford. It’s the best deal, right? And so same thing on the shell trick. So they go. Oh, let’s get five thousand from you. Let’s get three thousand from you. Whatever it is. Let’s get two thousand from you. I call it the shell trick because they’re like, oh, we’re going to put a little money here on the SEO, we’re gonna put a little money here on the mapping, we’re gonna put a little on the management, the PPC, the hosting, the reviews, and it looks like all this good stuff.

All that stuff is normal crud we do anyway. Citations and design, blogging and content, regular work and postings, and domain authority. And all this stuff gets done anyway, it’s part of it. The mapping, of course, is part of it. Integrated reviews… But when they start splitting it up, it looks logical to you. Like what? I need a minute. Okay, they’re doing three hundred dollars on mapping. They’re going to do SEO for a thousand dollars. And then the management figure, there’s a management fee for four hundred, there’s some hosting and some reviews, and then what’s left for PPC guys and i’ll tell you something. Do you know what they do? I call it glorified hosting.

A couple of things, they typically don’t touch the stuff that’s supposed to be done. So let’s say So let’s say that you decided to spend with this company. I’ve got one specifically in my head, but i’m not gonna sit here and talk about it. But there’s many that do this. Some of them do it really hard core, and then you scream, reeling, from the bloodbath that you’ve had financially after you’ve done it for a little while, but oops, you’re stuck in an agreement. They talked to you in twelve months or six months or whatever. So when you get out, you run kicking and screaming.

Very little of that goes to the Pay Per Click that you had. You might end up spending three grand and had a thousand dollars go to that, unbeknownst to you, and then the phone doesn’t ring enough. The rate of return is bad. And then the stuff that they’re supposed to do on map and SEO and reviews and management… they did almost nothing except put up reports for you and have slick people talk to you on the phone to keep you on the hook. That is a very common thing and I called it the shell trick.

The one trick pony. One thing is going to save you. We’re going to do mapping or we’re gonna do, oh gosh, reviews, mapping, citations. These are things that are common… people buy into them. It’s really the $299 scam. $199 to $299… and I really just made up a name, frankly, for right now, but I know that people love paying $299 per month. We don’t do $299 because we can’t afford to have quality services for $299. But for whatever reason, everybody out there loves paying these low amounts. It’s illogical. You can’t do hardly any work for $299. You certainly can’t get a group of web people have you dominant in a primary market for this amount of money.

I call it a glorified hosting fee and i have called it that for years. You’re paying $199, $299, you are paying a glorified hosting fee. Because why? They don’t do any work at all. So this is some sort of automated thing. They’ve got you hooked up to some citation service with a little report that kicks out to you and they do the big goose egg. That’s how much work they do. And then you get no organic optimization. You get nothing out of that deal.

So if you bite on to $ 299’s over and over and over again, five hundred bucks and below, you’re going to get glorified hosting fees, and it doesn’t work because they didn’t have enough resources to do anything. But everybody seems like paying that price range. So be careful on that. One trick pony fits in that.

One thing doesn’t make marketing work online. Google checks all sorts of things. There’s all sorts of triggers and clues and grades and points that you get from lots of things being done all around the web. Design and content coding and graves and points that you get it from lots of things being done all around the web. Design and content and coding, citations and linking, domain authority, blogging and regular account changes, content additions, content changes, Google Maps postings, videos, and all this stuff is done, and it can work really well and it sounds like more than it is. It’s hard to do for a company, but it’s what we do for a living.

So emails, telemarketing kits and hacks on Facebook. The emails that come in, guys, they’re all bad. No, your website isn’t necessarily broken. I get them, everybody gets them. We get him and our websites or fantastic and kick butt but we get the same videos that everybody else does. So the more popular you get online, the more emails you get out of foreign countries and everywhere else.

They’re just fishing…, fishing for you to buy and you get on, and then you’re off to some horrible company. Please avoid those places. The telemarketers are the same. The only thing in common with the telemarketing companies and emails is that they’re good at market outreach to get you.

But you should find your web company through organic optimization, probably right? Methods people would find you on. Reviews, organic optimization, social media, the same best return places you want to get found. Buyer beware if you fall for the emails and telemarketers, the kids and the hacks on Facebook. They’re sitting at home, they’re sitting at home listening to programs on how to do stuff. No resources and very little skill sets and running stuff like Pay Per Click, but making it sound like it’s a lead generation system that they’ve created, that some fancy funnel click words like funnels, landing pages, industry jargon meant to kind of propaganda and overwhelm, and make someone feel like they’re missing out on something.

Funnels is a fancy way of saying proper marketing. Look it up. Look at a picture of it on Google. It’s getting people to find you and then give them some information and then work them with the emails and stuff and talk to them and they become a lead, it’s a funnel, but it sounds like something fancy that you’re missing. It’s not. It’s just proper marking.

So these are all the different things that go on the industry’s when we get someone in here that we work with, we’re very straightforward, transparent, all this shell trick stuff that people try to throw into one mega package and then suck off tons of money on it, we’re way way less expensive. And it’s just part of the whole thing that we do, because if you don’t do all this stuff, it doesn’t work.

The one trick pony doesn’t work. The shell trick stuff. I call it that because they try to divide it all up to make it look like they’re doing more and you end up spending more money and paying for fancy stuff. You know? Account representatives, keep you in line. We have account reps too, but it’s not done from a sales jargon, BS, sort of way.

We’re very respectful to clients and the efforts, the resources are put in to get the client return. So kind of, yeah, this is what I run into on a regular basis. If you’ve heard any of this before or any of it sounds familiar. It’s rampant in this industry for some reason. We’re a great company to work with. We’d love to hear from you someday. We’d love to be your web company. So got any questions, call us and we’ll give you a free site evaluation concerning these questions and tell you how much we charge. We would love to hear from you. Thank you.