Today a chiropractor in my home state forwarded me an email he got from a well-known yellow pages -style site.
The ad rep sent him a proposal – the details of what they wanted to do to get his phone to ring:
There are many options and I believe that getting your [sic] started with one of our online packages that includes a bundle of online solutions would be a [sic] the way to go.
The elements include:
Google + Local. We would assist in claiming your Google places page and populate content and any additional information for you (photos, videos etc)
A local focused click package.
Facebook Page. We would co-manage and update Facebook for you. I [sic] social media expert would contact you once a month for updates.
Reputation Monitoring: One consolidated report of your online reviews.
YEXT power listing: Your business information claimed across 40+ internet sites including Yahoo, Yelp to name a few.
Call Tracking and Reporting
Cost: $225 per month.
I told the good chiropractor that was a bad deal – and that his practice would be getting the assembly-line treatment. If he was picking out a place to dine, it would be the McDonald’s inside Wal-Mart.
Why does that deal suck? Let’s put on our elbow-length gloves and take a real close look:
Ad rep: Google + Local. We would assist in claiming your Google places page and populate content and any additional information for you (photos, videos etc).
Me: That takes 10 minutes. And it’s probably the part you’ve done already. If there’s a part you need help with or advice on, it’s cleaning up duplicate listings in Google – many of which are automatically created by misinformation on online directories, like this one. But your monthly budget won’t get you that.
Ad rep: A local focused click package.
Me: Every business owner I’ve spoken with has said these leads are garbage. But hey, you get your 50 clicks per month (see where it says that in the fine-print contract?).
Ad rep: Facebook Page. We would co-manage and update Facebook for you. A social media expert would contact you once a month for updates.
Me: Their social-media “expert” might just edge out the expert Domino’s hired.
Ad rep: Reputation Monitoring: One consolidated report of your online reviews.
Me: Or you can check the one in your Google Places dashboard.
Ad rep: YEXT power listing: Your business information claimed across 40+ internet sites including Yahoo, Yelp to name a few.
Me: Online directories get a steep discount on Yext, so for them it’s just like throwing another kid onto a school bus. Yext is an OK service – it has its uses – but it’s no substitute for correcting your listings manually (as my buddy Nyagoslav Zhekov has written).
Ad rep: Call Tracking and Reporting.
Me: Because local SEO is just too easy and boring without having to clean up call-tracking numbers in your citations.
Ad rep: Cost: $225 per month.
Me: Your ad rep turned down a job at a gas station – just to help YOU with your online marketing! (And he must be good at it, too, because you’re paying him $225 for probably 30 minutes of his time.)
Notice what’s missing from the offerings: help with your website, helping you put together a strategy for getting more reviews, and personal guidance and attention.
What are your experiences with these sorts of “packages”?
Andrew Shotland says
Well put Phil, but watch out – You’re starting to sound like another cranky local search blogger I know…
You’ll have to narrow it down a little 🙂
Christopher West says
Nicely said Phil. Seen so many of these over the years, but never saw someone break it down so well 🙂
Thanks, Chris. Most of the proposals are too vague even to rip up.
Christopher West says
Very true! Saw one last year for $50 a month in Australia.
Hey, that’s 10 whole Fiverr gigs!
Dan Leibson says
I got a similar, hilariously written email, sent to me personally for help with the local search component of my personal blog. Because everyone knows nothing says personal blog like citations and a Google Places page.
Spray n’ pray…
Great points here, Phil.
Gotta play devils advocate on the call tracking. If they are using tracking numbers on the site only, and they are “called in” in an image via java script so they can prove an uptick in leads from the website, then I’d say it’s fine. I’ve never had a problem with those leaking.
I use CallRail and they actually track callers from 3rd party directories if they click through to the site. Problem (kinda) solved.
But yes, if they are sprinkling call tracking numbers into citations at the root level then it’s a big problem.
True enough, Mike, but I don’t think that’s how the IYPs play it.
I’d never recommend call tracking because even IF you’re doing it all the right ways (ie java script, etc) it’s almost like you’re still not telling the visitor your REAL information. So now they’ve got that number saved in their phone: they see it different somewhere else, the number changes on the website, the company gets credit everytime they call, etc. Just use your real number 100% of the time.
Good call, Dan.
With competition like that we should all have a never-ending stream of fresh newly rectally violated leads…
Josh Melick says
Love it Phil, couldn’t agree more. And I happen to be the one that built the ad system to get the 50 clicks at an (unnamed) IYP company – but left cause it doesn’t work 🙂
Thanks for the first-hand intel, Josh!
Stefano Romero says
This is so true. One of my clients is using that IYP service and I am counting the days until we can get them out of that contract.
That company’s “experts” destroyed the NAP for one of my clients locations by changing all the info via the Yext powerlistings. Imagine how joyful it was to wake up and find this out. I was not totally surprised because you get the sense from day 1 that the people who are supposed to handle your presence are not as informed as they should be nor do they really care about the business being successful online. It felt like they were just there to get a check.
The social media portion is basically a couple of posts a month, that is literally it.
Also, that mandatory 12 month commitment is always a red flag.
Ouch. I know what you mean, Stefano. There’s an inherent conflict of interest for the IYP companies: as long as business owners’ rankings suck, they’re willing to turn over muddy little stones like IYP ads.
10 minutes to claim their G+ Local page? What about the 3 weeks you spend leaving voice mail messages trying to get the verification code, then resubmitting the listing when you found out they thought the postcard was junk mail and threw it away?
Exactly. My point is the IYP companies aren’t with you for the long ride if something’s wrong.