Don’t get taken advantage of

Read this before you hire any SEO, digital ad agency, or online strategy consultant.

Online strategy consultants know more than you do, at least with regard to online strategy. That’s their job. That why you want to hire them. But that same knowledge can put you, the client, at a severe disadvantage.

Consulting can be a bit like taking your car to the mechanic or dentist. Both are privy to information asymmetry: they know what sort of services we need better than we do. As a result, it’s difficult to objectively evaluate which services we actually need, and we find ourselves at the mercy of the advice of highly informed service providers.

The same problem can be found in consulting. Many times, unscrupulous consultants will recommend that a client pay for practically every service available  in an effort to extract as much revenue as possible (although this is ultimately a terrible, unsustainable, slash-and-burn business model). The client finds themselves in the unenviable position of having to evaluate the necessity of services and strategies they may not fully understand or have the ability to accurately assess.

There are two ways to avoid this situation. First and foremost, educate yourself on the most effective means of promoting your business and your sector online. Unfortunately, most business owners and executives don’t have the time to keep up with every development in the world of online promotion. Search engines like Google are constantly altering their algorithms to include new inputs or rebalancing the value of existing inputs.

Tenuki  educates potential clients on which online promotion strategies are currently the most effective. Make sure that any consultant you hire does the same. Anyone unwilling to help you understand the value of the services they offer should be a red flag.

Second, ask for an upfront evaluation. For example, before Tenuki contracts with any client, we perform a complete evaluation of that client’s existing promotion strategy including on-site SEO, content generation strategy, keyword optimization, and social network presence. After we evaluate a client’s existing strategy, we provide a list of recommended actions categorized as critical, highly recommended, and ideal, along with a full cost estimate. The client then has the option of contracting Tenuki to implement those recommendations, or take that same list of recommendations to any other consulting firm.

If you or your company are considering hiring an online strategy consultant, make sure they perform such an evaluation prior to hiring them. Ethical strategy consultants should have no problem doing so.

Don’t let consultants take advantage of their information asymmetry. Ask for a complete evaluation of your existing strategy before hiring a firm to implement a new strategy. Or contact Tenuki for a free, no-obligation evaluation.

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