Marketing comes with its challenges, especially if you’re a brand new company.  You’re meeting with prospective clients and they all want to speak with past clients as a reference–but you have none because you’re a start-up.  This is gut check time.  Do you take shortcuts to establish credibility for your business, or do you use your imagination and get creative? 

We see people in our industry playing games all the time to establish credibility. Here are just a few things to watch for if you’re hiring an internet marketing company:

Google Partnergoogle-partner
We love seeing the Google Partner logo on internet marketing and web design company websites, yet for some reason you can’t click on the logo and go view their profile on the Google Partner site??  Upon further inspection by going to the Google Partner directory and searching for them, they have no profile!  Wow.

As Seen On
We also love seeing “Featured on Inc 500” or some other impressive website.  Oddly however they don’t provide a link to that story..  You would think if they were actually featured on an impressive website they would have written a blog post about it, took some screenshots, did a press release?   Then you go to that website and search for the story they did on that company and there are no results?!  How interesting…  and for some reason they don’t have any blog posts or press releases on their website touting the fact they were featured on such a prestigious website.  Wouldn’t you at least write a blog post about it if you were featured on a high profile industry website?

We Did Work for ‘X’ Mega-Corporation!
This is a squishy one.  Some major corporations (including Disney) advertise for freelancers to work on specialty projects for them and offer very little (or no) monetary compensation.  As compensation they may provide the rights to promote the fact you did work for them.   So technically, yes they did work for that large brand, but when you know the whole backstory it isn’t quite as impressive.  So when you see someone promote they did work for ‘X’ Mega-Corporation, ask yourself this simple question:  If they are doing work for big corporations like this, why would they want to work with me? 

Have you seen competitors in your industry make claims you know are false (or don’t pass the smell test?)  Chances are you can probably sniff out a competitor in your industry being less than honest pretty easily because you know your industry inside and out.  By educating your clients on potential pitfalls for consumers seeking products or services in your industry you help generate goodwill for your company.  Blogging and social media are great mediums to do this type of education with consumers.  So go forth and edumacate!

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