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7 Common Marketing Scams and How to Avoid them!

The world we live in is crazy, we are inundated by nonsense, and there are scammers everywhere. They come at us from all angles and sometimes create an absolute nightmare in our lives and our businesses. After hearing and experiencing some of these common marketing scams with our clients and even our own business, we decided to write this in hopes you will avoid being duped by a scammer.

It is crazy to think how much time is spent combing the internet for information to scam people. The scary part is the scams are getting better and better all the time. It isn’t always easy to spot them but there are a few things you can do to protect yourself now.

The marketing industry typically does great work, by amazing talented people, for incredible clients. However, scammers are attracted to the industry due to its technical nature, they use fear tactics and misinformation to trick people. We may not be able to stop that, but we can make sure you know some of the tactics, so you do not fall prey to the scam.

So, lets explore 7 of the most common swindles out there, how to spot and avoid them.

Every business owner has received a call from someone claiming they will get you on page one of google. Search engine optimization, when done properly and ethically, can help your business website get in front of your target audience. Marketing is an art based in science, there are no guarantees, and there are too many variables that can not be controlled. Great marketing is a process of developing a strategy and then tweaking it until it produces the best results. When a company promises incredible results, such as making your website #1 on Google, it is likely a scam. Google uses an algorithm to rank websites, and it changes frequently. Google wants its users to be happy and find what they are looking for so they will come back again. Their algorithm is created so that when a person types something into google they find relevant, reliable, and authoritative information. Google also wants their users to have a good browsing experience on the website(s) it recommended. Keep this in mind when thinking about SEO. There is no tactic or strategy that can “game” google, even trying can get you banned. 

      The page #1 scam is not the only SEO-related scam out there. You will also run into other claims such as:

  • Guaranteed traffic (which is typically fake, a bot, or not targeted).
  • The use of “proprietary” technology that will get you better search engine rankings over the competition.
  • A claim to “know someone” or have a “connection” with Google. This is one of the easiest one to spot but small businesses continually fall victim to it.

     These calls can be very convincing, and SEO is a very confusing and most small business owners haven’t had the              time to do a ton of research on the topic. The biggest red flag is that these are always cold solicitations, typically              through email, but they will call as well. Look for poor grammar and spelling errors, these emails typically come for a        Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, or proton mail account. No mention of the company they work for. Even if a solicitation                  passes those red flags, guaranteed placement or traffic, “proprietary” technology, or claims to have “insider                        information” from Google should immediately signal that it is a scam.


  1. Marketing isn’t cookie cutter, anyone offering you a one size fits all solutions should be avoided. Your business is unique, your customer is unique, your industry is unique, and your community is unique. What works for a restaurant in New York is not going to work the same for a furniture store in Edmonton. Your marketing strategy will need to be customized, after all marketing is about standing out and positioning yourself as an expert in your field and far better than your competitors. Cookie Cutter just won’t cut it. Although these options are low cost, they will produce even lower results.
  1. Getting a DM from someone claiming to grow your Instagram/Facebook followers. They will grow your follower base for a price. You do not buy friends, why would you buy followers. Most of these followers are fake accounts and I would venture to guess, if they are real, they don’t care about your business. The quality of your social media followers is far more important than the quantity. Save the vanity metrics for social media influencers and celebrities.

     Don’t fall prey to vanity metrics, the number of followers you have isn’t the most important thing. The most important       thing is the followers you do have, care about what you are doing and are engaging with your content. Having a large       following with little to no engagement tells social media channels that no one cares about your posts. The algorithm       will react and restrict the amount of your content it will show your audience. Remember social media channels are a         business and they strive to keep their users happy.

  1. This is going to be an unpopular one. According to research conducted by Fake Spot, which is Chrome Extension that checks reviews for fake information on the internet, 30% of all online reviews are fake. While online reviews can increase your conversion rate by 270%, buying them is a terrible idea. In fact, buying google reviews can result in legal action against you, not the person who sold them to you, but you. The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) just announced a multi-million-dollar settlement against a company that paid someone to produce 4- and 5-star reviews to suppress the negative reviews that company was receiving.
  1. High pressure sales tactics – You may receive a call or email telling you that your site is at risk, performing poorly or open to hackers. Anyone using scare tactics to try to sell you something doesn’t have your best interest at heart. If you receive a call like this, and you feel there may be something to what they are saying, say thanks I will talk to my developer. Then if you feel like there may be an issue reach out to a credible agency, most can do a quick audit and let you know if there is a real cause for concern or not. Anyone trying to strong arm you into a contract will not be your best option, it is best to ignore them and find someone that can help you and will have your best interest at heart.         
  2. A common Facebook scam is an official looking account claiming you have breeched a policy. You may get a notification that you are breeching a policy and you need to click a link to confirm, or they will remove your account. Don’t click it. This is a phishing scam, and this is one-way hackers can hijack your Facebook Account. Click the page name, click the three dots that are on their page in the top right and report the page to Meta.
  1. Guarantees – Lets be honest no one can guarantee what is going to happen. We can estimate however, until we are in the trenches doing the work and we can see the changes and A/B test the solutions. There is no guarantee. Just like you cannot guarantee that if you buy 200 widgets you will sell all of them in 24 hours. We can do the work get results, fine tune, get better results, tweak, and get even better results. Marketing is a marathon, what works today may not work tomorrow and what worked yesterday may not work today. Your goal should be consistent growth and increasing results month after month. You want results not wishes and hopes, find a marketing agency that has a plan and consistently shows you results month over month. 

We have covered 7 of the most common scams we are encountering in 2022, this is in no way an exhaustive list. Our best advice, if it feels aggressive, urgent, or just downright weird, it is a scam or an awful company. The easiest to avoid a scam is not engage, if you find yourself in a situation and you just are not sure if it is real or not, shoot us an email we would be more than happy to give you some solid and ethical advice.


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