BeLocal Has Closed: The Pitfalls Of Large Digital Marketing Agencies

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It’s true. BeLocal, one of the big digital marketing agencies in Australia has closed down leaving thousands of small business owners scrambling to get control of their websites and other digital assets before it’s too late.

BeLocal logo

The recent closure of BeLocal should serve as a warning to all business owners that good quality digital marketing does not come cheap, and cheap digital marketing almost always isn’t good.

For me when I visit clients who tell me they’re paying under $900 per month for Search Engine Optimisation alarm bells instantly start ringing in my head.

No legitimate digital marketing business with at least 1 full-time worker can survive if they’re offering SEO for such a low price.

Digital marketing in general (but in particular SEO) are highly specialised activities, and doing good quality work which actually gets results takes time.

This therefore leaves 2 possibilities.

  1. The agency is taking the money from the client and sending the work offshore which almost certainly means the client is getting poor results.
  2. The agency is taking the money and doing no work at all.

In either scenario the agency is just trying not to lose money so they have to spend the least amount of funds possible on manpower to actually execute the work for the client.

I don’t know the specifics around why BeLocal has closed down, but when your pricing is that cheap, it’s almost certainly part of the problem.

Why very large agencies often fail

This situation illustrates very clearly the fundamental problem with very large agencies.

And when I say “very large” I’m referring to agencies where each marketing professional employed is responsible for more than about 15 clients each.

There simply is not enough time in a day available to do proper, good quality work that gets results.

“If the agency is in control of your website assets then it can cause catastrophic problems for your business if they go offline.”

When marketers are trying to execute on more than 15 clients per week, the focus inevitably remains stuck on the highest paying clients who are worth thousands of dollars each month to the agency.

The agency MUST get strong results for those big clients otherwise heads will roll if they decide not to renew their marketing contract with the agency.

It’s the little guys that suffer

The rest of the clients who are paying only a few hundred dollars per month will be lucky to get any attention at all, and will typically only get looked at when they call up to complain that they’re not happy with their results.

There are a huge number of businesses with small marketing budgets which sadly makes them a very attractive target for very large agencies.

Particularly when they have an army of salespeople to pay commissions to.

There's always someone who will do it cheaper.

The sad reality is that it’s the little guys who suffer who just wanted to get good quality digital marketing for a cheap price, which as any sensible business owner knows is not possible.

You can pay for cheap work, you can pay for quality work, but you can’t have both.

What’s happening to clients now that BeLocal closed down?

When the Titanic sank below the waves, many people who were close to the ship were sucked down with it, and in many ways that’s what can happen when an agency like BeLocal closes down.

The Titanic breaking in half

If the agency is in control of your website assets (your domain name, hosting, or email) then it can cause catastrophic problems for your business if they go offline at some point.

If your website goes offline because the hosting servers or DNS controls are shut down, then nobody is going to be visiting you online.

Likewise it won’t take long for search engines like Google to realise that your site is dead and your organic rankings will rapidly drop.

And even if the majority of your work is from existing customers, your entire email system is at risk if it’s running on the same infrastructure as your website. When that goes down, even your existing repeat customers will have a hard time contacting you.

BeLocal closing leaves clients running for cover

We’ve already started getting phone calls from businesses who are scrambling to migrate their assets away from BeLocal before all of their digital assets are gone for good.

If you need help with that and also want to ensure that your marketing agency is actually doing good quality work, feel free to give us a call.

About the author...
Stuart Brown
Stuart Brown
Stuart is the co-founder of Launch Experts. With 20 years of experience in the marketing industry, his primary focus is to break away from the traditional marketing agency model, ensuring clients get a positive return on investment from their marketing campaigns.