Choosing the right digital marketing company is no different than choosing to hire a particular employee. After all, the hope should be that this will be a long, on-going relationship with your business. You wouldn’t want to start over with a new agency every time you don’t get the results you expected.
Let’s explore five important considerations to keep in mind when searching for a new internet marketing company. This includes understanding your business goals, what campaigns could drive the results you’re looking for, how to find a marketing team that’s compatible with your business, what to expect in communication, and how to keep the new team happy, accountable, and how to measure marketing success.
What makes a company the best at internet marketing, we can’t tell you for sure. There is no specific formula, and it will have a lot to do with the needs of your specific industry.
If you begin with the fundamentals, and use these tips when searching for a new company, you may find yourself with a better understanding of the process and what to expect.
The success of your new marketing strategy begins with understanding the objectives, which specific actions to take, and your goals, like increasing brand awareness. This is essential because if you don’t understand where you want to be, how will you know when you’ve gotten there?
“How do you know how effective your marketing is if you don’t know what you want to accomplish?”
Specific- Goals must be clear.
Measurable- Goals must be measurable.
Achievable- Goals must have realistic expectations.
Relevant- Goals must be in line with the company’s overall vision.
Time-Bound- Goals must have a fixed time, from start to end.
Now that we understand why it is crucial to start with a strong goal, we need to know how to set these SMART goals be help our marketing efforts become a success. The first step is determining where you are starting at. This will help you measure and compare successes or failures down the road.
What are the problems you are facing? Start by identifying your biggest under performer and prioritize what needs to be done first to yield higher results. Now how will you solve these issues? Are you facing a strict deadline or budget, have you determined your key performance indicators (KPI), what tools are you missing that could help your overall success?
The more you review and refine the goals you have for the project, the more opportunities you might uncover. There are certainly ways to over-analyze. Recognize when the time has come for you to jump right in and start working towards your goals! Success often comes from trying and trying again.
There are many different ways to get results. It’s important to understand your option before settling for a particular strategy. Think of a road trip to Los Angeles- there are different routes that take you the the same destination, but only one route that gets you there more efficiently.
Now that you have a better understanding of your goals and strategies, ask yourself if these are short-term or long-term goals. If your goal is increasing website traffic by 10% in two months, an SEO campaign is a long-term goal and will not produce the results you were hoping for.
But the other routes available could be an email marketing campaign, or a paid advertisement campaign (PPC), these options could not only give you the results you’re looking for, but also within the right time frame.
If you are a small business owner offering services, it’s likely that consumers are searching on the web for research and reviews before choosing a particular company. It’s important to capture the audience’s attention and entice them to learn more. Become the expert and offer your knowledge with content and resources that contribute to these online conversations where searchers are looking for more information.
These customers looking for additional reviews and compiling more research are at the top of the funnel. To keep your brand at the top of their mind while they decide where to purchase, consider these approaches:
With outbound marketing efforts, you have moved on from the stages of building awareness and demonstrating your knowledge in the industry to focusing on the transaction and driving the most traffic to convert to customers. This is different because your messaging will be geared more towards pricing and time sensitive discounts you offer.
The goal in outbound marketing efforts is to get your service/product or brand in front of as many potential customers as possible. The goal is to send qualified traffic so conversion of people who visit the website versus people who purchase is higher. Online marketing efforts that help these outbound strategies include:
You wouldn’t trust the dog groomer to cut your hair, right? The same concept can be applied to your business. Most companies have a particular specialized service they’ve grown masters of. If you are searching for a company to manage paid ads, you wouldn’t want to choose a company that advertises in print.
Aside from specific services, what about the personality of the business. Do they align with your office personalities? You may have never met the company in person, but you can gain some additional insight by looking into the messages you’ve received more closely. Your office may be fun and free-spirited, but the company you are looking into is very professional and prestigious. While they may provide great results, you may find that you clash when talking about potential ideas or during campaign reviews.
Signing a contract with a new marketing company, one you may have never met in person, is quite the leap of faith. Many business owners don’t realize how important this relationship is to the business and the goals you’ve created for growth.
If you’re considering an SEO company, try finding them on with an organic search. You can assume that they have a working knowledge of SEO by how well ranked their website is. What about other marketing efforts? Could they show you examples of other clients and the work they have done for them?
Another important factor in making sure the potential company is focused on you, and not just gaining your wallet, is to ensure they understand your business goals. They should offer solutions and services that are directly related to your business, not cookie-cutter plans for all.
Communication is a monumental hurdle many people face day to day, not just in business. But how often do we specify the exact expectations we have for communication? Are you looking for a daily recap on the services that have been provided? Maybe you’re frustrated that your former company continued to send email updates when you’d prefer a phone call?
Both parties in the relationship need to be clear in the level of communication they can expect. Don’t feel awkward asking a company for their habits in terms of communication. It can often be a simple conversation, that has a huge outcome on the success of your relationship. If you are seeking a particular communication routine, ask how they can accomplish that for you.
What many business owners don’t know is how they may be hurting the campaign. If your SEO company is dedicating 20 hours/month to your campaign, that time is spread out for reporting, project management tasks like delegating and assigning projects, and activities to produce results. If you are constantly calling for updates you may have just cut valuable time from your campaign.
As the business owner, you are in the field and working with the customers and day-to-day operations. When you have one of those ah-ha moments, you want to be able to share those with your potential marketing team. To share your ideas, without disregarding any previous efforts, here are some ways to communicate with your marketing team.
When you are ready to share a new idea it’s helpful to talk through and organize the details beforehand. This will help you to explain the idea and clarify your vision. Visuals are also extremely helpful. If a client presents an idea with visual examples, there is a stronger understanding of what the expectations are, and how the idea could be executed.
Help your agency help you. If they are requesting additional feedback about an idea you presented, or ideas they have for you, a fast response time is extremely helpful. When both the clients and marketing teams partner together, it makes for a wonderful working relationship.
It is typical within the industry to see a report each month outlining the wins and losses for the month and the game plan for the following month. There are many variables that cause fluctuation week to week so frequent reporting could be a big waste of time. Each campaign strategy varies of course so this is not the end all be all for measuring your campaign.
When you are at the initial stages of speaking to an internet marketing company and hearing them out about the strategies they would take, ask them how they measure and track success to report back to you.
This is helpful for the business owners because they will have given an answer that you can use to help them stay accountable. If the initial meeting before signing up for services stated that you will receive a monthly report outlining X and Y details, hold the company accountable. But also remember this works both ways, and requesting extra data or reports could mean time taken away from other important campaign tasks.
Over the years, with thanks to the Internet, people are finding businesses and services much differently than before. There is no one size fits all marketing strategy that will bring you exactly what you’re looking for. With many different tactics involved, how do you know if your marketing agency is getting results?
Ask customers how they found your business online. This information can be really telling about which strategies are working better than others. Customers are usually willing to give this information, but incentives to tell their family/friends could be another tactic in getting this info.
As you consider hiring a digital marketing company, think about the reports or measurements you can track. The performance data and reports may be a bit technical for you but setting something personal to you, like accountability on sending updates and reports, is a good way to manage their performance. If you set a personal goal to manage performance, consider letting them know early on so they can pass the test and maintain accountability on this task.
Not only should your digital marketing company be highlighting the successes and failures of your campaign, but they should also be uncovering new ideas that will further your business or campaign growth.
We hope you’ve caught on to the overall theme here- expectations. It essentially boils down to what you are seeking and the expectations you have on the communication, reporting and all other aspects.
We see this in SEO many times. A client created a website that they thought would bring them more business, but without a clear focus the website does not convey its purpose to search engines.
Get focused. Take a step back to understand what you’re seeking before you start the hunt.
Once you have a clear understanding of what the business goals and growth you are looking for, now it’s time to collect some data. Many digital marketing companies offer an evaluation and discuss what strategies they would take to get you to this growth.
By reaching out to your top potential marketing companies, you can see more about the communication styles in their response, what you can expect from the services they are proposing, what common strategies the companies proposed, and more.
If you’re ready to start generating more business click now to request a free, no obligation marketing evaluation from LocalWork Marketing.