Business owners nowadays understand the importance of working with an online marketing consultant or agency. Owners won’t need to learn the technical aspects of search engine optimization (SEO), social media, web design, and other Internet marketing-related services. They can focus on the core business by employing the help of agencies. Now, the only problem is finding the right agency. But unfortunately, many business owners struggle in this aspect.
That’s why we came up with an infographic checklist that you can use to score and evaluate the agencies or consultants you are considering working with. Simply give your prospect agency partner one point for every question you answer with a “yes.” The more points, the better.
Effective Marketing Agencies Give Value First
If we had to sum up the qualities of an effective online marketing agency, they would be: give value, use up-to-date techniques, offer a complete and ethical set of services and run integrated efforts. Let’s look at value first. How do they provide value?
Getting access to a handful of initial analysis reports will give you a good overview of where your business currently stands online. Online marketing agencies that really care about your success provide these reports and really dive into the details to help you move forward with the right decision going into an online marketing campaign with them. Don’t be surprised too if they stop you from ordering a lucrative SEO package and instead recommend a website audit. It means they want to start things right. They provide value by preventing possible losses due to problems with your website.
Getting access to a reporting dashboard is also valuable to business owners. Marketers, entrepreneurs, and CEOs want to stay in the loop on campaigns being run by their partner agency. Getting access to a dashboard instead of disparate and numerous spreadsheets is a more convenient way of digesting updates.
Up-to-Date Services: Look for the 2R’s
Nowadays, there are two ‘R’s that indicate whether a marketing agency is using updated techniques; the two ‘R’s stand for “Responsive” and “Remarketing”. A responsive web design built means that your website automatically responds or adjusts depending on the device being used to access it. Your responsive website won’t encounter compatibility problems with users who are browsing on smartphones and tablets. This is crucial as mobile Internet users are expected to outnumber desktop users in 2014.
The other R that you need to look for from your agency is remarketing (PPC). Also known as retargeting, it’s a new form of PPC or pay per click advertising that allows you to display ads to users who have already visited your website. You get another chance at obtaining a lead or making a sale by driving visitors back to your website. Similar to PPC, you only pay when your advertisements are clicked. This means you get to expose your business to a wider audience in a cost-effective way.
Genuine Review Publication: Be Safe Than Sorry
Online reputation management (ORM) is a service that’s gaining popularity among business owners. You need to manage your reputation on the Internet as 80% of consumers can quickly change their mind about your business if they see negative reviews about you. Your online marketing agency is great if they run ORM and can fuse SEO efforts with it. This is a powerful combination.
Just be wary of companies that promise to “produce” or “fabricate” reviews about your business. Take note that the New York state Office of the Attorney General is cracking down on fake consumer reviews, as well as agencies that provide this kind of service. To be safe, stay with what is up to date and ethical – publication of genuine consumer reviews. Your online marketing candidate partner deserves a praise if they only work with genuine reviews and know exactly where to publish them online.
It can be a pain to work with multiple Internet marketing agencies at the same time. You’ve experienced this with contractors, right? You don’t need to spend more time coordinating with many consultants and less time managing your core business. That’s why you want your consultant or agency to have the capability to provide a complete, or at least, a wide array of services. One of the crucial services you might not find in smaller agencies is full content creation.
Now, many agencies provide “content creation.” But in most cases, “content” only represents articles for submission sites. Ask your agency candidate if they can help you with press releases, blog posts, and social media updates, too. It’s a plus if they can create infographics and videos.
Getting content from the same company means you won’t have to negotiate with multiple contractors or freelancers; this is going to be more convenient on your part. This also means the content they will create for is aligned with the services (e.g. SEO, social media) that you are also availing from the agency.
Run Integrated Efforts: Fuse Social with SEO
Finally, what really separates effective online marketing agencies from the rest is their ability to fuse together various services. One good example is the integration of social media with SEO efforts. This is because search engines also use “social signals” as a ranking factor. Fusing social media with SEO means they are using Facebook, Google+, Twitter, YouTube, and other networks to drive traffic to your website and increase your search rankings. In particular, Google+ can be used to boost your rankings, as well as your “authority” online.
Another example of integrated service is Local Search. Local Search uses a combination of social media efforts and content creation to bring local attention to your business. This local online presence optimization technique maximizes maps, local directories, check-in or geo-social sites, and reviews to increase the number of web properties that your business will appear in. This means you can dominate local searches not just through your web pages, but also through other external pages that contain your NAP or business name, address, phone number. It’s a holistic approach for local businesses that want to crush their competition online.
Getting to Know You via In-Depth Consultation
Finally, your online marketing agency should provide you with in-depth consultation. This is a time for the agency to get to know your business, your marketing goals, and your target market. As for your part, use the consultation to get a “feel” of the agency and whether you think they are indeed the right partner to accomplish your online marketing initiatives.
Agencies also need this time to analyze your current standing online so they can propose which service you need the most. For example, while you asked for SEO and social media optimization, the agency might propose to build for you a responsive website first to maximize SEO and social media optimization efforts going forward.
We believe we are the perfect online marketing agency partner for your business. We offer up-to-date, complete, and integrated online marketing solutions that give value to our clients. Contact us today to see how we can help your business succeed. Call us now or send us a message so we can schedule your free in-depth consultation.