To give your business a solid online presence, you need the help of an online marketing agency. Research shows that in 91% of small businesses, the CEO also serves as the primary marketer. Playing double roles doesn’t come as a surprise as 96% of these businesses have a staff of five or fewer.
Unfortunately, business owners and managers like you simply do not have enough time to dabble and experiment online. The core business – be it a bakery, carwash, dental clinic, or restaurant – needs you. You need to be running operations. Trying to learn the technical aspects of online marketing and sacrificing time for the business is not worth it.
So why burden yourself when you can leave the technical stuff to an agency, right? Correct! But now, here’s the challenge: how do you choose the right provider for your business? Here’s some helpful advice.
But First, Be Wary of Unrealistic Promises
Internet marketing consultants or companies typically make the same promise to business owners: more traffic, leads, and sales online. What business owner wouldn’t want those results, right? But the question is, can they really deliver? Are they telling the truth, or merely making promises to peddle their services? Just remember, if the promises are too good to be true, they probably are.
It’s easy to plunge into this pitfall as many businesses are in dire need of services, and are assigning these needs to providers. For instance, one research found that 63% of marketers will spend more on content creation this year. That’s how bad they need new content. Meanwhile, 50% will spend more on search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing efforts delegated to agencies.
But while you may badly need these services, remember that falling for “we’ll give you the moon and the stars” type of promises is the biggest pitfall small business owners make when hiring an Internet marketing agency. Be careful when choosing your online marketing provider. After all, that company will represent your business online. If they create a faulty and spammy website, publish irresponsible Facebook status posts, or write articles with terrible grammar, it’s your business that will bear the brunt.
So how do you choose the right online marketing service provider for your business? Here are two qualities you need to look for.
Expertise: Testing and Experience Combined
Unlike major corporations, small and medium-sized businesses have small and medium-sized marketing coffers, too. As an owner, you want to ensure that you will get your money’s worth when entrusting online marketing activities to an agency. And to ensure you get a return on investment, one of the things you should search for in an agency is expertise.
“Expert” level Internet marketing agencies typically possess these characteristics:
- Carry out research and development
- Conduct testing
- Continuously improve services
- Frontliner in the industry
- Have sufficient experience
Agencies that are experts in what they do are always on the lookout for new techniques and strategies to help promote your business online. They do not merely rely on previous experiences. They keep on improving services by combining experience and results of new tests they conduct. They stay sharp through research.
That is why they understand what Google Panda and Penguin updates are, what the Hummingbird algorithm is, and what all of these terms mean to your SEO strategy. They understand how to maximize online maps, local directory listings, check-in sites, and review sites to boost your local online presence. They know that sharing content via social media is better than building cheap links and spamming. If a provider is a front liner in the industry, and has sufficient experience, there’s a good chance it can also handle and steer your business to online marketing success.
Passion: How Bad They Want You to Succeed
Passion, they say, is a subjective quality that you cannot measure. But if you ask any entrepreneur, they’ll say that passion is a crucial factor in the success of any venture. And for an online marketing agency to be able to help your business succeed online, they must be passionate in helping you achieve your marketing goals. How can you tell if they have this passion? Ask yourself these three questions:
- Does this agency listen to my needs?
- Do they provide In-depth consultation based on these needs?
- Do they align their services toward my marketing goals?
If you answered yes to all these questions, and you’ve determined their expertise based on the characteristics we mentioned earlier, then you might just be looking at the online marketing agency you’re looking for. The important thing to remember here is that passionate agencies do not simply offer specific packages without first listening to you and analyzing your business. No one knows your business better than you do!
That’s why it’s important that the agency takes the time to listen to you and give you an in-depth consultation based on your needs. Knowing your marketing goals and business needs is always the first step to achieving online success. It’s also a very good indicator of the agency’s expertise and passion in helping your business make the most out of SEO, Local Marketing, Google, Social Media, Facebook, Responsive Web Design and online marketing in general.
We’re not shy to say we’re experts at what we do and we’re passionate in helping businesses succeed online. Send us a message now at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 805-674-4797 to find out how we can help you meet your business goals through online marketing today.