This is Part Four of a new educational series called: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing an Internet Marketing Company. [Interested in reading Part One, Two, or Three?]
In Part One, we discussed the importance of goal setting.
Part Three went on to illustrate why effective Internet marketing companies should be their own best case study.
Next, we’ll discuss a topic that’s important to you…
Evidence and proof of an Internet marketing company’s prowess
1. Case studies
To assess the skills and expertise of an agency, begin by asking for case studies.
Keep in mind, that case studies aren’t just meant to exhibit the agency’s experience in a particular industry, but should also demonstrate their overall ability to deliver results and ROI.
Basically, you’re looking to have two key questions answered: “have they done this before?”, and if yes, “can they replicate that success for me?”
Some companies do have Non-Disclosure Agreements in place with the Internet marketing company they’re working with, which makes it difficult for an agency to share all of its client work. However, an experienced firm should have at least one case study with key testimonials it can show.
Make sure you also consider the Four Core Services of Internet marketing when looking at these case studies and testimonials.
Do these case studies provide adequate proof that the agency was able to have a direct impact on increasing a client’s Web site traffic, leads and (in some cases) customers? Make sure the accomplishments that they’re highlighting match up nicely with your goals.
With case studies in hand, next ask the prospective Internet marketing company for references and award them bonus points if the clients they refer to you is still actively working with them. Retainer work means that the agency is delivering tremendous value and ongoing results.
3. The Team
Next, it’s time to assess the people in the room. In any of the meetings with a prospective agency, stress the importance of meeting with the key people on the team you’ll be working with (i.e., management, account supervisor, etc.) to determine if you’ll have the chemistry to make this long-term partnership work though good times and bad.
Interviewing the principals of the Internet marketing company you’re considering can help you decide which firm is the best choice for your company. In addition to discussing the technical aspects of their services, ask how to get in touch with someone if you need help and how long it will take to see preliminary results from their services. The more information you discover with these meetings the better.
Having said this…
Realize that it does take time for Internet marketing to be effective. Success doesn’t come overnight. Therefore, avoid marketing companies that make overly ambitious promises (also, when it comes to Internet marketing, do they walk the talk?).
For example, if an agency claims to get you a number one position on Google in the first month or without doing a thorough keyword and competitors’ analysis, their very likely making a false promise (aka. run the other way).
The key take away here is that to be success with Internet marketing, activities must be performed on a regular basis. It’s not something you just set-and-forget.
3. Accolades from unbiased and well-respected organizations (bonus points)
Finally, in addition to looking at case studies, speaking to references, and getting to know the team you’ll be working with, it’s also a bonus if some of the most reputable companies in the Internet marketing space give the agency you’re thinking of working with a “thumbs up.”
Stay tuned for part five…
Photo credit: gandersessen1