Internet marketing works. That’s why so many Fortune 500 companies are dumping money into digital marketing campaigns.
The average firm devoted 29 percent of its marketing budget to internet marketing in 2014, according to Web Strategies lead marketer Neal Lappe. By 2019, 35 percent of all marketing efforts will be internet based.
The message written in the numbers is clear. If you want your business to grow, you need to put together an effective online game plan. The problem is that talented internet marketers are hard to find.
Traditional marketing teams aren’t always equipped to handle internet campaigns. Real-world marketing strategies simply don’t translate well online. Digital marketing issues require a specialized set of unique skills.
If you’ve already tried and failed to promote your business online using old-school techniques, you’ve probably already learned this lesson the hard way.
If your in-house marketing team is great at traditional marketing but lacks e-commerce know-how, one thing you can do is outsource your internet marketing efforts.
But if you aren’t familiar with internet marketing techniques, how do you know which questions to ask when interviewing a potential partner?
There isn’t one answer to this question. You should avoid an agency that provides you with a flat rate before they research your needs. A set rate suggests they use the same tactics for your website as they do for everyone else’s.
This means your chances of success are a lot lower. As a general rule, you shouldn’t use cheap SEO services. We define cheap as anything less than $500 a month. Think about it – how many hours of work will you get for $100? How will that compare to a competitor paying $1,000?
Some other factors that should be considered when calculating costs include:
• Competition Level based on Industry
• Markets Targeted (locally, nationally, etc.)
• Unique Content Creation Amount
If your prospective SEO offers an answer to this question that seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Unless you’ve got the money to fund a PPC campaign, you won’t see any instant improvements in traffic or sales.
Search engines are suspicious of newcomers. It takes some time for them to get to know your business. To get to the top of the most popular search results pages you need great a reputation, lots of useful content and a strong online following.
Google only refreshes its algorithms a few times a year. That means that even if you’ve made all the necessary changes, you’ll have to live with any search penalties you’ve received until the next refresh.
If your prospective SEO partner promises you instant penalty recovery, watch out. Effective white hat SEO requires hard work and patience.
To respect the privacy of their clients, an agency will not disclose the businesses they work with. They might be able to show you images of rankings with the important information blacked out.
Knowing that an agency has clients in your industry suggests they’re experienced with the needs of your business. Also, if the agency has clients from around the world it could mean they have a significant client base.
Your agency should be able to prove their work is improving your rankings, traffic, and leads. This requires your input and will help you determine the value of their service. They should provide you with the metrics of your website before they begin their work. You should also expect regular updates so you know your website is moving in the right direction.
Your website’s link profile is an important ranking factor for major search engines. This part of the campaign is important and therefore requires special attention. If the SEO agency you contact isn’t clear about their process, you should avoid using them.
You should also steer clear of agencies that refuse to provide monthly link reports. They need to be transparent in the work they do for you and if they deny you reports you should avoid them.
A good SEO agency should be able to show you who your online competitors are within 48 hours. They use information such as your niche and products or services to learn about your obstacles. They should identify them and provide you with a breakdown of what you need to do to overcome your competition.
For more about effective SEO strategies for small business that yield real results please contact Above the Fold Media today by calling 416-477-1862 or following us on Twitter and Facebook.
David Sahly has spent his entire career working with organizations of all sizes to come up with practical digital media strategies that work. Before founding Above the Fold Media, he worked at Search Engine People as the Senior Manager of Business Development. He has his hands in every part of the marketing development strategy and is passionate about watching businesses thrive.