By Angela Benson
Online marketing companies are distinguished by price, media relationships and their in-house engineering and software resources. What small business owners may not consider when looking for a marketing firm are the results and online marketing strategies that the firms use.
Money Paid Doesn’t Equal Online Marketing Success
For example, some online marketing companies combine SEO, pay-per-click ads, social media marketing and link building to help rank websites and get small businesses in front of prospects. Others use bots to generate website traffic. You don’t want this, unless your ego demands to see numbers-numbers-numbers (even if the numbers don’t matter and never lead to a single sale).
Even if they charge a fortune, working with online marketing companies doesn’t always equal more leads, website traffic and sales. I learned this the hard way, and this, despite the fact that I’d done my homework, researching SEO and online marketing and learning what works and what doesn’t. I don’t want to see you have the same “money paid / success didn’t come” experiences that I did.
So, before you sign a contract with an online marketing agency, ask a representative these 10 questions:
- Tell me about 10 clients who your online marketing agency took from less than $100 sales a month to $1,000 or more sales a month.
- What are the top three niche markets that you see best results in?
- How many times have you marketed websites for a client like me? (Just because an online marketing agency got winning results marketing automobiles doesn’t meant that the agency can help you attract thousands of book readers/buyers.)
- If you do link building, how many of the sites that you will link my website to rank in the top 100?
- What types of inbound online marketing strategies do you use?
- Why did you start your online marketing firm?
- Share five sites that you use to publish guest posts at. (Marketing agency reps may not share the sites’ URL, but they could give you some background on the sites, including topics/themes covered at the sites, how long they have been working with the sites’ owners and if the sites are trusted leaders in their market.)
- How will I receive weekly results reports and what’s included in the reports?
- Who should I contact if I have questions about my particular online marketing plan? (Get an email address and telephone number.)
- How many links, blog and guest posts, paid ads and social media posts will you complete for my small business each week for me with my marketing plan?
Also ask online marketing companies to outline their different plans by price. Before going with a higher priced plan, consider trying out the basic plan. If results with the base plan are good, you might consider a higher priced plan. But, again, test the results. Pay attention and learn, so that you can complete more online marketing strategies on your own.