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5 Points to Consider When Hiring an Internet Marketing Company

Braxton Tulin - Monday, January 28, 2013

There comes a time in every website's life when you as the owner of the site need to get out and choose to market the website that you have so painstakingly worked with to create. After a while, research will point you towards SEO and internet marketing, which is exactly what you need.

Unless your core business does pertain to Internet marketing, it is advisable that you should seek advice from a professional service firm to assist you in bringing traffic to your site. This article will talk about 5 top points to look out for when trying to shortlist an Internet marketing services provider.

1. References count so ask around

The core of online marketing is a crisp, clear scientific path that requires creative intelligence to achieve optimum results. However, since the Internet marketing industry has a low barrier of entry, in the past few years it has become a source of income for individuals that should not be involved with Internet marketing at all.

One way to find out about your marketing provider is ask around for references from people who are already happy with his/her services, terms and, prices. This may sound like a generic advice but it really works well in this case since there are so many vendors to choose from when it comes to Internet marketing.

2. Do your homework

The Internet is an excellent resource so do your homework before you start talking to a service provider. Internet marketing is full of acronyms and jargon such as SEO, SEM, PPC, CPM, SMM and so on so it is better to go into your meeting a bit prepared. However, don't obsess about it and don't get yourself confused by everything you read!

For understanding basics of SEO search for Rand Fishkin

For an overview of Google SEO check list search for the Google Guideline

For more advanced topics on professional SEO look for information from Todd Malicoat, Search Engine Watch or SEO Chat

For understanding how search engines share information visit Bruce Clay

Nowadays there are tons of free information regarding search engine marketing on many credible websites. Understanding the basic terminology of most popular channels of marketing will also help you to review the related cost, benefit and, commitment period required for each channel.

3. Walk the talk

Ensure that your provider has his/her own site optimized properly since this is what they supposedly to do! How good is the Internet marketing provider's own online marketing? Does the company practice what they preach? Do they have live client references (it is different from stating large brand names that they could have done a small project 5 years ago) and does the person really talk about the technologies and processes behind the work or is just pitching you to sign the bottom line!

You may come across individuals in marketing that do not want to have higher cost of having their own website but can produce great result with reasonable costs as well. You can find out the capabilities of your marketers by asking them fundamental questions regarding the details of the plan they are implementing for your business.

4. Check for some of the must-haves in the internet marketing proposal

Include the number of keywords the plan is for, the content that the vendor will generate (and get the same approved by you), the deliverables i.e what are the results he hopes to deliver to you and the duration that the proposal is for. Look for areas that are undefined as that are usually where the hidden costs will lie.

One good way to understand the service provider's capabilities is to ask him or her to walk you through a regular report that he generates for clients. That helps in understanding his depth of knowledge, experience as well what you are going to get.

I often come across marketing companies that provide your with an estimate price (usually less than $600.00 per month) that you need to spend on your site for a period of six months in order to be "on the first page of Google"! this maybe true if you are selling FREE advice on your blog rather than a commercial product in your E-commerce site! When they are asked how are you planning to get my site ranking on first page? the answer usually is that this is trade secret and I cannot explain it to you!!!

Well, the truth is there is absolutely NO trade secret in online marketing. unless illegal methods applied, so if your provider cannot explain to you all the detail of his/her roadmap on the white board or presentation, most likely he does not know how to do it.

5. Commitment

Ask if the service provider is willing to commit to a deliverable result to you? A good service provider will usually commits something like search listing, or the number of leads you will generate or the amount of traffic that they will drive.

However, if you are just getting started, these numbers may not be possible for the service provider to commit on. In that case, you can get him/her to commit on the time spent on your project, reports and frequency of the same so that you get the effort you are paying for.

Also make sure you can commit to a good plan of action for a longer period of time (at least one year) and have the budget to support the activities of your online marketing provider.

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