Searching the Internet Horizon for a Marketing Company
Are you just beginning to establish your company’s online presence? Or are you trying to expand the cyber reach of your current website? If you have been focused on your business itself, you are probably not an expert on the challenges of online marketing. For that you need to turn to the experts, an online marketing company. But in the wide internet horizon, how are you going to find the company that is the best for your needs?
There are, without a doubt a lot of marketing companies out there who are eager to give you service. But there are many factors that make such a company the best one for you. It’s going to take a bit of searching on your part to find that special treasure: a marketing company that “gets” what you are all about and can put your website in front of the customers who are looking for your products and services.
It can be easy to fall into the trap of just going with the first “likely” company you run across. But that’s not going to get you the best results in the long run. Don’t treat this process as an inconvenience. You could easily jump off your search ship and find that you’ve landed on a deserted island. You’ve found some solid ground in the cyber-sea, sure, but there’s nothing there for you, nothing you need. There’s a deeper secret about this treasure hunt you’re beginning as you look for the right marketing team. And that is that the treasure isn’t just getting the right marketing company, it is also reaching more customers. You want the business you have built to become an overflowing treasure chest.
I suppose you are going to ask what can an online marketing company do for you? Especially since you are going to have to pay for the services. The most important thing to understand about marketing companies is that their job, their daily objective, is to help you get more customers by raising your presence on the internet. That means making sure your company will show on the first page of the search results when a potential customer is looking for your products or services.
Checking for Ideal Marketing Landmarks
What then are the key things you need to look for in your treasure of a marketing company? There are some standard aspects of online marketing that such companies ought to cover. Andrew Witty, as a guest writer for Entrepreneur.com, wrote a helpful article about what he calls the “seven pillars” of making yourself a known entity in your industry. To cover his points quickly, those seven pillars are:
- (1) Branding – Make sure your company has a distinct brand presence.
- (2) Content Marketing – Presenting information written specifically for your target customers.
- (3) Referral Marketing – Getting your satisfied customers to refer other customers to your company.
- (4) Lead Generation – Being seen as an authority in your specialty, which can open more doors for you.
- (5) PR and Marketing – Making your presence known locally, engaging with the community.
- (6) Speaking – Reinforcing your image as an authority
- (7) Events – Creating special events for your loyal customers, events that can attract others.
All that may sound like a lot when you are just beginning your search for a great online marketing company. But you can pull in your fishing nets and get rid of the junk fish by reading online reviews of the marketing companies. Most of the time you are not choosing a marketing company for a one-shot set up, but rather for an ongoing building of your presence online, but some agencies are willing to accomodate piecemeal work. So you need to plan your route to your goal of increased business traffic.
What you need is a map of the territory of your business. By that I mean something more than just the physical area you cover with your services (although that is very important too!). No, you need to draw out what information you need to convey to possible customers, what sorts of things you want featured in your marketing. What you are doing is drawing two maps: the first map covers the landmarks of Witty’s seven pillars, those things that will make your business an attractive treasure for yourself and your customers; the second map is of those special points you will need your marketing company to be able to address. You are going to use that second map to help select the ideal online marketing company for your needs.
You need to be clear about what you want and what the marketing company is able to perform. This means you do have to get into more detail about what the prospective marketing companies have done and can do. Go back to those reviews you found about the prospective companies you are considering. Take note of the qualities past customers praise, as well as any negatives that get mentioned. Don’t let the negatives totally over-rule the prospect: you don’t know (yet) what might lie behind them. But pay attention to what the complaint is about. Because once you’ve got your needs mapped out, you’re going to start asking questions about the company.
Digging into the Services and Skills of Prospective Marketing Companies
This may sound like a lot of effort, But the right choice will pay off. Conversely, if you choose the wrong company, you will waste precious time and money. Moreover, you will fall even farther behind your competition. You shouldn’t treat it lightly. Don’t settle for the first company that looks “okay.” You want better than just “okay.” So, doing some digging is going to be necessary.
Since you’ve done some preliminary research on your best prospects, now is the time to contact the marketing company and start asking questions to get to know them better. Stay on top of the discussion, and don’t get swept up in their salesmanship. Instead, ask them for references from past customers and the contact information for those customers. Also, ask for case studies of their clients, so that you can get an idea of what type of progress has been made on behalf of those customers – Most good marketing companies will have an entire page dedicated to their portfolio. Finally, ask for samples of their reports. A good marketing company has clear and concise reporting, so you can easily see what they’re doing for you.
Once you have that information, follow up on the references. Contact those customers, and ask questions about the marketing company. Are they satisfied with what the marketing company has achieved for them? What sort of changes have they seen in their own business traffic since the marketing company started working with them? What do they like best about the company? What missteps (if any) have taken place?
It’s important for you to have some in-depth conversations with the members of the marketing company who will be working on your campaign. Talk to the owner, and a campaign manager, and try to get a feel for their energy. While you’re trying to improve your company’s revenues, you also want to make sure you’ll enjoy working with them. Ask for samples of the work they have done for others, and discuss the objectives that they were aiming for. If you feel like they’re more interested in getting a sale than showing you how they work, it’s possible that they are not a good fit for you.
What you are digging for is to find the “true coin of the realm” – an online marketing company that will serve your specific needs. You want a company that will make your online presence shine brightly in cyber-space. And it’s important that you like the people you are dealing with. You want to deal with people who care about you and your business, because that will help energize and direct the work they do for you.
Finding the Treasure of Your Ideal Online Marketing Company
Once you feel you have found the company that will be the best fit, you can open the treasure chest of possibilities. You can discuss your expectations and specific goals. There may be things you have always wanted to do for your business with your website, but haven’t been able to manage yet. Working with your marketing company to plan the increase of your internet presence can possibly open the doors for that greater project you want to achieve, such as expanding your service range, or going from local to national. Making your marketing a cooperative effort will keep the efforts of the marketers fresh and energetic.
It is important that you stay engaged with the marketing company, so that you know what steps they are taking on your behalf. The marketing company will be staying on top of changes in online marketing. Changes in the way that people search for products and services are important to stay on top of. With the growth of voice responsive devices and applications like Siri, Google Home, and Alexa, the way that people get information will change significantly in the coming years. Such search methods will not entirely replace the need for text based websites. But preparing your presence for those changes, as well as building many types of links for your business are part of the job for the online marketing company.
Building your online presence is not a “one and done” activity. As online searching changes and technology for access to the internet advances, you need to work with marketers who are experts at understanding the way people think and search, as well as the way the search engines work. An engaging and lively internet presence is a treasure you want to protect and grow. To achieve that end, you need to discover the treasured business asset of the very best online marketing company.