How do you choose an online marketing agency that suits you?
Guest blog by Jordy Hoeke van WetalkSeo
Companies that are looking for an online marketing agency today have higher demands than simply a standard online marketing campaign. Determining the right keywords is no longer sufficient. The modern online marketing agency thinks along with the customer's strategy. It has experience, knows the target group and knows how to score in Google. The right online marketing agency ensures results.
But what is an online marketing agency? An online marketing agency is an organization that specializes in online marketing. The definition of online marketing is: “The marketing of products or services over the Internet.” Online marketing has many branches:
Online advertising (SEA)
Which online resource will help you achieve your goals? Choosing the right online marketing agency plays
a crucial role in the online marketing strategy. An online marketing agency that uses the wrong techniques can cost you a lot of money, or cause the website to fall instead of rising in the search results. This article contains 10 tips for choosing the best online marketing agency for your website.
1. Are the opportunities there?
“Online marketing, we should start with that too!” A well-known statement that certainly contains a grain of truth. However, before you start with online marketing, you should think carefully about whether it is smart to start with in the short term. Promising initiatives regularly fail due to practical feasibility, too little budget, lack of perseverance, experience or simply the right skills. So make an inventory of the situation before you actively search for an online marketing agency.
2. Defining the objective
The first step in choosing an online marketing agency is determining the objectives, and how exactly they will be achieved. After all, it is difficult to reach the final destination without a map. The main objectives are: how do you see your company at the end of the campaign and what are your expectations? Growth, continuity or more turnover? And how does your company distinguish itself from the competition?
3. There is more than just online marketing
In all enthusiasm, don't forget to consider whether this is the right choice. There may also be other, cheaper or more effective methods of achieving the objective. Perhaps online marketing is not effective at all for your target group or online marketing does not fit into the existing marketing strategy at all. There are plenty of reasons not to opt for online marketing. So first make a good analysis before you start working with an online marketing agency. If this analysis shows that online marketing really remains the best choice, then go for it. Remember: online marketing is just a means to an end.
4. Who is the target group?
An entrepreneur who discovers the internet often sees all kinds of opportunities and starting points and often has difficulty determining a boundary. If they are enthusiastic about online marketing, they prefer to sell it to everyone as soon as possible. This makes the actual use of online marketing not immediately efficient. Because how exactly are you going to promote your product or service? To who? If you sell jackets, you are not going to advertise on a blog about computers. Targeting a target audience is therefore crucial.
Would you like to focus on a certain part of the market or a certain niche? Then it is better to choose an agency that has experience with this or an agency that focuses explicitly on that target group. Often an online marketing agency has its own network with websites and blogs where they can promote your website, or they have connections with people who have this. For example, if you have a restaurant, then you would like an online marketing agency with experience in your market and a network that connects to this.
In many cases, a company simply wants to make more sales. Then you are looking for an online marketing agency with experience in your industry that simply ensures more turnover, whether that is through SEO, SEA or a newsletter.
5. Where is the target group located?
It is important that you know where the target group is at what time and in what frequency. on which channels is the target group most receptive to a commercial message? In what form and at what time does the target group prefer to absorb certain information? Having insight into the target group in an important part of online marketing,
if you don't have this, chances are you're using the wrong strategy on the wrong channels.
6. White hat SEO
Unfortunately, a lot can go wrong with online marketing, and one of the biggest problems is 'black hat SEO': ranking higher in Google in a way that Google disapproves. Does the online marketing agency use 'white hat techniques' for search engine optimization (SEO)? )? White hat techniques are SEO strategies and techniques that are reader-focused, rather than the search engines like Google, and are also allowed by the search engines.
Try to find out how familiar the agency is with white hat SEO and always check agency references. Of course, a company that uses white hat SEO cannot always deliver clear results in the short term, but using prohibited techniques can be severely punished by Google. For example, a website can be banned from Google. The problem is that 'black hatters' are just ahead of Google: the first few months black hat seo works, but after the next Google update your website is done. So: safety first!
7. Social media activity
Tell a teenager that there was no Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube when you were young. He will look at you with wide eyes and wonder how you lived then. Social media has blossomed into one of the most important means of communication of our time, especially among young people. Search engines also keep a close eye on social media to determine which websites and web content is important. (That's why Google itself with Google Plus started)
Social media are used so intensively that they are good channels for spreading news. This means that the target group is reached quickly and the short and powerful messages are easily read. Many messages contain a link to more information on a website, which means that extra visitors are achieved. Because posts on social media are easy to share, the news spreads like wildfire, reaching people you wouldn't otherwise have reached. For example, referrals in social media can contribute to more traffic and the online marketing strategy.
Search engines use the information from social media when evaluating web pages. The more often content on a web page is retweeted, liked or shared, the more the content is appreciated by visitors and indirectly also the search engines.
8. Check Performance
Of course you would like to know whether the online marketing party with its techniques will benefit you. A good website analysis starts with providing insight into the performance of your website. How can you provide insight into how your website is performing exactly?
Use Google Analytics. Make sure your website is connected to a Google Analytics account that you have access to. This way you can view all statistics neatly. This way you are not dependent on the online marketing party in this regard. Some tips to start using Google Analytics yourself:
Learn about all the different options of Google Analytics so that you know exactly what you are looking at.
Make sure your website is registered with Google Tools for Webmasters and submit your sitemap in XML format. This way Google knows how to find all the little dots in your website.
Make sure that all conversions (sales, contact moments, downloads) on your website can be measured. For example, provide the thank you page of your contact form with a tracking code so that Analytics can measure when contact is made.
Make sure you compare the right stats. When you compare the wrong data, the entire website analysis can be ruined. For example, in Google Analytics you can block your own traffic with a filter. But if you do that in February, traffic in January will be higher by comparison.
Use a Google Analytics dashboard. These have been set up by professional SEO specialists and provide you with all relevant statistics at a glance, up to a complete website analysis.
9. Effort vs Result
How does the online marketing agency show that effort has been made? By showing the results, or is everything neatly in a time registration upon delivery? And how important is this for
you? Personally, I like to see exactly what the online marketing agency has done for me and what the result has been.
What do you expect from the online marketing agency? What is your definition of result? This can differ per company and per website. With a webshop this is simple: you look at the turnover, you look at the margin and determine whether a sale can cost you that much, including the online marketing services. For example, you can measure from which source the sales come, organic (SEO), referral, AdWords (SEA), direct traffic or something else.
With a webshop with a physical store or a retail chain, it becomes more difficult. Can you generate leads or measure referrals in another way? Checking the source is already difficult due to the disconnection between the physical store and the internet. In Google Analytics you can see per conversion what the influence has been per channel: social, seo, links or seo. But whether the customer first looked at the folder before searching on Google is (currently) difficult to determine.
If you don't sell online, you can derive value from, for example, a referral, the time on the site, the number of pages visited and of course the use of the contact form. These qualitative objectives link to brand equity that you can also measure. For example, a furniture boulevard does not have online sales, but does have agreements made via the site.
10. The decision
Then the big decision: which online marketing agency do you choose? Have you put all online marketing agencies side by side and compared the pros and cons? How's the service? Do you know companies that have already collaborated with the online marketing agency? Checking references is never a bad thing. Is the online marketing agency flexible and can they explain everything to you in jip-and-janneke language? These are all things to keep in mind. So take a good look at the world of online marketing before you start working with an online marketing agency. There is more to it than meets the eye.
When you pay attention to these points, you will see that many online marketing agencies have already lost weight. If you've seen some interesting agencies, you should get to know the companies a bit first. Keep an eye on them on social media and make an appointment, so that you get a picture of the company. Then choose the 2 or 3 best company and ask for a quote. Every company has a different talk, but don't be afraid to ask questions. How do they work? How do they see the customer? Why are they unique? Read the quotations carefully and look not only at the price, but also at the result.