Guest blog by Jordy Hoeke from 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 via the internet." Online marketing has many branches:
Advertise online (SEA)
Which online tool will help you achieve your goals? Choosing the right online marketing agency is playing
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 rather than rise in search results. This article contains 10 tips for choosing the best online marketing agency for your website.
1. Are the opportunities available?
"Online marketing, we should also start with that!" A well-known slogan that certainly contains some truth. However, before starting online marketing you have to think carefully whether it is smart to start with in the short term. Frequently promising initiatives fail on practical feasibility, insufficient budget, lack of perseverance, experience or just the right skills. So first make an inventory of the situation before you actively start searching for an online marketing agency.
2. Determining the objective
The first step in choosing an online marketing agency is to determine the objectives and exactly how they are achieved. After all, without a map it is difficult to reach the final destination. 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 at all effective for your target group or does online marketing not fit into the existing marketing strategy at all. There are enough reasons not to opt for online marketing. So first make a good analysis before working with an online marketing agency. If this analysis shows that online marketing remains the best choice, 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 sorts of opportunities and starting points and often has difficulty determining a limit. If they are enthusiastic about online marketing, they prefer to sell this to everyone as quickly as possible. This makes the actual use of online marketing not directly efficient. Because how exactly are you going to promote your product or service? To who? If you sell jackets you don't advertise on a blog about computers. Targeting a target group is therefore crucial.
Would you like to focus on a specific part of the market or a specific niche? Then you better choose an agency that has experience with this or an agency that explicitly focuses 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, 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 generates more revenue, whether via 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 at 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 receive certain information? Having insight into the target group in an important part of online marketing,
if you don't have this, chances are that you are 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': getting higher in Google in a way that Google rejects. Does the online marketing agency use 'white hat techniques' for search engine optimization (SEO) )? White hat techniques are SEO strategies and techniques that are focused on the reader, rather than on the search engines such as Google, and are also permitted by the search engines.
Try to find out how familiar the agency is with white hat SEO and always check the agency's references. Of course, a company that uses white hat SEO cannot always produce clear results in the short term, but the use of 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: black hat seo works for the first few months, but after the next Google update your website is over. So: safety first!
7. Social media activity
Tell a teenager that Facebook, Twitter or YouTube did not exist in your younger years. He will look at you with wide eyes and wonder how you lived then. Social media have flourished 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 is why Google itself with Google Plus has started)
The social media are used so intensively that they are good channels for spreading news. This quickly reaches the target group and the short and powerful messages are easily read. In many messages there is a link to more information on a website, so that extra visitors are realized. Because messages on social media are easy to share, the new spreads like wildfire and also reaches people you would otherwise not have reached. For example, referrals in social media can contribute well to more traffic and the online marketing strategy.
Search engines use social media information when evaluating web pages. The more often content on a webpage 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 used techniques will help you. A good website analysis starts with providing insight into the performance of your website. How can you clarify for yourself how exactly your website is performing?
Use Google Analytics. Make sure your website is connected to a Google Analytics account that you have access to. So you can neatly view all statistics. In this way you are not dependent on the online marketing party. A few tips to start using Google Analytics yourself:
Immerse yourself in 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 offers your sitemap in xml format. This way Google knows how to find all the small 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 correct statistics. If you compare the wrong data, the entire website analysis can be ruined. In Google Analytics, for example, you can block your own traffic with a filter. But if you do that in February, the traffic in January will be higher for comparison.
Use a Google Analytics dashboard. These are set up by professional SEO specialists and provide you with all relevant statistics at a glance 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 at the delivery? And how important is this for
you? I personally 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 so much including the online marketing services. For example, you can measure the source of the sale, organic (SEO), referral, AdWords (SEA), direct traffic or something else.
With a web shop with a physical store or a chain of stores it becomes more difficult. Can you generate leads or measure the 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 he started searching on Google is (now) still difficult to determine.
If you do not make an online sale, 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 value that you can also measure. For example, a furniture boulevard has no sales online, but does have agreements made through the site.
10. The decision
Then the big decision: which online marketing agency do you choose? Have you compared all online marketing agencies and compared the pros and cons to each other? How is the service? Do you know companies that have already collaborated with the online marketing agency? Checking references is never bad. Is the online marketing agency flexible and can they explain everything in jip-and-janneke language? These are all things that you have to take into account. So immerse yourself in the world of online marketing just before you work with an online marketing agency. There is more to it than you would say at first sight.
If you pay attention to these points, you will see that many online marketing agencies have already dropped out. If you have seen some interesting agencies, you first have to get to know the companies. 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 conversation, but don't be afraid to ask questions. How do they work? How do they see the customer? Why are they unique? Go through the offers carefully and not only look at the price, but especially at the result.