Losing Faith in Internet Marketing?

Don’t trust SEO or digital marketing agencies? Here’s what to look for and how to partner with the firm that’s right for you.

Losing Faith in Online Marketing?

If you’re losing faith in Internet marketing, chances are your agency either hasn’t performed to your expectations … or your expectations are unrealistic.

In either case, your digital marketing agency has failed to properly prepare you for the machinations of a campaign. That’s a shame. In the beginning, you were probably excited by the prospect of adding new traffic to your site, elevating your search rankings and finally seeing a bump in opportunities.

You should be excited. This is an innovative period for Internet marketing. It no longer takes a small fortune or questionable tactics to see an online campaign succeed. These days, if you’re doing all the right things in all the right ways, the Internet will respond. And it’s glorious.

But, be careful! It comes with a particularly thorny catch … you have to be patient. Unless you’re shelling out $10,000 a month, your upward trajectory in the digital domain will probably be a lot less steep than your expectations.

This doesn’t mean that six months down the road, you’ll only see a small spike in traffic, rankings and leads. Far from it. Most agencies will deliver measurable, quantifiable results within three months. In six months, the dial should have moved considerably, assuming your were doing little to nothing before the campaign.

If you were involved with a marketing agency prior to your existing relationship, you’ll want to make sure your current agency is aware of this. After all, their team might be unaware that you haven’t exactly been thrilled by what you’ve seen in the past, and they may be wondering why you’ve soured on a campaign so quickly.

Here’s how to tell if you’re involved with a professional, high quality agency:

Good agencies will …

  1. Manage your expectations. Any campaign is a mixed bag at the beginning. Your marketing team must figure out what works and what doesn’t for certain campaigns. This involves split testing, lots of research and time. Good agencies will let you know up front how much time it should take before you start seeing positive results, and they should explain why it will take that long.
  1. Demonstrate value with clear and quantifiable metrics. Once you’re involved with an agency worth its salt, you’ll be updated regularly with dashboards, spreadsheets and charts that spell out the successes and failures of the campaign. Failure is definitely part of marketing. Until your team identifies the parameters of your existing market and (almost as importantly) the possibilities of other markets, there will be drops in metrics from time to time. Digital marketing is part science and part art.
  1. Help generate leads, increase traffic and elevate rankings. Ultimately, these should translate to an increase in revenue, but only your company and its team can control that. Why? Because the purpose of marketing isn’t to automate your sales (although sometimes marketers can help with that, too). The real purpose of marketing is to drive customers to your doorstep. Once they’re there, marketing has done its job. Your job is to get them to open their wallets.
  1. Show you how to help them. Your firm is only as good as you allow it to be. This means, from time to time, your agency may call or email asking for updates on your business—new employees, new products or services or just general information about events and happenings in your industry. Your agency’s specialists aren’t calling to waste your time; they need to learn this information so they can use it to drive business. If you’re not responding to their emails or failing to call them back in a timely manner, you’re only hurting yourself. Good marketers will let you know this up front.

More often than ever, professional online marketing agencies will pick and choose who they work with. They may even “fire” a client if it isn’t working out. Shocked? Don’t be. Marketers depend on their reputation for referrals, reviews and their own rankings. If they see a client isn’t going to be a good match for them, or they’re not going to be able to produce the kind of results the client is seeking, it’s better to just opt out than waste everyone’s time.

If you’ve soured on your Internet marketing agency, make sure you’re doing your part. If you believe you’re doing as much as you can to help the agency, it might be time to find a better match.

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