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Questions to Ask Your Online Marketing Firm

By Karina Neves - September 8, 2013

Legitimate Online Marketing Questions

Beginning an online marketing project can be intimidating for a business owner who isn’t familiar of the ins and outs of promoting his or her company on the internet. Not all marketing firms can be trusted to do what is best for your business, rather than taking advantage of your lack of understanding of the industry. Fortunately, there are ways to weed out the reputable companies from the sketchy ones.

The following are good questions to ask your online marketing firm to determine whether or not it can be trusted.

Can you get my website ranked #1 on Google?

This is a trick question in a sense, but it can be very informative all the same. An untrustworthy SEO company or consultant will say whatever they need to in order to get your business – even if it isn’t the whole truth. It may seem counterintuitive but a company who tells you they cannot guarantee rankings for your site is actually a better option, since they are being honest with you about a simple fact that all good SEOers know: No one can manipulate search engines to guarantee a first page rank.

A good company will tell you they cannot guarantee rankings. An excellent company will also tell you rankings should never be a priority, and remind you that the real reason you came to them is to get more business. The best online marketing, web design and SEO companies focus on making sure a website will drive more traffic, rather than settling for only increasing online visibility.

How soon can I expect to see results?

Similar to the above question, be weary of a firm who promises quick results. Internet marketing is a long process and a company who guarantees speedy results is either bending the truth, or taking shortcuts that may hurt you in the long run. Asking for a time frame for results will also help you keep your marketing firm accountable for meeting certain deadlines.

May I see some case studies on your past clients?

A credible firm will have case studies on file to show you examples of their past work, whether it’s SEO, content marketing, web design, local optimization or a pay-per-click campaign. These case studies should include before and after screenshots of the website, as well as analytics of how the website was doing before and after with factors such as ranking, impressions, clicks, bounce rate, time on page and other factors that show how visitors are interacting with the website.

A truly confident firm will even go as far as to request permission from a previous client to give you their contact information so that they can give you a review themselves. Watch out for companies who refuse to show any examples of past work, claiming that it’s confidential. (We like full transparency.)

What is <insert industry jargon>?

If your SEO consultant or web designer begins spouting off alien terms such as canonical issues, crawlers or breadcrumbs, don’t get left in the dark. Ask them what these terms mean for you and your business. The marketing firm and client relationship should always involve communication between both, and a good firm will want to help educate you so that you can understand what your investment is going towards. A company or consultant who is condescending or brushes your questions away as if it isn’t something for you to worry about should definitely send up red flags.

Don’t be afraid to ask, and a quality SEO firm won’t be hesitant about asking your every question.

What tools do you use to measure success and who will have access to them?

This question is especially important to ask before hiring a marketing company so that you will know what to expect as far as results. Some companies will string you along and tell you there’s been significant improvement without showing you hard evidence. One of the best tools to use is Google Analytics. This tool is free and provides specific tracking data. Other helpful tools are ifbyphone.com and some form of a contact database, which help you keep track of leads coming from the website phone number and contact forms. Your marketing firm should make sure you have access to these tools so that you are able to manage them yourself.

If for whatever reason you don’t have access to these tools, make sure you see the results in the form of reports or updates, at least on a monthly basis. A good SEO firm won’t have to jump through hurdles to prove they’re providing quality results. The proof should be simplified and easy for you to read.

Are there any questions we left out? Let us know below!

 

 

 

 

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