How to Not Get Burned by Your Search Marketing Agency
March 31, 2019
March 31, 2019
Whether you're in the market for a search marketing agency or already have one working for you, it's understandable that you might be nervous about what they do. Even though we live in an age when everyone is Internet-literate, that does not mean we're all fluent. So it can be tough knowing whether or not your search marketing agency is actually performing up to par or if the one you're thinking about hiring is worth the cost. Here are some things to look for to put your mind at ease and protect your budget.
They Take the Time to Educate
No matter how well you understand SEM (Search Engine Marketing), you probably will not understand it as well as an agency that does it all day, every day. So you should expect that your agency takes the time to explain to you the finer points of what they're doing.
Of course, if you need a broader explanation, that's understandable too. Any questions you have should get answered as well. You're the client and you're the one paying, so part of their job is making sure you understand what you're getting as a service.
Another important thing to have in a search marketing agency is transparency. This means that they should be an open book in terms of what their plan is for you and what their status is in achieving it. Having regular reports is a must (weekly is best, monthly at the very least), but you should also be able to get an answer whenever you decide to check in with them. Without this being a part of the deal, a search marketing agency could go for a long time without actually doing any work on your behalf and come up with vague reasons for why your ranking has not improved.
They're Fair in their Billing
Obviously, you never want to work with a company that is not fair in how they bill you. With a search marketing agency, though, this means a number of unique things. First, you need to know how they'll bill you. What kind of miles are they looking at? Will they charge you once they get you to number one on Google? Will they charge you per click through? These are things you need to know before hiring a company or you might be very surprised by your bill and extremely disappointed in what you bought.
That's not the only point to consider though. It's not rare for search marketing agencies to take control of their clients' accounts. This can become quite the bargaining chip when it's time to talk about contract renewals. Clearly, this is very unprofessional. However, they may also try to claim that services they provided to that account are technically their intellectual property. If they built you an app, for example, you need to be assured that something that stays with you even if your business relationship ends.
They Use the Best Tech
There are so many options these days for search engine marketing that it can be overwhelming. So you should expect that any search marketing agency you consider has a toolbox packed with them.
Here's where you need to be careful though. There was once a time when search engine marketing was almost completely the realm of those who knew how to build tech for it. Nowadays, it's a more nuanced approach that involves code and copy. Nonetheless, many companies still rely on their own homegrown software because they can sell you on it and bill more.
Sadly, it's doubtful their software can compete with the best of breeds out there. Companies that dedicate all their time and resources to building great search engine software are not going to get beat out by a search marketing agency.
They Know Your Market
Any company helping with your marketing must know your market. Even with SEM, it's never a matter of simply using keywords or other tools. They must understand things like:
• your customers
• your competitors
• the industry
Otherwise, you're not getting your money's worth.
When it's time to start scouting search marketing agencies, make sure you keep an eye out for the above. The difference between companies that pass this test and those that do not is the difference between success and failure for your business.