Online marketing can be a real challenge for any business, large or small. To grow your brand online, you need to follow the best content marketing, website design and search engine optimization (SEO) practices.
But that can be difficult, because SEO is constantly in a state of flux. Some techniques that worked really well a few years ago can actually work against you today. This is why it is so important to only trust your company’s online reputation and content strategy with marketing professionals who know what they’re doing and will bring you lasting results.
Here are five ways to find the best digital marketing agency for your brand.
1. Be Wary of Bargain Pricing
Don’t make the mistake of hiring the cheapest agency out there. This almost always ends in disaster. As with most other things in life, you get what you pay for.
Marketing companies who offer lowball prices will often cut corners and take short cuts. They probably haven’t been doing this for very long, and they’re likely going to get your website penalized by using outdated SEO tactics, automated spam bots and stolen or spun content.
If a marketer makes an offer that sounds too good to be true, it’s probably a good idea to look for someone else.
2. Look for Positive Customer Reviews
Positive customer reviews are probably the best way to know whether a company is legit or not. But don’t just look for random customer testimonials on the agency’s website. Anyone can type up a fake testimonial and post it on their site, and there are probably a few shady marketers who do that sort of thing.
Instead, look for reviews on 3rd party sites such as Google, Yelp, Facebook and the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Keep in mind that both positive and negative reviews can also be bought for a price, but companies with tons of positive reviews are more likely to be a good choice.
3. Check Out Their Work
First, look at the agency’s website itself, but also check out some of their clients’ websites too.
If the site design looks terrible, that is a red flag. If their blog posts have zero comments and social shares — even the older ones — that is also a red flag. If their blog posts are stuffed with keywords or sound like they were written by someone who is not a native English speaker, that is another red flag.
As an example, take a look at the website for the marketing agency Z Brand. Their site design looks great on desktops and mobile devices. It has several examples of work it’s done for clients right there on the site, so you can see that the work is of very high quality. That’s what you want to see on a marketer’s website — that they practice what they preach, and that they have a proven track record.
4. Avoid Overseas Marketing Agencies
Some companies who hire digital marketing agencies prefer to work with local agencies so that they can meet face-to-face with their marketing reps. But this isn’t necessary in most cases. That is what the internet is for.
However, it’s usually a good idea to at least go with a marketing firm that is in the same country as your own. It might not sound very nice to say this, but overseas marketing agencies are notorious for using shady practices, outdated techniques and plagiarized content.
That’s not to say that all overseas marketers are bad. Certainly there are good ones out there as well. But your odds of getting burned increase significantly when dealing with marketing agencies in developing nations.
5. Look for Long-Term Results
The bottom line is that you want results that will stand the test of time. You get these kinds of results by working with professionals who use time-tested whitehat SEO methods, who create high-quality customized content, who have years of experience in the industry and who stay current on the latest trends in online marketing.
Anyone can follow outdated blackhat practices and game the search engines to get you some fast results. But those results disappear once the search engines update their algorithms and discover the spammy tactics used. When that happens, your site gets blacklisted and you lose all the traffic you gained — and then some!
So watch out for fly-by-night operations whose client list only includes new startups and recent clients. Look for satisfied clients who’ve used the agency for several years and continue to get good results. If you can find an agency with long-term clients like that, then you’ve probably found someone you can trust.
Use these five tips for finding a good marketing company to help you grow your brand online. Trust your gut and don’t just go with an unknown, smooth-talking marketer who promises you the world for a pittance. Guard your company’s online reputation and work with a marketer that is worthy of your trust and patronage.