Most marketing companies will hate me for saying this.

Unless you’re a larger sized business you most likely don’t have your own online marketing department. And if that is the case, you probably get contacted by online marketing firms letting you know they can help you.

Honestly speaking, all online marketing companies we’ve worked for or with have always had the intention of helping their clients succeed. That’s because their success is based on yours.

But they didn’t always know how to do it.

A lot of marketing companies deliver individual marketing services or packages which in and to themselves are important online marketing tools.

Paid advertising through Google (also known as PPC or Pay Per Click), working to improve your websites standings in search engines through whats called Search Engine Optimization or SEO (a subject rarely actually understood). Some companies will even do e-mail blasts or manage e-mail work flows to try and capture leads who land on your website but leave without contacting you or buying anything.

These are all super important tools and these are all things we also deliver here at Key Marketing Strategies.

But just delivering these services is not always enough. So how can you tell? Here are three simple ways to see if an online marketing agency knows their business:

  1. Do they understand YOUR business. It’s one thing to know advertising. But to effectively advertise something, the person managing the ads should know enough to sell it if they needed to. Most marketing companies we worked for or worked with knew how to manage online ads but not knowing all about a client’s business they were unable to make their actions effective.
  2. Do they use surveys and can they get and do they use consumer insights and consumer analytics. And by analytics, I don’t just mean Google Analytics. See, even if they have step 1 above, and they knew all about your business, services or products, they would still not succeed if they didn’t know what your consumers or customers wanted or what they were looking for. Consumer insights and customer behaviors is generally something that needs to be worked for and gotten. But it makes all thew difference to advertising as it tells the marketing company how to talk to your consumers in a way they will listen.
  3. How often are they willing to be in touch with you and report what actions they are taking, what results they’ve gotten, what they are doing to make an ineffective campaign effective and so on. This can also be an indicator of how much they are actually working on your account. Most companies will be in touch once a month. In some good cases, bi-weekly or weekly. The more available they are, easy to contact and the more proactive they the better for you.

But not that you know these three simple basics DON’T MAKE THIS MISTAKE.

Don’t ask them things like, “Can you call me weekly?” or “Are you able to get consumer insights?” or any such questions. Listen to the consultants pitch and see if they bring up these points. If you ask them, their answer will generally be whatever it needs to be in order to get your to enroll. But very often the person signing you up is NOT the same person who will be working with you on your actual advertising and so that’s where things fall apart.

So listen to your consultants pitch and see if they know your business, can get or have insights into your consumers and will they be in regular communication with you and easy to reach.