(if you’ve arrived here from Linked In, simply skip to point number 3 to finish reading).
It’s always hard to get to the decision makers in any company (for the mediocre marketers among us :-) … So I’ve set up this private, intimate setting for us company owners/execs, to not only have a much easier time getting the right online marketing help, (that can be a make-or-break decision)… but also discuss and ask questions that relate to this topic.
I’ll get straight to the point now, (so you don’t waste your time) and give you the advisable selection criteria you may want to consider, before investing heavily in any SEO-Web development firm.
Choosing the right company that’s the right fit for your business needs is such a critical decision. It can be a confusing, overwhelming and frustrating experience trying to pick the right company, because most owners/execs don’t know what to base their decisions on.
You may not have the inside knowledge of what makes a great web/SEO firm. And having a sales rep of a web firm only putting their best foot forward in meetings won’t give you the insight you need to make that critical decision that can lead to the breakthrough your company always wanted.
Running a business and getting more clients is hard enough, so having this on your plate doesn’t make life any easier.
To make sure you’re not using up anymore time than what you really need to , I’ve condensed the selection criteria down to a few points, so that you can also easily remember them during meetings.
They main thing to realize about all this is that ultimately, the internet is just another medium… (all be it, the most popular medium for most industry target demographics). It’s the message that ‘trumps all’ when it comes to achieving breakthrough success in online lead gen and sales. Not the fancy techie stuff. That’s only their to support the message to market. So please keep that in mind.
1 Ensure their SEO team has weekly meetings to discuss, train, and above all, remain updated on the latest google algorithm changes. And they asses what is currently working for their clients, and what is not (in terms of on-page and off-page SEO practices).
2 Check that their Social Media people firstly focuses on researching the right ‘message to market’… That carries the right appeal/offer that your target audience will respond to so you avoid the very costly mistake of throwing money each month for nothing than an obvious PR campaign that the market is increasingly immune to (because they’re tired of it).
3 Ask them what would be their first steps in developing an online marketing presence that generates a flood of traffic and leads the CONVERT in clients. if they say… “well first we look at the keywords for your industry, research the best ones that may also have very little competition, then asses your competitor’s sites…”, I would suggest you don’t give them more than the allotted precious hour, and bid them a warm courteous good bye, (because all that is a given, and should come later).
The correct answer should be something to the effect of “… the first step is to spend a good two hours, or as long as it takes, to fully discuss, asses and research the ins-and-outs of each target audience SEGMENT that you would truly love to have as clients.
We find out what their TRUE desires, fears & frustrations are (quite often not what you think)”. “then we spotlight what main message/offer you toughest competitors espouse. Asses what needs, desires, frustrations are NOT being met (or not being met very well) from the perspective of you target audience segments…
Each segment, has it’s own issues. “The right offer that your target audience will respond most favorably to, to boost your online response (and consequently your turnover) is then formulated… in order set you up for market domination”
4 When they discuss how they would design (or re-design) your site, make sure they mention the word ‘conversion optimized design’. This is also critical as the design of your site and the placement of certain features has a big impact on how visitors respond, and whether they take the action that will turn them into leads and sales. Ask them to show some current client examples, and what it is about their design that encourages visitors to become a lead/sale.
5 Ask if their copywriter (some SEO firms don’t even have one) or the marketing manager has PRIMARILY learned from either Jay Abraham, Dan Kennedy or Rich Schefren, not just (or preferably not from) University professors who make their money from a University wage, teaching possibly outdated, but often conventional methods.
Jay Abraham, Dan Kennedy or Rich Schefren are the absolute best of the best in marketing, both online and off. They charge from 25k to 50k if you want to hire them for a day, and make the vast majority of their fortune from using and applying what they teach. Not teaching.
Their you go… Short and sweet!
The rest that’s involved in setting you up with a highly successful online marketing presence is fairly elementary and common practice. Every Web/SEO Firm is similar in what they do with the exception of the areas I’ve mentioned above (ie, Direct Response Marketing & Conversion Design).
They all focus on obvious things like delivering projects on time and on budget. But during their presentation to you, if they put most of the emphasis on
… then make sure you ask about the 5 points you’ve learned about today, so you can make a decision you’ll be thankful for, not frustrated and disappointed with. There’s certainly no rewards, recognition and prestige in that…
All the best!
ps. my email is firstname.lastname@example.org