Finding a reputable, responsive and results-oriented Internet Marketing agency does not have to be something you dread and should never be something you put off. If you know what you’re looking for, then finding the perfect match for your business can be quick and easy.

In this article we are going to show you exactly what to look for and how to look for it to ensure that your next online marketing team is your best and last.

Internet Marketing Agency

What is an Internet Marketing Agency?

To make sure that we are on the same page when the phrase “Internet Marketing Agency” is referenced allow us to provide our definition:

An Internet Marketing Agency is a company / team of professionals that have hands-on experience in the most cost-effective ways to properly brand and promote a business and its services on the web.

Reputable agencies should be well-versed in all of the following services, and not limited to them either; SEO, PPC, Social Media, Web Design, Web Development, Email Marketing, Conversion Rate Optimization and Tracking / Testing / Reporting. To be clear, we are not saying that every agency should specialize in every single one of these; instead we are saying that they should be very knowledgeable of each. A good agency will know their strengths and weaknesses and will provide you with the best direction based on those.

Why Work with an Agency?

Successful people, and businesses, usually share a common characteristic – they focus on what they do the best and delegate the rest to experts. This is highly applicable to online marketing as well. If you’re a business owner, or you work for one, and are looking to properly brand and market something online, then it’s in your best interest to spend your time on your expertise. Spending time trying to learn what an online marketing specialist already knows (through experience and testing) is only going to take you away from your most important task – managing your business.

It’s important that you take a little time to at least understand what you’re looking for, but when it comes down to doing the actual work, a reputable Internet marketing agency will save you time and money in the long run.

How to Find the Best Agency [For Your Business]

With a search or two in Google, finding an online marketing agency is a simple task. However, weeding through the thousands of options to find the best agency for your business is far from easy. Even worse, if you don’t know what to look for then there is a very good chance that you will waste a lot of time and money searching for and working with the wrong agency.

To make this process simple and painless, we have put together a list of traits to look for that make up a top Internet Marketing agency – and one that can help your business succeed.

Top 7 Traits of an Effective Internet Marketing Agency

Before vetting an agency you obviously want to develop a good list of companies that you’re interested in. Here’s a short list of ways to complete that first step of actually finding an agency:

  • Perform a Google search (search for phrases like “internet marketing agency” or “[industry] internet marketing”)
  • Post a question on Twitter like “Can anyone recommend a good #seo company?” or “I need a reputable #webdesign company, any recommendations?”
  • Look at competitors’ websites that are ranking / look great and check their site footer to see who did the work
  • Ask friends and family for referrals

Once you’ve got a list of 5-10 agencies to talk to, then the qualification process starts.

Here are 7 traits to look for to ensure that you choose the best Internet Marketing agency for your business…

They Practice What They Preach.

One of the quickest ways to see if an agency is going to be right for you is to see if they practice what they preach. In other words, if an agency claims SEO to be one of their specialties, then simply check to see if they rank for their most important key phrases (e.g. “internet marketing agency” or “real estate internet marketing“). If they are nowhere to be found, then this should definitely be a red flag. The same goes for any other service like web design or social media for example. If they have a hideous website or if their Facebook page has only 10 likes, then you’re probably best moving on to the next agency.

They are Honest and Transparent.

Have you ever asked an agency how they do what they do only to get a response along the lines of “we don’t share that information” or “our processes are proprietary”? Or, have you ever asked an agency what their weaknesses are and received a response of “we don’t really have any”? These responses should be red flags for you. Reputable, effective agencies are honest and transparent – willing to share any and all information that a client asks about. A good agency will want to educate their customers as much as possible so they can build a long, trusting relationship.

They Can Show Valid Results.

This seems like the most obvious thing to look for, but many businesses rushing to get online marketing help fail to ask for and review valid results delivered by the agency. The agency should be able to show you at least a few examples, preferably ones relevant to your business or industry, that have seen results from the work they performed. You may not be privy to the exact amount of money those clients spent due to many agencies honoring client confidentiality stipulations, but you should be able to see enough to validate the agency’s experience.

They Don’t Just Take Orders.

If you’re making all of the suggestions and the agency is quick to just take an order, then you might want to slow down. Any reputable agency will give you the information and recommendations you need (based on your objectives) to help your business grow from online marketing. If they just allow you to dictate every strategy without any push back or suggestions, then this could be a sign for you to move on. You don’t want to work with order takers. You want to work with someone that has your best long-term goals in mind and is not going to treat you like a customer number.

They Don’t Guarantee Rankings.

This one is simple. If an agency guarantees you that they will get your website ranked (organically) in Google, then run. Don’t waste another minute of your time trying to find out how they do it or letting them try to convince you it’s possible. It’s not. If you fall for this, then you can only blame yourself when you get burned. Reputable agencies never guarantee rankings. Instead, they do the proper research and help you to set attainable, but aggressive KPIs (key performance indicators) to help you meet your objectives.

They are Willing to Pick Up the Phone.

Of all of the traits, this one unfortunately, is really only something you will probably come to realize once you’ve become a customer. You will probably get some small hints during the sales process so it’s important to always ask what type of customer support you get and how often. The “wrath of the customer” when issues arise is known to force some less experienced agencies to hide behind email communication or delay phone calls to buy additional time….all on your dime. You must work with a responsive team that is accountable for its services and suggestions.

They are Fun and Creative.

We’ve mentioned this one last as it is not always required for everyone. For us though, it is something we strongly believe in. If you don’t get excited and enthusiastic about who you work with, then you will not have a strong desire to commit the effort needed on your end. On top of this, if your agency is not able to throw creative ideas off of you and recommend some things outside the box, then you won’t be very likely to stand out or surpass your competitors that have established market share.

Growing with Your Agency

Once you have compiled your list of agencies, completed your due diligence and have chosen the agency you feel the best about your next step is to exchange expectations. Do not sign or pay anything until you and the agency understand and agree on each others expectations. Everything from expected results to expected turn around times and communication need be laid out beforehand. Do this and you can be sure that your business will grow old and successful with your chosen agency. Don’t do this and prepare to get disappointed, frustrated, angry and exhausted from bickering with your agency over things that should have been outlined upfront.


If you’re done bouncing from one unreliable agency to another or can’t stomach the thought of trying to find another agency, then we would love to be the last, and best, agency that you work with. We are proud to say we meet 100% of the traits mentioned above, but invite you to be the judge of whether or not imFORZA is right for your business. If you need a more effective website and/or need help increasing the exposure of your existing website, then let’s talk.

Ready to work with an effective Internet Marketing agency?

Yes, Let’s Talk.


 

Vinny La Barbera

I’ve been working in online marketing since 2000 and have helped thousands of companies improve their online presence and grow their business through better web / mobile design, development and online marketing.Learn more about me or follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or LinkedIn.