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Tips for Finding the Best Digital Marketing Agency for Your Business

Tips for Finding the Best Digital Marketing Agency for Your Business

Digital Marketing is essential for the growth of any business in this age of internet marketplaces. Don’t ignore it, and don’t just go for the cheapest agency with no expertise and nothing to offer. You should be prepared and educated about your options and the services that would be most beneficial to your business.

You wouldn’t want to hire a business lawyer without being prepared, right?

When choosing an internet marketing company, you want to be well-informed and prepared.

You may be wondering “So, what do I need to know?”

Before you even have the first meeting, here are some preliminary steps you should take:

1. Do Your Research

Familiarize yourself with the basic concepts of SEO before discussing options with agencies. There are tons of free online resources to introduce you to SEO such as Search Engine Land, Think With Google and Search Engine Journal.

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Being well-informed not only helps you know which services you need most, but also protects you from being taken advantage of by a company looking to “pull the wool over your eyes” so to speak.

Research your own website, your competitors, and the demographic of expected customers. Use Google and Bing to search for terms related to your business and see where you’re currently standing in the search engine results page (SERP).

2. Consider Reviews and Reputation

Once you’re familiar with the basics of internet marketing and Search Engine Optimization, it’s time to do your homework on the company (or companies) you’re considering hiring. Start with a simple Google search to learn about the company’s services, history, and location. Look over their ratings on Yelp, Google and Facebook as well. Get creative.

This is where you will (hopefully) get the unbiased, unfiltered report on their performance. This is like asking a passerby where they recommend to go for lunch, rather than walking into a cafe and asking “how’s your food?”.

Note: If you’d prefer to have face-to-face meetings, then narrow your search that way, however, a good SEO agency should be keeping you informed via emails, phone calls, etc.

3. Consider your Budget

Before you contact a company to discuss working together, you want to have a general figure in mind of how much you’re willing and able to spend on SEO, SEM, web design, social media marketing, or anything else that comes to mind.

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In general, most digital marketing agencies will tend to work with similar size companies – meaning, they may specialize in small, locally-owned businesses, or, larger, more established ones like major car dealerships. This will affect their pricing structure. Through your research, you will probably be able to tell if your business aligns with their specialty.

The agency may bring up the topic fairly early in the conversation to make sure you’re on the same page. Don’t just go with the cheapest bidder. If you want results, expect to hear prices from reputable agencies from $1,500 to $10,000-plus monthly. This may sound scary at first, but the return on investment is almost always more than double what you’re spending.

Ponder this:

If you were to pay $2,500/month for SEO, and your website then starts ranking at the top of search results…

Then say at least 500 people/month search for your goods and/or services…

And only 100 of them actually landed on your website…

Then only 50 of them became clients…

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If you were to only make $100 off of each client, you just made at least $5,000 that month from new clientele.

Not too shabby, eh?

Also, when you contact a digital marketing agency, try to be prepared to answer the following questions:

  • How is your business now – slow, busy, dropping off?
  • Where would you like to see growth? Did you recently start offering a new product or service? Did a competitor just open up down the street – how is that affecting you?

Remember that whoever you decide to hire for SEO, the more transparent and cooperative you are, the more likely you are to see better results. Meaning, provide all the details you can about your business. Being able to provide your own insight and knowledge as described above will help digital marketing agencies tailor your website to work in your market, and of course, increase your business.

Next Steps:

Now that you’ve educated yourself on SEO and the company you’re considering working with, it’s time to meet with the agency and ask questions.

The expert/company you hire should be willing and enthusiastic to explain how their services will help your business grow. Ask questions, clarify what services come with what “package,” and confirm timelines and contracts and what they need from you.

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Finally, you should have the answers to the following questions before signing any agreement: 

  • How do you measure the success of your SEO campaigns?
  • What will you do to improve my site’s search engine rankings?
  • Do you adhere to Google’s guidelines?
  • Are you experienced in optimizing for “local SEO?” (This question is especially important for smaller, brick-and-mortar businesses)
  • Will you keep me informed on changes you’re making to my site?
  • How will we communicate?
  • How many people are on your team, and who will be working on this assignment?
  • What happens when the project is over?
  • Do you offer “maintenance” services? (Periodically updating the back-end of your site and optimizing for SEO). If so, what are the fees, and how long is the contract?

    After these questions are answered, confirm that you will still maintain ownership of all content, then of course confirm fees and payment.

Wrap-up

Being prepared, doing research, and asking the right questions can help you ensure that you end up working with the SEO agency that best fits your needs. Remember to stay engaged throughout the process as well! Ask for updates, and review proposals and content to make sure they are accurate and aimed at meeting your goals.

That being said, you’re hiring someone so that you don’t have to take care of this aspect of your business yourself. It’s a full time job; you should focus on running your business. If they take up too much of your time or seem to be clueless without you – ditch them. Hire someone who does their own homework, producing results to the point where you’re doing what you do best – taking care of the results being sent.

Featured photo credit: Jay Freidman via entrepreneur.com

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Kyra Taylor

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Last Updated on February 15, 2019

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

Joe’s Goals

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    Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

    Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

    Daytum

      Daytum

      is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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      Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

      Excel or Numbers

        If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

        What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

        Evernote

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          I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

          Evernote is free with a premium version available.

          Access or Bento

            If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

            Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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            You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

            Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

            All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

            Conclusion

            I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

            What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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