Posted by Steve Parker, Jr. (@sparkerjr)
There are many reasons to hire a search marketing firm, the obvious being their man power, expertise, access to new technology, etc, but in addition to those points, here are some qualities to look for when beginning your hiring process.
1. Legacy – How long has the firm been in business? The internet itself is still in its infancy which is to say the industry of digital advertising is still just getting its baby teeth. That said, the company you hire needs to have been in the business at least five years to have a full comprehension of the field and practices within it. While longevity isn’t everything, it is certainly a good quality because with longevity comes experience.
2. Services – Take a hard look at what services an agency is offering. Note, are they just offering PPC and SEO or do they also specialize in design and site development. Do they have an understanding of social strategy as well and do all those services align with your companies goals?
3. Strategy- You need to ask what is it the firm your hiring is going to do for you?
Time frame to completion?
What’s the price?
Educate yourself on every step so you can hold the agency accountable for the results they’ve promised to provide.
4.) Flexibility – Your company is unique which means the marketing strategy offered needs to be equally distinct. Your company is different from others. Make sure you’re not getting a cookie cutter packaged offered to every client. Be sure to relate specific challenges you foresee and encourage free and open discourse on the best solutions to reach your goals.
5. Reputation – An agency’s reputation is everything and you want to know who they’ve worked with before. Ask who are the firm’s clients? And, do they have any success stories or testimonials to share? A good agency will have plenty of success stories to share.
Remember, SEM is constantly evolving and as such an agency needs to be forward thinking and always one step ahead of the next technology change. Consider that if you’re handling your own SEM you too must be willing to continually educate yourself and improve to stay up to date. If hiring an SEM company, make sure they’re ready and willing to do the same.