Three factors to consider when evaluating internet marketing agencies:
1. Metrics– the agency must work with you to define what metrics matter for your firm and your situation. The metrics you use will change over the course of your campaign- you may start out using unique visitors, because that is all you can measure, and work towards measuring $/visit.
Case in point: google analytics offers 6 kinds of charts for unique visitor tracking. Which one are you going to use to measure success, or should you use all six?
2. Where to spend– podcasting is cool, but search engine optimization brings in the money. That statement is true 99% of the time. Your agency must help you understand the tradeoffs between differing priorities, such as making a name for yourself vs. moving more product.
Case in point: I can start a pay per click campaign and have traffic going to your site within 10 minutes. Or, I can work on your title tags and URLs so you get higher rankings in google, but you will not rise in the rankings for weeks or months. Internet marketing agencies should explain to you the tradeoff so you can make a good decision.
3. Measurement– What is better- a 50% increase in page views per visit, or 20% more visitors? Metrics is deciding what to measure, measurement is interpreting that data. Google analytics provides a huge amount of data. Your firm should help you understand what is important and what is not.
Case in point: For CASSIN, we just built their first website. They want to know what matters in terms of measurement. I said three things: unique visitors, average page views per visit, and referrals. Suit the measurement both to the site and the client.
Metrics, spend, and measurement. If the agency you hire can do these three mission critical tasks well, then good results are on their way. If they can’t, then no matter how good a game they talk, walk away. And always ask for references.
Thanks to Jory for putting me in the mindset of asking what is mission critical.