So now you have been in business for awhile or you are only about to get started. You have a website because someone told you that is what you should do. Now the question is “What Next?”. This article “Search Engine Marketing Consulting” offers a look at the steps you should take in finding a consultant to help with SEM or Search Engine Marketing. We have also included additional links that will offer additional information regarding choosing a Search Engine Marketing Consultant.
You are a business owner and you know your business. The problem is you feel that you are missing out on potential sales from your website. Do you know anything about the internet or search engine marketing? NO! So you have the task doing something that you are not comfortable doing but feel that you need to do. This article will help you in your search to take advantage of Search Engine Marketing (SEM).
The first thing to ask is what does a Search Engine Marketing Consultant do? There job is to help enhance the experience of those who visit your site but even more importantly they will help your site to be more visible in the search engine world to those who searching for your type of product or service.
Many times there is a misconception that local is better. While there can be some advantages from a logistical standpoint in dealing with a local company, many times a national company can offer economies of scale and a level of expertise that many local companies can’t. The reverse is also true in that bigger is not always better and many times less can be more. So it is not wise to eliminate companies simply based on size.
You may have also heard that all SEM companies are simply scam artists. While this is not 100% true there are thousands of companies that are operating and others that pop into existence every day that are crooks. SEM is a complex business that many business owners don’t understand. It is easy for crooks to take advantage of unwary clients.
So now what? If we haven’t frightened you away there are some things that you can do in order to insure you are not taken advantage of. Here are the top questions that you need to ask, both the SEM company and yourself, in order to make sure that you make a good decision.
Business Development Marketing – Search Engine Marketing Consulting Questions To Ask #1 What Do I Need?
While this seems like a very basic question and it is, many time business owners fail to ask it. Here are some of the most commonly used services offer by SEM companies:
SEO Audit – Both one time and ongoing
Pay Per Click Management
Site Re targeting
While this is not an exhaustive list it is a good start. You need to think about what you want to accomplish first. Then after consulting with multiple firms you will get an idea of which may suit your personal needs.
Business Development Marketing – Search Engine Marketing Consulting Questions To Ask #2 How Will Results Be Tracked?
You need to determine what is important. Is it sales growth and if so what would be a reasonable growth rate? What is a time period that you are willing to commit to? If a firm is willing to work with you for a period that is much shorter than any others that is a red flag. True results take time. In the world of SEM, achieving results too quickly can have a negative impact.
Business Development Marketing – Search Engine Marketing Consulting Questions To Ask #3 Does The SEM Consultant Have Any Case Studies?
References and case studies are valuable. They can illustrate a track record of success. They can also offer an existing client to speak to. This can give you the opportunity to speak to someone who can offer a third opinion. It is even more helpful if this referral or case study is from someone in a similar or the same industry.
Business Development Marketing – Search Engine Marketing Consulting Questions To Ask #4 Ask Open Ended Questions Which Require More Than A Yes Or No Answer.
Get the person that you are speaking with to tell stories. Many times a story can relate many things. The passion and creativity that a person or consultant has or does not have will come out. Ask how they founded the company and why. What was the best experience that they have every had with a client and what made it so good? What was an experience that was a failure and what did they learn from it? How do they feel that they have improved over the years?
Business Development Marketing – Search Engine Marketing Consulting Questions To Ask #5 What Training And Certifications Do You Hold?
While practical application is how most SEM consultants gain their knowledge there are other methods to stay up to date. Industry publications and meetings or seminars. Others have degrees or certifications that they have received on their own or from their company. Continuing education is important in this area since it is ever changing.
Business Development Marketing – Search Engine Marketing Consulting Questions To Ask #6 What Is The Approach That You Take Towards SEM?
This is where in many ways the rubber meets the road. Listen to the approach that this firm takes and see if they have heard what you have told them. They should be willing to discuss different strategies and the pros and cons of each. They should address some if not all of the goals that you told them earlier in the conversation.
Business Development Marketing – Search Engine Marketing Consulting Questions To Ask #7 What Guarantees If Any Do You Offer?
This can be a trap question. It is almost impossible for a SEM professional to guarantee that you will be at the top of the search engines unless there is no competition in the targeted search terms. Listen to their answer very carefully and beware of companies that over promise.
Business Development Marketing – Search Engine Marketing Consulting Questions To Ask #8 Ask Yourself How Do I Feel About This Person Or Company?
At the end of the day, personal relationships are important. You should feel comfortable that this consultant has listened to you. You should not sense any deception or hidden agendas. There should be an easy flow of information and they should be comfortable with tough questions. Don’t be pushed into a quick decision in order to take advantage of a “sale” on their products or services. It is better to take your time and find the right consultant then to make a rush decision.
We hope that this article is helpful. There are not cut and dry answers when it comes to making a decision on a SEM consultant. However once you find the right consultant your life will become easier.