Step into the shoes of your buyers for a moment.
How do you research new products, ideas and approach purchase decisions?
Like many of us, it’s likely that your purchase decisions are supported by online searches performed via search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, Bing and others. In fact, studies suggest that “89 percent of consumers use search engines for purchase decisions,” according to a recent report from Fleishman-Hillard.
As small business owners, one of the best ways to engage with active online searchers is through a broad set of activities referred to as search engine marketing (SEM). According to Search Engine Land, “SEM is an umbrella term that covers two broad areas: gaining traffic through free SEO effort and gaining traffic through paid search advertising.”
While SEO aims to organically optimize your company’s website, both on-page and off-page, many small businesses may benefit from combining SEO efforts with paid placements, contextual advertising, and paid inclusions (i.e. pay-per-click advertising).
If you don’t have the knowledge in-house to develop and manage an effective paid search campaign to drive sales, you may decide to hire our outsource the work to a digital marketing agency that specializes in search engine optimization (SEO), paid search marketing, and search engine positioning solutions.
But before, you turn to an agency to manage your paid search programs, here is what you should look for and expect.
How to Evaluate a Paid Search Agency
Here are a few things every small business should consider before hiring a digital marketing agency to handle paid search initiatives.
1. What is our annual budget? If it is minimal would we be better served hiring in-house?
2. Will an agency manage all of our SEM initiatives or just paid search?
If you consider the aforementioned questions and decide to hire an agency, consider asking the following questions :
1. What has your agency done for other clients lately?
2. What is the scope of annual budgets that your agency manages?
3. Do you hold any industry accolades and are you an active participant in industry discussions?
4. Will my company have a dedicated analytics team to put big data to work and uncover new growth opportunities?
5. What is your rate structure? Do you charge a percentage of media spend, a flat fee, or some hybrid?