This is one of those posts that got rejected by a client because of "overall writing style". I have no idea what this means. I've posted a comment on the client's profile to see if I can receive additional clarification and information on this rejection reasoning. Hopefully, I'll get a response in a few days (Zerys needs to approve the comment. Once that's done, the client will see it and respond, ideally). How do clients expect people to improve with feedback like this? If you don't like the darn article, just tell me that it sucks. If you didn't like the writing style, then tell me what you would have liked to see, or what you didn't like about the writing style. Since the client rejected the article, it's mine now and I'm going to publish it here. Nearly every business needs help with online marketing to some extent. Since it's hard to get by without engaging in some form of online marketing, there are tons of companies out there ready to offer services and to provide this solution or that solution for your Internet marketing woes. How do you sort through all these companies and pick the one that can best meet your needs and deliver the best results? Here's how to choose an online marketing firm that's right for your business:
Know What You Want to Achieve
Before starting any research, know exactly what you want to achieve with the help of an online marketing firm. Knowing what you want to achieve increases the chances of success. If you don't have set goals that you can communicate to a potential partner, then it will be difficult to determine if they've really helped you or if they are doing what needs to be done to improve your online marketing.
Knowing your goals also makes your research much more purposeful. If you need help with social media, for example, then you want to research online marketing firms who have had success in helping clients with their social media marketing. You also want to find companies who do a good job managing their own social media efforts as well (if they can't keep their own profiles updated, how will they treat yours). It's okay to ask for samples if a company doesn't have them readily available on their website or for download. Sometimes, a company won't want to put too many details about their clients on the web for the entire world (including their competition) to see.
Once you find a couple of online marketing firms that could work for you, contact them and see how long it takes to get back to you. Does the firm engage in an ongoing conversation, or do they just reply to your original email? This is an indicator of the personal service and attention you will receive from the company, and if they are willing to be helpful and to learn about your business. If they go straight for the sale, or if it takes a few days just to get any sort of response, then you know that firm isn't worth your time and money. However, if they offer pointers and explain how certain online marketing tactics would help you achieve your goals, then it's a better fit.
Experience in Your Industry
This isn't crucial for every business, but would be important to those in very niche or technical industries i.e. healthcare, financial services, technology. It also might be a good factor to use to narrow down your list of online marketing firms. Experience in your industry can be incredibly helpful because these agencies can take less time to get things done simply because time isn't needed to do additional research, to source an expert, and to learn about the industry. Their services are more expedient and will reflect a strong understanding of your industry. The company already has the information to execute a campaign and/or to offer services that can reach your target audience.
Don't Be Cheap, and Don't Pick the Cheapest
Sure, you can pay $5 an article or $20 a month for SEO services, but this doesn't necessarily mean that you'll receive the best online marketing services out there. There are too many stories out there of people who took this route, only to get hurt by Google's Panda and Penguin updates and are still struggling to reclaim their former glory. Yes, know your budget and stick to it as much as possible, but also make sure that your budget is competitive. With online marketing, you get what you pay for. If you're not wiling to pay for it, then you risk having the junior staff assigned to account or pushing away quality talent that would be worth those few extra dollars.
Choosing an online marketing firm isn't easy. There are so many to choose from, each offering different services and pitching a different solution to your needs. To choose the one that's best for you, know what you want to achieve and find a firm who's willing to learn what you want to achieve and to provide the solution that does that. If you can find a company that's worked in your industry and has a good price, then all the better.