Online Marketing Companies: Apples and Oranges

Online marketing is a rapidly growing industry. From paid search, SEO and email marketing to online public relations and social media management, it’s an industry that has come to mean different things to different people. Within such a diverse field, how can a person even begin to differentiate the organizations who offer these services – let alone choose the one that is best for him/her? When looking past the à la carte services or bundled offerings, what are some key points of distinction? And, more importantly, what do they mean for the business owner?

  1. Company Values

Warren Buffett once said, “Price is what you pay for. Value is what you get.”

At the core of every company are its values. While some are left unmentioned, other companies take the time to reflect on the values most important to them and communicate them clearly. These values tell you much more than just what the company represents; they also highlight the characteristics they seek in their team members and the values they esteem in their customer service. Put simply, don’t be afraid to look past a price tag and determine the true value.

  1. Core Focus

Companies, both large and small, can attest to the fact that there are certain projects that fall within a “sweet spot,” a defined scope that is an optimal fit for their team both in terms of expertise and work capacity. This sweet spot can be clearly communicated under the framework of a “core focus” that is stated explicitly on a company’s website or other marketing collateral. The presence of this core focus sheds light on the time a company has spent determining where they do their best work. Understanding this core focus allows you to see if your project is the best fit for the company.

  1. Client Results

As the old adage goes, “Numbers don’t lie.” Any viable online marketing company should have results to show. Whether highlighting year over year data (long-term client relationships, anyone?) or focusing on specific metrics, such as mobile traffic or contact form submissions, these client results should be part of the sales discussion. Don’t hesitate to look online for portfolios or testimonials, and definitely request client references who can vouch for the quality of work performed – from start to finish.

As an increasing number of businesses start to break into this industry and call themselves “online marketing companies,” organizations owe it to themselves to take a critical eye to these companies’ credentials. Often times, taking the time to learn who they are and what they deliver will offer clear points of distinction that will guide you in choosing the best company for you and your project.

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