Years ago, the marketing model for a business looked significantly different. Business owners were vying for people’s eyes and ears through TV ads, radio spots, print ads and street signage. Nowadays, the methodology has shifted. Keywords are all the buzz, as is the generation of an internet footprint. Businesses with a strong keyword in their company name will likely be ranking 1.5 spots higher than those without one in their name. So even the nomenclature of a business may be dependent on web marketing principles.

While the methodology has certainly changed, the objective remains the same: Get the attention of your target audience. Instead of wading through the morass of technical terms and nebulous internet concepts, many businesses look to web marketing firms to satisfy their marketing needs. This makes sense, particularly given the ever-shifting digital landscape. However, the question remains: What should you look for in a web marketing firm?

Do Your Research

A business relationship with any of the web marketing firms out there is likely to last a good while, particularly if the right firm is chosen. It therefore makes sense to put some time into researching the firms you are interested in. Check out their history, their portfolio and try to get a sense of their customer service principles. But researching the firms themselves is only half of the picture.

You also want to look into what has been successful for other businesses in your sector. What has helped them to touch the hearts, minds and wallets of their target markets? Where is their business present online? Where do you see their products? How are customers getting exposure to what they offer? Most importantly, which web marketing firms are they using? When in doubt, a tactful phone call may be able to help answer a lot of your questions. If you are concerned about the company being reticent because they may see you as competition, choose one that has its business focuses in a different geographical area. They may be more willing to open up. Once you’ve done your research, it’s time to move on to vetting the web marketing firms themselves.

Look for Transparency

Even though web design services may not be within your wheelhouse, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have a solid understanding of what goes into your marketing plan. Most importantly, you should know why each element was chosen. Whichever web marketing agency you choose, you should feel comfortable asking them about the ins and outs of their choices for your business. If they are unwilling to share, for instance, the methods behind social media promotion, or their web design services, you may be better suited with another company.

Having a working understanding of the marketing plan is important because the most important member of the marketing team is you, the client. While you will not be micro-managing their each and every move, you may be able to toss them an idea or two as to how to maximize everyone’s efforts. With a functional understanding of their strategy, you will be better positioned to do so.

Ask for Recent Examples of Some of Their Campaigns

When choosing a digital marketing company, a portfolio is invaluable, but not all portfolios are created equal. A sample of work can be quite impressive, but you don’t know when it was made and how much their capabilities and techniques have changed since then. Perhaps the person responsible for the work has since moved on from the company, or maybe they simply cannot produce quality work at that volume anymore. This is why it is imperative that you see recent examples of their work. Moreover, their samples shouldn’t just sit inside a slick, pre-packaged CV or portfolio. You should be able to see at least some parts of it in action. A social media campaign showing a history of effectiveness, rankings increase in search engine results, or evidence of increased lead flow that’s been tracked and documented through Google Analytics – only proof in action can offer you strong insights into the effectiveness of a marketing strategy. Credible, experienced web marketing firms who want your business will be more than happy to showcase their work and capabilities.

Using these steps as a foundation to choose the right digital marketing company, you will be better able to leverage your company’s potential across the internet to increase profits.