When it comes to hiring Internet marketing help, you’ve got a lot of folks to choose from. Here are thoughts for separating the contenders from the pretenders.
In the new world of the Internet, it seems everyone does search engine optimization. Everyone is a Web designer. And everyone knows paid search marketing. And they do print advertising and direct mail, and can handle your e-mail marketing.
As a home improvement company, you’ve heard this in pitch after pitch. “We do that!” “We can handle that for you…” and “We’re experts at that.”
But in reality, it’s hard to know who is telling the truth. That said, I’m going to jump right in and offer up my view who really knows what with online marketing for home improvement.
Many home improvement companies have longstanding relationships with advertising agencies, or at least some kind of reliable catch-all marketing resource. Traditionally, these shops have done the nuts and bolts work that were a staple of home improvement marketing plans of the past. Designing inserts. Producing direct mail pieces. Recording TV and radio spots.
But today’s agencies have been slow to pick up on the Internet. What? Your hip, cutting-edge agency isn’t expert on the Internet? It’s a good possibility that they’re not. And if I had to find an Internet expert today, an advertising agency would be the one of the last places I’d look.
There are myriad reasons for this. But suffice it to say that many agencies are learning Internet marketing on their clients’ nickels. They work by the hour or project—compensation not tied to the performance of the campaigns they run.
As you doubtless know, there are an awful lot of Internet marketing consultants out there. So many that it’s difficult to separate the pretenders from the real thing. Here’s a case in point.
I know a great guy who has spent 25 years in the direct marketing business. He is a solid agency guy, who knows direct mail and response advertising cold. And he still does. But as advertising has suffered these last several months, he’s found himself without much business.
What does he do now? He’s an “Internet marketing expert.” In the wake of his difficulties in the advertising world, he has re-branded himself as an SEO and PPC guru.
And he’s not unique. As marketing professionals confront the evolving Web-centric new world around them, they are making themselves over as Internet marketing professionals.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) experts come in all styles and colors. Since you can’t go to college to learn SEO—yet—most are self-taught. I’ve heard from a dozen people that they began their SEO careers by reading the book SEO for Dummies.
But not all SEOs are created equal, and you’ll find tremendous differences in experience, knowledge and specialties amoung them. Some have honed their skills and become SEO rock stars. But others have barely moved the needle on the search rankings of the Web sites on which they have worked.
So can you tell the difference before you waste months and thousands of dollars? Tune in next week.