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Dustin DeTorres By Dustin DeTorres • December 19, 2012

4 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Local Marketing Agency

Local marketing strategies have evolved significantly in recent years. It all started with companies obtaining a URL and building a website with keywords crammed inside. Next the advent of advanced search engine marketing strategies led by Google and their flagship product, AdWords. Today, however, a fully integrated local marketing strategy involves much more than merely obtaining a URL, building a website, and running a Google AdWords program.

With the arrival of social media, the increasing relevance of Search Engine Optimization, the ability to manage our online reputation, and the need to analyze all of our online activity in one place, it’s increasingly apparent that companies require an integrated digital marketing strategy that works in concert to connect everything.

No longer is it acceptable to build only a beautiful website without taking into account all the elements of proper onsite Search Engine Optimization, user experience (UX) and ways to capture leads. This includes title-tag alignment with relevant key words on each page. It’s also imperative to ensure that your company is listed in:

  • Major search engines including Google, Bing and Yahoo.
  • 100+ online directories such as Yelp, Trip Advisor and major internet Yellow Pages.

Trying to manage an integrated, Local Search Engine Marketing program involves extensive time and a high level of expertise.

The majority of businesses today don’t have the time or knowledge to manage the complexities of an integrated digital marketing strategy. Working with several vendors to meet the individual needs of a company is time consuming and lacks cohesion. Due to the complexity in today’s digital marketing world, it’s more important than ever to have the right marketing partner.

Because of this, we’ve listed 4 questions you need to ask the potential agency that would handle your local optimization and digital marketing strategies.

1: “What’s going on inside your agency?”

Take a look at the business model of the companies you interview to manage your local marketing needs. Do they take an in-house approach and hire a full staff to manage everything within the agency? How much time are they willing to put into listening to your business goals? What is the company culture like?

2: “Do you offer the service that’s right for me?”

Not only is the experience important, but truly finding a digital marketing agency that will manage all of the needs of your multi-faceted business is imperative. This includes working with a partner that offers a complete portfolio of products and services to form a unified strategy. Every business is different. Therefore it’s important for the local-focused marketing agency to be flexible enough to adapt to the way your specific business operates.

3: “What is your experience in working with small to medium sized business?

Running a commercial during the Super Bowl or buying an ad in Sports Illustrated sound like awesome marketing promotions and can be a major ego booster. But for local, small to medium sized businesses, this is somewhat unrealistic. Unlike those corporations or larger entities that have piles of cash to burn, your small business needs to be able to attribute a much tighter ROI to your marketing spend as well as build customer relationships along the way. The agency you choose should be able to demonstrate success with other small to medium sized businesses and give you ways to measure your marketing investments.

4: “What is your pricing structure?”

Most local agencies or consultants work by charging hourly fees that are primarily based off experience, the project and company overhead. The rate is usually built into a project fee based on the # of hours that are estimated to complete the work. Make sure you’re fully aware of the pricing and the length of terms before you get started with the digital agency you choose. Ask as many questions as possible in the beginning so you’re not surprised by marketing agency hourly pricing down the road.

Now What? By asking the RIGHT questions and choosing the RIGHT agency to develop a comprehensive digital marketing program, your small to medium sized business is taking the necessary steps to stay competitive in the ever changing world of those shifts from traditional to new media. Those companies that fail to adapt and take advantage of new opportunities face the possibility of experiencing an erosion of new business. Innovate or Die. Conversely, companies that embrace an integrated digital strategy have limitless opportunities by retaining existing customers and acquiring new business in exciting new ways.

See the original article posted on the Integrated Digital Strategies blog.