If you are an entrepreneur and you still haven’t availed the amazing opportunities that the online world has provided, then this article is not suitable for you. However, if you have stepped into the e-commerce industry and are not satisfied with the traffic and conversions your website is generating, then you probably are in need of digital marketing services.
Digital Marketing Services
Digital marketing is a form of marketing that makes use of electronic devices like personal computers, smartphones, cellphones, tablets, etc. to interact with stakeholders. Digital marketing makes use of technology or platforms such as websites, e-mail, apps and social networks. The firms and professionals who provide these services are called digital marketers.SEO, social marketing, paid search and email marketing all comes under the umbrella of digital marketing only.
Digital marketing services have gained popularity as businesses are investing in it because of the ROI generated by keeping track of each and every penny invested. The stats and data in offline marketing is based on assumptions and forecasting, but with digital marketing you can track every click, every visitor and their behavior on the website.
So, what is the problem?
If you possess digital marketing skills then you know what you should do next and you’ll have your action plan mapped out, but if you don’t then you need to hire a professional, and this is where the problem starts.
Digital marketing professionals can’t be assessed like finance or banking professionals, where one looks at the education and work experience upon the time of hiring.SEO professionals aren’t like designers or developers, where you look at their portfolio and decide if you want to hire one or not based on their talent. It is a profession where things changes pretty quickly and this doesn’t need any certification or degree, so it is hard to decide whether the marketer you are hiring is a good choice for your digital marketing needs or not.
There are many businesses that stopped investing in digital marketing, not because the service isn’t helping them but because they didn’t hire the right person for the job. Few even had to undergo drastic changes in their websites to eliminate shady links.
I know this is a problem but saying there is no solution to it is untrue! Research is the key to this problem, investing a portion of your time before making the hiring decision is crucial.
Reality check: If you are trying to find out a kick ass service provider for your internet marketing needs with $300 per month of a budget, you probably will never get one.
For this purpose, I am going to cover what things you need to consider while hiring a digital marketing professional to satisfy your business needs.
- Google their names
My first recommendation is to Google the name of the professional you are considering to hire. Just write their name and see what you find in the Google search results (at least on the first page). Authentic and successful professionals usually have their profiles setup on main social networks, author rank setup, etc.
If you find bad reviews or complains about the company or professional then you probably should look for some else.
John’s name although is similar to a musician, but he managed to build up a reputation to rank on the first page of Google. Plus no bad reviews or links are ranking on Google with his name.
The reason why it is important to Google their names is because most snake oil sellers prefer not to stay active on social platforms, they do not share their expertise and mostly do not get interviewed on well-known search blogs.
If the professional you are deciding to hire has an active social media profile, he/she shares his/her experiences from time to time and they are willing to impart their knowledge to make a change then you are possibly making the right choice.
- In-depth look at the social profiles
Social is important not only for better SEO building but also in order to make sure that you are hiring the right person or company to do the job. Just go though their social profiles (especially Twitter and Google+ as they are the major social platforms SEOs can’t live without) and see how they look.
If this is how their social profile looks like, then you should know what your next move needs to be, well you are smart enough to see this person doesn’t bother putting in an effort to stay active on major platforms then how will he handle yours? But if the social profile looks like the following one, you’ll have an idea about the person’s professional strengths and how he can capitalize on them to benefit your business.
Check Tad’s following vs. followers ratio! Don’t just go on the numbers but also check his interaction with his peers and influencers of the industry.
One of the clear indicators of bad service providers is that they are not active on social media platforms nor do they interact and participate in conversations related to the subject. Even if they are good with numbers (numbers can easily be manipulated), they clearly seem unreal on social media platforms.
- Active on help forums
The job of an SEO is to identify the consumer’s wants and needs, gain insight about their preferences and then satisfy them. In order to do that, one needs to interact with people and solve their problems all the time.
When hiring a consultant or a company to work for you, you have to look in to one or two big forums where people of the industry talk to each other and help others out. Websites like Quora, MozQnA, Inbound.org and Webmaster World forum are perfect examples of such forums.
Personally, you will find me more active on Moz QnA, Inbound.org and as a Moz’s active member, I would love to mention two people Ryan Keny and EGOL who spend hours of their time and help others in the industry.
Note: When I was originally writing this piece, Ryan’s community rank was 1 and EGOL was on 2, but now it’s the opposite.
People skills are needed, because the person you intend to hire needs to be good at interacting with others (who are not their direct clients), so that your thoughts and views reach out to the right kind of people you target to help. ‘Lazy’ or dumb SEOs usually do not help others and invest their time making money instead of building a respectable name in the market.
- Writing on other blogs
Great people are very comfortable sharing their success secrets openly with other professionals and even beginners. If you are in SEO and looking for such a personality Neil Patel is the man! Read his blogs on Quick Sprout or on other major websites he writes.
I also try to write on other major blogs from time to time, participate in the community and share the knowledge I have acquired over the years. You can check my about.me profile for that.
When making a decision of who to hire for your internet marketing or SEO needs, try to look in to giant blogs like Moz.com, Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Watch, Buzz Stream, Kaiser the Sage and if you find them writing there, then you are on the right track.
Snake oil service providers actually do not possess the skills and expertise that they can share with others, so they just simply don’t write and as these blogs maintain the quality of content, there is almost no space for bad service providers.
- Endorsement from other influencers
An endorsement from clients as well as from the industry influencers is very important and is one of the ways to judge the quality of a company and person you are planning to hire. The reason why these endorsements are important is because this gives you a quick insight of the level of expertise that person has plus what you should expect from him.
If you are planning to hire a SEO for your business website in order to gain better visibility, it is recommended not only to look for clients’ testimonials but try and find more about them from other industry pundits because they know the skill and they usually use their pen for endorsements only when they feel that it’s worthy. In almost 99.9% cases, endorsements from influencers cannot be grabbed by low quality service providers.
Hiring a quality SEO or digital marketing company that fits your business needs and helps you grow is not simple. It requires some time and research but if you make an effort while hiring a quality SEO you will end up getting good results for sure.
There are plenty of other ideas that you can use to judge the quality of a professional but the ones I have discussed are important and interesting for people not familiar with digital marketing services even.
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