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How to Select the Right Web Marketing Service Provider

Web marketing service providers all work differently. They have distinct service offerings, tools, and costs that you will have to evaluate. By using a standard set of evaluation questions, it will be much easier for you to choose a web marketing service firm that meets your specific needs.

Here are seven key questions you can use when selecting your next web marketing services provider.

  1. What are the costs of the services? While cost alone should never be the primary factor on which to base your final decision, it always needs to be taken into consideration since no one has an unlimited marketing budget. Compare the different services to see which ones are the most affordable, and rule out any that are clearly out of your price range. If you’re not sure what you should be spending on website marketing in the first place, you can do some comparison shopping first and, depending on your revenue expectations, determine what your budget needs to be. If you are just starting out, you will need a higher marketing budget to jump start your web marketing efforts. A general rule of thumb is to set aside 10-12% of your revenue goals as a marketing budget. However, what you spend should also be in relation to the returns of your investment. You can quantify the returns of your investment by measuring results.
     
  2. Is it clear what is included in the cost? There are a multitude of different web marketing services available and every web marketing services provider packages their services differently, so you really need clarity on you will get as part of the service. Web marketing agencies, web marketing consultants, and marketing service providers often tend to leave things vague and open for interpretation. However, while in some cases it’s best to include the flexibility to deal with uncertainties or contingencies, most service deliverables can be spelled out in advance. The clearer it is what they will provide, including the specific tasks and quality level of a set of services, the easier it is for you to determine the value of that web marketing service to you.
     
  3. How are results measured? Results from your web marketing efforts can be measured in a number of ways. Find out what kind of reports you’ll receive on a monthly basis to analyze results from your website. This will allow you to see what works, what doesn’t, and how well your marketing campaign is doing. Make sure that you find a provider who will provide you with analysis, not just data, so you can improve your conversions. The higher your conversions, the lower your cost per lead and cost per sale. Remember, you can’t improve what you don't measure. Measuring your results is crucial for continuous improvement and for calculating your return on investment.
     
  4. Do they have a proven methodology? Find out if the service provider uses a standardized, proven methodology for how they execute their website design services, SEO projects, social media programs or other web marketing campaigns they may be doing for you. If you do not sense they have a solid system, then they probably don't. Those who do can tell you exactly what their system is, what you can expect to get from them and how they will report progress and results on a monthly basis. Many web marketing services consultants are mavericks, who got into the professional accidentally or opportunistically, without a solid background in b2b marketing. “Winging it” isn’t a strategy, and it’s inefficient and costly for you.
     
  5. Do they provide you with business advice and guidance about what you need to be successful? Many service providers approach web marketing services from a technical perspective. They are proficient at the mechanics of website design, SEO or software. But there is a disconnect between those services and your sales going up. The reason for website design, SEO or implementing web marketing software is to generate revenue. To generate revenue, your business needs to have an effective and simple model that will give you a roadmap to follow and a strategy defined for how to grow your business, and how your website will support your marketing and sales efforts. ePROneur has created a simple but powerful model (which we call our ESALES/EBUYERTM Model) that maps out the six sales steps for leading visitors through the buying process. It also includes a checklist of what is needed for your website in each step that will lead buyers to reach a decision. This model enables you to maximize returns from your web marketing efforts and enable you to gain competitive advantage.
     
  6. What tools are included with their services? Effective web marketing requires the right tools. If you don’t have easy tools to manage your own website after a marketing company sets it up for you, it may be very frustrating and costly for you to depend on a firm to maintain it for you. In addition, web traffic is of little value without the tools to capture leads, and measure and optimize conversion rates. Having the right tools on your website is essential so you can easily update your site with information your visitors value, track activity on your site, exchange contact information for downloadable material, and have a system to automatically follow up with those that have shown interest. The tools you will need to effectively manage your website marketing and sales efforts include a website builder and content manager, a contact management and CRM System to manage leads, an email campaign manager to nurture leads, a social media tracking tool, and ecommerce capability if you want to sell online. Too often, companies discover only after a website development project that additional capabilities are needed. This leads to extra expense, complex and incomplete integration of the tools, and less-than-optimal business results.
     
  7. What types of customer service and support are included? Test their customer service before you buy. How quickly do they respond if you make an inquiry on their site? Are you just “another number” or do they treat their customers with personalized care? Try to get in touch with a real person, to find out if you can easily get help. Make customer service another key factor in your decision.

These seven questions will help you consider important factors when evaluating website marketing service providers. Because there are many different types of providers—independent consultants, marketing agencies, web design firms, software vendors--it may take some time to choose the best one for your needs. Hopefully this checklist will help you understand how to evaluate and select your service provider, what you need to be successful, and the importance of continually measuring and improving results along the way.

 

 




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Eproneur empowers entrepreneurs and small businesses to promote their business online in the most affordable and effective way.

Eproneur is a full service web marketing firm located in Princeton, New Jersey. We offer a powerful suite of integrated web marketing software tools, website design services, search engine optimization and social media services.

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