Posted on May 10, 2019 by Tricia Davis-Payne The digital marketing landscape is a crowded space. With so many companies and people offering you the world in terms of results and exposure – if you just get in touch with them. We have all seen the emails: ‘I was going through your website and I personally see a lot of potential. Just email me your contact info…’ Spamming aside, there are a multitude of companies operating as digital marketing services agencies. So how do you determine what internet marketing services your business needs and what’s the best way to find the right partner? Tell the Story of Why You Do It First and foremost, you should evaluate your brand story and ensure you have a strong Unique Value Proposition. Your messaging should be on point and express the individuality of your brand. Without this messaging, no amount of traffic from any source is going to convert as effectively as it would if your brand identity was thoroughly developed. Digital marketing is most effective when the branding is nailed down. This story is leveraged throughout all platforms of marketing to amplify your message. This means your website and social media presence as well as your email marketing and print advertising efforts. Driving Traffic to Your Entire Digital Footprint Now that you have a story to tell, it’s time to find an effective way to use your uniqueness and drive traffic to your digital footprint. A good way to shop for digital marketing services is to investigate companies with a published client list and proven track record. If you don’t see referenced businesses that you can evaluate on your own, that’s a good sign they aren’t going to be effective. Always look at the reviews and testimonials, as this is another good way to determine the pros from the posers. Growing exposure across digital properties is a time consuming and methodical process. Organic listings, paid advertising, social media, email marketing, shopping platforms… all of these marketing channels (and more) require research, plan development, implementation, analysis, and alterations to be completely optimized for maximizing performance and return on investment. Depending on your business, you’ll want to make a list of all the channels you need to reach now and desire to reach in the future. Then find an agency that can deliver on all of those channels. Marketing companies that understand how to leverage digital marketing channels across platforms are going to be more effective than hiring one company to do your SEO marketing and another to handle your paid advertising. Your team should be working together to maximize your exposure and minimize your expense. They Found You, Now What Internet marketing isn’t just about driving traffic to your website or other digital properties across the web. It’s also about what that traffic decides to do when they find you. Finding an agency that has a creative and development team to recommend, implement, and evaluate the user’s experience is key to growing your brand. You want an agency that understands and is equipped to handle the experience from getting traffic to your business and inspiring them to take action. Some digital marketing efforts should be handled in-house if possible. No one knows your business more intimately than you do. And no agency can be there for you during the wow moments in the day to day operations of your business. An agency can certainly help you set up social platforms and teach businesses how to leverage social media. But it really should be a dual effort between the agency and the business, if not a dedicated effort of the business to direct these channels. Businesses that understand the importance of capturing moments through images and sharing those images get the most benefit of the social experience. For some businesses the obvious solution is to have a dedicated person or team for social media, for others, this may not be feasible right now. It doesn’t have to be complicated – it just needs to be authentic. Tie into your brand experience, empower your employees to snap photos with their smartphones and send them to the individual responsible for evaluating and posting this content internally. An agency simply isn’t going to be there when you set up a new display, plate a new menu item, or finish that window tinting project. By giving your employees the authority to capture these moments for the company, you can then share this across your media platforms. An agency can complement this effort through content development and creation, but without the company taking social media seriously internally, the efforts simply won’t be as effective. One of The Most Important Decisions You Will Make Shopping for the right digital marketing agency is one of the most important decisions a business can make. So take the time to evaluate your own readiness through brand identity development. Look for agencies that have established client lists with results you can evaluate and see for yourself. Look at the offsite reviews and testimonials area on their website, what are others saying about them? When you find a few good ones, it’s time to match your current and future business needs in digital marketing with the services they offer. Internet marketing is an ongoing, ever-changing environment. You want to find the right partner to build a lasting relationship that will grow your brand and build your exposure month over month and year over year.