One of the most important rules of advertising is a cliché, but it remains true: if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. This is important to remember when creating advertisements, but also when choosing a reputable marketing firm.
In general, you shouldn’t trust any companies that say they will put your website on search engines for a fee. Doing so is typically free (after all, the more pages the search engines can index, the better their results!) and not very time consuming. Getting your site listed on many search engines is important in getting traffic to your site, but the real goal in advertising your business is to convert visitors into customers.
There are a few different options you may come across when searching for an agency to help with your online marketing.
Mass Mailers – Beware of companies that promise sending your message to millions of people for tens of dollars. It may seem like a good deal at the time, but they are just taking your money. Most of them are emailing your message to harvested email accounts, or being posted as spam comments on reputable websites. You not only don’t want your business to be advertised via spam for legal reasons, but it also casts a negative shadow on your reputable products or services. Also, there is no way to be able to verify the actual number of messages that got sent to customers.
Individual Search Engine Ads – Placing unique and targeted ads using services such as Google ® Adwords is one of the most effective (and cost effective!) methods of attracting customers that are already interested in your product or service. Making sure your ad is targeted is vitally important. It’s the key between getting a page view, and making a sale.
Hiring a Marketing Firm – Hiring a marketing consulting firm can be one of the best ways to maximize your marketing dollars. Be warned though, not every company is reputable! You have to do your homework to find a good company that provides verifiable results. One measure of a company’s success rate is the company they keep.
If a company says they’ll make your business X number of dollars in 30, 60, or 90 days, then they should be willing to back that up with a guarantee, that way they’re invested in the deal as well (in the business, we call this having “skin in the game”).
If you’ve made it this far, you should know the basics of online marketing, but if you don’t remember anything else, commit this to memory: research your advertising options thoroughly! Never sign up for something that seems too good to be true expecting to get instant riches. If you lose sight of your long term goals in the search for short term riches, you probably won’t get either.