Back then, if you wanted to market your business, your go-to would be print (i.e. billboards, newspapers, or magazines), TV, or radio. However, the 21st century saw a steady decline in these forms of media, and marketers realized that these were no longer the most effective way to reach consumers. Instead, they realized that all the consumers who used to watch TV, listen to the radio, and read the newspaper, are doing all that through the Internet. This gave rise to a novel strategy known as Internet marketing.
What is Internet marketing?
Internet marketing, as the name suggests, uses the Internet as a medium for advertising your business. Most consumers are now embracing the Internet as an essential part of their lives, and experts believe that businesses who don’t put themselves online will run the risk of failing.
The COVID-19 pandemic only proved this point. Companies that had a strictly brick-and-mortar business model found themselves struggling while companies that were well-established in the online sphere managed to stay afloat. This proof of concept on a grand scale meant that many businesses are rushing to implement an Internet marketing strategy, some even going as far as to hire an Internet marketing firm.
What does an Internet marketing firm do?
Establishes your online presence
If you’re building your online presence from the ground up, an Internet marketing firm can provide the services needed to get you started, from website development and design to graphic design services to establish a consistent branding scheme for your website and social media profiles.
- Expands your reach
Let’s say you already have a website and a social media page, but you’re experiencing stagnant growth or a decline in engagement. An Internet marketing firm can audit your current strategy and advise you on what actions you can take to improve your analytics. Most firms turn to the following strategies to boost your brand awareness:
- Search engine optimization (SEO): boosting your website’s position on search engine results pages to increase site traffic and brand awareness
- Content marketing: creating high-quality and valuable content to engage with your consumers and encourage conversion
- Social media marketing: using social media sites to promote your business
Through these three, you can expect an increase in traffic and followers, which will most likely translate to increased conversions and revenue.
- Improves your brand reputation
Some Internet marketing firms offer services that improve your overall brand image. These include:
- PR services. Firms have personnel who have undergone sensitivity training to help your business avoid scandals and stay aware of current issues. They can also help you take the proper action when negative press goes viral.
- Website optimization. They can provide design expertise to ensure your website is stylish and provides a premium user browsing experience. A good website can even increase your conversion rate.
- Content production. Good content can work wonders on a business, from making it go viral to building a loyal and engaging fanbase. Working with a firm can help you consistently produce good content that is sure to win consumers over.
- Builds more meaningful consumer relationships
One of the more unique things about Internet marketing is that it offers a way for brands to communicate with their consumers in real-time. A digital marketing firm can assign professional customer service agents to monitor your emails and social media mentions and private messages to respond quickly to consumer comments, inquiries, and concerns. By establishing quick and open communication, it will build trust and loyalty with your consumers.
What red flags do I need to be aware of?
The demand for Internet marketing is high, which is why there are also Internet marketing companies out there who may not have your business’s best interest at heart. This includes those that use illegitimate techniques that violate platform terms and conditions, create repetitive and spammy content, and many others. These techniques may not only cause your website or social media pages to be banned but also negatively impact your brand reputation. To avoid such a scenario, it helps to know how you can identify bad agencies. Here are some red flags to watch out for.
- No online presence
If a firm can’t even market itself online, how can you expect them to market you? A legitimate Internet marketing firm should have a professional, functional, and well-designed website. They should also have active social media pages. If they don’t have these, you should cross them out of your list of options.
- No portfolio
A marketing firm’s portfolio contains all their previous clients and services they’ve provided them, as well as data on how their business improved after hiring the company. A portfolio is something you should expect to see when you’re in early talks with a marketing agency, and they should willingly provide it to you. If they refuse to show you their client list, that’s a sign you need to step away. Knowing who their clients are can help you contact them directly and ask for more honest feedback on the marketing agency’s services. This helps you form a more well-rounded opinion of the company.
- Too many promises
A good marketing agency will be honest about what they can and can’t achieve and offers a reasonable timeframe given your goals. An illegitimate agency will say almost anything it takes just to get you to sign on. This includes promising unrealistic results and timeframes (i.e. a number one spot on Google search engine results pages in just a week). Knowing what is and isn’t possible can help you be aware of when a company is making bold claims that are just too good to be true.
Some companies are hesitant to hire an Internet marketing firm because they may be hesitant to increase their operating costs, but boosting your online presence is a worthwhile investment because the returns are massive. A successful Internet marketing campaign can not only increase site traffic and revenue, but it also puts you in touch with a wider consumer base and helps you cater to your consumers’ needs better.
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