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Five Questions to Ask When Selecting a Web Marketing Partner

When you’re looking for a web marketing partner, it’s important that you pick someone who actually knows what they’re doing. There are a lot of people out there calling themselves web marketing experts, when in actuality, they have very little social media experience at all.

1. What tools should I use?

Number Five
Good answer: “There are a few thousand platforms out there, but we should definitely look at Twitter and either Facebook or LinkedIn.” (Use Facebook if you have a large B2C audience, and LinkedIn if you’re more of a B2B business.)
Best answer: “We’ll have to see where your audience is.” (A good marketer will want to do an audience analysis to see which sites have your biggest reach. There may be one or two you’ve never even heard of)
Worst answer: “Oh, you’ve got to be on Facebook!” (This may actually end up being the best answer, but if that’s the first thing they say, without knowing anything about your business, that’s the clue that it’s wrong.)

2. How will you measure effectiveness?

Good answer: “There are some different tools that measure web traffic and social media influence.”
Best answer: “We’ll use tools like Google Analytics and Bitly to measure your traffic, and tie that in with your CRM (customer relationship management) system to measure sales.”
Worst answer: “You can’t measure social media.” (Yes you can. There are all sorts of tools to do that, many of them free.) Also, “we’ll count the number of followers and friends you have” is pretty bad, because that doesn’t represent sales.

3. How important is blogging?

Good answer: “Pretty important. It helps with your search engine optimization.”
Best answer: “Very important. It helps your SEO, but it also establishes your credibility and expertise with your readers.”
Worst answer: “Blogging isn’t that important. You need to focus on pay-per-click advertising.” (Pay-per-click advertising may not always be that effective, and it might not even be a good fit for your business; we’ve also written about the importance of blogging. It’s pretty important.)

4. How long have you been doing Internet marketing?

Good answer: “A few years.”
Best answer: “Since 2003.” (Really, anything over four years is pretty good, but longer is better.)
Worst answer: “Six months.” (Remember, Internet marketing is more about marketing than it is social media. It’s not about the tools, it’s about the message you put out on them, and just like anything else, experience is good.)

5. Can you offer any guarantees?

Good answer: “No.”
Best answer: “No, but we have some best practices based on what we’ve done in the past, and if we follow those, we’re more likely to succeed.” (More experienced Internet marketers have best practices and examples .)
Worst answer: “Yes, absolutely.” (As much as we hate to say it, there’s no way to predict what’s going to happen to your Internet marketing. Trends and tastes change, and Google is changing its algorithm all the time. What wins search one day may be banned the next.)

About the author: is the president and founder of Firebelly Marketing. He is an entrepreneur, writer, speaker, and photographer, and he’s working on his first social media marketing book, which will be out in late 2012. Duncan has lived on 3 continents and in 5 countries, but is proud to call Indianapolis home.

Photo credit: Leo Reynolds (Flickr, Creative Commons)


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