For most people, the dream of making an easy buck online has not turned out to be a reality. Back in the very early days of the Internet in the late 1990s, the idea of just setting up a website and letting the cash flow in was very much in fashion.
Unfortunately, as the dot com bubble burst and people started sobering up a bit from their web-world fantasies, all of the people who were unwilling to work at being successful online just left the scene and went somewhere else.
The ones who have stayed behind are those who have more realistic expectations of what an Internet business can be. Sure, there are still people making a mint online, but you can bet that they have not only worked very hard to achieve that goal – but they have also been very smart about the choices they have made. Sometimes, being smart means getting help from expert strategic consultants – or getting access to the right online tools.
Yes, as many have learned the hard way, when the going gets tough online, the tough seek out strategic Internet marketing service providers. If you are looking for strategic Internet marketing services, here are 5 criteria to evaluate potential service providers:
1. Length of experience:
How long has the person or company been working in this field? Ask for references and other evidence that they are not just someone who is new to the game after having read a few books and building their own website over a couple of long weekends. Experience definitely counts in this arena.
2. Amount of hands-on attention they will give you:
Figure out just how much personal, hands-on attention you will get from a senior level consultant. How can you do this? Before signing a contract or going forward with a project, call the office a few times and see how easy it is to actually talk to the head person in charge. Your experience here likely forebodes how the rest of the relationship will play out. Trust your first impressions.
3. Degree to which they know your particular industry:
The important of this one is debatable. Much of online know-how is agnostic to any particular industry. Still, if their company has experience with what you do, all the better.
4. Degree to which they outsource vs. use in-house talent:
Outsourcing certain online marketing tasks is no crime, and in many ways you may benefit from their doing this (such as in paying lower prices). However, make sure that all key strategic decisions on your behalf are being made in-house – and NOT by some outside person who really has little connection to you or your business goals.
5. Quality of tools they use:
All strategic Internet marketers have access to a host of interactive tools, such as website analysis, keyword analysis, and competitor analysis tools. Find out what they use and how well they use them.
An alternative to your hiring a strategic Internet marketing solutions provider is to gain access to professional grade online tools you can use yourself. After a bit of training, you may know 90% of what these consultants could tell you – for a lot less cash.