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One advantage of agencies has already been revealed: Agencies do the work for you. Companies that can afford to outsource receive the gifts of time and an experienced marketing team. That's an attractive combination. The following sections list a few other benefits to consider.
Fast Time to Market
Is search engine marketing your sole focus? Probably not. Small business owners are consumed by daily operations; marketing directors of corporations juggle various online and offline promotions at once. Internet agencies present over-committed marketers assistance with part or all of their online campaigns . Equipped with tools and strategic action plans, agencies turbo-boost web site visibility in a relatively short timeframe.
This isn't to say that agencies wave their magic wands to get instant listings in the search engines. Keywords have to be researched, ad copy written, landing pages designed, and tracking URLs generated for paid placement. Plus, ad listings require approval by search engine editors before they are "live."
For paid inclusion, each web site page that'll be submitted to the search engines for possible organic rankings must be optimized. Rankings are not guaranteed through inclusion programs, and if achieved, these pages typically require continuous optimization to combat competitors and changes in search engines' ranking methodologies (see Figure 20.3 for the location of paid placement versus organic listings). Still, Internet marketing agencies can expedite these processes.
Figure 20.3. The "Sponsored Links" on Google are paid placement programs. The main search results are organic listings that can be influenced by optimization efforts. (Google is one of the few search engines that offers a free Submit URL program.)
Some agencies specialize in search engine marketing. Firms including Bruce Clay, Grantastic Designs, and iProspect, all well-rated in the industry, do nothing but eat, sleep, and dream about search engines. Traditional marketing agencies can execute search engine advertising more effectively than site optimization, because the former is somewhat similar to their media buying process. However, even within paid placement or paid inclusion programs, the ever-changing rules require a team of search engine negotiation, copywriting, programming, and ROI specialists. Search engine-centric agencies tend to be better equipped with proven tools and expertise.
Campaign Analysis and Recommendations Included
Software is an important piece of a marketer's toolbox, but it doesn't replace human analysis. Agencies certainly rely on a suite of tools to manage your paid listings. Plus, agencies, Internet marketing specialists, and search engine companies leverage these tools to provide you with customized campaign recommendations. Their suggestions are based on detailed analysis of your ROI data, market research, and customer behavior profiling, plus creative copywriting specific to your business.
It's often beneficial for an agency to assess a company's web site strategy. Outside analysts can create customer-focused campaigns more easily than company marketers who are "too close" to their work. Agencies have also developed winning formulas. They act as a car driver, while the clients act as the driver's navigator. Agencies handle the "hands-on" responsibilities of the road trip while clients provide the end destination goal and assistance with directions. Teamwork is essential.
Comprehensive Online Marketing Services
Full-service Internet marketing agencies handle all aspects of your promotional campaigns, from media planning/buying to creative design to ROI analysis. Agencies may even outsource particular services to industry specialists, so there's a chance you'll be hiring the best teams for each marketing channel, while communicating and writing a check to one. Although not all agencies are readily willing to reveal their technology partners , do ask if you're curious about who'll be working on your campaigns. A star network of expert partners could be available.
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