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7 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Digital Marketing Firm

Questions to ask a digital marketing firmDigital marketing is a more complex field than many business owners realize. Implementing the different techniques correctly requires significant training that many entrepreneurs and professionals simply lack the time to pursue.

Hiring a web consulting firm is the easier and more efficient approach to digital marketing. Not all agencies are best for your business, however, and this post will help you decide which one is right for you. Here are the top 7 questions you should ask before signing on the dotted line:

1. What is your approach to search engine optimization (SEO)?

SEO is arguably the most important aspect of digital marketing. SEO drives organic traffic to your site and improves your search engine rankings. As nearly 90% of internet usage starts with a search, SEO techniques are too critical to ignore.

SEO requires a mix of on and off page optimization, technical audits and link building. If you speak to an SEO firm that doesn’t identify all of these techniques, they may not have enough expertise for your business. Furthermore, ask them to briefly explain these techniques to ensure that they are not just dazzling you with terminology.

2. How do you measure success for my webpage?

Success is a subjective concept in the digital marketing industry. Goal completions known as “conversions” are the universal measure of success. These goals depend on the industry. Ecommerce businesses want products sold. Law firms want client forms submitted. Medical practices want more appointments scheduled. The list goes on.

Even the best digital marketers can’t guarantee dramatic increases in conversions. (Don’t hire the firm that says they can!) Conversions also depend on the clients’ dealings with your business, your prices, availability, etc.

Beyond conversions, an experienced web consulting firm will also seek an improvement in your rankings, more traffic to your site, etc. Publicity through social media and email subscribers also help a business thrive, so it’s important for you and your chosen agency to have the same measures of success in mind.

3. What programs do you use?

There are a host of programs and websites available for digital marketing. WordPress and Google Analytics are good starting points, but reports through other SEO tools such as Screaming Frog offer more detailed insights. There are also email service providers, social media tools and a host of other options available for a more complete approach to digital marketing. Be sure your firm is trained and well-versed in more than one program.

Additionally, it doesn’t hurt to ask how the firm stays up to date with their techniques and training. Industry giants like Moz and Search Engine Land offer white papers and newsletters to help SEO experts stay on their game. Your potential firm should want to stay on the cutting edge for their clients, so run away from an agency that doesn’t try to expand their knowledge.

4. What is your timeframe for my campaign?

This question is a bit tricky. Depending on the size of the firm and how much business they have, an overhaul to your website may take a lengthy period of time. Thus, there isn’t necessarily a timeframe that is the “right” answer.

Nevertheless, any good digital marketer will tell you that a campaign is never over. Though your website may be fully optimized after 6 weeks, SEO is an ongoing process. Content needs to be updated regularly. Audits need to be conducted to measure the speed and other technical elements of your site. Your competitors need to be monitored to see if they updated to a better ranking than you and how they did so. In truth, an SEO retainer is a much better investment for your business as you need to keep your site optimized and relevant.

5. What are examples of your previous work?

Word of mouth is one of the only tangible measures of a digital marketing firm as you have no way of previewing the analytics of pages created and maintained by the firm. Additionally, most SEO firms have clients all over the country, so a local business isn’t necessarily the better option.

A newly trained digital marketer isn’t always a bad investment, but err on the side of caution and pick a firm that has previous examples of work. References and case studies are also important evidence of success. Not every client needs to have a lifetime retainer with a web consultant. Nevertheless, seek a firm that can send you to happy former and current clients.

6. What training do you and your employees have?

Technology-based training is mentioned above in #3, but there are also degree programs and certifications available in digital marketing and related fields. On the job training is a key learning tool, but the better firms will have at least a little bit of formal education to boast of.

7. How will you keep me updated as to the status of my business’ website?

There are 2 key forms of communication that your web consulting firm should offer you. There should be some form of detailed report or audit available to you to track the data for your website. (Bounce rate, traffic, channels of traffic, etc.) Monthly or bi-monthly is the minimum amount of communication you should strive for with this. When the report is sent to you, be sure that you feel it is sufficiently detailed for you to understand how the public is interacting with your site.

Additionally, there should be a monthly or bi-monthly strategy session with your firm that can take place via a web or phone call. You may or may not have ideas or goals that you would like to express, but it is imperative for the agency to tell you their thoughts and plans regarding your site. Striving for progress is a requirement for any good digital marketer, and you should feel as though your business’ success is a priority to your chosen firm.

Paramaya Web Consulting has been in business since 2001 and has provided SEO and web consulting services to dozens of clients. The firm is well-recommended and provides their clients with detailed reports and extensive opportunities for communication.

Need to hire a digital marketing firm? Contact Paramaya Web Consulting at 678-824-5560 or use our form below.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Writing Product Descriptions for Ecommerce Websites

One of the most important aspects of content for an ecommerce website is well-written product descriptions. When writing this content, your baseline goals are to describe the items and entice online shoppers to make the purchase. A good product description, however, serves other important purposes such as assuring your site visitors that your merchandise is superior to that of your competitors whether that pertains to product features, reliability, price etc.

Venturing further, informative product descriptions will improve search performance for the most relevant queries; earning higher rankings in organic search engine results pages (SERPs). In other words, if someone searches for a “blue widget with a green button,” it will help if your product description mentions that the widget for sale is blue and has a green button.

With the above goals in mind, this post helps identify some do’s and don’ts for writing effective product descriptions.

DO strike a balance between persuasive marketing copy and writing for SEO.

If you manage your website’s content and are looking for writing tips, a Google search offers a plethora of suggestions for creating winning product descriptions. Some information may seem helpful, but not all sites offer comprehensive digital marketing advice. A few sites may focus on just the creative approach. These sites will tell you to use words like “brilliant” instead of “pretty.” Other sites emphasize SEO techniques such as using the appropriate keyword research. If you solely employ an SEO-friendly approach, however, you could end up with phrases like “cheap handbags” that may only target one particular audience. Balance is key to hitting the important objectives of staying appealing to your potential customers and performing highly in search engines.

DO keep a target audience in mind.

Your digital marketing campaign should not try to attract ALL possible customers. Some ecommerce businesses, such as the food industry or a supply company, may be able create product descriptions for a broad array of customers. Other niche businesses, like fashion or specialty services, may have to identify a key demographic and/or stick to a particular brand identity. The identity could be framed by age, price, gender, etc. Once you have an identity in mind, conduct the proper keyword research to discover the search terms your potential customers are using to find products like yours.

DON’T rely on manufacturer descriptions.

Creative marketers and SEO experts both agree on this tip. Manufacturer descriptions are often bare bones, lacking the persuasive language to convince online shoppers that your products are superior to your competitors.

Ecommerce website owners often copy product descriptions directly from the manufacturer’s website, which can result in hundreds or thousands of online stores using the same description for the same product page.

When Google encounters this type of duplicate content, their search algorithm will filter pages out of search results. Even when the duplicates aren’t filtered out, the manufacturer’s own website will often outperform sites with duplicate product descriptions because they were the first to publish.

If you are a retailer with too much merchandise to write unique product descriptions, consider hiring an SEO firm with experience writing optimized product descriptions for successful online stores.

DO highlight any relevant features of your products.

This may seem obvious, but many product descriptions leave out critical descriptive information about product attributes. Length is often the concern that constrains the amount of details in the descriptions. Nevertheless, you need to include noteworthy features of a product.

Possible considerations include:

  • Is your merchandise available for a discount?
  • Do your items have unique characteristics or features?
  • Are your products known for being durable and/or contain a warranty?
  • Do your items cater to special needs? (i.e. gluten-free, petite sizes, paraben free, etc.)
  • Do you have any reviews or testimonials?

Thorough keyword research is the best way to identify the product attributes you need to highlight. Keyword research reveals what your potential customers are searching for, and you should use their language in your descriptions.

Further analysis by you or an SEO firm will also uncover the terms your competitors are using. While you want to stand out from the pack, if your competitor performs well in search, a page or two from their book may be the right idea.

DON’T forget to make sure the content is visually appealing.

When writing your product descriptions, pay attention to how your content is presented. Digital marketing experts will advise you to adhere to visual guidelines such as using tabs, bulleted lists, enough white space, shorter paragraphs, etc. This will prevent your content from appearing too wordy and will allow your site visitors to skim the product description yet still see all the main points. Images are also a good idea. Just be sure that the images are optimized for site speed purposes and contain SEO-friendly alt tag descriptions.

Though you may be tempted to implement ecommerce SEO strategies yourself, there is no denying that optimization is a time consuming process. More significantly, if you are untrained in this area of marketing, a mistake with your wording or application could prevent your page from appearing in user searches.

Don’t bog yourself down with content writing and the other SEO techniques required for ecommerce businesses. Hire an expert SEO firm like Paramaya Web Consulting to increase your customers and maintain your productivity. Call 678-824-5560 to schedule a consultation now!