Since its inception, the Internet has revolutionized and advanced global communications at an unprecedented rate of technological growth, services, usage, and applications unlike anything in history. Except for NASA’s race to space and the moon in the 60s’, there have been very few advances that match the speed and evolution of the web’s exponential global reach and impact.
The world wide web impacts every aspect of life
The Internet has impacted every aspect of life and business. While government, science, and research were the early intended beneficiaries of the web, it has rocketed in expansion for companies, social media platforms, apps, advertising, and much more. Today, we have access to more technology in our smartphones than our behemoth 286 desktops had in the 80s’. AOL and email began to connect the world. Search engines made the world a library accessible to our fingertips. Blackboard, Facebook, Linkedin, eBay, etc., expanded access and began connecting us globally. Imagine if Einstein, Edison, and Bell could see this exponential growth of technology and science?
A digital footprint, presence & strategy are critical in 21st industry, business, and life.
The days of using a website as a billboard for your business, organization, services, and products are long gone. Static websites have given way to SEO strategy, pay-per-click ads, social media engagements, and vital online reviews. Old school marketing was reliant on word of mouth. New school marketing is an intentional comprehensive digital plan based on analysis, proven metrics, and a successful digital brand strategy.
Dinosaurs Can Survive in a Digital Age
Believe it or not, there are still a few successful companies that have little to no digital presence. However, the competition is killing them as they begin to realize the importance of having a digital marketing presence. It is incredibly important for companies and small businesses to realize the importance of the digital marketing discovery process. You don’t have to know everything Internet. Your digital marketing agency or firm is the subject matter expert and will guide you through the process. However, you are the subject matter expert in your services, field, business, and products. They rely on you to provide valuable insights that help form the foundation of a digital strategy.
The Discovery Process
Whether you have a strong online digital presence or not, any web design and social media marketing firm will need to gain insight into your company, products, and services. You will hear many terms from your provider, such as organic and paid searches, SEO, site optimization, Google Analytics, paid ads, social media, content marketing, keywords, and phrases, etc. Don’t be intimidated. Digital marketing firms that provide real value see their role as a partnership, and one of their major tasks is to educate their clients.
Engaging a digital partner that simply wants to redress your current website or extol their marketing wisdom from the mountaintop is plenty and readily available. Be wise when soliciting potential firms. Pay attention to the ones asking hard questions about your target audience, your company’s core values, your most vigorous competitors, and the essence of your brand, services, or products. These are the dangerous (in a good way) companies because they take the long view for measurable, sustainable results instead of just “building a website.” Firms that produce results view digital marketing as a marathon, not a sprint to turn a quick buck.
Digital marketing is an investment in the future of your company or business. It is a long play. Authentic digital marketing firms want to intentionally build relevancy, ranking, and growth in measurable terms incrementally. Steady growth is their mantra as opposed to meteoric rises and the inevitable falls.
Personalized versus a box store mentality
Every business category has access to large marketing firms that “specialize” in their industry. Everything from roofing, medical, tires, engineering, and beyond have firms that doll out generic websites and social media marketing strategies that look the same. Their services are based on volume. Many produce great websites. However, the personal approach and access to digital marketing expertise are limited simply because of the size of the vendor and the levels of access. Local, digital marketing firms are accessible, empathetic, and listen to their client’s concerns, needs, and desires. They are attentive and respond within 24 hours if not sooner. You are not just a number to these firms, you are a valued partner.
Small, local and family-owned firms have a vested interest in their client’s success. When the client is gaining traffic, relevancy, and online ranking it makes them shine. However, their motivation is you! They are simply trying to provide value and results for your services, product, or organization. You and your company are their heroes! Just as your customers or clients are your heroes.
Vetting digital marketing firms
Ask the prospective digital media provider for examples of their work. Ask for referrals. Bigger doesn’t mean better or more personalized service. Bigger usually means higher hourly rates and increased fees. Ask them for examples of tenured clients who have experience with them in pay-per-click, SEO, design, content management, and performance metrics such as Google Analytics. Ask them to provide samples of their content and writing. Ask them about third-party validation and backlinks. Reputable digital marketing firms will not shy away from this kind of questioning. In fact, they welcome them.
Many businesses or companies simply have unrealistic expectations in regard to their digital presence. They expect too much too soon. Authentic vendors communicate this upfront and remind prospective clients that digital marketing is a long play. They concede that digital marketing is ever-changing and there are constant modifications that need to be made for search engine optimization, SEO, and search engine algorithms, and content marketing along the way. Remember, investment precedes dividends in every form whether marketing, investments, and beyond.
WebSpeak Media located in Greer, South Carolina is a boutique digital marketing firm with over 20 years of digital design and marketing experience. We build relationships with our clients through diligent research, intake, and candid conversations about their goals and desires. As a family-owned business, we understand the investment, sweat, and passion our clients bring to the table. They are our heroes and our goal is to deliver beyond expectations with tangible and measurable results over time.
Monty Carter is a Brand Strategist and Storyteller for WebSpeak Media in Greer, South Carolina.