We’ve been in the small business, online marketing game for the better part of 16 years now, and we have hundreds of successful specialty, small business customers. But, not all internet marketing companies are created equal. There’s a full gradient of ranging quality marketing companies out there. So, how will you choose who to do business with?
It’s of paramount importance to conduct a business analysis of companies you’re considering working with during the initial interview stage. Every company a small business works with should be thoroughly investigated before a deal is closed. Small businesses have a right to know exactly what they’re getting into if they choose to use the services of another company in any measure.
So, here’s what really frustrates me. I would have to say that most every customer we’ve gotten over the years has had at least one (if not several) bad experience with another web development company or so-called “guru”, before we’ve had the pleasure of their business.
In most cases, this has cost them tens of thousands of dollars in fees for a mediocre website, plus the loss of revenues (the money they should have made but didn’t). This can easily get into the hundreds of thousands of dollars over time.
These situations can be a blessing and a curse:
There are an ever increasing number of hustlers out there putting out an incessant commentary on the virtues (not that they would know virtue if it bit them) of internet marketing, in all of its varied forms and functions.
When those types of internet marketing and hosting companies are promoting themselves, they also highlight the differences between their company and actually effective internet marketing companies. So, in a way, by putting all that information out there on the web, those bad marketing companies are helping you build your case against them.
That’s good, because whether they realize it or not, they are advancing the cause (so-to-speak) by raising awareness of the relatively uninitiated small business owner or entrepreneur for all things internet. Like PR representatives like to say, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity”. If there is anything we can use more of, it’s awareness.
These maleficent marketers who bait and switch have no concern for the bad faith they create in the industry as a whole. The bad taste they leave causes dedicated internet marketing businesses to work twice as hard to overcome that stereotype. But, that’s actually a positive for you, the potential customer. Internet marketers will have to consistently prove themselves and their services in order to stay successful. That competition ensures you will get the best service.
I can’t tell you the number of times we hear things like, “You guys are all the same”, or, “I just talked to a group that does exactly what you do”. And the ever prominent query, “Why should I trust you?”.
Needless to say most small businesses are gun shy when it comes to internet marketing or the companies who profess expertise in this area. Can you blame them?
At Cazbah, we want all businesses to be better prepared to deal with potentially scamming marketers.
For this reason, I’ve come up with investigative questions to help small businesses in their vetting process when determining an internet marketing company to work with. The more transparent a business is generally, the more trustworthy they are.
Cazbah’s core ideology is PACE IT:
Order your interview questions around the above themes to really find out what the marketing company you’re considering is all about. Look to do business with a company that shares your values.
The Vetting Process
Today, 13 can be your lucky number! The following list lays out 13 necessary business analysis based interview questions. Any reputable internet marketing company should have no problem answering the following questions and going beyond to help minimize any lingering fears of potential clients (you). The safety and success of your small business is paramount, so don’t be afraid to really dig in and “grill” the internet marketing companies vying for it.
Here are 13 Questions You Should Ask Before Giving a Company Your Business:
1. How many customers do you have?
2. How many customers like me do you have?
3. What is your Federal Tax ID?
4. How long have you been in business?
5. Can you give me a list of a dozen customers, with their website addresses, that I can call and talk to personally?
6. Do you have employees, and if so how many?
7. Can you give me a demonstration of your work (do they have a portfolio of their work)?
8. Who will I be working with if I choose to become a customer?
9. Can you show me the results of your SEO, conversion efforts, and closed sales you have achieved?
10. Do you have your own technology? If not, who’s do you use?
11. Do you have any certifications, Google Analytics, Adwords, etc?
12. What are you going to do for me EXACTLY?
13. What is this going to cost, EXACTLY?
Take these questions as a template and build off of it. Tailor questions specifically to your industry or particular pain points to get the best “read” on companies you’re considering working with. You want to be specific in your questions, so you get a clear answer. Internet marketing companies worth doing business with will also have a host of questions about your small business as well. This initial meeting phase is critical in determining if both your businesses are a good fit for each other.
There will always be insincere internet marketing companies who will never deliver on the plethora of promises they make to potential or existing clients. It’s up to the small businesses then to do research and take the time to perform a business analysis of internet marketing companies through rigorous interview questions. I welcome all of these questions and any others that you can think up. Cazbah will continue to work tirelessly for our small business customers, over-delivering every single time.
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