lolajane, Staff Writer October 7, 2009
An agency offering Internet marketing can fall into any of several categories. Full service agencies offer marketing tactics such as web design, market planning, creative tasks, product lines and placement, and promotions. There are also agencies that provide more specialized services, targeting on a specific marketing strategy. A model agency web marketing plan might target just web design, or just search engine optimization.
A web design temp agency focuses solely on the layout of your company’s home page. This is a huge undertaking as web design is a multidisciplinary task. It involves a mixture of art, graphic design, math, and psychology. A site needs to be aesthetically pleasing, while at the same time evoking the company’s image and goals in a manner that will maximize sales. Marketing for the web is quite different than traditional marketing strategies. Advertising on the web is more interactive; prospective clients choose to visit your web site. A site must be pleasing if you want to keep prospects on your site, and the longer someone stays at the site, the more likely they are to purchase something, either at that time or in the future.
Communication skills for a web design team must be sharp. The message of the site needs to be clear and obvious. If the site is intended to give information, it should be well written and concise. With a strategy called communication design, some agencies focus more on the message than on the look of the site. An example of this would be a forum, where information is disseminated to a broad audience on an interactive level. The common consensus between agencies, however, is that a mixture of both communication and aesthetics is necessary to keep customers interested in your site.
There are also agencies that take on more responsibilities. These agencies are known as interactive agencies. An interactive agency takes on a very involved role with a company’s marketing strategy. Web design is again a huge factor. With a properly designed web site, a company can greatly increase sales. Web presence is another factor. With a viral marketing campaign, you can utilize the Internet’s version of word of mouth. With social networking tools such as Facebook, MySpace, and Linkedin, you can attract a following. Twitter is another popular networking site, allowing companies to promote their products from their phones via text messaging. Not only does this keep customers’ interested in your site, it helps optimize your site’s presence with search engines. Blogs and other networking tools appear more frequently on some search engines since they are considered to be the most up to date information on their subjects.
Interactive agencies differ from full service agencies in that interactive agencies focus solely on the Internet presence of the company. Full service agencies, on the other hand, launch all out marketing campaigns, including magazine ads, books, and even television commercials. For more traditional companies, this approach works just fine, but for the majority of Internet companies, the full service method is unnecessary. A company that sells software, for example, probably already has a strong web presence, and since the product is for use on computers, the target consumers will hear about the product somewhere online. This is not to say that one method is better than the other. A full service marketing strategy would be of great use to a used car salesman. With television commercials on local stations, the salesman is able to specialize his message with a method called geo-targeting. This refers to the focus of energy on a particular geographical audience.
Web design agencies can also partake in geo-targeting. This can be done through a simple identification question on the main home page asking the prospect to select which country or state’s site they wish to go. Once the question is answered, the prospect is directed to a site that focuses on services and products that an individual from the appropriate region would be most interested in.
An agency web site will let you know which services they provide. Depending on what you are looking for from an agency, you will want to carefully screen the agencies considered by your company. This may include personal interviews with agencies– it is quite difficult to gauge an agency’s qualities from a website alone. By interviewing the agency prior to signing any contract you can get a better idea of the methods they will use in helping your company. Remember that a full service agency may be able to take on different specialized roles as well. For a lesser commission, these agencies may offer their services solely in the area that they feel the respective company is lacking. For instance, if it is decided that the company needs to revamp their website, but their print and television campaigns are going fine, the full service agency may act solely as a web design temp agency.
Bigger companies do not often worry about selecting an agency to enhance their image simply because they have their own internal marketing teams. These individuals are on the company payroll, but act just as an advertising agency would. The main drawback to this is that the marketing team may not have the objectivity that an outsider would have in regards to new ideas and concepts. By hiring outside sources, outside agencies bring a fresh perspective to the table.
It is important to remember that not all agencies are equal. By selecting the agency whose background best fits your needs, you will be doing the most good for your company. Start big and work your way downward. Full-service and interactive agencies usually can give you a discount if they decide that your site only needs some services redone. If you need more work in the future in another medium, by using the same agency, you will have saved yourself time and energy since they will already be aware of your company’s situation. If you cannot find an appropriate full-scale agency, specialized and temp agencies may be your best bet. You can find the web agency that is right for your business by searching the Internet or by browsing through your local phone book.