A true and effective ongoing Internet marketing campaign is a partnership between client and consultant (or Internet marketing company). The life-cycle of this relationship is an ever-evolving process that involves constant education and adaptation. The rules and guidelines for the best practices are always changing, and therefore we must be fluid in our methods and know when tactics need to be adjusted.
When a client reaches out to find a new Internet marketing company or online media consultant, they need to find a firm that fits their needs and goals. Not all are the same and some have specific core competancies. Regardless, once a client and consultant have chosen to work together there are phases of the relationship that need to be approached in specific ways in order for goals to be met and for the relationship to flourish. These phases are discovery, education, adaptation, and growth.
Discovery. This is, of course, probably the most important phase because even the best Internet marketing firms need to spend considerable time learning about the client, their company, their products and services, the goals of the desired campaign (i.e. SEO, PPC, social media, etc.), and why they think online media is the way to go. It is of course the job of the marketing firm to help them understand how their goals can fit into a properly designed marketing campaign, but both client and consultant need to understand one another first. The consutant must quickly gain intimate knowledge of the brand, industry keywords, competitors, etc. Many times the client will enter the relationship “knowing” exactly what they want. Often times what they think they want may not be in the best interests for the goals they have in mind. The marriage between tactics and goals is what will ultimately create a success. Before work is started, everyone should be on the same page about goals, tactics, reporting, measurements, etc.
Education. Education starts from day one and goes both ways. The client must educate the Internet marketing company about their products, services, and goals for the campaign; and the consultant must continually be educating the client on the processes and methods being utilized. This education process is ongoing. It is imperative that the client understand the basis of search engine optimization, PPC, social media, and other online media strategies so they know what to expect. The consultant must manage expectations continually. The next part of the education process involves determining the effectiveness of the current and ongoing marketing strategies so that change can be made if necessary.
Adaptation. When it is time to make changes, both the client and consultant must know the “why” and “how” in order to keep up with the industry. Search engines are always updating their algorithms, which is why professional Internet marketing companies are always educating themselves and their clients on the changing landscape. Tactics must change with the environment, and while it is good to lay out a plan and stick to it, change is always inevitable.
Growth. As the search marketing campaign grows and success is achieved, the client should be seeing their goals met. Depending on those goals, that could mean increased ROI, decreased cost per conversion and greater online exposure for the brand. As this growth occurs, marketing budgets can be increased or decreased based on the desired results. To ensure that the growth is continual however, the campaign itself must be consistent (i.e. always adding fresh content for users, building valuable inbound links, etc.).
These of course are the general phases of a good search marketing relationship between client and consultant. Once a campaign has begun it does get more detailed and commands much involvement from both sides.