Have you decided that hiring outside help for your local SEO needs is the best move for your small business? Good. You’re on the right track, but that’s only step one. Step two is deciding what type of outside help you need. Should you hire an individual contractor, a small Internet marketing firm, or a large online advertising agency? Online advertising companies can be drastically different depending on their size, so you’ll need to figure out what’s important to you. To help you with your decision, we’ve highlighted the pros and cons of each option. Obviously, we had to keep this general because no two online advertising companies are exactly the same, and there are always exceptions to the rule. However, you’ll find that these points are generally true for the majority of Internet marketing companies. Ready to discover which of these online advertising options is right for your small business? Let’s get started!
Individual Online Advertising Contractors
- Since it’s only one person, they probably have fewer clients overall, which means this person is essentially available on demand. You get immediate attention. When you need to update your website’s content, publish a press release, or start a new AdWords campaign, you won’t have to wait.
- More individual attention also means better customer service in general. Your contractor will actually have the time to chat with you about your needs and get a clear picture of what your long-term advertising goals are. This one person will have intimate knowledge of your business.
- With an individual contractor, you’ll get lots of customization because this person is only taking care of a handful of clients. You can expect lots of time devoted to building a wholly unique campaign for your business.
- An individual contractor will be working with only a small number of clients, which means a small number of data points. This may make it difficult for them to detect Google algorithm updates or spot wide-reaching trends that impact your company’s campaign. It also makes A/B testing less reliable.
- Individual contractors tend to be more expensive than agencies because they’re devoting much more time and many more resources to your campaign.
- Generally speaking, an individual contractor is going to have limited resources compared with an agency that has multiple team members. The contractor is relying on their own personal experience and skill set, and they don’t have anyone else to collaborate with.
Small Online Advertising Companies
(Note: Prospect Genius belongs to this category.)
- Multiple team members mean multiple approaches to doing things. Generally speaking, this means small online advertising companies have more experience and expertise with which to devise their strategies.
- The company has hundreds of clients and, therefore, hundreds of data points to look at. With more data points, they’re able to A/B test constantly and get more accurate results. In turn, this maximizes the potency of their clients’ campaigns—including yours.
- Having access to lots of data points also means they notice trends faster than an individual contractor would. Since they’re keeping tabs on a larger number of cases, they can tell when an occurrence is isolated or if it’s due to a broader Google update. This means they can act quickly and keep your campaign in good standing.
- With small online advertising and SEO companies, a moderate amount of customization is possible. Their ratio of manpower to clients is high enough that they can create original content and build personalized websites for clients.
- You’ll have to wait a day or two for them to make changes or updates to your website or campaign because they’re juggling more clients than an individual contractor is. That being said, a small agency will likely have a faster turnaround than a large one.
- While they have multiple specialists on their team, rather than just one, they don’t have as many as a large agency does. In general, fewer specialists mean a narrower knowledge base.
- Because their services offer a greater degree of customization, small online advertising companies can often be more expensive than large agencies.
Large Online Advertising Companies
- The more team members a company has, the more experience it has to draw from. Therefore, it stands to reason that large agencies and their online advertising services are supported by the biggest pool of knowledge and resources.
- Like smaller agencies, they have hundreds (if not thousands) of data points to pull from, which makes their capacity for testing and trend-spotting much greater.
- They are often the least expensive option because they have created one-size-fits-all solutions that suit the needs of a wide range of clients. Less customization means less overhead.
- With a vast number of clients to take care of, large agencies aren’t able to provide fast turnaround for on-demand work. If you need to update something on your website or publish a time-sensitive blog post, you’ll be waiting several days.
- Because large agencies tend to focus on packages or solutions that fit the most clients, there’s very little room (if any) for customization. They keep costs low by providing all of their clients with cookie-cutter landing pages and nearly identical content.
- Most, but not all, large agencies are notorious for offering poor customer service. Like any large corporation, they deal with such a high volume of customers that they simply don’t need to care about each one.
Making a Decision
Your choice ultimately depends on your business’s online advertising needs. If you’re a small, local service provider, you’re probably just looking to increase your presence in a specific geographic area. A small or large agency, depending on its selection of packages and price points, will work just fine for your needs. But your work doesn’t stop here. Once you’ve narrowed down the type of online advertising company you’re looking for, you’ll obviously need to find the best one for the job. You’ll need to vet your prospective advertiser to be certain you’re making a wise investment. Read “Questions to Ask When You’re Vetting a New Online Advertiser” for guidance on how to make sure you’ve found the right fit for your business.