It can quickly become a problem for businesses when they have to deal with a mountain of low-quality leads.
So, how can you make sure you're not the guy or gal who jumps straight to contact before qualifying the company at the top of your search results?
Easy... Don't expect Google to do all the work. Like any tool, it's only as good as the person using it.
1. Stop wasting your time (and the time of the company you're contacting)
Google is great, and we've all become incredibly dependant on it serving up anything and everything we need in seconds. But, when it comes to searching for service providers, search engines can only go so far.
It's important to take the time to figure out the details around what services you're looking for, and how you're going to evaluate the companies you're going to look at, before you start your search.
2. Search for what you need a couple of different ways to see if the top spots are similar
For example, if you're looking for an online marketing partner, you can search for online marketing, inbound marketing services, web marketing agency, website lead generation...you get the idea. (The companies that rank well in multiple searches will be the ones to investigate further.)
3. Focus your search on one or two of the companies you found on Google by reviewing multiple pages of those companies' websites
A website that ranks highly is worth very little if it's not what you need. Take the time to explore their websites to get a sense of their process and services, and to learn who specializes in what you want to accomplish.
4. Check out their blogs and social accounts
It's important for any team you work with to have an active blog and social presence. Their accounts should give you an idea of what they care about and how they interact with the world.
5. Figure out if their philosophy and approach is a match for what you're looking for
The best service providers become known for their approach and expertise. For instance, at KAYAK we believe in ethical marketing, attraction-based inbound lead generation, and the value of quality content. We take a long-term approach to building brands online and off.
Companies looking for quick fixes are sure to be disappointed when they find out that's not what we're about. (Even when we explain the value of going beyond the quick fix to create sustainable results.)
6. See if they have any case studies or testimonials that you can review
Case studies give you an in-depth look at what a company has been able to achieve for other clients. It also gives you a sense of the type of work the company does well.
Testimonials give you a sense of what their clients really think about the work that was done for them. And the relationships they've built with their clients.
7. Discuss and understand your budget and each company's fee structure
This is a hard one. Many companies don't publish their fee structure or rates publicly. But you can usually get a sense of the budgets a company is used to working with from the case studies they present.
This post originally appeared on the KAYAK Online Marketing blog