Each internet marketing company faces competition from an ever-increasing number of new and established players in the industry. That can make it difficult for the agencies themselves to develop an initial client base. It can also make it difficult for clients who would be well-served by those agencies to actually find out that they exist.

When assessing the compatibility of an internet marketing company and its potential clients, there are a number of different criteria to consider. A client should approach an initial discussion with the clearest possible framework for its marketing strategy. The internet marketing company should then be able to present a select portfolio of work that shows a meaningful connection to that strategy. If it cannot do that, it should at least be able to explain, clearly and concisely, how its staff’s knowledge and experience will accommodate the chosen strategy.

Admittedly, it’s a lot to ask for a client company to have a clear marketing strategy in advance. That may be especially difficult for a company that hasn’t run a major campaign or worked with an internet marketing company in the past. In that case, there may be a need for professional help in the process of getting professional help.

This may come in the form of rating websites that are built specifically for the digital marketing industry. Or it may come simply in the form of catch-all online business listings, where you can read previous clients’ reviews of an internet marketing company. In either case, the opportunity may present itself for a company to look for rating criteria that is particularly relevant to their industry. It may also be able to find reviewers who seem to run similar businesses, and use that as a way to imagine the experience you might have with the same marketers.

Of course, rating and review sites also just make it easier for one to identify a wide range of firms that are established in the industry and seeking new clients. A user can cast a wide net and start cold-calling in order of overall score or perceived relevance. Or one can focus on looking for an internet marketing company in the local area, and exhaust all relevant options before deciding whether to settle for a less personal alternative.

We’ve previously emphasized some of the potential benefits of working with a local internet marketing company. And if you connect with that company through a third-party rating site, you might just be revealing another advantage of developing a rapport with a contractor whose offices you can visit in person. It’s an advantage for both sides of the partnership, both while it is ongoing and after it’s terminated.

The intimate connections people develop through local partnerships make them more likely to share positive experiences with others. So when a client company has had face time with an internet marketing company, there’s a better chance that one or both of them will get new customers out of the partnership itself, as well as a successful campaign. Leads might emerge from among friends and family, or simply from the kind review that one company’s representatives leave for another after they’ve amicably ended their collaboration.