Internet marketing requirements for clients

Ian Lurie

So, you’ve decided to hire an internet marketing company. Congratulations! Before you kick back your heels and say “go do it” to your newly hired partners, though, here are a few things you’ll need to know:

  1. You’ll have to change your web site. A lot. Search engine optimization will require changes to content, code and maybe your entire server infrastructure. Conversion optimization and testing will require tweaks to your site design. Make sure you’ve got access and resources to handle that.
  2. You will end up on Facebook, and Twitter, and who knows where else. Get used to it.
  3. Your branding people will freak out. Lose their minds. Swallow their own tongues. Because your internet marketing firm is going to push things. In social media, nut cases do best.
  4. Your assumptions will be challenged. A good internet marketing agency will want to test everything. They’ll add a big red ‘buy now’ button to the home page, or move navigation around, or tweak your e-mail marketing creative.
  5. Turnaround times will shrink. Rapid iteration is the best way to win at internet marketing.
  6. Someone’s gonna have to write. No content, no marketing. Period.

The short version: Everyone on your team, from the web developers to the designers to the CEO, are going to be uncomfortable. A good internet marketing firm will work just as hard to fit things to your own culture, to a point. but a good firm will also be brutally honest if they feel you’re hurting yourself.
I’m writing this using in-flight wifi, so I’m done. Have a great Thanksgiving!

Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is the founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team- training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at

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  1. what a great shot! especially this one “but a good firm will also be brutally honest if they feel you’re hurting yourself”
    where’s the button to your twitter page?

  2. Thanks for a nice post. Good thing in it is that we also know how to find out that hired SEO is crap – if they don’t do anything other than just messing with metatags and title tags of your websites than obviously they don’t try hard enough ;).
    BTW: Post like… “what questions to give before hiring a SEO” would be a decent thing – I feel tired hearing people who ask only about one thing – price. Even if they don’t care much about it. Sometimes ppl simply don’t know how to differ a good SEO from crap one, and about what they should talk with such guy other than listening to his self-advertisement.

  3. I love you, Ian. Will definitely have post out this link at @Smartwoman tweet stream. I do my best as a digital consultant to be forthright and as frank as possible about the culture shift and paradigm shaking that having a great online presence requires, but from now on, I think I’ll just direct my clients to start at this point. Thanks for the refreshing POV!
    Vicki Flaugher

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