Gone are the days when all you needed was a billboard or a radio commercial to boost your brand. In a world where everything around us is becoming digital, your online image is more important now than ever. A business without a digital marketing strategy just won’t cut it.
That is exactly why many business hire digital marketing agencies to help them strategize and refine their business objectives online.
In a market saturated with so many digital marketing agencies, finding the right partnership is crucial to your business. Why? – Because not only are you trusting them with your marketing strategy, you’re also handing over the reputation of your brand. No two agencies will provide the same services so the margin for error is very thin.
When choosing the right digital marketing agency, these are the five things you need to look out for:
Digital Marketing Agency Set Up
Now before you start exchanging handshakes before you’ve seen their office. Small business owners typically make the mistake of arranging the first meeting in their office instead of the marketing agency.
Big Mistake – you need to see their office so you know what you’re working with. Inspect the place. The last thing you want is the company you’ve hired working in an office that doesn’t exist.
When you are inspecting their office ask yourself, is this place staffed up? Do they have genuine workers who come here every day and not a group of freelancers? Is there synergy among the various members? Do they appear professional in their methodology and approach? Do they show the passion and dedication that they claim?
I hope you’re good with faces. You’ll need to be so that you can remember the specific team of people assisting you.
Prices the Digital Marketing Agency Offers
Every business has a budget so you would want to spend within your means. This however, doesn’t mean you only look for the cheapest agency. Spending that extra money can do wonders for your business and brand and put you over the edge.
Be wary of marketing agencies who present you a laundry list of services and prices before asking of your business objectives.
A lot of factors go into the pricing of the services the digital marketing agency will provide you. Factors like the hours it will take to complete a specific task, how many people will be involved and so on. Creating a website for your business will require a lot of time, expertise and people so it will cost you more than most other services.
Enquire about payment styles. Whether it be a giant lump sum, monthly or quarterly, choose what is best for you and your business. The bigger your expectations, the more money you should be prepared to spend.
Core Services of the Digital Marketing Agency
You always have to evaluate what the services that a digital agency provides. Do they have a strategy? Or do they rely on someone else for that? Understanding the services they provide will help you determine whether they are fully capable of handling your project.
If the agency claims to know and do a lot of things then always ask for evidence. Ask to see records of blogpost articles, tweets or other social engagement with experts and references with dates. A good marketing agency will always be able to back up their claims with a published track record.
Always endeavor to make sure the digital marketing agency specializes in what you truly need for your business. If you want your business coming out in search engines, does the marketing agency specialize in SEO and analytics or do they provide paid advertising instead?
Portfolio/Experience of the Digital Marketing Agency
The experience of the company also play a big part. This will help you understand whether or not they have the tools and know-how to help your business in your particular industry. Before you agree terms. The best digital marketing agencies work with a diverse portfolio of clients.
Go through their portfolios to get an insight as to what services they can provide for you. It is also a good opportunity to see the past clients they’ve also worked with and how they fared after doing business with them.
What is important is that people who work there are able to understand your business objectives, your target audience and your brand. This is the part where you ask hard questions.
If they claim to have social media experts among their ranks, you can always ask for evidence. Be wary of marketing agencies who cite the numbers of followers when they show you their various social media pages.
It is important to remember that the main aim of a marketing strategy is to have more than just a large following on social media but to have those numbers convert into customers that visit your website and buy your products and services.
Digital marketing agencies are pretty much expected to have large followers on Facebook and twitter. This however is not a differentiator or neither does it put them in a position of advantage.
This is a big one. If they tell you they are SEO experts, ask them what keywords there agency rank for on search engines.
That is to say, when you search for specific terms and keywords like “digital marketing agency” on Google, Yahoo, Bing etc, does that particular marketing agency appear in the first 10 results? Do any of their content like blogposts, articles videos also appear in search engines? If they can’t show you this then run.
No digital marketing agencies can guarantee you anything so remember that. You should work together to set clear goals and objectives that will be achieved with your partnership. Neither should you dwell on AdWords certification because it is nothing to brag about.
This is very important. Many digital agencies claim all kinds of things. Astonishing ROI, page rankings and whatnot.
Honesty/Transparency of the Digital Marketing Agency
The digital marketing agency you choose should be completely transparent in there methodology, their strategy and with their intentions. Frequent communication is key and so that everyone is in line with your business objectives and goals.
You need clear visibility to see the work they do so you know you are on the right track. This is an area where a lot of digital marketing agencies fall short. You deserve to know how your money is being spent.
Someone should always be readily be available to answer any questions you might have, someone you can talk to. You need results consistently and only a transparent digital marketing agency can give you that.
Response times are necessary. Set your expectations from the beginning. When you communicate with the agency, how long does it take them to respond to you? How long does it take them to return a phone call or an email? 24 hours? The more drawn out the responses become, the more time and money it will cost you.
Any digital marketing agency you choose should ultimately practise what they preach. Do they claim to specialize in website designs and have a terrible website? Do they claim to specialize in SEO and rank for zero keywords?
It really is no different from a financial advisor who gambles in front of you? he can’t be trusted. The same way any digital marketing agency can’t be trusted if they cannot adhere to these five principles.
So please make smart decisions when choosing a digital marketing agency for the sake of your business and brand. Spend a little extra money to get a digital marketing agency that has an established office, with qualified staff and personnel that understand your business objectives and provide a strategic set of core services, Have an extensive portfolio and above all else are honest and transparent.
Do you have any more tips to help choose the right digital marketing agency for your business? Please let me know in the comments below.