Choosing a digital marketing agency can feel overwhelming because of all the noise. SEM! Social Media Marketing! Increase Sales 50,000%! Not surprisingly, small businesses in particular feel weary when it comes to hiring an outside agency. But, just like every small business has a specialty, an agency can provide resources, techniques, and experience to provide better strategies for your company and achieve better results. When searching for a digital marketing agency, it’s important to have set goals before listening to pitches and to make sure an agency’s philosophy and talents meet your objectives.
Choosing a Digital Marketing Agency
Different types of agencies perform different types of services. This can range from content marketing, PPC management, digital consulting, or Social Media Management. Agencies that claim to do everything may mean they don’t do anything well. Do your research on a firm before calling to make sure your objectives meet their specializations. And, when you do call, listen carefully to what services they focus on pitching, which are probably their strengths.
2. Timeline Focus:
How long does an agency expect to see results? This is one of the most important questions to ask because this is how many businesses get fooled. There is no legitimate way to get 1000% increase in traffic and in the top 5 results on a Google search in only a month. That can be a tough pill to swallow in our immediate-results-driven society, but success takes time. A successful agency should be able to show a strategy to improve results in the short-term (1-3 months), medium-term (3-9 months), and long-term (9+ months) and how their experience makes them believe this strategy will be successful.
3. Price Range:
You and your team should discuss what goals your firm wants to achieve by hiring a digital marketing agency. Performing research beforehand will ensure that you don’t waste your time talking to agencies outside of your price range and needs. Just as important is to stay away from agencies offering an extremely low rate. Normally, this means they are sacrificing quality.
4. Contract Options:
Commonly, there are four types of agreements between agencies and clients:
- Hourly: Normally, this is for smaller, shorter-term projects such as rewriting the content of a website.
- Monthly/ Annual Contract: Most contracts are for 3, 6, or 12 months. This is the most common method.
- Pay Per Month: This means no formal month-to-month obligation and continual reviews.
- Results Paid: Payment only after specific, predetermined results are achieved. Could be more expensive in the long run, as the agency assumes higher risk.
5. Tracking Results:
During discovery, an agency should be able to clearly state what metrics they use to determine success. If you and your firm want other, specific metrics measured, make sure to tell your agency. Most agencies meet with clients once a month to review results and how a given strategy has changed and why. Any longer than once a month could be a sign that the agency is too busy to provide optimal service.
6. Agency Philosophy:
Choosing a vendor whose company philosophy matches your own is always important, but especially when choosing an agency that will be promoting your company online. Make sure this agency is in line with your company’s philosophy and objectives. If your company is looking to achieve long-term success, make sure your marketing agency thinks the same way, and has a specific strategy to achieve those goals.
No company is perfect and any company that says otherwise is lying. Especially in a field littered with smooth talking salesman, an agency that is aware of their own shortcomings, and honest about them, means they will be upfront and honest with you the entire time you work together.
8. Ease of Contact:
While the common workday is 9-5, Monday through Friday, a digital marketing agency that doesn’t respond at 5:01 pm means they don’t have the best interests of their clients in mind. It may be unreasonable to expect a firm to answer immediately, 24/7, it’s not unreasonable to expect a response outside of normal business hours.
9. Company Blog:
An agency should be maintaining a blog. This is an opportunity for the agency to share trends and techniques in the marketing world, as well as post about any company news and client success. This shows how serious they take their own business, revealing how seriously they’ll take yours.
10. Social Media Presence:
For the same reasons as blogging, an agency should have a social media presence. They are, after all, a digital marketing agency. A greater reach means a greater network, which means they know how to promote themselves. More often than not, that means they’ll know how to promote your business as well.
All companies have different needs and objectives when it comes to digital marketing, though all companies can benefit from one service or another. You and your team need to set what your specific organizational objectives are so that you can properly vet an agency. Figuring out your own goals will help you while listening to pitches from an agency and understanding their own company philosophy, strengths, and weaknesses.
Create Your Story, Promote It, and Perfect Your Strategy
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SEO vs. SEM
What is Inbound Marketing?
What is a Landing Page?
SEO and Optimized Content
Inbound Marketing Services
Social Media Marketing
Generate more leads through properly structured content. Copyright Mike D. O’Brien 2016