A digital marketing agency can help your business move in the right direction and help customers find your company online. When you don’t have in-house resources devoted to such tasks, working with an outside agency allows you to work with knowledgeable industry experts who live and breathe SEO, SEM, social media and content marketing.
However, when you invest in your digital presence you are investing in an intangible good, which can make it a little difficult to grasp what you are you really getting for your money, especially when you’re just getting started. For this reason it’s very important to put in the initial legwork when researching and interviewing prospective digital agencies, so that you understand the relationship you are entering into and can ensure accountability.
Here are 4 tips to point your digital agency search in the right direction and ensure a sound investment:
1.) Communicate your Digital Marketing Expectations
It sounds simple, but the only way that you can kick-start a successful business partnership is to explicitly communicate what you’re looking to get out of the relationship. By outlining your expectations and discussing them with prospective agencies, you can determine if there is an amicable ‘fit’ between companies and help reduce disappointment tied to unmet expectations down the road.
Before you even contact a digital agency, you should consider writing down your objectives. Are you looking to boost leads through a form on your website or increase calls by 15% a month? Do you want to improve search rankings for your core products and services? Put these goals down on paper and be sure to talk them through with each digital agency you interview. Each agency should be able to give you an idea of the feasibility of your ambitions along with examples of how they will work towards these goals and measure success.
During these conversations, it’s also important to share your preferred method and frequency of communications, including team availability and dedicated project resources. These details, along with future recurring meetings to discuss deliverables, review progress and next steps, will help to align all project stakeholder communications and expectations.
2.) When Interviewing Digital Agencies Be Sure to Ask the Right Questions
Alongside your discussion of expectations, you will also want to ask potential digital marketing agencies about their strengths and weaknesses, their team, their processes, etc. While an agency may look well-rounded and professional on their website, it’s important that you ask detailed questions to show that you’re serious about digital marketing success and in search of a capable partner. A few questions to kick things off:
- What will the first month of my program look like? What about the first six months and first year?
- What level of client review/approval is required along the way?
- How often is strategy reevaluated?
- What does your reporting look like?
- How often will I receive reports about my project progress?
- When will we meet to review reports?
- Who are the members of the team that will be working on my account? What are their current responsibilities and backgrounds? Can I meet them?
- Who will be my main point of contact?
- Do you outsource any tasks to freelancers or other companies? If so, why?
Digital Marketing Services
- What digital marketing services do you provide? What services do you not provide?
- What are the strengths/weaknesses of your organization?
- What are the various strategies that will be used to accomplish my goals?
3.) Conduct Proper Research on Potential Digital Marketing Partners
After you’ve met with some potential digital agencies, next you will want to conduct thorough research on the leading contenders. You’re about to make a large investment of time and money so you want to make sure that you make the right choice.
The purpose of this phase is to help you in selecting the right digital agency and enter into the relationship with a thorough understanding of the company you will be partnering with. During this research phase, try to:
- Compare service offerings and pricing of multiple digital agencies
- Conduct an online search of each agency, making sure to read through any reviews
- Ask for current client references and actually reach out to acquire further insight
4.) Assess the Work of Your Digital Agency
While you can’t expect an agency to deliver free work before you sign on as a client, many digital marketing companies will conduct an audit of your current search rankings and online authority during the initiation phase of the project. This is a great way for agencies to showcase their talent and aid prospective clients in the agency selection process! Such an assessment may also outline recommended digital marketing strategies and keyword opportunities for your business.
Make sure to ask each agency to clarify their reports and discuss their suggestions. If you received audits from multiple digital agencies, you should do your best to review and compare recommendations. You should also pay attention to the level of detail and professionalism of each agency’s report as an indication of the quality of work you can expect. And finally, make sure to take note of whether or not the recommendations seem generic – does it seem like quality time and effort was put into the report or is it a reusable template?
Selecting the Right Digital Marketing Partner
It’s important to conduct a thorough review of potential agency partners to select a legitimate and forward-thinking company that will prioritize your organization’s goals. It’s equally important to identify and avoid companies that use scheming tactics to achieve short-lived results.
If you put the right amount of effort into selecting the appropriate digital marketing partner from the start, you can rest assured that you’re in good hands with promising results in the near future!