Due to the events of 2020, many business owners now understand the value of having an online presence. As a result, digital marketing services are more in-demand than ever.
You might be considering hiring a digital marketing firm too. However, one thing you should know is that it isn’t as simple as searching on Google and clicking the first search result. Picking the right agency takes time, thought, and negotiations.
Here is an expert guide for those looking to work with a digital marketing agency.
Find one that has experience working with people from your industry
There is no “one size fits all” digital marketing strategy. Each industry has a different consumer base, and each requires a distinct marketing approach. It’s in your best interest to work with a firm that has experience developing a marketing strategy for your niche because it means they won’t have to start from scratch. They’ll likely already have tried-and-tested strategies ready to deploy and only need minimal tweaking to be perfectly tailored to your business.
Know your goals and expectations
Not all agencies offer the same services. Some agencies may specialize in social media marketing or content marketing while others may be experts in PPC or SEO. Knowing what exactly you want to achieve means you can narrow down your choices to agencies that can deliver all your needs.
The easiest way to do this would be to ask yourself what you envision for your online presence for the duration of this partnership. Be as specific as possible when listing your expected deliverables. Do you want high-quality and engaging content posted on your social media every week? Do you want to double your site traffic? Do you want a better site design? Ask yourself as well what your expected timeline and budget are, as these will also help whittle down your options. Larger agencies may have the experience and manpower necessary to deliver results faster, but they’re likely more expensive.
Educate yourself on the basics
Before reaching out to any agency for an initial meeting, do your research so you’re not completely in the dark about how digital marketing is done. By being informed, you can identify red flags that signal illegitimate agencies. Here are a few signs you should look out for:
- Overpromising. Agencies should be truthful. For example, if your desired results and deadline aren’t possible, a good marketing firm will be honest and negotiate a more realistic outcome while one that just wants your money will agree to anything you say and guarantee results that aren’t even possible. Research on what is and isn’t possible with various digital marketing strategies so you can catch when an agency is lying to you.
- Using shady techniques. A good agency will deliver results using ethical and industry-approved strategies. Some, however, use “black hat” techniques. These techniques are ones that violate site terms and conditions, leading to spammy content and poor user experience, which could drive away your consumers and negatively impact your company’s reputation. Ask company’s exactly how they plan to carry out their work, and if any of them mention using black hat techniques, that’s your cue to cross them out.
- Prices too low. Digital marketing is a difficult and complex task, requiring years of experience and considerable skills. It’s only expected that these services don’t come cheap. Some businesses, however, may easily fall into the temptation of hiring an agency that charges significantly cheaper fees compared to others. Instead of saving money, you might be wasting it on subpar services that do nothing to improve your online presence. In some cases, there may be good firms who are undervaluing their work because they’re inexperienced and still trying to build their client base. However, it’s still recommended that you work with a more stable and experienced agency.
Ask what your duties are as the client
Hiring a digital marketing firm doesn’t mean you’ll sit back and relax while they do all the work. It’s a collaborative process. Plus, relying too much on the agency means that you’ll be left vulnerable once the contract expires. You need to learn from them so that your marketing strategy remains sustainable, and they need your input and cooperation to develop a strategy that’s suitable for your business.
During the early meetings, you should ask what your responsibilities are so you can prepare accordingly.
Research on the agency
Once you have a shortlist of legitimate agencies that fit your budget and timetable, you need to do further research to get a better idea of their company. Before finalizing your decision, look into the following:
- Past clients. It’s only safe to assume that an agency will only disclose positive things a client has said about them. To get a more complete idea of their performance, try reaching out to their past clients and asking about any complaints or drawbacks this agency may have. Knowing the good and the bad sets your expectations and helps you come to a smarter decision.
- Employees. You don’t have to research every person that works in that agency, but it may help to know the people who are in high positions or will be closely working with your company. You wouldn’t want your company to be associated with any shady characters, so you need a thorough idea of who you’ll be potentially working with before you sign any contracts.
- Online presence. You can’t expect them to promote your business online if they can’t even do that for their agency. They should have an attractive and smooth website, good search engine rankings, a social media presence, high-quality content, etc. Use their online presence as a gauge for how well they can do the job.
Working with the right agency is the best way you can guarantee a successful digital marketing campaign. Don’t rush the process. Take as much time as you need to come to a decision and consult as many people and references as you need. In the end, you’ll surely find the marketing firm that’s perfect for you.