How to Choose the Right Digital Marketing Agency
As a business owner, you understand the power of online marketing. Like everyone else these days, your potential customers are using the internet to find the products and services they are looking for. So, you decide to amp up your business’s digital marketing presence, but you don’t have the time, energy or expertise to set it in motion. No one can blame you! Running a business isn’t easy, and you can’t do everything yourself. Collaborating with a savvy digital marketing agency is an excellent way to give your online marketing efforts a much-needed boost.
Thanks to a quick Google search, businesses are exposed to numerous digital marketing agencies in their area. Unfortunately, not all digital marketing agencies are reputable and, as a smart business person, you know partnerships only work if there are trust, confidence, and support in place. It is vital to scout for a reliable digital marketing agency that isn’t just out to make a quick buck and will have your business interests at heart.
So, how do you choose the right digital marketing agency for your business?
1. First, Pinpoint your Needs
Think critically about your business and define what it exactly is that your company wants to achieve through marketing. Do you want to increase brand awareness, generate leads, increase sales? Then, consider how a digital marketing agency will help your business reach those objectives. Keep in mind, you might already have specific marketing skills in place, with only some services might be lacking. Marketing costs money, so think about how much time and money you are willing to invest in this business partnership.
Once you know what you want to achieve, figure out what you need for your business to thrive online and what marketing services will be valuable to your company. Do you have a digital marketing strategy? Is it content marketing that will resonate with your intended audience? Do you need your social media platforms set up and regularly updated with engaging content? A big priority for many businesses is for potential clients to find them on Google, and this is where comprehensive Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) comes in. Other services that digital marketing agencies offer that could be of great value to your business, include:
- Web Design and Development
- Blogging and Content Marketing
- Marketing Strategy
- Social Media Marketing (SMM)
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
- Email Marketing
- Marketing Automation
- Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising (Such as Google Adwords)
- Web Analytics
- Public Relations
Once you have mulled over all these important considerations and pin-pointed your company’s needs, you can start your search for a digital marketing agency with clear direction.
2. David vs. Goliath
Don’t just go for the digital marketing agency that pops up first in Google searches. Nowadays, digital marketing agencies are a dime a dozen, but that doesn’t mean they are all good at what they do. There are many agencies out there who are out to make a quick buck without delivering real results, but there are also many reputable agencies to choose from. Doing your homework will take some time and effort, but will ensure that you don’t waste your hard-earned money.
“More established” agencies are the go-to for many, but just remember that bigger doesn’t always mean better. Smaller or boutique agencies, on the one hand, can give you and your business personalised attention no matter your budget. Up-and-coming agencies are often made up of talented, younger creatives who are in touch with what is hot and happening in the marketing world today and are eager to deliver results. Digital marketing is always evolving, and having an agency that has their fingers on the pulse is a good thing. Remember, all big agencies started out small.
That said, larger agencies have been around the block, so they have vast experience on their side. They often have excellent industry connections, attract experienced employees and make use of the latest and greatest technology. The problem is more prominent agencies are usually more expensive, and their tried and tested methods typically mean that their portfolios lack some diversity. Just because an agency did a good job for a big brand that you look up to, doesn’t mean their approach is right for your business. Having said that, take a good look at the work an agency has done for clients that are in the same industry, as expertise could translate into results.
There are many things to consider, and this is just a starting point. That’s why it is essential to think critically and pinpoint your exact needs and objectives. At the end of the day, you should look for an agency that understands your business and can help you achieve a positive return on investment. Creativity and experience help, of course.
3. Look at Examples of Work
First impressions matter, so by all means, study the agency’s website and see if their general aesthetic and creativity appeals to you. Also, have a look at how the agency market’s itself on their social media pages. But, keep in mind that relying on this alone can be misleading. If the site is beautiful and user-friendly, it is a good sign. Do you understand who the agency is, what they do and how they can help you? If the site is up to date, there should be a page or two dedicated to case studies and the work they have done for clients.
What’s more, keep an eye out for testimonials! This will give you some insight into the company’s success and relationship with their clients and as well as their work ethic. Lookout for signs that work is priced fairly, that the agency listens to its clients and understands their business, meet deadlines, better yet, contact the references and ask. Choose a digital marketing agency that fits your business style, company culture and one that you will enjoy collaborating with.
4. Find the Right Price and Terms
Naturally, you want a good return on your marketing investment, but remember you always get what you pay for. Don’t go for the agency that offers the cheapest rates. Agencies charge for their expertise, so if you find a digital marketing agency that prices itself too low, it could be a warning sign that they cut corners and are less likely to go the extra mile. Remember, you approached the agency because they are experts in marketing.
Don’t be afraid to negotiate contracts. Go through all proposals and deals with a fine- tooth comb and don’t sign anything, before you do. Make sure you understand what is expected of you from the get-go.
Be sure you know what the total costs and scope of work entail as well as any terms and conditions that will apply. There is nothing quite like a nasty, expensive surprise down the line to put you off using digital marketing agencies for good.
5. Meet the Team
It’s ok to ask about or even request to meet the creatives in the agency (it’s a bit like checking references if you like). You will be entering a strategic and long-term partnership that should be open, transparent and cooperative. Popping into the office to get a sense of the people who will push your marketing forward is recommended. What’s the atmosphere like? Are the employees hard at work? Do they acknowledge your presence? All of this can help you make up your mind when it comes to choosing the right people to market your business. At the end of the day, you want to work with people who care about your company and are willing to get their hands dirty, not people who will pass the buck of responsibility when it matters. A visit will help put your mind at ease and confirm whether the agency is the right fit for your business.
So, go ahead with a Google search and create a shortlist of potential agencies. Then delve a little deeper before setting up a meeting. And, while you are on our website, why not have a look at our blog and digital marketing services? We are a boutique agency with the wits, smarts, creativity, and experience to take your digital marketing to the next level. Feel free to get in touch, let us know your business needs and pop in for a coffee. Our team would love to meet you! Happy hunting!