9 FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN YOU CHOOSE A DIGITAL MARKETING AGENCY
If you want your business to thrive, you’re going to need the help of a well-executed digital marketing strategy to reach your target audience, increase brand visibility, and drive sales. However, with numerous digital marketing agencies claiming to offer the best services, it's essential for businesses to carefully evaluate their options before making a decision. In this blog post, we will explore the key factors that businesses should consider when choosing a digital marketing agency.
WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING A DIGITAL MARKETING AGENCY
DEFINE YOUR MARKETING GOALS
Before choosing a digital marketing agency, it's important to define your marketing goals. Clearly identifying your business objectives will help you align them with your marketing strategy. Without this crucial information, it’s likely that your marketing efforts won’t be aligned with your business goals. So, if you’re engaging with a digital marketing agency and they don’t ask what yours are, consider this a big red flag! They’re probably more interested in taking your money than helping your business grow.
Whether you’re looking to increase brand awareness, generate more organic leads, or boost conversions, having a clear understanding of your goals will enable you to choose an agency that can support you in the areas that align with your objectives.
RESEARCH THE AGENCY
It probably goes without saying but researching the digital marketing agency is a crucial step in the selection process. A simple Google search for the agency will go a long way to helping you get a better idea of who you might be working with. Visit their website and social channels to get a feel for who they are and what they offer. You want to make sure that you are dealing with a professional outfit that is there to support you. If they take pride in their public appearance, you can safely assume they take what they do seriously.
Look for case studies, success stories, and testimonials that demonstrate their expertise and track record. Can you see examples of where they have experience working with businesses like yours?
Many smaller agencies are privately owned so when you’re digging around on their social accounts, see if you can determine who runs the agency and look into their experience. What’s their background? What’s their credibility? How long have they been doing what they say they do? Can you see yourself working with someone like them? All things to consider when picking an agency. When all is said and done, most agencies offer similar services, delivered in a similar way. But, you really find out what an agency is made of when you get to know the people.
EXPERIENCE AND EXPERTISE
The individual experience and expertise of the agency will play a significant role in the success of your marketing strategy. Once you’ve determined your goals, you’ll probably have a better understanding of what marketing services you may need. So, it’s worth digging a little deeper to evaluate the agency's experience in your specific marketing needs – whether that be search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, pay-per-click (PPC), or otherwise. Look for case studies that showcase their past successes and results in these areas.
Furthermore, consider certifications and industry awards that the agency may have received. These accolades indicate their commitment to staying up-to-date with industry trends and best practices. An experienced and knowledgeable agency will be better equipped to handle your marketing needs and deliver desired results. However, a little word of warning, before you take claims and awards at face value, try and substantiate those to ensure they’re credible. Winning the “best marketing agency in said area” might look good, but if they are the only ones in it, it’s hardly an accolade worth shouting about.
When choosing a digital marketing agency, it really doesn’t matter how professional, award-winning or experienced they are, if they don’t support you where you need it. So, the best thing you can do here is to assess your business's needs and evaluate whether the agency provides the necessary digital marketing services to fulfil those needs.
If you’re not sure, or you can’t get a feel for how experienced they are in that area, ask them. Digital marketing is extremely varied and complex and results can vary wildly depending on the channel and industry you’re operating in. Our best advice would be to reach out to the agency, tell them what your goals are and any agency worth their salt will be able to advise you on the best approach to take.
As the old saying goes, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. So when choosing a digital marketing agency take a look at a few, pose the same questions and challenges and see how they answer them. If you look at three and one comes in with something wildly different to the others, it’s likely they don’t offer the actual service that will help. Instead, they are just trying to sell what they do offer, whether it’s the right thing for you or not.
A very important factor when choosing a digital marketing agency and one often overlooked, is industry knowledge. An agency that understands your industry can better tailor their recommendations and strategy to resonate with your target audience. Look for agencies that have experience working with businesses in your industry or have specialised expertise in a particular niche. In most cases, they will have a greater understanding of industry trends, customer behaviour, and competition.
Expectation setting and determining “what good looks like” can vary from industry to industry. Five sales per month from a Google Search campaign might be fantastic in some industries but awful in others. There are so many variables at play when it comes to digital marketing, but working with an agency that understands your industry specifically will help mitigate these and set you up for success.
COMMUNICATION AND COLLABORATION
We might be in the digital age, but people still buy from people and successful business partnerships are built on relationships. Evaluate how the agency communicates with you during the inquiry stage, as this will give you an indication as to how the relationship will continue if you become a customer.
We feel it’s imperative for us to understand the needs, objectives, and challenges of our client’s businesses. We treat our clients like partners. A 50/50 partnership that has one solitary goal in mind – helping the clients’ business succeed. So, when choosing a digital marketing agency, it’s imperative they demonstrate this, otherwise, you risk becoming another number on a balance sheet.
Additionally, consider their client service and project management processes. How do they communicate with you? How accessible are they to answer questions? What SLAs do they put in place? An agency that values collaboration will involve you in the decision-making process and keep you updated on the progress of your campaigns. Look for agencies that utilise efficient communication tools and project management platforms to facilitate smooth collaboration.
CONSIDER THE AGENCY'S CULTURE AND VALUES
When choosing a digital marketing agency, it's important to consider their culture and values. The agency's mission statement and core values should be aligned with your business's goals and values. But likewise, they need to appreciate yours too. Each side of the partnership needs to understand and form effective ways of working, so establishing how closely aligned your core values are, will help determine if it will be a match made in heaven or one that’s destined for a divorce.
For the record our mission is to "Help startups and SMBs realise their potential" and our core values are built on Transparency, being Customer-centric, Passionate, and Human. In case you were interested!
REPORTING AND ANALYTICS
Setting specific targets and KPIs from the outset and having a clear reporting structure are essential components of a successful digital marketing campaign. Reports provide insights into the effectiveness of your marketing efforts, allowing the agency to make data-driven decisions and recommendations on how they can be improved.
Remember what we said about expectation setting? Be wary of an agency that agrees with your targets or blows other agencies out of the water in what they say they can achieve. If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.
The role of the agency is to advise and set realistic SMART objectives for your marketing. If you’re a B2B SaaS company wanting 100 leads per month with a budget of £100 – and the agency says they can do it – expect not to hit your goals.
Remember that you’re hiring a marketing agency because they have skills that you don’t, so your best course of action is to listen to their recommendations and take their advice. If they agree with everything you say, consider why you’re hiring them in the first place as they’re not bringing any value to the relationship.
Ask them how they set targets and KPIs, how they track them, and crucially, how they keep you up-to-date with the performance against those targets.
PRICING AND BUDGET
Pricing and budget considerations are important when choosing a digital marketing agency. It's crucial to assess whether the agency's pricing aligns with your budget and whether their services provide value for money. It’s also important to ensure it’s clear what the agency will deliver for the investment – whether that return is monetary ROI or the delivery of high-quality content for example – make sure everyone is clear on what the expectation of return is for the budget being invested
Importantly, don’t be afraid if an agency asks you what your budget is. I think there is a misconception that if you tell them what your budget is, they’ll make the work fit the budget. We can tell you – if it’s a reputable and credible agency – this really isn’t the case.
If you walked into the car showroom and told the salesperson you needed a car with four wheels and a steering wheel, they may well present you with a Ferrari. We’re sure you’d love the Ferrari but it’s out of your price range. The issue is the salesperson has spent their time sourcing and recommending a Ferrari when a Fiat is more within your budget. So, be honest about what you can afford upfront. If you feel the agency is trying to ensure you spend every penny with them, ask them to justify the services they’ve proposed to ensure they align with your business objectives. In most cases, there is always more you could do that doesn’t fit within your budget. And if this is the case with an agency you’re looking to work with, it’s a good sign. It shows they are making recommendations on what tactics will have the biggest impact on your goals, without overinflating the prices.
Choosing the right digital marketing agency is a critical decision that can significantly impact the success of your business. By carefully evaluating various factors such as their ability to hit your business and marketing goals, their experience, credibility, and industry knowledge, you can make an informed decision.
Take your time to research and assess different agencies, and don't hesitate to ask for references or seek testimonials from their previous clients. Working with a reputable and experienced digital marketing agency that offers a comprehensive range of services will ensure that your marketing objectives are met and your business thrives.
If you’d like to see if we might be a good fit for your business, we offer free, no-obligation consultations designed to help you do just that. Simply click the link below and book a time that suits you.