Having an agency that supports your digital marketing efforts is a blessing. In this day and age of digitized business, you’ll need one for sure. However, there are several options to choose from which makes things complicated in many ways.
How can you truly determine whether or not a particular digital marketing agency is the best fit for your needs?
Well, there are many steps you can take. In this blog, we’ll be discussing some of them.
Create a Shortlist Using Reliable Sources
Start by making a shortlist of all the digital marketing agencies in and around your area. You can do this by getting in touch with your professional network. They’re likely to recommend a few options. Even companies that aren’t your typical competitors will be able to provide some information. Talking to people within the same industry is a great way to gather some information. Since they’re likely to possess some previous experience, they will be able to help you.
Other than that, there are companies out there that research digital marketing agencies every year. You can go through their research to identify the best digital marketing agencies out there and make your list based on what you see.
You can also get in touch with these agencies and ask them for references. A well-reputed agency will not think twice about referring to previous clients. This is an excellent way to determine whether or not a particular agency is the right fit for you.
You can also follow industry experts and find out what kind of content they’re posting. This is another smart strategy you can employ. There are probably several authors and experts you follow and even interact with. Talk to them about your search for a digital marketing agency. Ask them for suggestions. They’re likely to have an excellent idea of who’s the best in the market.
You can also follow the agencies themselves and analyze the kind of work they do to get a clear idea of their capabilities.
Practicing and Preaching
Once you’ve narrowed down your list, find out if your choice of agencies practice what they preach. For instance, it is an individual agency teaching a particular set of strategies. If so, are they following those strategies themselves? This is an important question to ask.
Other than that, look for practices such as the publishing of high-quality content regularly, the security of their site and mobile friendliness, the use of paid media like Facebook or AdWords, lead nurturing, etc.
Ask them all the questions you need to. If they respond with a “we don’t have enough time,” it’s time to remove them from your list. Agencies need to prioritize these practices, especially if they’re preaching the same. Time is a matter of perspective and any agency that doesn’t make time for its core priorities is doing things wrong.
What Tools are They Employing?
Next, find out what kind of tools they’re employing to get the job done and whether they possess the expertise to do so. Find out what kind of tools they’re using for project management, SEO, inbound marketing, social media analytics, email marketing, CRM, and website performance.
Whatever tools they might use, make sure they’re comfortable using those tools. The agency should know when these tools can be taken advantage of, and they can be abandoned. Though tools provide the analytical capabilities based on data and figures, a smart agency knows that absolute reliance on numbers isn’t always a good move. The agency should know when to leverage their experience as well.
Do They Have Established Processes?
Following digital marketing strategies can be complicated. There are a gazillion touch points even for publishing the simplest of content or simply following SEO recommendations. So, processes need to be put in place to make things easier and to overcome common challenges.
Find out if your agency has done anything to implement a process to make things run smoothly. Are their consultants from the outside? Are the processes mapped?
Also, find out if they are trained in shifting content, paid media, SEO recommendations, etc. through organizations.
Finally, ask if they are ready to discuss setting up things with you and whether they can help with your processes.
A digital marketing agency will work very closely with you. Now, we know that for anything to work, there must be a certain synergy. To put it simply, teamwork matters. But teamwork is a distant dream if there are no points of cohesion. Culture is one point of cohesion. For anything to work, people must adhere to the same culture.
This applies to the relationship between your business and your digital marketing agency. Though this is one of the more subjective aspects of the current topic, it isn’t any less important. Your agency of choice must be able to see things from your perspective and understand you.
For instance, a traditionally corporate client cannot expect a “modern” or “relaxed” agency to meet their expectations. There are going to be several points of disagreement between both. However, if both agree to the same culture, things tend to fall into place on their own.
Are They Transparent?
Transparency is of the utmost importance when dealing with a digital marketing agency. Any agency worth its salt should be able to offer a transparent working relationship. They must be willing to share results, processes, and activities. They should also be willing to expose some of their days to day management practices if not all.
One of the first things a transparent agency will do is allocate a consultant or account manager, who will serve as your primary point of contact. Apart from that, transparent agencies will also offer in-depth reports and key performance indicators to show you whether your investment is working.
So, make sure you’re looking for full transparency in the agency you’re planning to hire.