Choosing the right digital marketing agency is a critical step toward reaching your business goals. However, it’s important to understand an agency’s qualifications and processes before you engage with them.
Throughout our time operating as an eCommerce and lead generation agency, we’ve met with countless business owners and answered many questions to help them figure out the next steps for their businesses. Not all agencies are created equal and it’s essential that you find the right fit to accomplish your goals.
To help, we’ve outlined ideas for you to consider below as your work through your agency search process.
What to Look For In An Agency
Experience is the most important quality to look for when hiring a digital marketing agency. Past work examples and successes validate a company’s credibility. Furthermore, they help you determine if the partnership will be a good fit for what you’re trying to accomplish.
We specifically recommend that you consider technical experience as you begin to evaluate agencies. In many ways, this can be one of the most important factors to consider.
Technology is a critical component of digital marketing. As a result, you should identify agencies with experience working with your desired platforms. This factor can help you differentiate between one-size-fits-all agencies and ones who have relevant experience.
Consistent and open communication is the foundation for successful relationships – both personal and professional. When evaluating agencies, we recommend asking how the team will communicate deadlines, deliverables and reporting.
Be sure to clearly share your goals upfront so agencies you’re evaluating understand what you’re trying to accomplish.
If an agency is keeping you in the dark about process or experience, chances are there’s a reason. An ideal fit should schedule regular updates so you can track progress.
Do you have a good feeling about the people you’re talking to?
We know this one sounds like a no-brainer, but in reality, gut feelings can go a long way when evaluating agency credibility. Keep track of interactions you have throughout the evaluation process and ask yourself if you would enjoy working with this type of company.
Overall, you must trust the team your hire to transform your business based on your goals. That’s a great deal of responsibility, so make sure your prospective agency makes you feel comfortable.
What to Avoid
Lack of Experience
This tip pretty much speaks for itself.
An inexperienced team can’t provide top notch service. By contrast, seasoned agencies know the market and will be able to give advice on the best steps to take to reach your goals.
In our experience, seasoned professionals are more consistent and provide more reliable returns on your marketing investment. Be sure to ask your prospective agencies what makes them qualified to work on your desired projects.
The “Fix Everything” Claim
If it sounds too good to be true, it likely is. Agencies who claim they can fix all of your problems probably can’t. There is no silver bullet when it comes to digital marketing, but there are actionable ways to move the needle.
Remember that there is a difference between a quick win and long-term success. A reliable agency will help you identify opportunities for both and plan accordingly.
If an agency guarantees that they are amazing at everything, run the other way. Although this is ideal in theory, businesses will see better returns when they choose agencies that clearly align with their platforms, verticals or industries.
Remember that there is a difference between a generalist and a full-service agency. In a full-service model, different individuals on a team offer specific experience. This structure truly helps businesses succeed because they streamline communication with one dedicated partner and enjoy a large breadth and depth of experience under one roof.
Only Looking At Awards
Don’t get us wrong – awards can be very flattering and we’ve received a number of them throughout the years. However, not all awards are created equal. If you’re looking for an award-winning agency partner, do your research and make sure the awards are credible.
Additionally, consider that awards are mostly a vanity metric for agencies. We strongly advise evaluating the factors above before letting awards sway your decision.
Mapping a Budget
What is Your Goal?
Set a clear and measurable goal. Then, work backward to identify what you’ll need to invest to achieve it. In many cases, ambitious goals come with large budgets, so be prepared to scale your funds based on what’s realistic for your business.
Projects vs Ongoing Engagements
There are two ways to work with a digital marketing agency: a project and an ongoing engagement.
Projects are one time engagements and have quick turnarounds. For example, designing a website is a project. Ongoing engagements take longer, typically a year or more, and typically take shape as a marketing partnership.
Ultimately, this difference will reflect whether you’re looking for a quick win or lasting growth. Ongoing engagements require active tech and marketing support, so be sure to consider what you’re trying to accomplish before signing up.
Working with an inbound marketing agency offers tremendous benefits, but it’s important to find the partner that works best with you.
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