The goal of most digital marketing agencies is to help businesses achieve their unique goals by creating comprehensive strategies that establish the best possible online presence through SEO, paid search, content creation, display ads and social media platforms.
Digital marketing is not as easy as it seems. It’s quite difficult, actually, especially knowing that, in this field, everything changes really fast. What worked yesterday may not work today. It requires constant focus and attention to detail in order to stay sharp. Some businesses might be really successful without any digital presence, but the way consumers are searching for information nowadays demands that your business have a great online presence.
There are numerous reasons to consider hiring a digital marketing agency to help you carry out your digital operations. Some organizations try to hire experts to work in-house, while others outsource the process completely. No matter what your reasoning might be, digital marketing is a business that will take all of your focus and energy to get right. While trying to focus on growing your own business, it’s a good idea to get help from someone who breathes and sleeps this field to keep you ahead of the curve.
Why Do Businesses Hire Digital Marketing Agency?
The following are some of the most common reasons why businesses hire digital marketing agencies to help their marketing efforts:
- They genuinely can’t bring in their own qualified leads through traditional methods.
- Their competition is eating into their market share through digital marketing efforts.
- They don’t have enough resources, research and money budgeted to effectively test what works and what doesn’t.
- Opportunity cost is not worth it due to a lack of knowledge and they can’t do it themselves because most of their time is devoted to running their businesses.
- It is cheaper than hiring experienced marketing specialists to work in-house
- They need a good digital marketing agency to fix up the mistakes of the previous agencies they hired
What Are The Benefits of Hiring A Digital Marketing Agency?
Hiring an experienced digital marketing agency can make a huge impact on your return on investment. Not only that, but it comes with many great advantages that are truly beneficial:
- Access to great minds with all the skills you need.
- Staying on top of digital trends.
- Effectively managing your marketing budget.
- Not having to worry about marketing your business and shifting your focus to operations management.
- Staying relevant within your industry.
- Access to advanced agency tools.
- A cost-effective marketing approach.
- Being able to acquire more qualified leads.
- More opportunities for creativity and objectivity.
It makes perfect sense to outsource a digital marketing agency for the success of your business’ online presence. While it may seem logical to hire a single candidate who meets the specific requirements you need to meet, it actually takes less financial commitment to hire a full-service agency and is more effective, overall. Agencies have many skilled experts with years of experience under their belts ready to handle any digital challenge. And wouldn’t you rather have an entire pit crew instead of one mechanic?
Determine What You Need
Before you start researching and dialing up a bunch of phone numbers for the best looking agencies on the search page, you have to first realize what it is you actually need. There are countless agencies that specialize in a variety of different services. So many, in fact, that it is almost impossible to keep track of them all.
To save you time, figure out what it is that you are and are not looking for. Some businesses may have their own dedicated in-house teams that take primary responsibility for the many tasks performed by full-service agencies, so be very clear on what you need.
Has your in-house team reached their cap and need help taking your business to the next level? Are you looking to get more calls for your business? Need help establishing your digital presence? Help with your media production or reaching your specific sales goals? How about designing a new website?
When it comes to the success of any digital marketing strategy, you have to properly communicate your goal with whoever you are working with so both parties are on the same page. Once you know what you need, you can go on the mission to find the right agency to help you out.
Research The Company You Want To Work With
There are tons of agencies capable of designing beautiful websites and making their companies seem like they are big-shots while they can barely handle maintaining their own presence.
You are going to need to conduct deep research to find out who you are dealing with. Trust me, it’s all worth your while. This way, you can filter out all the agencies that don’t meet your criteria.
Here is what you need to look for:
- CEO and Company Executives — Research the CEO and executive members of the company by looking at their social media presences. You can use Facebook, LinkedIn and even Twitter to see their footprint.
- Agency Blogs — Alson, another great indicator of the agency’s credibility is the blogs on their website. This will show you how knowledgeable they are in their field, with powerful agencies giving advance strategies through their blogs. Read a few of them and see if they know what they are talking about. Well written and promoted content will tell you a lot about the agency’s standing within the industry.
- Strong Social Media Presence — This will show you a marketing agency’s true digital prowess. I recommend checking their Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram. How consistent are they with the content? Are they getting good engagement? Are they promoting unique knowledge? Give tips? Leadership within the community? Do they have a significant following?
- Conference Speaking — Has the agency done any speaking at business conferences? Local conferences, regional events, webinars or any colleges can be very helpful to see if you are dealing with real professionals. You can see how well they speak about the topics they are selling. If they do a good job at presenting, then great! If they do poorly, you already know that they don’t meet the criteria.
- Case Studies — This is probably one of the most important things you can ask when hiring a digital marketing agency to handle your marketing efforts. Ask if they have case studies for similar businesses similar to yours. This shows that their strategies work, are effective, and can fit the needs of different companies.
- Client Testimonials — This can assure you that they are legit. Don’t believe the fake testimonials some agencies put on their websites. They can fake who wrote those but it’s hard to fake video, especially of a business owner talking about their business. When you have that, you can also search for whether that it is a legit business.
- Industry Awards — Getting recognition from respected sources in the digital marketing field is important. Stay away from those who don’t have industry acknowledgements, as this means they haven’t done a good enough job standing out from other agencies.
- News Media Mentions — If you search the specific agency’s name and click the “news” tag in Google, you can see if that company has been quoted by the media or has been referenced in any news publications. This will show you the authority of the agency, and that they are the experts in specific topics in digital marketing. Essentially, this proves that they know what they are talking about.
- Web Design & Functionality — A website is an agency’s digital office. If you come across an outdated, ugly looking website, you might as well step into a bedroom that has been converted into an office. Well designed and constructed websites with great information can tell you a lot about a company’s credibility and authority.
- List of Clients — Check out who the agency is associating themselves with. Do they work with small mom-and-pop shops or with big brands? This will give you a perspective on how they operate and what kind of work to expect from them.
- Practice What They Preach — Often, many agencies like to talk and talk, educating and giving tips during your meeting with them. Invest some time and explore their digital presence after your meeting, to see if they actually practice what they preach.
Also Read: Different Types of Advertising Methods
What To Do Once You Find The Agency?
Once you set up the meeting, whether in person or over the phone, pay attention to what questions they are asking you. The true quality of a real professional comes from their ability to ask and understand you as a client. This also gives you a perspective on their overall understanding of digital marketing and how they are able to implement a plan of action to successfully tell your brand’s story.
Another thing you’ll want to consider is asking how they measure success. Ask them what type of tools they use to analyze the performance of their marketing campaigns.
Now that you’ve researched them, ask yourself a few questions:
Do you like them?
Do you feel that you can trust them based on the conversation?
Do you believe that this agency will be transparent and complete their objectives according to plan?
Great agencies will send you a synopsis of the meeting, after you’re done. They’ll outline what you talked about, your vision, and how they can meet your vision with their services. If you don’t get that from an agency, consider it a red flag. Chances are you are not their top priority.
High Standards of Quality
I think, by now, everyone is able to identify what is quality and what isn’t. You can clearly tell good marketing from bad. You know the standards your industry uses and what, exactly, your customers like to see.
If the agency you are working with can not deliver these standards for your business, you shouldn’t be investing your marketing dollars with them. The best way to cut to the chase is to see the quality of work they have previously completed. Check out their portfolio and see what type of social media posts they have made for previous clients, pay per click campaigns they have run, logos and graphics they have designed, websites they have built, search campaigns they have set up, and their overall work when building other brands’ digital presences.
Believe it or not, many business owners don’t have dedicated marketing dollars set for the growth of their business. The budget is very important, however. There are different types of marketing budget strategies. and your budget will depend on your unique goals. Before you can budget anything, though, you will need to know which strategy is right for you.
Types of Marketing Budget Strategies
- Competitive Oriented — Find an estimate on how much your competitors are spending and spend at a greater level than they are. This is good when it comes to staying ahead of the competition, but can also be risky. You just have to ensure you’ve confirmed this strategy as the best for you, and then pursue it.
- Percentage of Revenue — Normally, small businesses allocate around 10 -15% of their revenue to their marketing strategy.
- Aggressive Strategy — This is when you invest everything you can afford into your marketing campaign. It’s easily one of the riskiest strategies out there.
- Objective Oriented — This kind of strategy allows you to plan your budget based on the tasks you need completed. It’s the most careful option, but can vary in cost depending on your specific needs and comfort level.
- Cost Per Acquisition — This type of method is used after you have tested many different campaigns and found out which is best. You now know the best source for your leads and the cost of client acquisition via that source. Now you can focus on acquisitions, which is a great strategy but takes a lot of research and building different campaigns on different sources to perfect.
Questions You Should Ask Yourself
Who is your intended audience?
In order for your business to reach the right audience, you have to first identify your target audience and who you want to market to. This is important, so don’t skip over this because you think you already know. Spend some time really looking at your audience.
Have you analyzed your competition?
Analyzing your competitors’ campaigns to see where they’ve succeeded can help you construct a great marketing plan for your own business. Breaking down your competitors’ campaigns and identifying and learning from their pitfalls will give you all the insights you need to allocate a marketing budget toward a stronger marketing strategy that can succeed where they failed.
What is your marketing budget?
Before creating a marketing budget for your company, identify the direction your business is moving in. Your focus. What is your goal? What do you want to achieve with your marketing investment? These questions help to clarify your vision. Finding the right marketing solution that works for your business can take time and some amount of investment but, once you’ve pinpointed what’s working and what isn’t, you can continue to invest in the same strategy while testing others to build up to maximum marketing efficiency.
Building a Relationship
The most successful stories of businesses partnering with digital marketing agencies are about the owners that think of the agency as part of their marketing team, not as some outsourced outsider.
While this might seem a little challenging, when hiring a firm, look to hire an agency that fits the role of your team. An agency that understands your mission, the core values, and your culture, in general. This is very important, especially for the long run. Marketing is a long-term goal and, if you are going to have a team of experts help you out, you want to build a close relationship with them.
Get down to the agency’s office and take the initiative to get to know their team. Although a great website and beautiful team photos might be nice to see, the way to truly build trust is to go down and meet with them in person. They are your team, after all, so ask them questions, get them to tell you their story, about their background, previous work, and accomplishments. This is one of the best things you can do to build trust, avoid anxieties over who you’re working with, and keep your heart at peace.
Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring a Digital Marketing Agency
Hiring the wrong digital marketing agency can hurt your business, waste your time, and throw your hard-earned-money down the drain. Do not make the decision to choose an agency based on their low price. Cheap isn’t always good and good isn’t always cheap. I’ve seen many businesses invest years of their time and money into cheap agencies that didn’t perform the way they promised they would. That’s time lost, and you can’t get time back.
Let me give you a list of red flags to look out for when choosing the right partner:
- Agencies that use outdated processes when running their campaigns
- Agencies who promise you immediate results
- Talking about their services rather than the solutions they offer
- Agencies forgetting to factor in your long-term budget
- Not focusing on building a relationship
- They try to get you in on long-term contracts you can’t get out of
- They don’t give you the opportunity to meet the people who will work on your account
- Agencies working hard, not smart (those who focus on output vs. outcomes)
- Agencies not giving you a complete plan of execution
- Not showing you any case studies of other clients
- Making offers that seem too good to be true
- Providing you with extremely cheap options
- Not doing basic research about your company before attending the meeting
- An agency website that looks outdated
- A social media presence that is not up-to-date with consistent posts
Also Read: How To Get Media Coverage For Your Business
We’ve covered quite a lot of ground, in today’s guide:
- Why Do Businesses Hire Digital Marketing Agencies?
- What Are The Benefits of Hiring A Digital Marketing Agency?
- Determining What You Actually Need
- How To Research The Company You Want To Work With
- What To Do Once You Find The Agency?
- Finding an Agency That Meets Your Industry’s Standards of Quality
- Different Types of Marketing Budget Strategies
- Building a relationship with your agency
- Red flags to watch out for
Instead of doing everything yourself, while focusing on growing your business, it’s a much better idea to hire a professional team with many skill sets and a proven track record of success to help you achieve better results. Hiring the right digital marketing agency, that can deliver the work you need, is a lot like hiring a new staff member. It takes effort, time and research. At the end of the day, you want to hire someone who is the best at what they do, right?
Do your due diligence and follow all the tips I’ve outlined, today. Make sure you know why you are hiring the agency and make your goals clear to the team so they can create strong solutions and effectively execute them. This will make your process easier and leave you less likely to get scammed by useless agencies who talk big but deliver small.
So, still looking for the Mr. Right of digital marketing? Now you know how to find him. Get out there and make it happen!