What should I look for when hiring a digital marketing agency? If you’re an internet marketing amateur but want to grow your business’s online presence, it might be time to head to the pros. Learn how to navigate the confusing process and get the best results in our guide below!
Before you start looking into how to choose the best digital marketing agency, you need to assemble the right team to determine your agency partners. Pick a group within your business with one or two key stakeholders from every department connected to the marketing strategy, from sales to IT – you’ll want teammates from all over your business who see the complete picture of your marketing needs.
Meet with each other before you start looking into marketing agencies so you can get everyone on the same page and brief on the new project or partnership you’re considering. Make sure each teammate understands the scope and timeline required.
Build a document with any relevant data a marketing agency will need to understand your project and learn exactly what your team needs.
Every marketing agency does things a little differently, but any agency worth its salt will be able to answer your questions on how their processes work and why they’re so successful. However, if their answers don’t flow easily, it may be a sign that they aren’t experienced enough to help you with your unique needs.
Get your team together ahead of time to prepare the questions most relevant to your situation.
Do you need an agency for specialized work to support your in-house team? Are you starting from scratch? Building a new website?
Build your list of questions and bring them to your discovery meeting with the agency.
Every marketing campaign needs a unique touch to fulfill and maximize its strategy. Sometimes, marketing on social media will be the focus; other times, you may want the agency to provide you with SEO-optimized content or backlink building.
Some agencies specialize in particular areas, while others offer more well-rounded services. Agencies should be very clear with you, even in those initial stages, about their strategies and processes for success.
Confused about marketing? SEO can feel like a foreign language to those with no marketing experience.
They should take a look at your biggest marketing goals and provide you with a clear vision of their ideal execution. Ask the agency about any areas of the strategy with which you’re unfamiliar, and do your own research into the basics of digital marketing so you can verify if their ideal strategy lines up with industry standards.
Whether you’re looking at Hamilton marketing agencies or international options, you want your strategy to align with your goals strongly. Does it make sense?
Certain digital agencies will resort to shady SEO-building practices – these “black hat” strategies can sometimes see results. Still, when Google catches onto what you’re doing, they will penalize your business in their search engine. Since 86% of people search a company on Google, you’ll lose massive business if your marketing agency partakes in frowned upon practices.
Make sure your agency of choice can explain why their strategy works without resorting to shady practices. If they can’t, Google the plan and find out if it’s legitimate.
They’ve walked you through their proposed strategy, and now it’s time to see the numbers behind the promises.
A great marketing agency can show you specific statistics and results that show how they’ve turned their past clients’ marketing budgets into measurable results. In this business, it’s very easy for agencies to overpromise and overcharge, but unless you see your sales increase, more traffic to your sites, or Google rank improvements, a campaign isn’t worth the time or cost.
If they can’t measure their success through a proven record, they won’t measure yours correctly either – ditch them.
Beyond an agency’s past results, you don’t just want to see what they’ve delivered for other people – you’ll want to see what they can provide for you.
The SEO deliverables should be specific and unique to your business, with real numbers and targets rather than vague statements. The deliverables need to align well with your overall goals. You want a company that goes beyond the digital marketing basics to offer an in-depth service that delivers actual results.
Your business will have a set timeline for results in mind before you start vetting digital marketing agencies in your area. Though marketing results do take time, you need to consider how flexible your timeline is and the agency’s foreseeable timeline to achieve them.
SEO is not an overnight success, and longer-term strategies require longer-time investments, too. If the timelines don’t add up for you, you should move on – even if you really love the agency.
Before you make a decision to drop them, take a look at the industry standards to ensure that your expectations for the speed of results are reasonable. If you’re expecting something to get done overnight, you may not find any agencies that can meet your timelines.
A timeline that is too quick is as suspicious as one that’s too long or hard for an agency to pin down. If they avoid giving you a firm timeline, be wary – they may not be able to deliver or string you along.
Make sure your timelines hit all four phases of marketing strategy planning and execution and leave ample time for each:
Discovery and research time
Project planning phase
Marketing strategy execution
Review and analyze results & offboarding
You’re now armed with all you need to know about how to choose a digital marketing company that’s the perfect fit for you.
Ready to work with the pros? Try EB Media, our marketing agency in Hamilton, ON, with the solutions and expertise to take your marketing strategies and ROIs to the next level. Get a quote here!