Navigating the ever-changing world of digital marketing can be a daunting task for any business owner, which is why it’s sometimes a good idea to outsource this to an expert. But these days anyone can set themselves up as a digital marketing expert and start trading with few barriers to entry. So how do you choose a digital marketing agency that will achieve your goals? Here we outline the steps to take in order to make the best choice.
1. Know your goals and budget
In order to choose the right agency for your business you need to establish exactly what you want to achieve and how much you are willing to spend. Want your website to appear higher up in search engine results pages? You need an agency that understands SEO. Want to refresh your branding? You need an agency with a graphic designer.
Digital marketing agencies tend to specialise in certain areas and while they might claim to be ‘full-service’ their expertise lies in a particular area. Once you know what you want they will know whether they can help.
It’s also important to be honest about what you are prepared to spend. There will not be a fixed price so if you can give an agency an idea of your budget, they will then be able to tell you what can be achieved with that budget.
A word of warning – whilst overseas agencies might tempt you with very low prices, the quality of what they produce can be very low too. Plus, you have language barriers and time differences to deal with.
2. Do your research
Examine prospective agencies websites, do they practice what they preach? Are they easy to contact? Are their websites easy to navigate and do they look good? A digital marketing agency with a poor website is unlikely to produce a great result for a client.
If you’re looking for content marketing, do the agencies have their own blog and what is it like? If you’re looking for SEO, can you find the agencies websites when you search in Google? If you are looking for social media marketing how do they handle theirs?
Ask others for recommendations, either friends/business associates, or ask your professional network on LinkedIn. If someone can recommend an agency that has worked well for them, that may be a good starting point.
3. Ask to see client testimonials
Any good agency should be able to show you a portfolio of their work. If they can’t do this then you have to wonder if they have done any good work. For graphic design and website development, you should see a well put together portfolio.
SEO and social media marketing are more difficult to prove but they still should have some examples. However, a reasonable client list is a good indicator. Ask how long the clients have been with them, longevity is a good indicator of quality. Look for reviews on the internet – there may be some Google or Yell reviews.
Ask to speak to previous clients and call them rather than email, you will get a lot more information this way.
4. Assess the team members and company culture
Find out who works for them and what their experience is. If you are looking for web design they should employ specialist designers. Look up the company on LinkedIn, and look on their website for Bios. Of course, if they employ freelancers these won’t show up.
What is the company culture like? And what are their values? You will need to work closely with them so it’s important that they share the same values as you. Choosing an agency that you gel with is just as important as their previous work.
5. The technical side
Make sure whoever is tasked to do the work understands the technical side of creating a website. You need your website to function well and be hosted properly. These days many web designers also have technical knowledge which is a huge advantage as they will be able to handle the project from start to finish.
6. How will results be measured?
Be clear on how you will measure return on investment (ROI), what do you want them to achieve? Make sure it’s realistic, an agency that promises to get you to the number 1 spot in Google straight away is unlikely to succeed. The goals should be sensible. Beware of agencies who make outlandish promises that they won’t be able to fulfil. If you are in a competitive market results will take time and an agency shouldn’t promise ‘bottom of the funnel’ results from day 1.
7. Get them to pitch
Once you have narrowed down a shortlist of prospective agencies get them to create a proposal and pitch their ideas to you. This will give you a chance to meet the people you will be working with in person and gauge a better understanding of what they can do.
It is here that any personality clashes become evident, which can be detrimental to the success of your business. Some people call it “the beer test” and it is often used as a recruitment method – would you take them out for a beer down at your local pub, or would you run a mile the other way? The answer to this speaks volumes.
Choosing the right digital agency to help your business is a big decision with a lot resting on the outcome. For help with your next project and to see what we can offer call us on 01202 650 333 or email email@example.com.Back to blog home