Best digital marketing agency – The right digital agency can add exceptional value and help take the visibility of your business to the next level. In this digital age, there is no shortage of agencies out there.
So how do you sort out which one is right for your needs?
3 things you need to know before hiring an agency
Let’s take a look at a few valuable questions that can help determine if your potential relationship would be a good fit.
1. What Are Your Needs?
The term “digital marketing agency” becomes vaguer every year as new services are rolled out.
Agencies can cover services like SEO (Search Engine Optimization), SEM (Search Engine Marketing – which covers paid advertising), Social Media, Content Marketing, Email Campaigns, and things like CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization – which helps convert more visitors into customers).
Full-service agencies can do a good job in a wide range of fields, but some agencies tend to narrow their focus to a specific set of services.
Just like how there are specialists in the medical field that are very good at one specific subset; the same applies to digital agencies.
If you know what you need in advance, finding an agency that focuses on that area can be easier.
If you are still unsure of your needs, a full-service digital marketing agency might be a good choice. A good agency can help you identify options that you might not have considered yet.
For example, you might approach an agency with an interest in expanding your organic search presence (ie, SEO).
A good agency might, after reviewing your website data, suggest focusing on search advertising instead if that would allow you to realize more return in a shorter period of time.
2. Who Are Their Existing Clients?
Many agencies publish a sample of existing clients on their websites. This allows you to get a better feel for where you might fit in.
If an agency has a track record of helping similar companies to yours, they will likely have a head start in helping companies like yours.
On the other hand, if you’re a small business and they mostly work with enterprise-level corporations, they may not have the same focus on local search that you might benefit from.
Furthermore, there will likely be a miss-match in budget expectations if they usually work with higher-paying clients.
The reverse is also true. Companies that focus more on smaller businesses may not be used to the intricacies of working within the complex structure of a large corporation. Specifically, you may want to ask if they have worked with any businesses like yours in the past.
Some agencies may be hesitant to name specific clients, but even if not they can give you a vague idea of the type of company they worked with. Additionally, what the problems were going into the project, and the results they were able to obtain for that client.
3. What Is Their Reputation?
You can learn a lot about a digital marketing agency by its reputation. Large agencies will likely have reviews on sites. This is where past clients and even employees can discuss their experience working with the agency.
Smaller, local agencies will likely have reviews on Google, Facebook, or even Yelp that past clients have left. Since these reviews are difficult for the agency to tamper with, they can provide an honest look into past experiences.
When talking with an agency, there is nothing wrong with asking for a reference from a past client. Especially, if they’ve worked with a client that is similar to your own business.
Most agencies won’t mind sharing contact information for one client.
When you get in touch, you can ask about results delivered during the project, communication, and professionalism of the agency.
Then if there were any hidden costs or issues that popped up along the way.
By taking these safeguards, you can help ensure that you are working with a professional agency.
More importantly, that your project has a good chance of running without a hitch.
Best Digital Marketing Agency Search Tips: Custom Approach vs. Cookie-Cutter Services
A good thing to consider before engaging in a digital project is how custom-tailored the project will be to the needs of your specific business. Some agencies offer very strict packages. They follow a step-by-step approach for all of their clients.
This makes it easy to set expectations ahead of time. The structure of the projects usually allows the price of these packages to be set lower since less custom work is involved.
At the same time, these packages aren’t focused on your specific needs and problem areas. So the potential is a bit lower.
Custom services tend to cost a bit more, but allow you to create a campaign from the ground up, focusing on your unique problem areas.
For example, in an SEO campaign, maybe you have plenty of link authority but your website has severe problems from a technical perspective.
A custom campaign would allow you to move hours from the link acquisition area and into improving your website performance.
By focusing on areas that matter the most, you have the best chance of seeing results at the end of the campaign.
A qualified agency should be able to prescribe exactly what you need after hearing a bit about your goals and performing an initial audit.
If an agency jumps too quickly into laying out an action plan and trying to get started on deliverables, it may not be entirely focused on providing as much value as possible.
On the other hand, this is pretty normal for lower-priced services, so if your budget is low it’s not necessarily a bad sign.
Best Digital Marketing Agency Search Tips :
Beware of Guarantees for SEO
You would think that an agency that offers a guarantee would be more trustworthy. That isn’t always the case. Google has warned against offering a guarantee for digital services, especially when it comes to SEO.
Ultimately, the decision of where your website is positioned in search results is up to the search engines.
Agencies can help optimize your website and present strategies.
Strategies that will help to make you more likable to the search engines. However, they don’t control the ultimate placement of your site in those results.
Although offering a guarantee isn’t an automatic red flag, it is advisable to not place too much focus on that.
When it comes to other digital services outside of SEO, a guarantee isn’t such a bad thing.
But an agency should be able to use their experience and documented results to speak for themselves rather than relying too heavily on a guarantee.
Best Digital Marketing Agency Search Tips :
Case studies are like references but super-charged. These are whitepapers on a specific project or client that they have done in the past. A proper case study will talk a bit about the client, their existing problems, and their future goals.
Then it will cover how the agency added value and specifically what they did during the project. Finally, it should conclude with the results of the project and how the initial problem was overcome.
Case studies can provide valuable insight into how an agency operates and how they help their clients.
However, keep in mind that most agencies would never publish a case study that makes them look bad.
When the time comes to generate a document like this, they are going to choose the examples that make them look best.
These are always cherry-picked cases (which is to be expected), but based on that reason alone, you should allow case studies to guide your decision and not make up your mind based on those alone.
Best Digital Marketing Agency Search Tips :
Meet With Multiple Members of the Team
When talking to an agency, you may just have one point of contact at first. This person will depend on the size of the agency. It could be a client manager at a larger agency or the owner of a smaller agency.
While these people can help answer your questions, there is nothing wrong with asking to speak with other members of the team. They might be working on your project, especially if your initial point of contact is not a person who will be doing hands-on work with your project.
For example, if you’re wanting to run a social media campaign, there is nothing wrong with asking to schedule a quick chat with the Social Media Manager before you sign any contracts.
This doesn’t have to be a long talk (a 15-minute introduction could be plenty), but it helps you meet more people within the agency. These specific team members can often provide more ideas on how they could provide value.
There is plenty you can do to vet an agency before kicking things off. But eventually, you have to just pull the trigger and dive in. By following these steps, you will know you have done your due diligence.