Updated: Nov 10, 2022
Digital marketing agencies are a dime a dozen these days. There are hundreds of digital marketing companies out there offering their services to businesses looking to grow online. And while some agencies offer great value, others don't. So how do you know whether you're getting what you pay for? Here are 10 questions to ask yourself before hiring a digital agency.
1. How will they analyze our requirements?
If you want to find out how well a digital marketing company understands your business, ask them what their discovery process entails. If they say they'll investigate your industry, products, competitors, and customers, that's great - but it doesn't mean they'll actually take the time to dive deep into your business. You might end up getting a recommendation based on superficial analysis rather than in-depth understanding.
Ideally, you should request a comprehensive digital marketing strategy that is aligned with your business objectives from the digital marketing agency. The digital marketing strategy should include;
Your identified business goals and business objectives
The digital marketing channels they plan on using
Digital marketing campaigns
Recommended marketing activities to go alongside the digital marketing plan
The social media marketing plan which should be a part of the overall digital marketing strategy
Content marketing plans which include content creation
Digital marketing trends that the business should consider
If Search Engine Optimization is your requirement ask them how the business strategy would help with organic search.
The social media profiles that they recommend the business should venture to
It is vital that you ensure that the digital marketing strategy that they come up with is tailored to your business goals and one that will help your business growth. If the digital marketing agency's overall marketing efforts do not help with your business growth then your business relationship won't last.
2. Have they handled similar clients in the same industry?
Ask the digital marketing agency you're considering working with how many clients they have and what industries those clients operate in. If they don't have much experience in your particular space, ask why. You might discover that they've never done anything similar to what you need help with. Or maybe they just haven't had the chance to work with businesses like yours.
The second reason to check out an agency's client base is that it gives you insight into the types of projects they've completed. This information isn't always easy to come by, especially if you aren't looking for a long-term relationship. But it does give you some idea about what you can expect from the digital marketing company — and what you can avoid.
For example, if an agency has a lot of clients or previous clients in tech, you know that they probably won't have the expertise to handle your retail project. On the flip side, agencies that specialize in financial services might have no experience creating a social media campaign for a local restaurant.
3. Will they be bringing something different and new to the table?
Is the digital agency able to differentiate itself from the competition? You need an agency that will come up with unique and creative ideas for your business. And while it’s important to focus on the differentiating factors, it’s equally important to understand where you fit into the competitive landscape. This helps agencies avoid being pigeonholed into one niche or another.
4. What do they require from me?
When it comes to working with a digital marketing agency, there are three key questions you must ask yourself: - What level of input and involvement do they need from me? - How much control over the process will I give them? - And what types of data, access, and resources will they need from me to make this happen? If you don't know the answer to any of those questions, you might end up with something less than stellar results.
You shouldn't just assume that because you've worked with one agency in the past that you'll be able to simply switch gears and hand off everything to another. You need to know exactly what you want out of your next agency relationship so you can ensure that you get it.
5. Are they able to show sample work?
If you're looking for a way to make sure your digital marketing company knows what they are getting into, ask for examples of previous projects or client work. This question can help give you insight into whether the agency has done similar things before, and it gives you a chance to talk about the project and judge their ability to execute.
6. How soon can they start generating results?
You might think it’s obvious that you shouldn’t ask how long it will take to see results, but there are plenty of companies out there who don’t understand why you wouldn’t want to hear that information upfront. In fact, asking that question is one of the biggest mistakes people make when working with a digital marketing agency.
The reason why is that most agencies aren’t able to give you a clear picture of what exactly it is that you’re paying them for. They’ll tell you that they’re doing everything possible to improve your rankings, but they won’t really say anything specific. So when you start getting impatient and ask how long it will be until you see results, they’ll probably just shrug their shoulders and walk away.
7. How long have they been in the industry?
It's a fair question to find out how long the agency has been in digital marketing. After all, you want the prospective agencies to have adequate industry experience so that you know that your brand would be in capable and experienced hands.
And while there's no question that having expertise in a particular industry is extremely beneficial, we don't think it's nearly as important as knowing whether an agency has had success getting customers to convert. After all, what good is being able to do something well if nobody wants to buy it?
8. How will they be handling communication and reporting?
Communication and reporting are one of the most overlooked components of a successful agency relationship. Here are five reasons why you absolutely must have regular communication and reporting with your digital marketing agency.
You Need To Know What Is Going On With Your Agency
You know you have problems when your agency can't keep up with your requests. If you aren't getting timely responses, or if you find yourself having to chase down information, you've got serious issues. This isn't something you can tolerate. You need to know exactly where your agency stands. Are they working on your projects? Do they understand the scope of your project? How long does it take them to respond to emails? These questions are vital to keeping you updated on everything happening in your agency.
You Need To Be Able To Communicate With Your Agency
If you can't talk to your agency, you'll never truly be able to manage your campaigns. When you send an email asking about a certain aspect of your campaign, you need to know whether your agency understands what you're talking about. Does your agency have any ideas on how to solve your problem? Can they give you examples of similar situations? These are all great ways to ensure that you're communicating effectively with your agency.
You Need To See Reports From Your Agency
Reports are another way to communicate effectively with your agency. Without seeing reports, you won't know if your agency is meeting your expectations. You'll have no idea if they're doing a good job. And without knowing what they're doing, you'll have no idea if you need to make changes. You need to see reports from your agency in order to determine if you need to change anything.
9. What is their pricing like?
Determining a budget for ANY digital marketing campaign can be tough. There are many factors to consider including cost of goods sold, overhead costs, fixed expenses, variable expenses, etc. If you’re just getting started it’s important to know how much money you have set aside for marketing and advertising. This includes both paid and unpaid efforts such as social media ads, email blasts, banner ads, display ad placements, SEO, PPC, etc.
You could meet with 2 SEO companies and ask for the same service and get a budget that varies wildly from one agency to the next. Some might offer a base price while others may offer a monthly retainer. Others still may charge based on a percentage of revenue generated. One thing is clear though; most agencies charge way too much.
In addition to wild pricing variations and agencies with different pricing models, you also have agencies that sell retainer models and agencies that are built on performance models. Retainers require upfront fees whereas performance-based agencies don’t require an upfront payment. Performance-based agencies are built around specific goals and metrics that must be met and once the goal is achieved, the client pays nothing.
When determining your budget, keep in mind that some of the things we talk about here are considered standard operating procedures. For example, you wouldn’t hire someone to build a house without giving him a contract outlining his responsibilities and compensation. Similarly, you shouldn’t hire an SEO agency without having a detailed understanding of what you want and how much you can afford.
10. Who are the team members assigned to handle your account?
A well-rounded team of digital marketing specialists helps you achieve success in the digital sphere. You want to hire a team that knows how to do it all but most importantly one that could help execute the digital marketing strategy and help achieve business growth. You need a team who can develop creative strategies, execute digital campaigns, manage budgets, and come up with innovative ideas.
It is important to know that some of the best digital agencies understand that having an expert in everything doesn't work - it's too expensive and inefficient. Instead, they choose to focus on what they're good at while bringing in outside expertise where needed. They'll offer guidance, training, and support to ensure that you succeed.
If you're looking for a team of experts, look no further than Echt Social, a Full-Service Digital Marketing Agency. We specialize in Social Media Marketing, Content Marketing, Graphic Design Services, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and Online Marketing.
Have you tried hiring a digital marketing agency before?
If so, how did it go?
Let us know in the comments section below.