We know you’ve worked sleepless nights and long hours building your business, you are proud of it and it’s time to take it to the next level. Now, you want to grow online and need a group of experts to help you reach your goals.
We know that putting your company in the wrong hands can break your brand and hurt it instead of helping it grow. That is why we’ve created this blog to guide you in the process of hiring a Digital Marketing Agency and help you make the process a little easier.
If you’re like many business owners, you don’t. And that’s alright. That’s where having a digital marketing agency can come in handy.
Especially since more than 40% of revenue comes from organic traffic. With the right digital marketing services, you can increase your traffic and conversion rates.
But the sad truth is not all digital marketing agencies are created equal.
So before you decide to hire a digital agency for your SEO, social media, and other online marketing needs, here are some things you need to know.
How the wrong digital agency can hurt your business
When you’re on the market for a new digital marketing company, you may feel compelled to select based on price. But this mistake can land you with a mediocre agency that’s ill-equipped to handle your digital marketing campaigns.
Not convinced? Then maybe you can learn from some of the mistakes other businesses have made when hiring the wrong agency.
Let’s review some of the pitfalls that you may witness when you fail to do your due diligence.
1. Inconsistent marketing collateral
There are some digital marketing agencies out there that use outdated processes for running a campaign. For example, they separate their departments.
The problem with this is that it makes it difficult for marketing collateral to maintain a consistent voice and vision. The concept that separate departments can complete a project that’s consistent is greatly flawed.
In order to simplify your digital marketing, it’s key for all divisions to work together. The agency’s blog content writers should work hand-in-hand with PPC ad copywriters.
And they also should work concurrently with the SEO specialists and analytics teams.
In a nutshell, all digital marketing departments should work closely together to ensure a seamless project is delivered. Otherwise, you may end up with content that’s unaligned and ineffective in attracting and converting your target customers.
Inquire about how the agency’s teams will work together to complete your project.
2. Discussing services rather than solutions
When you first consult with a digital agency, the conversation shouldn’t revolve around the services the experts can offer your business. Instead, the discussion should be about what your business needs are.
After all, how will the digital marketers know which services to offer you without first knowing about the issues you’re having? For example, if you’re struggling with getting more followers on social media, then the agency should focus on how they can manage your social media accounts – not audit your website’s SEO.
If you’re consulting with a full-service digital marketing agency, then they’ll be able to offer you a well-balanced strategy to improve your results.
But don’t be fooled into hiring an agency just because they have a full range of services. See whether they interview you about your business and its goals and if they offer solutions to achieve your goals.
Otherwise, you’ll end up paying thousands for services you don’t need.
3. Not considering your long-term budget
In traditional marketing, the winner was always the one with the larger budget. But a large budget isn’t the reality for a lot of businesses.
This is what makes digital marketing such a powerful tool. It levels the playing field for smaller businesses. However, this doesn’t mean you’ll have a limitless supply of cash to throw at a digital agency.
This is why it’s so important to go over not just your initial budget, but your long-term budget.
Because digital marketing is an ongoing effort. Once your SEO, social media, ads, content, and other marketing collateral are established, this isn’t the end of it.
In order to maintain your digital marketing, you need an agency you can afford long-term. If the digital marketing company you work with doesn’t take into account your ability to pay for ongoing services, then you risk overpaying and burning through your budget too quickly.
In the end, this will only hinder your digital marketing efforts and undo any progress you accomplished before your budget ran out.
4. Ignoring building relationships and chemistry
Businesses are run by humans so it makes sense that customers build relationships with them. In doing so, you can make working together with a seamless process.
When you ignore the fundamentals of getting to know the people working on your marketing campaigns, you risk dealing with folks you have bad chemistry.
This can end up in multiple instances of miscommunications, misaligned visions, and a host of other issues. When it comes time to meet the individuals that will be managing your campaign, take the time to get a feel of them and how they work.
Agree to a few test assignments to see how things go. Trust your instinct if you feel like something’s amiss.
5. Disconnection with your business teams
It’s just as important for marketing departments to be aligned as it is for them to be aligned with your business teams. If meetings are being held, then your team should be there.
This helps to ensure the vision and goals of your company are instilled in the content being crafted for your business. It only makes sense that everyone works together so marketing efforts continue to be aligned.
However, if you’re working with a digital agency that doesn’t prioritize or consider including your teams in the mix, then this isn’t a good sign. You risk having projects completed in a way that doesn’t work for your brand.
This is money wasted on content that doesn’t connect with your core audience. Coordination is key to ensuring your business needs are always met.
6. Focusing on outputs vs outcomes
Goals are essential to have when you’re trying to get a return on investment for your business marketing. This is why this should be the main focus of all your marketing efforts.
Unfortunately, there are some digital marketing companies that care more about output than outcomes. When you’re working with an agency like this, there will be more focus on reaching content goals, not business goals.
For example, meeting weekly blog post quotas and ensuring posts are scheduled and published on social media. However, if no one is keeping an eye on how the output is affecting the outcome, then you’re going to swing and miss every time.
It’s safe to say that effective digital media marketing agencies tie all of their efforts to the outcomes. For instance, if your blog posts aren’t attracting the right audience, then changes must be made to the keywords you’re targeting and possibly even the channels you’re promoting on.
Or if your blog posts are driving traffic, but yield low conversions, then switching up the topics and using highly-targeted keywords may help.
Digital marketing is a process of consistently experimenting with campaigns. This is the only way to see what works and ensure you get the best possible results.
With all of the pitfalls that go along with choosing the wrong digital marketing agency, it’s time to review what you can do to ensure you select the right one.
How to choose the right digital marketing agency
Now that you understand all that can go wrong when you’re not careful about the agency you choose, it’s time to learn how you can avoid making the same mistake.
There’s a lot to consider at this point so it’s essential to first get to know your own needs. After all, how can you find a company that offers the best solutions if you’re unable to identify the issues needing resolving?
1. Identify the issues your business needs to address
In many cases, it’s easy to pinpoint what issues you’re having with your digital marketing. What may not be as clear-cut is knowing which digital marketing services you need to acquire.
So your focus should be on identifying which issues your business is having. For example, are you struggling with growing or maintaining your website traffic?
Maybe your email list is stagnant and lacks open rates and click-through rates. Jot all of this down on paper (or computer) and use this to explain to the agencies you’re considering.
The right agency will discuss these matters with you to get to the root of your problems. Then they can offer the best solutions to rectify the issue.
On the other hand, if you’re familiar with digital marketing and have a good idea of what you need, then feel free to make a list. This way, when you speak to the agency, you can reference the services you think can help your business grow.
A good agency will let you know if the service you’re requesting is necessary or not.
2. Ask about their marketing practices
You can learn a lot about a company by analyzing its practices. Ask the agency you’re considering about their marketing practices.
The one red flag you want to watch for is an agency that uses cookie-cutter strategies. Their practices should involve diving into the businesses they work with to determine the best solutions to meet their specific needs.
What you’re also looking for is whether or not they shape their efforts around leads, sales, and conversions. The ones that do have a higher chance of giving you a return on investment.
You can also request about the sales productivity of the different marketing solutions they offer. This will allow you to determine which services are worth your time and dollar.
3. Ask about the marketing tools used
A firm that uses outdated tools or none at all is a red flag. There’s a lot that goes into tracking and analyzing campaign-related metrics.
With the proper tools, this evolves a whole lot easier and more efficient. This includes having tools for social media, content, PPC ads, and so on.
Automation tools can help ensure email, social media, and content marketing is on schedule. Then analytics tools can be used to track the traffic, conversions, and sales to ensure goals are being met.
Some professional tools used by leading digital agencies include HubSpot, ClearVoice, Sprout Social, Ahrefs, and SEM Rush.
4. Ask for references and portfolio
As they say – the proof is in the pudding, particularly when it comes to marketing. So in order to determine if a digital agency is all that it’s cracked up to be, you need to see its work.
Ask about viewing their portfolio. This can include snapshots or case studies of conversions relating to a social media or blog initiative they embarked on.
You can also ask for references so you can speak with them personally. It also wouldn’t harm to do a little due diligence. For example, you can look for online reviews for the agency to see what past clients had to say.
Selecting the right digital agency
As a business, you can’t afford to pour thousands of dollars into a marketing strategy that doesn’t yield the results you desire. Whether you’re looking for enhanced traffic, better conversions, more subscribers/followers, or more engagement, the right digital agency can help.