All digital marketing agencies are not created equal
Selecting the right vendors is crucial for every business. This is especially true for companies looking to hire a digital marketing agency to expand their online presence. So to help you out, I've outlined 5 things to look out for when considering a digital marketing agency - keep on reading!
It’s alarming to see the staggering number of self-proclaimed online marketing “experts,” “ninjas” and “gurus” in the marketplace. What’s more, I’m consistently taken aback by the aggressive, impersonal “spray and pray” sales techniques many Internet marketing companies utilize to lure in customers.
I'm convinced these predator-like organizations don't research the companies they cold-call. I say that because, on average, I receive 2-3 solicitations EVERY MONTH offering to help me with SEO, or provide my business with digital marketing services. It's difficult not to laugh as I reply, "Thanks for the offer, but I'm good - if you looked at my website you'd see that's what I do for a living."
If these companies consider spamming you through the contact form on your website to be an effective digital marketing practice, what does that say about their ability to represent your brand?
Because my stomach turns every time I hear a fresh horror story, I’ve put together the following recommendations to help you avoid hiring an unqualified digital marketing agency:
5 Things to Consider When Hiring a Digital Marketing Agency
1. Their website
This may sound superficial, but a marketing agency’s website is a direct reflection of its capabilities and professional standards. If it looks like their site was developed in 1998, or its appearance comes across as overly cheesy and unprofessional, your best bet is to continue your search. Find an agency that portrays its brand in a strategic, professional manner – they'll do the same for yours.
2. Their client list
Marketers are creative, and agencies’ client lists often reflect that. If you see a highly recognizable/reputable logo on a digital marketing company’s client roster, ask them specifically about the work they did for that company. You may find out that they ran a highly sophisticated, highly successful campaign for them. On the other hand, you may find out that one of their employees once held a summer marketing internship with them. Not quite the "experience" you had in mind, right?
3. Their reports
One of my favorite things about digital marketing is its measurability. Given the right tools, you can track just about every aspect of your online initiatives. As a result, digital marketing agencies are expected to provide robust campaign reports on a monthly basis (at a minimum), as well as insights gathered from their data. Don’t take anyone for the word – request at least two example of recent campaign reports they’ve sent to their clients. If they can’t meet that request, let that be your cue to end the conversation.
4. Their case studies
This recommendation is very similar to #3, but it’s still important enough to warrant standing on its own. Monthly reports will give you a glimpse into how sophisticated an agency is when it comes to tracking, analyzing and making adjustments based on marketing data. However, they don’t tell the full story.
Case studies provide a start-to-finish look at how an agency performed on a given marketing challenge. Just don’t get too distracted by bold statistics relating to impressions and clicks – those are great metrics, but they can be deceiving. The numbers you really want to see have to do with direct sales resulting from the agency’s work. If they can’t prove the ROI of their work, find someone who can.
5. Their communication
Although last on the list, this recommendation is certainly not last in terms of importance. How well an agency communicates with you has major implications when it comes to the success you’re ultimately able to achieve together.
A great marketing agency is responsive, inquisitive and highly adept at anticipating your needs. More importantly, they’re not afraid to admit when a mistake has been made, and they take immediate action to remedy any errors in order to minimize their impact on your business.
Oppositely, a mediocre marketing company may go days, weeks or, worse yet, months between calls or emails. In cases like that, you’ll ultimately end up having to micromanage them to ensure your work gets done, leaving you wondering why you’re paying for them for their “service” – if you can call it that.
So there you have it. I hope this list hasn't scared you - that was certainly not my intention. I merely hope to help you ask the right questions and consider the most important details when hiring a digital marketing agency to help you grow your business.
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