How to choose a digital marketing agency

If you don’t know digital marketing from a bag of burritos, it’s probably a good idea to consider hiring an agency. Even if you do have some knowledge of online marketing, leveraging the expertise of a firm that specializes in this complex field is always a plus. But how does one go about finding the right agency? Which factors are the most important in considering when choosing the firm that will handle your online presence? And what do burritos have to do with digital marketing? First off burritos are pertinent to any conversation, they are delicious, portable and all around amazing. Moving beyond burritos...

Precontact with an agency

Before partnering with an agency educate yourself

You’re hiring an agency so you don’t have to become a digital marketing expert but having cursory knowledge can be helpful when you are trying to determine which agency is best for your company.  Research key terminology, understand metrics at a basic level and know generally how each social media platform operates.  Let the agency do the rest.

Know your budget

The key to this is “your” budget. This should not be determined by anyone but you. You know what you can afford so plan accordingly. Going into a meeting with a prospective agency without any knowledge of what you can spend can make everyone’s jobs more difficult. And worse yet, force you to spend more than your business checking account can handle.

Determine who will deal with the agency

Who will be the point of contact with the agency? This is vital because you want someone who has the time and a clear idea of what your vision and expectations are entering into a relationship with a marketing firm. This will be the employee who keeps everyone on your team up-to-date and ensures the work the agency is supposed to complete is actually being done.

Have a clear vision of success

What are your expectations? Do you want your brand to look amazing but you’re not all that concerned with metrics? Or are you completely data driven, and you want your campaigns to meet strict metric benchmarks?  How you answer these questions will help you determine the type of agency you hire and if they ultimately succeed or fail.

When you contact an agency

They should speak with you on your terms

A good agency will be open to times and the communication method of your choosing. This means if you request a video conference with 10 of your associates present, this shouldn’t be a problem.  This is your brand’s online presence they will be handling; you want them to be flexible and available.

Ask for a portfolio 

Before handing the reins to your digital marketing over to an agency, check their work. If they will be creating content for your site, read their blog samples. If they will be creating visuals, check to see if they are appealing. You get the point. Whichever tasks they will be performing, request a sample of their work.

Prepare a complete list of questions

Ask now, avoid headaches later. Here are a few sample questions you should ask an agency:

1.       Do you require a contract?

2.       Do you have a niche you work best with?

3.       What are a few examples of your client’s success?

4.       Are your clients typically long term or short term?

5.       Do you offer ____? (if you have a task that isn’t listed on their site, ask them anyway)

6.       Who will be the contact person we will deal with if we choose you?

7.       Can you provide a sample post?

8.       Do you provide reports?

9.       What do you consider online marketing success?

10.   Will someone be available for regular meetings?

This by no means is an exhaustive list of questions you can ask a prospective agency partner. Tailor questions for your business and industry to ensure you and the agency are a proper fit.

Hopefully this guide will start you on the right path in beginning a winning relationship with a stellar marketing agency. Just like anything in life and business, preparation is key. Be thorough and patient. Good luck.

Now we have a date with a fountain drink and a bag of burritos.

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