A great digital marketing agency can increase traffic to your website, leads to your sales reps, and revenues for your business. For example, an agency with expertise in running paid ad campaigns can refine your Google Ads targeting so that your business earns $2 in revenue for every $1 spent. But how do you know when a digital marketing agency is the right fit to work with you and your team? Here are five steps to find the right one.
A good agency should practice what they preach. Are you interested in updating your stale website and hiring someone for ongoing SEO management? Search for and review the agency’s own website. If they are using best-practices, the site should rank high on the first page of Google results. Their website should be user-friendly, current, and function smoothly on mobile devices. If you are hiring them for inbound marketing, do they employ a strong inbound marketing strategy, themselves? The site should possess a simple navigation structure, feature an active and relevant blog series, and contain professionally written service pages that prompt clear calls-to-action from users.
I am going to let you in on a dirty industry secret: most local marketing agencies now outsource over 40% of their client work. Every business hires specialists or offloads work during busy periods. After all, that is probably why you are researching marketing agencies right now, yourself. But are you really paying an agency $100-an-hour just to have them turn around and have a freelancer who doesn’t know your business, do it for $5? I didn’t think so.
The digital marketing agency should have a team page that is easy to find and outlines each individual’s competencies. Investigating a company for Google Ads that doesn’t list a paid search consultant on-staff? That’s a red flag that some of the info you convey to the agency will get lost-in-translation by the time it gets to their third-party partner. That will impact the effectiveness of your ads and how those ads align with the branding and messaging of all of your other marketing collateral. Work with a local agency with real people that intimately know your industry and your business.
That digital marketing team should display diverse talents and deep areas of expertise. They should use industry-leading tools and make it easy for you to validate that they have experience using them. If their website doesn’t display their credentials, ask to see them! Here are a few leading platforms to familiarize yourself with prior to beginning your agency search:
Agencies that are willing to pay for and learn how to use the best industry tools will usually deliver the best marketing results for your business. They will stay up-to-date on platform capabilities via ongoing training — so you don’t have to.
You like their work and their team — now what? It’s time to determine if the value they can deliver will be worth the cost. According to a recent HubSpot survey, the average digital marketing contract can set a small business back anywhere from $500 to $10,000 (or more) per month, depending on how many services are required and the project scope. For most small businesses, that is a huge commitment.
That means whatever agency you work with should have a plan to help you make this value determination. The best way to do this is by tracking all of the traffic, leads, and conversions they generate. If they don’t have a plan for this, don’t sign the contract! Without one, you’ll have no way to know if all of the money you’re spending is worth it.
Your agency should be able to look at your current state and determine how much they can increase your brand awareness, prospects, and/or sales. From there, you should agree upon a unique value for each metric so that you can determine the ROI, or return-on-investment. You should calculate this number overall and for each service channel, individually. This will allow your budget dollars to be more effectively allocated toward higher-performing channels down the road. This process is as much an art as a science, but at the end of the day, the exercise will give you a clue into how wisely you will be spending your marketing dollars.
The final step is often overlooked in the agency search process. Your digital marketing agency will be working closely with your team for a long time (hopefully) so it is critical that their work culture aligns with yours. We have clients that want their hands held through every step of the process. We also have others that just want the bottom line at the end of the month. Neither is right or wrong, but your agency should be able to meet your expectations — not the other way around!
Check out some of their clients. Are any in your industry? As the first digital marketing agency in Reading, PA, we have the experience to recognize that how we work with our financial services clients needs to be very different than how we work with our clients in manufacturing or healthcare. Do your homework, ask around, and make sure the values at the prospective digital marketing agency reflect your own values. And if after all of that you still have questions, we are always here to chat!