4 Must-Ask Questions to Hire the Right Digital Marketing AgencyOct 09,2019 / marketing strategy
So, your business is finally ready to make the big leap. You realize your in-house marketing team isn’t getting the results you want, so you decide to partner with a digital marketing agency.
Maybe you need some help with planning and strategy. Or perhaps it’s something specific, like branding, social media or content marketing. But whatever your marketing needs, you’re sure you can find the right agency to take your business to the next level.
There’s just one problem. How do you know which agency will do a good job for your company? How do you know what’s true and what isn’t? How do you cut through the hype and get to the facts?
SEEMS LIKE EVERYONE’S AN EXPERT
If you take what they say at face value, many marketing agencies on the internet are “the best.” Many will promise stellar results and many will also pepper their website with hyperbolic claims, like “number one on the internet;” “grow conversions by 150%;” “no one does a better job generating and nurturing leads.” Really?
Said differently, every other agency you encounter is “the expert” and can take your business to the next level. They all know everything about digital marketing and can effectively manage every aspect of it, from website design to remarketing to programmatic advertising. And of course, they’ll all transform your business from an under-performer to an industry leader.
Well, common sense tells you they can’t all be telling it like it is — and you’d be right. But how do you know what to believe, and what to consign to the ash heap of excessive marketing claims?
TO PICK THE BEST AGENCY FOR YOUR BUSINESS, DO YOUR HOMEWORK
Does that mean you can’t find a marketing agency that will solve your problems and help you meet your key marketing objectives? Not at all. You can find and effectively collaborate with an agency that will do what it says it will do and help your business in the ways you need it to.
But you’ll need to put some time into the effort. Specifically, to find the right digital marketing agency for your business, ask each one you interview the following 4 questions:
1. WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS?
In the first place, every business is different, and each has different challenges. While one might need help with social media management, another could use help with lead nurturing. In other words, your first step is to define your needs. Bring together your key stakeholders (especially your marketing, sales, and IT teams) to determine your top marketing priorities.
Second, you need to know what the strengths of each agency are. While almost every agency will describe themselves as “full-service,” the truth is that most have areas where they’re especially strong, like search engine optimization (SEO), analytics, or marketing automation. The best will be upfront in describing their strengths — and tell you about previous clients they’ve helped with marketing challenges like yours. Ideally, you should also choose an agency with strength in your industry.
2. WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR RECENT SUCCESSES?
The best agencies will perk up when you ask that question because they’ve done some great things and can’t wait to tell you about it. They’ll also give you strong references and share case studies with you, highlighting in greater detail specifically how the solutions they offered achieved the goals of the campaign they managed.
Agencies which don’t answer this question directly and straightforwardly should plant a red flag in your decision-making process. If you don’t get a direct answer, ask the question again. If they still won’t tell you how they’ve helped businesses like yours, it’s probably time to move on.
3. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO FOR MY BUSINESS?
One of the ways agencies can make unrealistic promises (or call themselves “experts”) is by steering clear of the details of what they’ve done for businesses like yours — and what they’re going to do for you. It’s not enough for an agency to tell you they’re going to create 7 new landing pages to boost lead generation. They also need to tell you what kind of results that strategy will produce. In addition, they should be able to explain how each individual campaign goal ties into a larger digital strategy. For example, if your goal is increased lead generation, what strategies do they have to nurture those leads and how will that impact sales?
4. WHAT’S THIS GOING TO COST?
It’s usually a mistake to think of price in the abstract. For example, the lowest price isn’t necessarily the best price when hiring a digital agency. In fact, a quote that’s substantially lower than all the others sometimes means the agency isn’t planning to spend much time on your marketing campaign. At the same time, higher-priced agencies aren’t always the best choice.
You need to think of price in the context of expected results. Said differently, think of your cost as the investment you’re making in your business and expected results as the return on that investment (ROI). Although it’s not reasonable to expect an agency to give you the precise ROI of previous campaigns they’ve run, it is reasonable to ask each agency to justify what it’s charging you in terms of the service they give you and the results you get.
Choosing the best digital marketing agency for your business can be complicated, but if you do your homework, include key members of your marketing and sales staff in the process, and ask the right questions, you can find an agency that will work hard to achieve marketing objectives and deliver on its promises.
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