With so many digital marketing agencies to choose from, making the right selection for your brand can be difficult. Every brand has different needs, objectives, and budgets, but ultimately all want to engage their audience in a way that helps them to grow and become more profitable.
Too often, we see brands make the mistake of calling agencies and asking questions such as “How much do you charge for marketing?” or “How much do you charge for SEO?” What these prospective clients fail to understand is that these services aren’t just a product that you’re buying. In reality, you’re investing your resources in the expertise and time that these agencies will spend towards helping you reach your objectives. So, instead the initial conversations should be about goals, and then determining a budget that is sensible to accomplish them.
Once you’ve shared your goals with the agency and an estimated budget has been decided, you can begin determining if they are the right fit for your brand. Below are 5 questions you should ask a digital marketing agency when you approach them for services:
1. What is your team structure and expertise?
When you’re working with an agency, you’re buying the time of the experts you’re working with. If you want real experts that have produced admirable results in the past, they’re going to come at a higher price than associates with lower levels of experience. If you want the strongest digital marketers, they’re going to be pricier than you may find elsewhere, but they should undoubtedly bring you more value at the end of the day. So, that being said, knowing who you’re going to be working with is important.
Having 3 different people with advanced skillsets in niche areas working on your projects is going to be far more beneficial than one person doing all three channels at a level that is merely average. Generally, the more focused an expert is in their specialty area, and the higher their level of expertise is tends to mean that there will be a higher hourly rate, but this also goes hand in hand with better results.
2. Where is your team located?
A lot of companies want to get the most for what they spend, which is understandable. No brand wants to throw money away. However, specifically with marketing, outsourcing talent to areas outside of your geographic region can be problematic.
If you’re marketing to those in the US, having team members from your area is important. They will understand the culture, the language, and the general mindset that your audience is in. If you’re working with experts from other countries, they could have a vastly different perspective than someone located near you. Hiring locally ensures that the needs of your brand and your customers are always understood at a deeper level.
3. Could you tell me a similar story?
Any digital marketing agency should be able to tell you how they took on a new client and what they did specifically to help that client achieve their goals—and explained without industry jargon too! This question leads to a discussion that is perhaps the best indication of their process, and their values. can
Consider the following example to highlight this. Perhaps the marketing agency you are considering tells you about a case-study where they helped retail brand to achieve their goals online. The agency should be able to explain how they contributed to decreasing the cost-per-acquisition by 40% while doubling conversions in a specific PPC campaign. Whether it was by optimizing the campaign to only run during certain hours, or designing a new campaign-specific landing page, the agency should showcase the specific tactics they implemented to produce tremendous results.
Ultimately, this gives you a much better grasp on how the agency actually helped a specific company, and how they could potentially help yours improve branding and digital growth.
4. What is your process?
Anyone that has ever contributed to a company’s growth can tell you that one of the key fundamental elements to fostering that growth, is having the proper process in place. Without an effective process, there is chaos and results are typically not maximized.
Every agency you speak with should have a documented process that they share with prospective clients, and an easy explanation for how it works. This part of the conversation should leave you with a clear indication as to who does what task, when those tasks get done, and precisely how those tasks get completed. A cohesive and effective process is key to the foundation of a successful agency and building strong relationships between clients and experts.
5. What type of reporting and communication should be expected?
Having an accurate grasp on how results will be reported to you, how often these findings will be shared with you, and who will be tracking them is essential. Knowing all of this information before beginning a relationship with an agency ensures that there are no surprises and that all expectations are met accordingly.
When it comes to communication, the same guidelines are true. Being aware of what to anticipate as far as when you will hear from the agency representatives you’re working with is important. In general, be a little bit wary of any agency that promises nonstop communication 24-hours a day. This is simply unrealistic and can contribute to a messy process that interferes with strong results and positive outcomes.
Finding The Right Digital Marketing Agency
The above 5 questions are related to subjects that are essential to a successful relationship between a client and an agency. Any surprises with those topics, because they weren’t addressed prior to starting a project, can leave your brand misguided and unimpressed with the results. Of course it also helps to know more about the agency you’re considering and to do some of your own research. Take the time to find out if their experts are thought leaders, or read some of their insights whether on a blog or on various media outlets so that you can find out what really makes them experts in the space.