9 Things To Look For In A Digital Marketing Agency

Small Business, Social Media

If you’re interested in continuing to grow your business, and to accelerate that growth, you’re going to need to pull in experts in particular fields. That will include a Digital Marketing Agency.

By hiring a small Digital Marketing Agency you’re going to get expertise in the exact area you need (e.g. Social Media Management, SEO, PPC, inbound marketing, etc.) and, depending on your requirements, at a price lower than it would cost for you to recruit and hire someone (or a team) to do this in-house.

Here are 9 things you need to look for when you’re planning to hire and retain a Digital Marketing Agency:

1. Ears or Mouth?

Do they talk or listen? An Agency that spends more of their time talking about what they can do for you and isn’t listening and learning about you is more than likely after the fast buck. They need to understand you as the client, your business and your customers.

Even if they already have some specialism in your niche they still need to listen and understand your specific business. If they spend lots of their interactions with you (whether that’s in person, via email, Skype or phone) doing all the talking and trying to sell you on their Agency then it’s time to walk away.

2. Dictate The Strategy

One of the keys to success in Digital Marketing is being you. You need authenticity, your voice, your style. If a Digital Marketing Agency has a one-size fits all package and is trying to dictate the strategy then it might not be in your best interest. Sure, it’s probably cheaper this way but they should offer you options, alternatives and recommendations not hard hitting sales pitches ‘telling’ you what you should be doing.

3. Tracking

You need to know about ROI. You need to know about how this is tracked. You need to be able to measure the results and know that it’s worthwhile. Most things digitally can be measured and an Agency needs to provide you with the analytics and analysis that goes with them so you can be confident that you’re getting the best bang for your buck (this is more than just signing you up for a Google Analytics account). If they can’t do that then find an Agency that can.

4. Success

A quality Digital Marketing Agency is going to work with you to define success. Success isn’t what the Agency just dictates to you but should be something that’s mutually agreed upon. You’re likely to have a different idea of what a successful campaign will look like as to what they will. Work together and agree. Don’t be afraid to set lofty goals but remember these are different to your success criteria.

5. Trust

You need to trust this Agency. They’re going to be working on your brand, on your business. They’re going to be using your voice. That’s some seriously important work that they’re going to be doing. If they’re selling too hard then that always raises a red flag for me. What does your gut say – do you trust them? If you’re not sure then move on – be confident that the trust is there.

6. Depth of Knowledge

Does your agency have the depth of knowledge in the specific areas you require? And, just as importantly, can they communicate this effectively to you? There’s no point in them being the most experienced and knowledgable if they can’t break it down into regular language and communicate it adequately. Ideally they’ll be talking just slightly above your knowledge level giving you the reassurance that they know what they’re doing yet providing you with the key understanding of how they’re managing the project.

7. What Don’t They Do?

Ask the Agency what they don’t do? Find out what clients they don’t take? If they don’t have an answer then they’re probably not right for you and just looking to sign client after client without being able to provide the specialist attention that you’ll need.

Not all Agencies are right for all businesses and are unlikely to have the skills to cater to everyone. By finding out what they don’t do you’ll get a good idea if they have the skills that will make them a good fit for you.

8. No

Will they say No to you? Often Agencies want to retain your business and they’ll say yes to keep you happy. But you need to hear a No when it’s not what they do. They need to have the confidence to be able to say that.

But it’s then how follow through that’s really critical. This should be the start of a conversation and you should be able to work together with them to find ways to achieve your aim. A No isn’t always a flat No, just an obstacle on the path that needs to be overcome. You need an Agency that can say No but will then find a way around that obstacle.

9. The Beer Test

This is one of my favorites actually. Would you be happy to go out for a beer with the people you deal with at that Agency? It’s a really simple test and one that answers so many questions. If they’re the kind of people that you wouldn’t mind hanging out with then the chances are you’re going to get on well and establish a good relationship down the line.

Take it a step further and actually go for a beer with them.

Your Digital Marketing Agency

Every Digital Marketing Agency is different and every client has different requirements and different needs. Make a list of what you need and work out what other factors you might need to assess in selecting the right agency for you.

Now act. You’ve read this post because you’re thinking of hiring and retaining an Agency so get out there and do it – your business will thank you for it in the long term.

Good luck.

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