How to Choose a Digital Marketing Agency

Grayson Lafrenz
By Grayson Lafrenz

Any business knows you must effectively market your brand and what you do in order to be successful. As more and more business is conducted online, and more potential customers search for products on the web, you need to have a solid digital marketing presence and strategy in place, especially if you are launching a new business.

Unfortunately, the workload can sometimes be more than your in-house team can handle, especially when it comes to the web. Even if you already outsource your marketing, there are times when you may require an additional partnership if you feel your online efforts are lacking. Advertising in the digital space is complex and involves a specific set of knowledge and tools to be conducted effectively. Luckily, there are professionals out there to get your company’s digital marketing efforts on the right track.

The question then becomes: How do you choose the right digital marketing agency? A lot of that depends on who your company is and what you do, as well as your specific wishes. So the first step will be recognizing that you have a marketing problem and need some assistance from a digital marketing agency.

Assess Your Company’s Specific Needs

Before you can even begin the process of digging into finding your new partner, you should assess your needs internally. Identify what you want to achieve through your digital efforts as well as the role your digital agency will play to help achieve your goals. You must have a distinct vision for both sides if you want the partnership to work.

There can be many unique reasons that you want help with your digital marketing, but you should be able to identify a clear-cut area that requires attention. That might be pushing a new product or reaching a new market, or perhaps you want to update your brand or are planning for some accelerated growth. Whatever your reasons may be, define them fully before you even begin your search.

Here are a few more questions you can ask yourself before approaching an agency:

  • How much money do you have in your budget for your digital marketing efforts?
  • How much time are you able to invest in the partnership?
  • If you have an in-house marketing team, what skills does your team already have and in what areas are you lacking?

Answering these questions is critical to outlining the kind of help you require, and gives any potential partners a clear vision for what your relationship might look like. Once you’ve laid out your answers to these questions, you can identify specific requirements your company has.

For your marketing team, this will target those areas you identified to not be up to par. You can outsource these areas of need to your partner and figure out how to collaborate your efforts to form a cohesive unit.

And since you’ve already outlined your specific goals, you can match them with the specific services you desire. This might involve content creating and blogging, search engine optimization (SEO), marketing via email, social media, or search engines, online advertising, web analytics, web design and development, and much more.

Do Your Homework

Naturally, there are a lot of reputable digital marketing agencies out there to choose from. There are also a lot of swindlers who are out for a cash grab, who will promise the world and string you along while they collect more and more money and never deliver any real results. Since this is obviously a situation you want to avoid, it’s vital that you do your homework to separate the contenders from the pretenders.

The best way to ensure you establish a partnership with an agency that will produce results, is to find one that has a good track record of doing just that. Established digital marketing agencies should be able to show you some of their past work, and how they were able to work together with a company to achieve its goals. Obviously, an agency that can tout itself as award-winning or has an impressive client list of big brands will be the most attractive, but this doesn’t necessarily make them the best fit for your business.

A digital marketing agency that has a niche in your field may indeed be the best fit, so when you look into the agency’s track record for success, also keep in mind what type of company they were working with. Often, strategies can be applied across industries, but marketing for an e-commerce business that sells blenders is a lot different than a local brick-and-mortar restaurant group. While you might be attracted to an agency who has worked with a brand you’re a fan of, the tactics used may not apply to what you need.

Just as you might have better luck with an agency that has experience working in your field, you also want them to have expertise that matches your special needs. If you require assistance boosting your local SEO, you might not be excited about an agency touting its paid media services. When you express your wish, they should be able to show you the skills they’ll use to achieve your specific goal.

Experience is a valuable tool in the digital marketing industry, but they also must keep up to date with the latest trends a strategies. The company should be able to tell you about what’s hot right now in digital marketing and how they can use these new tools to help your business. The digital marketplace is ever-changing, so you want someone that knows how to keep up.

An agency with a history of success should also have references. If a company has had a good experience with the agency, they will be more than happy to speak with you and recommend their services. Testimonials on their website are great, but you’ll actually want to talk with past and present clients to get a better idea of how the agency will work with you.

Find A Digital Marketing Agency That Fits Your Style

Keep in mind that these agencies aren’t just selling their clients’ products, but also their own. When you research different agencies, look at how they market themselves. If you enjoy the look of their website and find it easy to navigate, this is a good sign. On the other hand, if their website underwhelms you, it’s a red flag. A good digital marketing agency’s website will tell you exactly who they are and what they do, as well as how they can help your brand.

And style goes beyond just the looks of their website and work – you also want an agency that will fit in with the culture of your company and your way of doing business. If you stress casual as part of your business brand, you might not mesh with a professional agency that is more corporate, or vice versa. If you have a small business, you may want to match with a smaller digital marketing agency. Local businesses may have better luck hiring an agency that is based in their area, and so on.

It’s important to make note of how things feel when you meet in person, especially if you want to build a lasting relationship. Choose an agency that suits your style so you will enjoy working together for a long time.

Take Your Time & Plan For Long Term

Digital marketing isn’t as simple as throwing money at the problem and watching the results roll in. This will be a strategic partnership that will build your business toward a better future, and one that you should view as a long-term relationship. Choosing the right partner will take some time, but it will be worth it. But if you make an impulsive decision, you’ll end up wasting your time and money.

Since your relationships with a digital marketing agency is a partnership, you’ll want a company that can help push your company forward. You want a partner who will get in the trenches with you to work through issues, not someone who throws up their hands and declares it’s not their problem.

You should really view the process as if you are making hires to your actual company. An open, transparent relationship will achieve the best results. This will involve a lot of collaboration, cooperation, and someone with whom you are on the same page. They’ll have to understand your company, your wants and needs, your goals and your ideas, and provide feedback and care for your company and campaign.

You’re relying on their expertise in the digital area, so you need to be able to trust that they understand who you are and what you do. And as you move forward, they will become part of it as you learn to rely on each other.

Find The Best Value, Not The Best Price

Cost will obviously be a consideration when it comes down to your final decision, but you shouldn’t go with whoever has the cheapest rate. The least expensive agency will rarely offer you the best value. Ask instead what you get for your money, and form a clear understanding of what’s expected from each of you. This can help you have the confidence that your money isn’t being wasted, rather invested in your company’s future.

If your company requires the services of a quality digital marketing agency, consider Power Digital Marketing, based in San Diego, California. With a specialty in analytic-driven and ROI-focused lead generation, their team of digital strategists, data architects, analysts, writers, developers and engineers, takes a customized approach to build you a plan based on your industry and current position within that competitive landscape. Learn more about their digital marketing services or get in touch to receive a free assessment today.   

 

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Grayson is one of the Co-founders at Power Digital and the CEO. He is born and raised in San Diego and has a wealth of knowledge in Digital Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Team Building and Business.