How to Choose the Right Digital Marketing Agency

How-to-Choose-the-Right-Digital-Marketing-Agency

You already know the importance of using digital marketing to grow your company. Finding the right digital marketing agency is a huge piece of the process for achieving success. Not all agencies are built the same. Some agencies are more design originated, while some are more lead-generation focused.

According to Brian Regienczuk, CEO at Agency Spotter, “if you include a broad definition as we have at Agency Spotter (including everything from digital agencies, PR firms, design studios, and even research firms), then there are more than 120,000 ‘agencies’ in the US alone and over half a million worldwide.”

So, how do you find one that’s best for your company?

Prior to engaging an agency, you should be able to answer these questions:

  • What’s the objective of the project? For example, do you want to increase brand awareness or get more leads per month. Or both?
  • What’s your campaign or project budget? This one is particularly important for you to know and to communicate to the digital agency. The more you can tell the agency, the better. This way, the agency can give you a better estimate of what it will take to perform the project.

Experience

As noted above, there are thousands upon thousands of digital marketing agencies, with new ones being created every day. Therefore, it’s essential to find an agency that’s experienced. You may not need a firm with 20 years of experience, but you sure don’t want one who is new to digital marketing. Experience counts and not just any experience. Make sure you really delve into the agency’s story to find out how they got started and what companies they’ve worked with over the years. Even if an agency is new, they may have massive experience they bring from other agencies. Read the bios of the people, find out who they are and what they’ve done.

Most importantly, can they show you the work they’ve done? Do your homework and ask questions about the work and successes they’ve been able to achieve for their clients. Be wary of agencies that show you great design without proven results. Design is a vital factor of digital marketing, but if the agency doesn’t drive results, they’re probably not a good fit for you.

Size and Access

The size of an agency matters because in today’s world, a digital consultancy of one or two people can be as or more effective than a larger agency – and cost much less. Depending on your needs, it’s sometimes best to bring on smaller, more agile agencies that bring a wealth of experience and access. When you work with a smaller agency or consultancy, you work with the most talented members of that agency. Larger agencies will often bring their most talented members to the initial sales meetings, but swap out the A team with the B team once a project kicks off. Therefore, make sure you probe on who you’ll be working with directly. Ask if you’ll have access to the senior, more experienced team members and how much. Ask how the agency works – what’s their process and how quickly can they turn around work? Find out how they will measure successes, like leads, sales targets and KPIs. Ask about the tools, partnerships and certifications they have.

Industry Focus

You probably wouldn’t want your general doctor doing your heart surgery. The same is true when selecting your digital agency. If you’re a hospital for example, it’s vital to find an agency who knows this space and has a proven background in helping hospitals achieve results. Some agencies have a number of industries they focus on and that’s ok, as long as they know your industry and have the experience. What you want to avoid is an agency that is general with little to no experience in your industry. Concurrently, make sure the agency has experience and success with the specific objective you’re trying to solve for. For example, if you’re looking to drive more leads and sales using online paid media, like Google AdWords or Facebook ads, can they show you examples or case studies?

Pricing

As noted earlier, communicating your budget is important. If your budget is too low, an agency will simply not be able to perform and drive results. When selecting an agency, ask how they price for services and media. Avoid agencies that can’t clearly articulate how they price, particularly as it relates to buying media. Seek firms who are transparent and can provide clear details on how they buy media. If you’re doing your due diligence, you should collect multiple quotes and compare them. Talk to friends and colleagues to determine if they hired an agency and what they paid.  And remember, you really do get what you pay for. Good agencies will ultimately help you achieve a ROI.  Don’t be afraid to start with a smaller project and see how it goes. This a good way to begin a relationship that can either blossom or fizzle without spending too much upfront.

Gut Instinct

Sometimes, we just have to go with our gut. Don’t forgo doing everything we mentioned above; in fact, do your research and ask the probing questions. But, don’t be shy about listening to your inner voice: According to an article on Fast Company, “It may make sense to stick with the latter in matters of the heart, but a number of recent scientific studies show that in business, the inner voice working in concert with cold, hard information could lead to better decision making.”

James Kieffer

About James Kieffer

Hi, I'm James Kieffer, Principal of Kieffer Consulting, a digital marketing agency focused on helping companies respond to the challenges they face in today’s digital age. I work with organizations that are looking to transform their digital marketing efforts and achieve results. Each engagement starts with the same question: what’s success mean to you? I then set in motion a detailed set of proven principles and methods that help my clients achieve their goals and ROI.

2 Comments

  • StraitsLogic says:

    If you are searching out for an agency in an area near to you, then the location should definitely be one of the essential factors to consider. Likewise, it’s always recommended that one should keep at least two or three agencies, in their checklist. This will allow you to compare and find the best one for yourself.

    • James Kieffer says:

      Great points StraitsLogic. I think location can mater for some, while others, it’s not as important. And yes, companies shouldn’t put all their eggs in one basket, so to speak. Having a few other agencies to turn to is a good point. Thanks for sharing your views.

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