Navigating the world of digital marketing is a monumental task for most business owners whose time is already spread thin. The increase in the number of digital agencies in recent years has made choosing the right one a difficult task. It doesn’t help that many of these agencies have little experience and are learning on the fly.
Because there are new marketing tactics popping up every day, it’s impossible for busy entrepreneurs to stay on top of the latest trends, figure out the best ways to use different platforms, and become a master in every area of digital marketing.
A marketing agency can provide services such as:
- Market research
- Customer profiling
- Facebook/Instagram Ads
- Website design & development
- Paid Google Ads
- Public relations
- Social media
- Data analytics
- Video marketing
- …the list goes on.
But at its core and no matter the channel, a marketing agency should help you effectively reach your target audience and help you make MONEY on your investment with them.
In this piece, we’ll go over how to evaluate a marketing agency and the questions you should ask.
1. Are they Passionate About the Business as You Are?
Find out if they are truly passionate or simply mercenary and opportunistic. You can usually tell if they are asking the right questions. If they are just giving you a laundry list of cookie cutter services most likely they are just interested in collecting a fee and not your best interests. Also it’s a red flag if the agency wants you to sign a contract for a year or more.
2. Will They Deliver Results?
Most obvious is to check their past work with case studies and ask them to elaborate on these case studies to understand exact involvement in the results achieved.
Make sure the agency has the right talent of people to help you deliver what you need and what they promised. Some agencies have great salesmen but don’t have the right talent in the backend to deliver the results you need. Ask who is on their team and each person’s specialty.
Ask about their onboard process.
You want to hire an agency who will consistently deliver on time and on budget. It’s normal for agencies to be managing multiple projects for multiple clients, and allocating resources across client work as new requests and approvals come in. Strong project management processes and tools are an indicator that the agency has a process for managing workflow and delivering on time and in budget, while making it easier to work with them.
Ask how results are communicated.
Keeping track of results is an important part of everything from small individual campaigns to your overall marketing efforts. You should find out right from the start how those results will be communicated to you. You’ll want to make sure that you’re going to be able to get at the information you want when you want it. You also also going to want more than just data. Data is useless if you don’t understand the meaning behind it and also don’t understand how it specifically impacts your practice. A good digital marketing agency will provide the data but also help you to glean actionable insights and strategies from that data.
Red Flag – If they promise to get you to the top of Google immediately with SEO or guarantee X amount of $ in return immediately.
3. Ask About Their Failures.
What an agency learned from its failure is more revealing about its character and how it handles adversity. Red flag is if they have no failures or are hesitant to elaborate on any of their failures.
Is their pricing structure aligned with your business goals? Most agencies have flat fees for handling x amount of services and this by nature disincentives the agencies from helping you hit new heights in your business. For example here at Yooka Labs our monthly retainer fees are lowered and we have certain performance based bonus payouts once we help the business hit new KPIs.
5. Don’t hire an agency. Hire a culture.
Ask for their core values that will foretell the kind of relationship you are likely to have. Favor agencies that are collaborative, innovative and take OWNERSHIP. At the end of the day you are hiring a team of individuals to help you figure out hard things. Agencies are a collective of smart talented people (in theory). For agencies to hire the best they need to attract this talent with amazing core values and culture.
Two things you need to do before your search for hiring an agency.
Step 1: Know Your Budget.
Developing your marketing budget needs to take into account three things: What you can afford to spend, what kind of ROI is acceptable, and what goals you are trying to achieve. It starts with examining your overall budget and deciding what you are comfortable spending. Keep an open mind at this stage, however.
You may not have a firm grasp on what things cost. It’s more about the ROI than the hard costs.
Step 2: Define Your Goals.
Are you looking for online sales, offline sales, clicks to your website or landing page, increased brand awareness, or something else? Not only do you need to identify the end goal, you need to think about the KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) that will be used to judge success. The clearer your goals are, the better an agency can deliver specific solutions.
Find a partner, not a service provider. Choosing the right digital partner is crucial to your bottom line. The wrong one can quickly drain your budget and negatively impact your branding. However choosing the right partner can help you add an additional six to eight figures to your bottom line!