Finding the right digital marketing company can be tricky particularly with so many new agencies seemingly offering the same core services.
For some people, it comes down to budget, but getting real value for money when it comes to delivering excellent service is not always about picking the cheapest provider.
Fortunately, we’ve come up with ten key questions that should help you differentiate between those companies that can partner your digital marketing ambitions to success and those that can’t.
Things to Look for in a Digital Marketing Company
The task of appointing a digital marketing company should be approached with exactly the same kind of diligence as employing any member of staff. You should be clear about your wish list and never compromise.
Just as choosing the wrong candidate for a role in your company can have disastrous consequences, getting the selection process right for your digital marketing partner can not only help avoid wasted time and money but protect your valuable reputation.
Can They Talk the Talk?
Every digital marketing specialist should be able to outline the fundamental principles of an effective strategy to boost online presence, capture more web traffic and convert this into a measurable action such as increased sales.
A digital marketing agency should be able to give you the five cornerstones of an effective strategy without missing a beat:
- An optimized and responsive website
- Social media marketing
- Content marketing
- SEO & Search Campaigns (PPC)
- Email marketing with an effective CRM
For bonus points they should also mention analysis and monitoring; after all, if you can’t measure success how can you know when you’ve achieved it?
Do They Walk the Walk?
Before you even hit the ‘Contact Us’ page of any digital marketing agency, always take some time to browse their own website first. This is their space to shine the brightest and if they are failing to make an exciting and memorable impression with their own site then this may tell you everything you need to know.
The website for any digital marketing agency worth their salt should be up-to-date, fast and contemporary. Specifically, look for:
- An active blog that is relevant to their core services.
- Easy navigation with intuitive design.
- Responsive pages with plenty of calls to action.
As well as assessing their website design skills and inbound marketing strategy, it is worth checking how effective they are at utilizing good
Have They Got the Talent?
A good digital marketing company will have a diverse range of people on their team. People who have the technical know-how and those who know how to apply this to commercial practices. From designers and content writers to experts in
Agencies that are shy about advertising the skills and experience of their staff can sometimes be ‘insular’ to work with and may not be as collaborative as you would like.
Are They Fluent?
So, they’ve demonstrated an understanding of the principles of effective digital marketing and have the talent to deliver it but are they able to communicate well?
We’ve all met ‘techies’ who are known to be wizards with programming or creative types who are demonstrable geniuses with the design but sometimes these experts can be poor at the basics of communication.
Coherent and concise articulation is essential when it comes to working with a digital marketing company. Working with a fluent agency will ensure that your marketing strategy is interpreted correctly to avoid delays, mistakes and additional expenses.
What’s In Their Toolbox?
Okay, they know what they are talking about when it comes to integrated digital marketing strategies but do they have the right tools for the job and, more importantly, the skills to use them?
When a digital marketing agency talks about measuring performance and
Ask your prospective digital marketing company exactly what tools they are employing and how proficient they are in using them. Some of these may vary depending on the industry you are working within but at very least you should expect your agency to demonstrate good reliance and capability on tools such as:
- Screaming Frog
- Constant Contact
- Sprout Social
Have They Got Social Skills?
With the right pair of hands at the wheel, social media marketing is the most effective and instant way to boost your online presence, target new customers and strengthen your brand. A digital marketing company must be able to drive your business right to your customers across all the relevant social networking platforms. Whether that’s Instagram or Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest, delivering your content is only one aspect of this strategy.
They should be able to garner interest by engaging with an audience and build a conversation around your services or products.
This is pretty easy to assess and a simple check their own social media feeds should tell you all you need to know.
Do They Come Recommended?
It should go without saying that you should always get some testimonials from other clients who have used the services of a digital marketing company before employing them. Some agencies have these testimonials on their websites which is great; however, only an idiot would publish reviews that were detrimental to their business on their own site so always try to get an unbiased view.
Sites like Trust Pilot offer independent reviews as do other services like Google, YouTube and even Facebook. Do a little research and find out what other people say about their services. Check the size of the companies that are recommending them and compare them to your own. It is also useful if there is some synergy with your industry. If they are familiar with the challenges faced by your kind of business then they should be experienced at meeting this with creative solutions.
Remember, the power of testimonials is an effective way to build both trust and credibility not just for their business but for yours too.
Are They Flexible and Adaptive?
The world of digital advertising is a constantly changing one and it is essential to partner with an agency who can rapidly adapt to new landscapes as they emerge.
Social media is a prime example of just how quickly, even the most carefully planned, digital advertising strategies need to keep pace. Concepts and issues that relate to your business which are trending now need an agent who can respond quickly.
Find out how flexible your potential digital marketing company is by checking the detail of those testimonials and assessing their own online presence across social media. Ask them what capacity they have to respond quickly to new demands at short notice and check that they have the staff to manage your need.
Are You Compatible?
In order to work successfully with your digital marketing partner, there has to be a combination of respect and rapport. The former should be an easy thing for any agency to build with their clients if they have the right experience, knowledge, and attitude. The latter is a more abstract thing to assess but is an essential component for the longevity of your working relationship.
Someone wiser than us once said:
“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is a success”
Only you can judge whether or not a company has the key ingredients to make your relationship a success just don’t feel guilty for making this an important factor in choosing the right one.
Find out what makes them tick. Ask about their origins, goals and core values. Maybe they share your company’s environmental values or champion equality in the workplace. Whatever it is, sharing a common bond and cultural values will help deliver a far more productive, creative and successful relationship in the long run.
Can They Provide More?
Every business wants a little extra from their provider and it is nice to be able to have access to complementary services and solutions that can enhance your original brief. Yes, whilst it’s not totally necessary to work with an agency who can also offer eCommerce solutions or training programmes…would isn’t it be nice to have that all on tap if you need it?
Choosing a Digital Marketing Company
So, there you have it, the key qualities that your digital marketing company should be able to offer your business when it comes to delivering your online marketing strategy:
- A proven track record.
- Creative and knowledgeable staff.
- Ability to communicate.
- Flexible and adaptive.
- Able to offer a diverse range of services.
At the end of the day, the choice of who you work with may come down to the limits of your budget but we would strongly recommend that this should not be your ultimate starting point.