All businesses need digital marketing. That is the easy decision, the real nail-biter is choosing which digital marketing agency to hire and discerning if they are the right fit for your business. Last week I covered why there are so many digital marketing companies. Literally, anyone with an internet connection can learn how to do marketing, but that does not always translate to results.

In this article, I hope to clarify the most important things to look for, avoid, and how to make a good decision when choosing a digital agency.

Set clear goals for your business

One thing I appreciate most about a business is when our customers and partners come in knowing what their goals are. Clear goals allow for your marketing partner to set clear expectations about results and what it will take to get to your goals.

When choosing an agency the value of knowing your goals and telling the agency your needs will make it clear to them if their skills and capabilities align with your vision. As an agency, it is always most important on the front end of any relationship to know the goals of your customers and partners.

Some agencies will take on any client on the front end while losing clients out the back? At Imprint, we are in the business of creating long-term partnerships. I would rather tell a client that we are not a good fit for them vs. just bringing on any client. The more clarity upfront, the more transparency the customer can get.

How does the agency manage reporting?

When partnering with a digital agency you want to make sure there is transparency into the reporting of your business. Some great questions to ask your digital marketing partner are:

  1. Does your agency have a dashboard that uses API’s to bring all the data into one place? How is that data changed from the original source information? What information and insights are not included in that dashboard that are valuable for you as a business owner to see?
  2. Are we going to have weekly calls? Will there be weekly reporting?
  3. Do I own my accounts? (google ads, facebook, google maps, instagram) – QUICK TIP: We have seen many agencies hold clients accounts hostage when they want to leave! This is a major NO NO, and you should always ask about who has admin ownership over your businesses accounts.
  4. Video updates – once you have a cadence of success and results, maybe you want updates a few times a week and less phone calls. Maybe you just want quick video updates on certain aspects of the campaign. Are you on a vacation and out of town and need key info communicated? Make sure your partner is willing to do things out of the norm to serve you where you are. Video reporting often is very helpful for business owners who are busy, on the go or traveling.

What is your track record? Who is on your team?

Like in the original blog mentioned earlier about why there is no shortage of marketing companies, you should always learn about the digital agencies track record, their team, and their capabilities to meet your goals.

Many clients ask for phone calls with current clients, case studies, and more. One thing I have learned is that businesses will always connect you with their BEST clients, and often incentivize them with a kicker for giving a good review. It is always wise to do your diligence and ask detailed-oriented questions upfront that address your concerns. This gives your agency great expectations and gives you a baseline to hold them accountable.

Digital agencies should have a great website

Digital marketing agencies should be up to date with the times. You can easily weed out scammers and uneducated people by checking out their website on mobile. A quality digital marketing firm will have an up-to-date website, and a great mobile experience.

Your marketing partner is going to be a reflection of the type of service you will get. If their website is not kept up to date or offers a good experience, what do you think you can expect them to do for you? A website is a lead generation tool. If they do not take care of their own house, how can they protect yours?

Avoid agencies making guarantees and promises

Salespeople love to promise the world and leave the marketing team with outlandish things to achieve. This should make you run away!

Only two things are guaranteed taxes and death. Any guarantees I hear sound close to that, and I have no time for that nonsense. We have businesses to grow and clients who need success!

This is why bringing good questions and going through diligence upfront to find the right partner is so important! With clear goals, and clear expectations everyone knows what they are getting into.

How does the digital agency communicate?

I know this may be a no-brainer but always ask about the communication policy. The best practice is to follow up within 24 hours! No one wants to work with a digital marketing agency that goes MIA and doesn’t respond in the hour of need. One of the biggest headaches for a business is having an emergency and not being able to reach their marketing team over email, chat, text or phone.

Make sure your marketing partner is a clear communicator and respects your needs.

This requires trust.

One thing you must know is this requires trust.

  • When you get a roof repaired, you trust it’s done right, are you an inspector?
  • When you get surgery, you trust the doctor has the experience
  • When you work with a realtor, you trust they will fight for your needs
  • When you work with a money manager, you trust their capital allocation

Same when you hire a digital marketing agency. If you are a brilliant marketing genius and can run a full-time business at the same time, you are a rare breed! When you hire a digital agency you are trusting they are going to do the right things for your business to get you the best return.

Trust also starts with social proof, quality reviews, and that initial call. Make sure you get all concerns addressed upfront so that you enter the relationship on the right foot!

You are ready

If you do all of these things, you are in better shape than 80-90% of businesses. If you do the work to find the right partner you will be confident in your decision, and you will likely be working with someone who has the grit and tenacity to do what it takes to get your business results.

We would love the opportunity to earn your business as your digital agency. Please call us our reach out today!

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