It feels like a dozen new digital marketing agencies pop up every day. As search, social media, and e-commerce become more entrenched in our day-to-day lives, there are more ways than ever to generate revenue online, and no matter what tactics you want to implement, there will be plenty of digital marketers vying for your business. So how do you choose the online marketing agency that’s right for your needs? Well, the most important step is establishing your needs. While many people stop at an overarching solution such as “I need a new website,” few take a granular look at their online marketing strategy to understand what this means. If you don’t know what you truly need, there’s no way for you to know who would be best for the job. Here are three simple steps you can take to ensure you’re getting the best online marketing agency for your needs.
Establish Your Digital Marketing Strategy
First things first, you need to establish an effective digital marketing strategy. Depending on your level of sophistication, this might be extremely easy or it might sound like a daunting task, but fear not. If you’re in need of a lot of digital hand holding, there are ways you can get support from your agency without being dependent on them for the entire process. If you’re a digital marketing stud, you likely already know what you want this strategy to look like. All you need to do is put it on paper. Make sure you build a robust digital marketing plan that can be easily understood by a third party. Don’t leave anything to the imagination. Be clear about what you want to accomplish and how you want to accomplish it. If you’re more of a digital novice, it’s okay. You don’t need to be an expert to have a plan. Start by reading up on digital marketing strategy so you can better-understand what other people in your industry are doing. Now make a short list of what you hope to accomplish. This can be as simple as “Raise sales by X percent,” or “Lower cost per lead by Y percent.”
Send Prospective Agencies Your Three Primary Objectives
Now that you have a general outline of a strategy put together, you need to isolate your primary objectives. What do you hope to accomplish? Why do you want to accomplish that? Make a list of three to five primary objectives that you hope to accomplish and email them to your short list of prospective agencies. A good agency will extend the conversation with you, learning more about your business, and come back with a solution that accomplishes all of your goals. If an agency is too quick to answer with a solution, be wary. Very few situations are so cut-and-dry that one email gives you all the information you need to know in a detailed area like digital marketing. The best agencies will do all of this while incorporating your brand’s current customer experience. If they ask you a lot of questions, give you a robust answer as to how they could accomplish your objectives, and incorporate your brand’s current customer experience, they make it to the final round.
Judge Online Marketing Agencies Based On Your Objectives
Finally, it’s judgement day. When judging potential online marketing agencies, it’s important to ask a few key questions:
- What supporting evidence have they shown us that they can accomplish these goals? Have they shown us past client work? Are they using these tactics for their own business? Why or why not?
- What are the terms they’re asking for? Do we need to sign a 12 month contract and stick with it, or do we get an out clause if things aren’t working? All reputable digital marketing contracts should include an out clause for both parties.
- What’s our return on this investment? The cheapest option is rarely the best option, but the most expensive option could pose just as much risk. When it comes down to dollars and cents, who appears to be the best bang for your buck?
- What assets will we get out of this? In addition to short-term results, many digital marketing contracts include things like evergreen content that is designed to be an asset for your brand in the long-term. Will they be giving you any assets that could pay dividends in the future?
If you ask these questions and know the basics of what you’re trying to accomplish, you’ll be ahead of a lot of your competition on the digital front. Always remember, it’s not about the tactics, it’s about the strategy.