Once you decide to go digital with your business, there will undoubtedly be a lot of questions running through your mind.
Deciding to hire someone in-house or to work with an agency is the biggest question. Unless you already have processes in place, someone to train a new employee, and a digital marketing team to plug a new hire into it's often better to hire an agency that offers the services you need.
The problem is, with hundreds of new digital agencies and every bozo who has seen a youtube video now claiming to be experts, how do you sift through the BS and decide the right one to work with.
Here are a few things to consider when shortlisting a digital marketing agency for your business:
- Requirements and budget: Please, for the love of all things (including our competitors)... Make sure you know what you need (or think you need) and your budget before contacting every marketing agency you find on Clutch, UpCity, or local search results. You don't want your future marketing partner to waste your time, so don't waste theirs. The term digital marketing is a wide umbrella that has many smaller specialties falling under it. Website development, SEO, pay per click advertising, social media marketing, content creation, Facebook advertising, graphic and video creation, email marketing, the list goes on and on. Determining the exact set of services you need before contacting a firm isn't necessary, that's their job. However, you should know what the end goal is and how much budget you have to pay the agency (not including your ad spend).
- Business transparency: New agencies tend to learn the services on the fly. They take on clients and offer services at cheaper rates. Look at their website and check if they have the right signals. A legit agency should have a business address, contact information and client list on their website. If these are not visible, then it is most likely a new consultant or a fake company trying to earn money by generating leads for other agencies. Complete transparency is important to establish trust and have a long working relationship.
- Credibility and experience: Determining the credibility and experience of an agency is actually pretty easy these days. Sites like UpCity or Clutch.io own the most important search terms (like "Austin + Digital Marketing Agency"), so any legit firm will have a presence on these sites. The best part is they require verified reviews, so you can better trust the customer testimonials. The next thing to decide is if they have the right experience for your company. For instance, at MassConvert we specialize in performance marketing and lead generation, we don't take on clients who need extensive branding or print media assets created. Find out what the agency is good at by having a clear conversation about their strengths and weaknesses don't be afraid to ask them if YOU are the type of business they typically work with.
- Understand their work culture: As a specialized agency, we are very selective of the clients we take on. Not all agencies have this luxury, many of them build large sales teams and focus on constantly getting new clients which can result in lower quality work and teams with fewer innovators. It's okay, those types of agencies will learn from the true experts and then pass that knowledge on to you at a discounted rate. Remember, you are going to be working with these people for a while (hopefully), so it's best to find an agency you think will be fun to work with. A company that understands your product or services and your business well is bound to get more involved and bring better results.
Instead of just choosing an agency at its face value, research the agency, look into reviews, ask if they can connect you with a past or present client, and make an informed decision.