The Tool Shed Blog

Best Digital Marketing Agency: What to Look For When Hiring An Agency

A digital marketing growth agency can handle all your digital marketing campaign needs from:

  • Inbound Marketing
    • web design
    • social media marketing
    • search engine marketing (SEM)
    • website optimization
    • hyperlocal marketing
    • search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Outbound Marketing
    • traditional marketing
    • email marketing
    • search

To help you find the best digital marketing agency, you want to understand the key steps to ensure you get the right fit.

As with any significant investment, you need to do your due diligence. Once you decide, you will be spending hard-earned dollars on marketing your business. You can't afford to make a mistake!

  • Why should you be marketing online?
  • Why do you need a growth agency?
  • Are you choosing a digital marketing agency that fits you and understands your goals?
  • Are you getting the best value for your investment?

Why You Should Be Marketing Online

First, let's talk about why you should be marketing online.

Five key reasons make digital marketing a must in today's connected world:

  • Nearly everybody is online
  • You can reach your target customer
  • You can adapt and change quickly
  • You can create communities using social media marketing
  • You can track the ROI

Between cell phones, tablets, laptops, and other smart devices, the time people spend online continues to grow. According to the Pew Research Center, 77% of Americans go online daily.

Nearly half of those are online several times throughout the day and a quarter report being online almost constantly. People spend more time online than with any other medium except for television.

Reach Your Target Customer

While traditional media can reach mass audiences, digital marketing allows you to practice hyperlocal marketing. In addition, digital marketing can micro-target the exact customer profile for your product or service. So, while reaching fewer people than mass media, it targets the right customers. This can mean a smaller overall expense and less waste in your viral marketing.

Adapt and Change Quickly

Once you create a marketing brochure, or print piece, making changes will take time and add to your expenses. However, you can change pay-per-click advertising or offers almost immediately.

Track the ROI

Unlike other media, you can draw a direct line from what people accomplished online and measure conversions. You can enhance your ROI by using data to optimize your efforts. Machine learning can automate the process of testing to determine which approaches consistently yield the best results.

Why You Need a Digital Marketing Agency

You may be a whiz at Facebook or know how to build a website, but managing the complexities of digital marketing is not for amateurs. It's your business, and we are here to support you!

  • 61% of all web traffic starts from a search engine
  • 90% of all internet searches take place on Google
  • Google's algorithm considers more than 200 ranking factors for each search to serve the best results
  • Google has changed its algorithms some 600 times

Now, ask yourself this: Are you really the best in the marketing craft to maximize your return across 200 ranking factors and through 600 algorithm changes? Doing SEM through SEO correctly is critical to winning at search.

That's just a small example of why you need the expert digital marketers at gardenpatch who are at the top of their game and immersed in the best digital marketing practices daily.

Choosing a Digital Marketing Agency that Fits You

Before you start talking with agencies about a digital marketing strategy for your business, there are things you should do first.

Step 1: Know Your Budget

In developing your marketing budget, you need to take into account three things:

  • What can you afford to spend?
  • What kind of ROI is acceptable?
  • What goals are you trying to achieve?

Start 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. At this point, it's more about the ROI than the hard costs.

Step 2: Define Your Goals

For example, are you looking for:

  • online sales
  • offline sales
  • clicks to your website or landing page
  • increased brand awareness

First, you need to identify the end goal and think about the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that will be used to measure success. The clearer your goals are, the better an agency can deliver specific solutions.

Step 3: Think About How You Want to Work

  • Do you want to hand off the efforts to a third party so that you can focus on your core business?
  • Do you want a digital marketing firm to be an extension of your marketing team?
  • How much time can you and your team afford to spend working with an agency?
  • Do you prefer to work with a large agency that can provide a broad range of services?
  • Would you prefer a niche agency specializing in a specific marketing type with deep expertise?

There are pros and cons to each approach. Ultimately, it's about how you want to manage the relationship.

Step 4: Check Their Online Presence

Now that you have completed the first three steps, it's time to look at specific digital marketing agencies. Looking at their online presence and marketing materials, you can feel how an agency thinks. For example, if there are typos or bad designs on their materials, you might rightly question how they will treat your work. You can also get a sense of their value by what they feature.

Step 5: Assess Company Culture

It is important to look at a company's culture and approach. You want to work with a team that genuinely invests the time to understand your mission. Too many companies will pull a generic marketing strategy off the shelf and apply it to multiple businesses. Every business situation is unique and deserves a unique solution.

Step 6: Ask Who Will Work on Your Account

Often the people doing the pitch for your business will not be the people doing the work. So you want to ask who will work on your account and what experience they have. For example, your work may be handed down to less experienced or junior team members in large agencies. Are you okay with that?

Step 7: Check Their Credentials

Before you hire an employee, you check references. Do the same with any digital marketing agency you interview or any digital marketing websites that you're interested in contacting. Ask to look at case studies and get referrals to current and past clients. Then, follow up with their clients to see if they deliver what they told you they did. If they exaggerate their results, they might over-promise what they can do for you.

If they list current or past clients on their website, it's a good idea to pick a couple randomly and call to gauge their experience.

If you are looking for a particular digital marketing strategy, examine their work in that area. For example, if you want someone to manage your social media, look at what gets posted on their client's social pages, not just what the agency wants to show you.

Step 8: Understand Their Process

No two agencies will work quite the same way, but the process they use will have some similarities. Therefore, you want to ensure you understand how they work with clients and the process they go through to deliver results.

At gardenpatch, we think it is essential to support our clients through the following:

  • Discover: Research and understand products, services, and Unique Selling Proposition (USPs)
  • Deepen: Understand the business core and immerse themselves in your brand
  • Define: Develop specific strategies to deliver on KPIs
  • Deliver: Launch, track, and manage projects to meet goals
  • Detect: Test, adjust, and optimize work to maximize impact and ROI

Step 9: Gauge Their Passion

You want people working on your marketing team that loves what they do and will take it personally. The combination of professionalism, experience, and passion can create powerful work.

Step 10: Demand Transparency in Everything

Regarding pricing, digital marketing can vary significantly depending on the products and services used. You (and your clients) want transparency in everything you do. It would help if you had a clear explanation of what you are getting, the agency's deliverables, and what you will pay for each item.

If the agency uses third-party companies to deliver some products, ask them to explain their pricing models. For example, if the agency has to buy keywords for Pay Per Click (PPC), ask them to detail what management fees they charge over and above the actual buy.

Step 11: Establish Reporting and Communication

Make sure you and the agency agree about communication in online marketing.

You will want to discuss:

  • who will be the point(s) of contact
  • how often will you see reports or have reviews
  • at what point will you be able to assess the effectiveness

Many client-agency relationships from boutique digital marketing agencies have gone awry because of different expectations from one of the parties.

Step 12: Listen to Their Ideas

After you have done your due diligence and believe they may be the right fit for you, it's time to put them to the test. First, give them information about your specific goal and ask them to pitch you their solution. In addition, you want to provide a way for them to demonstrate their process and show you how they would act as if you'd already hired them.

When evaluating a pitch, here are the key items you should examine:

  • The Creative Approach: Does it fit your brand?
  • The Solution: Do you believe it can deliver the goals you have in mind?
  • The Presentation: Look for energy, enthusiasm, and credibility. Do they have the experience to deliver what they say? How will the campaigns be created?
  • The Budget: Does it fit your budget needs, and are they transparent about the costs?

It's About Getting the Best Value

You need to trust the people you pick when it comes down to it. It's a significant investment. You can't afford to waste the money or the opportunity.

You must feel comfortable that the agency you pick will have your best interests at heart.

You also need to feel confident the team you hire will be able to deliver what they promise based on:

  • content
  • social media strategy
  • cross-platform measurement
  • marketing services
  • advertising
  • online presence
  • email marketing, to name a few.

Remember, it's not about finding the cheapest agency. There are plenty of low-cost providers out there. Instead, look for a creative, top tier digital marketing agency that offers the best value. While that may mean spending a little more initially, like most business decisions, it's not about the cost but the results.

How to Choose a Digital Marketing Agency

Finding the right digital marketing agency is not difficult or stressful. The right full-service digital agency will focus on finding the solutions to market your business. In addition, they will develop specific strategies to provide the best return on your investment based on your business type.

gardenpatch has all the tools and experience to implement your digital marketing strategy, including inbound and outbound marketing.

Take your digital marketing strategy to the next level. Talk to one of our growth specialists at gardenpatch today!

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