Finding The Best Digital Marketing Agency
Discovering the right digital marketing agency for your business can be difficult, no matter the scale or industry. Even choosing whether to hire in-house marketers vs. a marketing agency is a challenge. With so many needs unmet, confusion over results, a limited budget, and determining an agency’s effectiveness, it’s no wonder the ordeal can be overwhelming. Don’t mistake the trees for the forest though, as we can simplify this foreboding issue into easy steps.
What Do You Want In A Digital Marketing Agency?
It all starts with knowing your needs. Ask yourself what your goals will be during your hypothetical collaboration with a digital marketing agency? Now, check to make sure they’re realistic. Sure, everyone would love to be the first result on Google, but that just isn’t realistic most of the time. The next thing to ensure is that your goals are relevant. If you’re a single-location pizza shop in a small town, having the goal of driving traffic to your website is great, as long as that traffic is coming from people that are located near your pizza business. It’s better to have a few website visits from local potential customers than it is to have thousands of website visitors from across the country (in the case of a brick-and-mortar business). Finally, make sure you have a realistic time frame for your goals.
Coming up with SMART business goals will be an invaluable part of beginning your digital marketing agency search. The world of digital marketing is a wide one, with a variety of methods to choose from. Although the number of marketing channels is disagreed upon, we know of at least 7 types of digital marketing. The next step is about determining which method will best help you achieve your business goals.
Find The Right Marketing Method For You
There are an absurd amount of specialties in the world of digital marketing. Looking at dozens of services can be an exhausting and overwhelming experience, but we can break it down into simpler categories. Read ahead and compare your needs to each method. Oftentimes, agencies will have a strength in certain areas, meaning you’ll need to do your research to find the best marketer for your style.
- Social Media Marketing: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and all the rest. Everyone is on some social platform and each one can be marketed on. This method enables your business to interact directly with your audience. Today, almost all brands know the importance of social media marketing. In order to be relevant, this marketing method is somewhat of a necessity. “In 2021, 91.9 percent of U.S. marketers in companies larger than 100 employees were expected to use social media for marketing purposes.”
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Common, dependable, and confusing, SEO is all about driving traffic to your website from search engines (think Google and Bing). By crafting content that search engine algorithms love, your pages will rank higher. This marketing method often takes months or even years to start generating consistent and quality results.
- Content Marketing: Closely related to SEO, this method is about creating materials that appeal to, engages, and grows your target audience. Several types of content can fall into this category, including the article you’re reading right now.
- Affiliate Marketing: Basically, having others promote your business, who receive payment in turn. Promotion could be in the form of a blog, video, or any medium that can convey promotion.
- Influencer Marketing: Deeply intertwined with the above, but differentiated by their popularity. Any influencer you work with will be an affiliate, but not all affiliates will be influencers. Influencers possess an online following, who the influencer can promote your product to.
- Email Marketing: It was big in the 90s and is still big now. Users submit their emails to receive notices of sales or bargains, newsletters with coverage, and more. This method can be used to repeatedly engage your audience by having automated reminders and updates.
- Paid Marketing: This umbrella term encompasses all marketing strategies in which a business or brand pays to place content in front of a targeted audience. This includes boosting page results, displaying advertisements on search engines, promoting posts on social media, and running television commercials.
Set A Budget
So, you’ve selected your methods and know the goal, but remember to determine your budget. Don’t bankrupt yourself by going for the priciest agency possible.
When coming up with your marketing budget, you need to think about your service fees and advertising costs. If you’re thinking about paid marketing, the service fees, also known as the management fees, refer to the fees paid to your marketing agency for creating and optimizing your campaigns. The advertising costs refer to the budget paid directly to the advertising network (i.e. – Facebook or Google) in exchange for showing your ads to a targeted audience. Usually, the larger the advertising spend is, the larger the service fee will be.
Look in local business directories for someone who knows the area’s markets. Alternatively, use databases, like Clutch, to find an agency. Enter your details pertaining to budget, field, and location. Once you’ve found potential agencies, we can move onto the investigation phase.
Review Their Website
You’ve found them, they look great, and you can afford the service. Fantastic, but before you go looking for any contracts, check them out a tad more. Peruse their website with a careful eye. If the agency’s own website is awkward to use, difficult to understand, or straight up ugly, they certainly won’t do better with your content. Supposing the site looks brilliant, move on to the next steps.
Watch What They’re Doing, Not What They’re Saying
Before finally arranging a meeting with the agency, it is advisable to check out their social media pages. Much like how an agency’s website is representative of the work they’ll do for you. Visit pages on platforms like Facebook or Instagram and examine the quality of posts. Are there frequent and regular posts? Do those posts have user engagement and does the agency engage with the users in turn? Again, the quality here is representative of the work they’ll complete for you.
While on Facebook, use the Page Transparency feature to examine if an agency is currently running paid advertisements, and what those ads look like. To find the Page Transparency section on a page:
1. Visit the Page’s timeline by clicking its name in your News Feed or searching for it.
2. Scroll down to the Page Transparency below the About section.
3. Tap See All.
Once you’ve selected See All, you can view when the page was created, who is managing the page, if the page is currently running advertisements, and what ads are currently running. If the Facebook page is running advertisements, they may give you a glimpse into what the agency is able to produce for your business.
Get Personal & Ask Questions
If each area above was satisfactory, it is time to contact the agency and set up a meeting. Ask questions and be specific. You are the one who knows your business’ needs. Ask about the exact details of the program, such as budget, support, and software used. See if they have worked with your industry before and, if so, what were their results. Request substantiated data. Determine timelines for results and how long to set up the program.
- Who are some of your previous clients?
- How much of the work will be outsourced?
- How frequently will we meet to discuss current and future initiatives?
- What is included in the monthly fee?
- What will the on-boarding process look like?
- How will we measure the success of my campaigns?
Hesitancy or tardiness in replying to questions, being unwilling to supply concrete information, or if the sales representatives can’t return calls or emails in a reasonable timeframe should all be taken as red flags. Issues like these will only become more prominent after the agreement has been signed. If the meeting goes well, and they seem like a great fit, go ahead and see if you can reach a deal.
Wrapping It Up
You may have confidently sealed the deal, but remember to keep in touch and that this is a collaborative process. You’ll still need to work with the agency for the best results. Check in about marketing goals and results. See what can be done to improve the process. Working with digital marketers is not a hands-off arrangement.
It’s a long and winding road to find the right digital marketing agencies for your business but is also a more than possible achievement. Match your goals to the best agencies and go forth from there.
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