Partnering with a good digital marketing agency can help you get the business results you need.
360º marketing is difficult, but the way consumers search for information today demands that your business has a good online presence.
Having a mobile-optimised website is becoming as vital as a business licence for any company that wants to survive beyond the first year and succeed.
If digital marketing is not a strength of your team, or you don’t have the ability to work on search engine optimisation (SEO), email marketing, pay-per-click (PPC) and social media, then you probably need to look for a digital marketing agency to help you improve your business results on a daily basis.
But where do you start when looking for a digital agency? What are the best questions to ask a digital consultant to determine if their agency is a good fit for your brand?
Good questions to ask when hiring a digital marketing agency
What kind of clients do you work with?
This is a great question to start with. As a business owner, it’s vital to understand the agency’s client ecosystem to see if they have references and experience in your industry that will help you improve the success of your brand or business. Does the agency have experience with your industry? Excellent! Even if they don’t have direct experience, have they worked with clients who are in a similar situation? You’re not always going to find an agency that specialises in clients with businesses very similar to yours or in the same sector, but you may find a digital agency that shows stellar results for companies in other sectors that have very similar needs to your business. The nature of the approach is to recognise that successful processes can be applied across industries and this may make it easier for you to find a good digital agency.
What is your marketing approach for my industry?
Here’s another good question to ask following on from the first. Identify if they really know your industry or your target. After all, you know your business best, so the answer to this question should provide enough clarity to determine if they really know what they are doing.
Describe your mission and your team – what are your strengths as a group?
This is one of our favourites, as it provides an opportunity for both the consultant and the potential client to identify a clear scope of work. If you’re looking for an agency that can do good SEO, perform keyword research and offer you a content marketing strategy, this is a good time to find out if they have these capabilities. An agency wants to play to your strengths. This question identifies where they can excel or fall down.
What branch of digital marketing does your agency specialise in?
It’s simple – are you applying what you preach? Agencies are not (or should not) give out specific information about other clients’ campaigns unless permission is granted. But on the other hand they can talk about what they are doing for their own digital agency without fear of violating client trust.
Do you have a data protection policy?
Data protection regulation is a very important point, especially if we are talking about email marketing campaigns, retargeting or similar. Therefore, a good question to ask a digital marketing agency is whether they have a good data protection policy in place to understand the methods they apply and how they are implemented.
Do you have specialists in graphic design, audiovisuals or copywriting?
A good digital marketing agency should have professionals in SEO, SEM, Content Marketing… but it is also important to have specialists in other complementary areas such as graphic design, journalism or copywriting and audiovisual production. These are all types of content necessary for a good online presence. Therefore, it is vital for agencies to have professionals on staff or external collaborators specialised in these tasks.
Why should I hire you?
Any competitive company can easily explain its competitive differentials or the benefits they can generate for their customers.
Identifying the value proposition offered by a digital marketing agency should be easy. In fact you should be able to identify it simply by looking at their website for 4 seconds.
If this is difficult or the value proposition is too generic, the agency you are considering hiring will be one of the bunch. My suggestion is that you look for other options, because if the agency itself does not know how to transmit its differential value, how are they going to know how to define your company’s digital marketing strategy?
If it is easy to identify the value proposition of the digital agency on their website, I suggest that you ask them to explain their benefits and with this you will be able to see if they are consistent with what the agency communicates in its own communication strategy. If what they explain to you is incoherent, it may alert you to the fact that if you hire them they are going to define an inconsistent and unsophisticated strategy for your company.
What are my responsibilities as a client?
A good online marketing strategy requires the direct involvement of the marketing manager or, in the absence of this profile, the CEO of the client company. Therefore, the answer to this question must be clear, as the agency that does not delegate any responsibility to the client is very likely to end up implementing something very superficial and that will hardly generate an improvement in business results.
The role of the client can vary greatly depending on the size of the company and the objectives to be achieved:
- Detail the current status of your online marketing strategy, the objectives to be achieved and the business results.
- Clearly define the partners in charge of managing the project from within the company.
- Participate in regular meetings to follow up the objectives and define next steps.
- Define the Buyer Persona or profile of the ideal buyer.
- Transmit the essence of the business, its positioning and the values that drive them.
- Participate in design thinking sessions to jointly define the territories of conversation with your potential customers.
Bad questions to ask when hiring a digital marketing agency
A good digital marketing agency also vets its clients constantly. Simply put, agencies shouldn’t want to work with just any client who calls asking for their services.
We have an idea of what an ideal client looks like (the famous buyer persona) and much of that has to do with past successes, competencies in various industries, and company information: age, size, product subject matter, etc.
Here are some questions that could indicate a bad agency-client relationship.
I wondered how much it would cost to promote my business
…and point out the silence. The caller clearly hasn’t done much research. You’re not expected to be a marketing genius or really know much. But a consultant would expect a bit more specific information. From here, I don’t know who you are, what your business is, or what exactly you need help with. This tells us that you are only interested in finding the best price. “You get what you pay for” especially applies to someone looking for a digital marketing agency as if it were a supermarket deal.
Starting the conversation angry
We get it. There are a handful of agencies out there that claim to be “online marketing specialists” and then deliver disappointing results that can leave you feeling ripped off. Most digital agencies pride themselves on the results they can produce for your business and are more likely to want to get work they feel confident with. Research the digital agency before you make a call or fill out a form.
Show me what keywords you will use for SEO and PPC, what your emails will look like and plan social media for a week. I need to know what this will look like before I hire a digital marketing agency.
OK, it’s not exactly a question but some people without a lot of experience in the industry decide to hire a digital marketing agency and have a lot of doubts about how it will work. Unfortunately, this is what some people ask before they even consider hiring an agency.
Trust is the key ingredient in the relationship between the agency and the potential client.
You should be able to vet the agency with case studies without asking for free work. Personalised campaigns are what you will be paying for from month to month. Therefore, you should be able to rely on this work based on the agency’s proven effectiveness.
Would you ask your mechanic to change the shock absorbers on your car for free just to see how it will work before you buy it? Of course not, because you might decide that they really aren’t that good. That’s why it doesn’t make sense for an agency to spend 10 hours of its time and resources before signing a contract. In the same vein, you should be wary of agencies that don’t offer a measurable data-driven tracking and reporting plan.
Luckily in the digital ecosystem all results of every action are measurable and therefore you should never trust a digital agency that does not make its decisions based on the most relevant KPIs for your business.