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12 Steps to Find You the Best Digital Marketing Agency

Oct 11, 2018 1:14:45 PM

A Digital Marketing Agency can handle all of your digital marketing campaign needs from inbound marketing (such as Web Design, Social Media Marketing, Search Engine Marketing, Website Optimization, Hyperlocal Marketing and SEO) to outbound marketing (such as Traditional Marketing, Email marketing and Search).

To help you find the best digital marketing agency, you want to understand the 12 keys steps to make sure you get the right fit.

In This Article:

  • Why you should be marketing online.
  • Why you need a digital marketing company.
  • Choosing a digital marketing agency that fits you and understands your goals.
  • Getting the best value for your investment.

As in any significant investment, you need to do your due diligence. Once you make the decision, you will be spending hard-earned dollars to market your business. You can't afford to make a mistake

Why You Should Be Marketing Online.

First, let's talk about why you should be marketing online. There are four key reasons that 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.

Nearly everybody is online.

Between cell phones, tablets, laptops, and other smart devices, the amount of 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 by micro-targeting the exact customer profile for your product or service. While reaching fewer people than mass media, it targets the right customers which 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. Online, you can change pay-per-click advertising or offers almost immediately. Marketing can happen almost instantly and evolve as needed.

Track The ROI.

Unlike other media, you can draw a direct line from what people did 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

Your nephew 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 you can't afford to make mistakes.

Just consider these four statistics:

Now, ask yourself this: Do you really think your relative knows how to best craft content to maximize your return across 200 ranking factors and through 600 algorithm changes? Doing SEM (Search Engine Marketing) through SEO (Search Engine Optimization) correctly is critical to winning at search.

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

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.

Developing your marketing budget needs to take into account three things: What you can afford to spend, what kind of ROI is acceptable, and what goals you are trying to achieve. It starts 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. It's more about the ROI than the hard costs.

Step 2: Define Your Goals.

Are you looking for online sales, offline sales, clicks to your website or landing page, increased brand awareness, or something else? Not only do you need to identify the end goal, you need to think about the KPI's (Key Performance Indicators) that will be used to judge 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 and have them handle everything, so 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 or a niche agency that specializes in a specific type of marketing with deep expertise?

There are pros and cons for 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 start looking at specific digital marketing agencies. You can get a feel for how an agency thinks from looking at their online presence and marketing materials. If there are typo's or bad designs on their own materials, you might rightly question how they will treat your work. You can also get a sense of what they 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 will invest the time to truly 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. You want to ask who will actually be working on your account and what experience they have. In large agencies, your work may be handed down to less experienced or junior team members. Are you OK 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. 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 be over-promising 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 at random and call to gauge their experience.

If you are looking for a particular type of digital marketing strategy, examine their work in that area. For example, if you want someone to manage your social media, take a look at what gets posted on their client's social pages - and 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. You want to make sure you understand the way they work with clients and the process they go through to deliver results. Look for an agency that follows a process similar to this:

  • Discover: Research and understand products, services, and USP's (Unique Selling Proposition).
  • Deepen: Understand the business core and immerse themselves in your brand.
  • Define: Develop specific strategies to deliver on KPI's.
  • 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 love 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.

When it comes to pricing, digital marketing can vary significantly depending on the products and services used and how they are deployed. You (and your clients) want transparency in everything you do. You need a clear explanation of what you are getting, the deliverables the agency will provide, 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 PPC (Pay Per Click) on a search engine, or display ad networks, 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 are in agreement about communication in online marketing.

You will want to discuss who will be the point(s) of contact, how often you will see reports or have reviews, and at what point you will be able to assess 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. Give them information about a specific goal you have and ask them to pitch you on their solution. 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 within your budget needs and are they transparent about the costs?

It's About Getting The Best Value.

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

You have to feel comfortable that the agency you pick will have your best interests at heart and be able to deliver what they promise based on content, social media strategy, cross-platform measurement, marketing services, advertising, online presence, and email marketing to name a few.

It's not about finding the cheapest agency. There are plenty of low-cost providers out there. Look for a creative agency that offers the best value. While that may mean spending a little more in the beginning, like most business decisions it's not about the cost, it's about the results.

How To Choose A Digital Marketing Agency.

Finding the right digital marketing agency does not have to be difficult or stressful. The right full-service digital agency will focus on finding the solutions to market your business and develop specific strategies to provide the best return on your investment based on the type of business you have.

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

Contact us today to discuss your digital marketing needs or schedule a meeting.

You can also take this 5-minute online quiz: Do You Need An Online Marketing Agency?


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