You understand the importance of having a great digital presence, you have a clear definition of online success and you like to see measurable results. You understand online success will take a bit of an investment and you have an open mind to trying new tactics. You are ready to hire a digital marketing agency.
There are great benefits to having a solid online marketing company that has your best interest in mind… not your checkbook. So how do you go about hiring a firm you can trust? How do you pick the right online agency to take your business to the next level?
Here are the signs to look for before you hire a digital marketing agency.
1. They don’t rush solutions. If they start by telling you that you need to be doing more with social media, starting a blog, implementing discounts or handing you a checklist with 20 things you should do each month, walk away! Offering solutions out of the gate is a big red flag. Either they are running you through a “marketing checklist” program or more importantly, they are not seeking to understand where the true problems exist. An agency that leads with solutions is not seeking to really understand your business.
2. They ask questions… a lot of questions. A good agency will spend your first few meetings asking questions about anything and everything. What programs are you using now? How did that work for your company? What worked the best? What didn’t work? How does your budget break down? What is the seasonality of your business? What sales channels are you currently using? They should also be asking the basics – who is your target audience? Who is your competition? Why is your company better than the competition? A firm that asks a lot of questions is seeking to understand. Solutions can’t be created until your marketing company really understands your business.
3. They want to know what your business objectives are. You can’t put visits into a bank, so ultimately if a marketing firm is touting successes like: page views, keyword rankings, page likes, etc., they should be confirming how these measurements fit into your overall business objectives. A good agency will ask where you have been in the past 12 months and what you would like to see in the next 12 months (realistic or not).
4. They want to look at data. You can’t improve what you don’t measure. You want to hire a firm that takes an analytical approach to making decisions. They should ask to look at your data, because they should want to get a better grasp on your company’s key metrics. What your web traffic is like, what your conversion rates are, what pages are performing the best, what is your attribution model, etc. If you aren’t deep into your own data or don’t know how, that’s okay, but any digital agency you hire should be.
5. They make your expectations clear. You want to hire an agency that’s there to support you. If they aren’t making it clear that they understand your expectations and your company’s definition of success, then it won’t work. At the same time, you need to keep an open mind. They should want to know what’s important to your company from a measurement perspective, but remember you are the one looking for help. They might have different techniques and strategies that you should be open to, but make sure they know how to communicate those strategies to you.
6. They like tests. Not quizzes, but A/B tests. Black vs red, 10% vs. 20%, free shipping and landing pages. A company that runs tests on a consistent basis understands that the only way to improve something is to know what works and what doesn’t. And the best way to do that is to test it.
7. They pass the “canoe test.” This is the last and most important thing to consider. Imagine if you were in a canoe with your marketing company (I know, it could be a large canoe). First, would you be able to get along with them all day or would they drive you nuts? And second, can you trust them to not tip you over? If it doesn’t feel like a good fit, don’t hire them. Success can only happen if you have a good, fun, trusting relationship with your digital marketing agency.