How Do I Hire a Digital Marketing Agency – The Dos & Don’ts
The digital marketing landscape is one that is constantly changing. That’s why you need a strong partnership with a digital agency who understands your business goals, keeps on top of the latest trends and algorithm changes and who will continuously optimise your marketing campaigns to get you the best results possible.
But how do you find the right agency for your business? What should you keep in mind while shopping around? This is exactly what we’ll be talking about in this article so that you can find the right partner for your digital marketing journey.
Why hire a digital agency?
Today, digital marketing is necessary for any business wanting to grow. That being said, most small businesses can’t afford an in-house marketing team.
Sure, you might have a marketing manager who can handle some social media updates, a bit of website copy and some basic marketing analytics. But the thing is that marketing is a very varied field and one or two people simply can’t master all the different aspects of it – especially as this is a field with new developments happening constantly.
So when it comes to specialised skills like PPC campaign management, high-quality copywriting and SEO strategy, the easiest and often most cost-effective way to include these things into your marketing strategy is to bring in some outside help.
That’s where digital marketing agencies step in. You could also go the freelancer route, but as we’ve talked about on this blog in the past, hiring an agency means you get to benefit from an entire team of digital marketing experts, each with their own specialised skills. This way, you basically have a whole outsourced marketing department at your disposal and have fewer business relationships to manage.
Shopping around as a small business on a budget
So, the time has come for you to hop on the Google machine to find digital agencies near you. As an SME, how much it’ll all cost is likely one of the first questions on your mind.
And this is a completely valid question – many agencies who work with large national and international brands will only be interested in clients with big budgets – and theirs are often the websites that pop up first on your results page. But there are plenty of agencies out there who specialise in working with SMEs and who can make things work with your budget.
That being said, money shouldn’t be the only thing you consider, as digital marketing does have its opportunistic yes-men who’ll promise you anything to secure your business.
Unlike Bundle Digital, most agencies don’t list their pricing publicly, so you need to get in touch with them to find out whether they’re within your budget. Do keep in mind that most agencies are willing to make your budget work for them and can create a custom marketing plan for you – though they should also be able to tell you what kind of results you can expect realistically with a smaller budget.
While it’s hard to provide any guarantees for how long it takes to start seeing results from your digital marketing campaigns and what kind of a return on investment you can expect from them, your agency should be able to provide rough estimates for this as well as how much it’ll cost to get you there.
You should make sure you understand the agency’s pricing structure thoroughly before you sign anything to avoid unforeseen fees. Have a think before you sign because the agency you ultimately choose should be one you can expect to afford to work with long-term. This is because boosting your online visibility and bringing in qualified leads on a continuous basis is a marathon, not a sprint, and requires continuous work.
What to ask a digital marketing agency
One of the most important questions to ask a digital agency you’re considering is what success will look like for your business – what are the most important key performance indicators (KPIs) they use to measure the success of your digital campaigns?
Without a clear vision of what to measure and what your business’ goals are, it’ll be hard to find success in digital marketing. Similarly, your agency shouldn’t be more concerned with their output, such as a certain number of blog posts published monthly, rather than the results of that work, such as the number of people reading your blog posts and higher rankings in search engine results. This is where clearly outlined KPIs come in handy.
You should also ask how the agency handles reporting and keeping in touch with you in general. How often do they provide their clients with reports and what do they look like? How often will you have catch-up calls or meetings? Asking this will help you figure out how rigorous they are at providing you with proof of how your campaigns are doing. With poor reporting, there’s less accountability on their part.
You should also find out what your potential agency will do in the event of missed deadlines or poor results. For example, here at Bundle, we offer a rolling 30-day money-back guarantee in case a client isn’t happy with the work we’ve done for them – this is not a system we have to use often but it’s one that lets our clients rest easy knowing that they won’t have to pay if we make a mistake.
The importance of good chemistry with your digital marketers shouldn’t be ignored, either. Knowing the people who’ll be running your campaigns makes working with them more seamless and helps with accountability.
Red flags to avoid
Since marketing agencies live and breathe all things digital and are meant to improve your online reputation, if their own website and digital marketing are poor, this is a red flag. After all, what fate can you have that they’ll market your business well if they can’t do this for themselves?
So take a look at their website – is it user-friendly, with informational copy and resources? How’s their social media presence? And how quickly do they respond when you fill in their contact form? The last question is important because if the agency can’t get back to you quickly and enthusiastically when you’re still shopping around, chances are communication will be even worse once they get your money.
Does the agency you’re considering have case studies or reviews on their website or on their Google My Business page? It’s important you go with an agency with a decent track record – don’t make yourself the guinea pig of a brand new agency if you can help it. If the agency you’re considering doesn’t have an online portfolio of past campaigns, it’s worth asking them for some of their greatest wins directly.
If your agency outsources a lot of work overseas, this is another potential red flag. You wouldn’t want a digital marketing agency that’s a glorified middleman for work you have no guarantees for carried out by people you’ll never meet.
Finally, beware cookie-cutter digital marketing strategies. Your agency should work to identify your unique needs and create a strategy that reflects them. Your marketing strategy should also include clear language around deliverables and what success will look like.
Working with Bundle Digital
Want to know if we’re the right fit for your business? Bundle Digital is an Edinburgh digital marketing agency with a passion for creating PPC campaigns that convert relentlessly, content and social posts that give brands a unique voice and SEO that gives you the spotlight you deserve.
We believe in being transparent about everything we do, so we talk at length about our pricing and services and make sure we hold ourselves accountable with monthly reporting and catch-ups with every client.
If you’d like to find out more about what we can do for you, shoot us an email!