Trying to find a digital marketing agency is like trying to find a date on Tinder. Everyone desperately putting their best foot forward in glammed-up selfies and glowing bios – but who is actually who they say they are? Ever find “a perfect match” who promises you the first spot on Google and 10+ qualified leads a month…only to be left high-and-dry with dismal rankings and zero leads?
Don’t be fooled by a pretty smile – not all agencies are created equal. When you’re looking at a digital marketing agency, there are few things to look for before swiping right.
First: Know Your Goals
Before ever meeting with an agency, you need to know what your goals are for your digital marketing. Generally, business owners start with “I want to make more money.” Agreed! But that’s not very specific. Narrow down your focus to more clear, precise goals, such as:
I want at least 10 leads per month from online sources.”
“I want to increase my web traffic by 30%.”
“I want to double my followers on Facebook.”
“I want to rank on the first page for at least 5 of my keywords by next year.”
It’s ok if you’re not 100% sure on what your numbers should be (a good agency will help you find those), but it helps to know generally what you want. Not all digital marketing agencies focus on the same aspects of digital marketing. If you know what you’re looking for, you can filter out any agencies that aren’t a fit for those goals.
(Psst – do you know who your ideal clients are? Download our Buyer Personas eBook to find out.)
1. What Are Their Clients Saying?
Don’t be afraid to ask for references – be afraid if any company balks at giving them. Speaking to current and past clients is an excellent way to do a little digging into a digital marketing agency. First, pay attention to what industries they’re in. Like I mentioned earlier, each digital marketing agency has its own strengths. Look for a company that has worked with multiple clients in your industry (or similar industries). The more familiar that agency is with your industry, the better.
Next – reach out to those current or past clients directly. Ask them what their experience was with the agency. Did they reach their goals? Are they satisfied with their results? Speak with a few different clients if you can to form a full picture. Also be sure to check out their social media and see what reviews they have. A few bad reviews aren’t a deal-breaker: look at how the agency responds to criticism. Do they ignore it? Do they fight back? Or do they offer help? If their reviews are disabled altogether, that’s a red flag.
2. Are They Practicing What They Preach?
How can you trust a digital marketing agency to run your marketing if their own is neglected? Take a look at their website – is it well-designed? Is the content clear? Are they blogging regularly? Try searching for some industry-related keywords in Google and see how they rank. Digital marketing is a highly competitive industry, but they should still show up on the first three pages for your location. If they can’t even get their own website to rank, how will they help you?
3. Are They Transparent?
Beware of any agency that buries you in jargon and brushes off questions. Your partnership with a digital marketing agency will be long-term. You need to know that you can trust them. Pay attention to what promises they make. With digital marketing, it’s nearly impossible to guarantee specific number results before starting a program. If they’re promising you the #1 spot on Google and 200 phone calls a month, be suspicious. A good marketing agency should set realistic expectations and be clear on what results you can expect. They should also be willing to take the time to listen to you and explain their process.
Also, consider how upfront they are about costs. We all want an excellent ROI, but be cautious of dirt-cheap prices promising stellar results. Like with any other business, paying the bare minimum can lead to bare minimum results. Particularly in the case of pay-per-click advertising on Google and Facebook, where keywords have a set cost beyond an agency’s control. Sure you may only be spending $100 a month, but if your keywords cost $20 a click, that’s only 5 clicks to your website a month. A good rule of thumb is to plan to pay between 7.5 percent and 12 percent of your revenue on marketing.
These are all the traits you should look for in a digital marketing agency. After all – your business is worth it. Don’t settle for less.
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