Deciding to employ a digital marketing agency instead of DIY-ing your digital efforts can feel like a daunting step. But if you’re serious about growing your business, it’s a step that you need to take. Here’s everything you need to know to ensure your new partnership is seamless.
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Questions to ask when choosing a digital marketing partner
First up, you’ve got to choose the right agency. While it might sound easy, there are a few more things to consider than you might think. When you’re choosing your new agency partner we recommend looking at two things; the ‘hard’ facts like track-record, process, results, and costs etc, and then the ‘softer stuff’ like culture, and communication style.
Let’s not beat around the bush. You want results. And the best way to see if a potential agency can deliver is to see how they’ve performed in the past.
What track record do you have managing digital marketing for other companies in my sector? What results did you get? Can I see your portfolio?
All agencies are set up differently, and it’s important to know who will be working on your account and who you will have direct contact with. If you’re having an initial meeting with the CEO, that doesn’t mean they’ll be your point of call if you start working together.
What is your agency structure and who will be working on my account? Who is my day-to-day contact and who is working behind-the-scenes? What experience do they have?
Just like agency structure, different agencies will also have lots of different ways of working. Do they have a set/rigid structure and protocol? Or do they tailor projects more specifically for each client?
What is your process from start to finish? How will we work together? How do we communicate – email? Project management software? Phone? Video call? In-person meetings?
Digital marketing can mean a million things; social media, paid social media advertising, google ads, blog writing, email automation, landing pages, video creation. If you have a clear understanding already of what you want, make sure they can deliver on all of it. If you’re unsure, delve into their marketing services and see what their recommendations are.
What marketing services do you offer? How do I know what ones are right for my business?
Your new partner is going to be charged with growing your business and spending (ideally) between 7% to 8% of your revenue on doing so. You’re going to want a great relationship built on trust and transparency. That’s why we reckon it’s pretty important that you like each other!
What is your agency like? What is your culture/community? How long has your team been working together? How long on average do you work with clients? (length of relationship is a great indicator of what an agency is like).
When it comes to choosing who to work with, budget is a big part of the decision-making process. But price shouldn’t be your deciding factor if you can avoid it. Of course, the cost is important and you’ll need to make sure that they’re competitively priced.
What is your pricing structure? And your payment terms? (You can also find out more about what you can expect to pay a digital marketing agency here)
How to work effectively with a digital marketing agency
Congratulations! You’ve chosen your new digital marketing agency! Now it’s time to get to work on building your brand and elevating your business. For the best results, this has to be a two-way relationship. The agency – and you – need to communicate and deliver every step of the way.
Set clear, realistic expectations
For this new partnership to succeed, you need to ensure that you’re both on the same page when it comes to expectations.
Work out together what success looks like (website traffic? Data capture? Direct online sales?) Discuss and set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and decide at what intervals you’ll be reviewing them.
Give them what they need
A digital agency can’t succeed if you don’t give them as much information as possible about who you are, what you do, your customers, and your products. They will also need feedback on performance.
Try and carve out a set time (maybe a fortnightly call) where you’re there to answer any questions your new agency might have.
Collate your feedback
One way that businesses can get stung by agencies is by being charged for additional rounds of refinement. It’s so easy to keep wanting to make changes to digital assets and content, but sometimes even small changes can all add up.
Gather all internal stakeholder’s feedback at once to help minimize rounds of refinement. Chat to your agency too about how they manage refinement and how many rounds are included.
Stick to deadlines
Agencies often work to strict timelines to make sure that they can deliver the results you need when they need them. If you don’t give feedback at the time expected this can have a big knock-on impact on whether a project can be delivered on time. Agencies also have lots of other clients, so if you’re unexpectedly missing a deadline they might not be able to get to your work straight away when you do finally give feedback.
Most agencies understand that missing deadlines is sometimes unavoidable. It’s all about communication though; if you can’t make a deadline let the agency know as soon as you can. That way Plan B can quickly be put into action.
Trust that they know their stuff
Sometimes your agency might push back on something that you want to do or offer advice that you’re not sure about. If they do, remember that it’s because they want to make sure that you’re spending your marketing budget on things that will get you the highest return on investment.
Ask them to explain why they want to do this/make these changes and see if they have some solid examples from previous clients that show results.
Your business can change rapidly; new product offering, targets that adapt each quarter, changes in business priorities. Your digital marketing should support this, which is why it’s important to check in regularly with your agency and adapt the output and results required.
Add an item to the regular agenda to discuss any business updates from your end that might inspire your agency or give them useful insights. Read the results and reports they provide you with and be sure to ask any questions.
Have realistic expectations
You’re most likely investing in digital marketing because you want to drive sales and/or increase brand awareness. Digital marketing is absolutely the right way to do this, but it doesn’t happen overnight, especially for organic tactics like social media and SEO. Paid advertising and email automation are easier to see a direct correlation but do still take a bit of time.
Speak to your agency about realistic timeframes for seeing an impact on your business. The KPI settings, regular reports, and check-ins which we’ve discussed above will all help keep this all on track.
Want to learn more about how a digital marketing agency can help? Schedule a free consultation now.