An ultimate guide to selecting the right digital marketing agency for your business:
There are no doubts to the fact that the world is shifting from analog model to digital model rapidly. Everyday people are consuming more and more content whether on their laptops, phones, desktops, tablets and other devices. People are constantlyonline in search of more and more information. So, in case your company have not still recognized its importance, then you need to catch up soon.
But have you ever wondered why digital marketing is gaining so much importance? It is because it is not only the present trend of marketing but it defines the future of marketing as well. Firstly, the digital marketing is affordable as well as faster than traditional means. You can transmit a marketing message to thousands of your consumers by just clicking the mouse in just fraction of seconds.
Also, the results of digital marketing can be easily measured and tracked. The results of your marketing plan can be measured in real-time that gives you a chance to effectively plan your next move.
But how to keep up with ever-changing digital marketing landscape?
With the introduction of platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google+ and other similar platforms, there has been a huge change in the consumer behavior and the interact with and amongst consumers.
Every other day a new technology is evolving and are continuing to evolve at a rapid rate. So, have you ever wondered how to match with this evolving digital marketing trends, engage more and more consumers and find new leads in this digital era?
The consumers are responsible for defining the brand through digital platforms. The communication with the consumers in the past was one way but they are no longer a one-sided conversation. Today, marketers need to interact with the consumer and consumers interact with the marketers. So, marketers are no longer the brand ambassadors of the business rather the consumers are.
Consequently, it has become essential for the businesses to hire a specialized marketer aka the digital marketing agency to enhance the consumer’s brand awareness, find leads, and target more conversions.
What is a digital marketing agency?
Digital marketing efforts refer to the data-driven and targeted brand promotion by using technology. It is highly organized and highly targeted marketing efforts whose results can be measured in real time. There is continuous testing of strategies to ensure whether they are working or not and adjust them immediately depending upon the results.
This is how a digital marketing agency helps your business. It is different from the traditional marketing agency which specifically focuses on result-based marketing in the digital world wherein the returns on investment (ROI) and marketing results are continuously measured. The strategist, consultants, creatives, developers and other experts work together at a digital marketing agency to ensure the delivery of desired results. So, in simple words, we can say a digital marketing agency is lead generating and brand development tool for a business.
Choosing a right digital marketing agency for your business:
Here are the steps that will help you choose the best digital marketing agency for your business:
Step 1: Define your needs and expectations
Before even start to look out for agencies, you firstly need to chalk out the business objectives that you want to achieve with the digital marketing. You then can decide on the marketingactivities that you want to take on like website design, blog posts, socialmedia marketing, search engine marketing, analytics, online advertising, etc.
Along with the activities, you are targeting with the digital marketing efforts, define the objectives like brand awareness, traffic, leads, sales, etc. that you want to achieve. Also, then you can decide on the type of digital marketing agency you want to go for. It can provide general services or specialized services or be the industry niche industry with global reach or the local reach depending upon your requirements.
Step 2: Choose an agency that understands your requirements:
While making a selection for the right fit for your business, firstly you can Google and shortlist few of the digital marketing agencies that interests you. Then you can evaluate each one of the based on:
- The effectiveness of their website: this shall give you an idea about the idea and practices followed by the agency by going through their own blogs, website, and social media. If their own website is well designed, well-kept and well informed then they are well-versed with the digital marketing principles and would be a great fit for your business. Evaluating their social media presence helps on knowing what practices they have been following there. Also, checking on to their core competencies, portfolio, case studies, content, tools, certifications, awards, and client testimonials provide you with a better insight about them;
- Agency’s specialization niche: if the agency is already having some clients from your industry then it is an added advantage. This helps in understanding your business in a better way. Having clients from same industry will greatly reduce research efforts on their part and make the transition from research to implementation phase quicker and smoother.
- Take suggestions from your peers: there are tons of digital marketing agencies out there and evaluating each one of them to find your right fit can be a tough job. So, if you have a peer whom you can trust and is already using some agency services then you can check with him to find a right fit for you;
- Ask for recommendations: you can use the social media platform like LinkedIn or Facebook group to ask for recommendations from other fellow group members and they will be happy to help you;
- Call for expression of interest (RFPs): you can put an advertisement or spread a word that you are looking out for a digital marketing agency with your requirements. This will help you save some time on research and shortlisting process.
Step 3: Research
Once you have shortlisted few agencies, it is further time to more research about them to get more information. Here you can evaluate them based on the following things:
- Google partner status: you need to make sure that the agency that you are targeting have an accreditation from the Google as well as from the other search engine like Yahoo, Bing, etc. The agency backed and verified by the Google is the great tool for choosing your best fit;
- Look out for reviews: there are many website and reviews groups that can give you an insight about a business and reviews about them. So, try Google to find reviews about the agencies or you can try on various social media platforms as well. You can also check out the ratings of the agency at Better Business Bureau (BBB). It is a platform specifically meant for this purpose;
- Talk to their existing clients: try to get in touch with some of the existing as well as past clients of them and know about their experience with the agency;
- Evaluate their case studies: this helps in understanding what the agency can do. Most of the agency post case study with a real-life example on your website explaining how they helped their client;
- Get in touch with the employees: employees are the best critique about a business. So, try getting in touch with an employee to know about the work culture of the business;
Step 4: Send a request for proposal
After you have identified few of the potential agencies, send them a RFP. In this way, you can let them know your objectives and requirements as well as the pricing model you are looking at. Be clear and realistic while explaining about your business. The more and clearer details you pass on to the agency about your business, they will come up with the more better ideas to help you.
Step 5: Send them an assignment
Along with the RFP, send a brief assignment to the agency and ask them to come up with a solution or strategy for the same. This help you leans about the skills and creativity and how it will benefit your business.
You can ask for a free marketing audit reports that shall help you learn about the improvements that you can make in yourstrategy that will help you in meeting your online marketing goals.
Step 6: Evaluating the assignment
Allow the agency to meet you in person or teleconference to explain about their proposal instead of having it over the email. The criteria for evaluating proposals should be uniformly applied to all agencies. This is time you come in direct conversation with the agency where you can look out for unrealistic explanations and choosing a digital marketing agency that understands your requirements clearly and helps you achieve your goals in realistic time.
Step 7: Meeting the team
Now, is the time for you to go and meet the teams of just a handful of agencies you shortlisted. This helps in knowing how the agency works in the true sense in both the creative and business sense. Do not just restrict yourself to meet the sales person rather go and meet the team as well and try striking an informal conversation with the team. It shall help you understanding the team and give you an insight intotheir work culture, experience, dedication, ethics, and much more about the team.
This shall also provide you an insight into their capabilities, certifications, the level of expertise they have, technologies they use, how strong are their analytics and how they are keeping up their trends.
Furthermore, you get to understand their process how they are going to help in the accomplishment of your goals. Every agency has a certain process to gather requirements, delegate work, to execute a task, that constitutes their project management system.
But, the most important factor to be considered before getting into a deal with any marketing agency is “accountability”. The agency should have a necessary process and infrastructure in place to evaluate the results of your marketing investments. The results are available in real-time with the digital marketing, which makes it important that you examine the results measuring the capacity of the agency so that necessary action steps can be taken on time in case you are not seeing the expected results.
Step 8: Understand their pricing model
There is no doubt that you are trying to find an agency that provides excellent result in your budgeted marketing investment. Every agency has a different pricing model depending upon each client’s requirements, the different pricing models generally used are a percentage of spend, a bill by the hour rate, flat fee, capped at percentage of the spend, a percentage of revenue, and hybrid model. But, pricing should never be the important aspect while signing a contract with an agency. Rather more importance should be given to the performance. You need to understand that in comparison to aaverage agency that may charge you lesser, a good agency will help you more profits with a huge increase in sales by building more better and influential campaigns. Hence, a difference of just a few bucks in your monthly digital marketing agency’s bill will be completely substituted by the increasing sale and gain profits.
Generally, the marketing agency prefers to enter into a 3 to 6 months’ contract with every new client but it is advisable that you should not enter into a too long commitment with any agency. This gives you an opportunity to test the services provided by them. So, if you are satisfied with their work, you can continue working with them or otherwise switch to a new one.
Step 9: Signing a service agreement
Before working with the agency on ay project, make sure to sign a service agreement with the agency to make sure the confidentiality of information and other non-compete clauses are agreed upon. They are important documents that protect the rights of the agency as well as the client but make sure not to enter into a restrictive contract. Also, mention all the deliverables that are expected by the agency and the related terms and conditions so that everything is on record.
The right digital marketing agency will help you generate huge revenues for your business, give a peace of mind to you by handling all your marketing efforts, and save you from the efforts of setting up an in-house marketing team. This helps you in focusing on your strengths and perfections where you are already good instead of worrying about the weaknesses. Also, remember each and every business have different requirements so, choose an agency by following above-mentioned that can fulfill your needs.