Four Things to Remember When Choosing a Digital Marketing Agency

digital marketing agencyOk. You’ve decided the time is now to really beef up your online presence. You want to start researching digital marketing agencies. But where do you start? And how do you determine whether a particular digital marketing agency is the right fit for you?

As a business owner, managing new business inquiries is one of my daily priorities. Often, emails like this land in my inbox:

I’ve just relaunched my {business} and am looking for someone to help with PR, digital marketing strategy, SEO, and advertising. My new website is here: www.website.com. Is this an area where you might offer services? I hope to hear from you. Sincerely, John Smith”

Of course, everything we do is laid out on our website. But it’s normal for potential clients to want to dig a bit deeper via email or phone. To speak to—and get to know—an actual human. This initial touchpoint is an important ‘testing’ phase of a relationship for both sides. It really is the first opportunity to see if a professional fit exists.

How Digging Deeper Helps You Land Your Perfect Digital Marketing Agency

These initial touch-points often bring challenges. As you can see in the above example, important elements like clearly articulated goals and business objectives are missing. A client might also reach out with too much information. They might assume they must adopt EVERYTHING a digital marketing agency can deliver to achieve business success. Or, conversely, they might hope they can cheap-out a bit, and only use social media or a bit of paid advertising.

By developing that aforementioned relationship and digging a little deeper, we usually discover the perfect happy middle ground. Only then can we present a strategy built on what they actually need to meet or exceed business objectives and enhance their marketing efforts.

What A Potential Digital Marketing Agency Should be Asking You

My first question to potential clients is always “Tell me about your goals and objectives.” And my goal and objective is to make them think!

While goals can be lofty and aspirational, your objectives are a different story. Trust me, you don’t want wishy washy objectives. Instead, they should be S.M.A.R.T: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time specific.
For example, if you want to increase the number of daily active users on your website, I want to know why. Is it to position you as a thought leader? Do you want to sell more widgets, or is it to generate advertising revenue?

Narrowing down what you really want to accomplish is extremely important. Only then can your digital marketing agency articulate S.M.A.R.T objectives, and then implement effective tactics to help you achieve them.

You Can’t Have Effective Tactics Without A Serious Strategy

If the agencies you’re talking too don’t talk strategy first, walk away. Tactics are sexy, but tactics alone won’t drive results. Again, this is a marathon not a sprint.

At Spodek & Co., we put strategy first and sometimes that’s hard for clients to wrap their heads around. Clients want quick wins. We’re happy to help with quick wins, but what we really want to do is set businesses up for long term growth. And to do this, we will ask the hard questions. We’ll also need to dig into your current digital work and access your analytics (where possible).

This might require you to reveal the good, bad, and ugly of your business, but that’s the beauty of a true partnership. Transparency and trust are key building blocks of any relationship. And being open and honest about your business is the only way to craft your unique plan, and measure your results. So, if you’re thinking about sourcing a digital marketing agency, here are four important things they should bring to the table:

Four Things Digital Marketing Agencies Should Bring to the Table

Strategy: Strategy has a price, but it is vitally important to the success of any campaign. A solid strategy is not simply a bunch of tactics on paper. A true strategy will uncover opportunities for sustained growth. It will also focus your digital output toward areas best suited to your audience and your goals. And yes, you’ll spend more upfront for a strategy. But in the long run, you’ll achieve greater ROI because you’ve focused the tactics in the right places.

Experience matters: How long has the agency been in business? How experienced are the people who will work on your campaign? Is there a healthy mix of junior, intermediate and senior employees? There are benefits to having a mix of both in terms of years of service and subject matter expertise. At Spodek & Co., most of us have at least 15 to 20+ years of experience. And two team members are also part-time post-secondary instructors—me included! We also have a couple of millennials on the team, and an intern who brings us fresh perspective.

Flexibility is a must: Make sure prospective agencies agree to monitor results and quickly course correct if something isn’t working. This is why measurement is so important. Imagine spending thousands of dollars on a Facebook ad, but not measuring its performance? Daily or weekly checkpoints and adjustments will maximize your dollars.

Value: This is where I have to throw in a shameless plug for the virtual agency model. We deliver all of the above in a completely virtual environment. This way, we save on the overhead costs of a bricks and mortar agency. It also allows us to provide you with top talent at a fraction of the cost of larger agencies. Those savings for us = value for our clients.

I hope these points help you the next time you’re searching for a digital marketing agency. And if you have other important pieces of this puzzle to add, please share below.

Line drawn peony from Spodek & Co Digital marketing site