Finding a digital marketing agency for your business can be hard and you may very well feel anxious – and rightly so, you’re entrusting how other people perceive your business with another person and agency. One under thought post may very well ruin any report you may have with existing and or potential customers. We get it. We’ve worked with anxious clients. That is why we thought we’d write an article, giving you guidance on how to choose a digital marketing agency that is right for you and your business.
Know Your Business
The first thing that people tend to underestimate is that you have to know your own brand. It is important to note that business and brand are two VERY different things. Most small business owners know their business i.e. how much money they make, how many clients they have, but as the Ancient Chinese proverb goes, there is many a slip between the cup and the lip. Your brand is what people think or how they perceive your business. You may know your business but do you really know what people think of it? Agencies have been known to ask weird questions like ‘if your business had to be a celebrity, what celebrity would it be?’ or ‘what animal would you business be if it had to be an animal?’, yes they sound silly and even irrelevant but there’s an underlying message here.
You need to reflect on these questions as they hold the key to what people think about your business. It is important to also remember that there is a large difference between what you think people think about your business and what people actually think about your business. It is important to know your target audience and their perception of your business as this too holds the key as to whether that particular agency is right for your business. Agencies also need guidelines to work within. They cannot work effectively without your knowledge of your brand.
Goals and Needs
A car without an engine is a hunk of junk. Similarly, how do you expect an agency to deliver results if you yourself don’t know where you want to be? Before you find an agency, it’s important to be very clear about your goals, objectives and your marketing needs. It is also important to set specific goals as it is everyone’s goal to increase more revenue. Try setting goals such “I want X amount of sales”. You also have to consider the age and context of your business as younger, newer business such as startups would focus on brand awareness and set goals such as “I want X amount of followers”.
You also need to work out the kind of work that this agency will do for your business. Will they manage your social media accounts, design a logo, reinvent your brand, focus on SEO and SEM – be specific ladies and gents!
Local or National
As well as considering what this marketing angel will do, you must also decide how you’re going to get in touch with them. Are you going to choose an agency in the same office building? Are you going to choose one in another state? This all depends on how you like to communicate. Are you an email, phone type of guy or gal? Or do you prefer to meet in person? If there will be more people on your team that’ll be points of contact for this agency, I suggest sitting down with them, getting a gauge on how they would like to communicate with this agency.
Now you know exactly what you’re looking for and what you want to achieve, it’s time to set off! I’d start off with a Google search. Depending on what you’re looking for is what you’ll search up. For example, if you need some SEO work needed you’d search SEO agency Sydney. Marketing, like other disciplines, has a lot of sub branches so you’ve got to be specific as one wrong move could cost you. I’d also suggest you choose agencies that specialize in a few particular areas. Although it may be more expensive the quality is there and you do not want to risk your business and brand because you were a tight a- I mean choosy with the pricing.
Their Online Presence
Do you know when you’re on a plane and that annoying 5-minute what-feels-like-a-30-minute instruction video says, always put your emergency mask on first then help others? Well this case is similar. Before settling on a particular agency, have a stalk around their socials and the web. Be sure to pay particular interest on what you need. For example, if you need website creation and management, ask yourself is there website good? If you saw this (objectively, as a customer) would you be impressed? These questions may lead to alot of much needed revelations and can help you find the right agency. Have a look at bad reviews around the web and the employees that work with this agency.
Check to see a company’s credentials and portfolio. This gives you an idea on the type of style this agency leans towards and if it suits your business. It also gives you an indication of what they can do when given enough time, resources and trust. Don’t be embarrassed to visit their clients website or social media pages, as everyone puts their best foot forward in their portfolios.
Get In Touch
So you’ve compared all the potential firms and have come down with a few that you believe are great candidates. Send them an email expressing your interest with a link to your website. You may even find an account manager and ask them for a face to face or phone call. Pay particular attention to how long they respond to your initial email. With constant connection to the internet, if your prospective marketing agency doesn’t respond within two days, I would probably start looking somewhere else.
As some have been a little complacent you’ve further narrowed down who you’d like to work with. When you organise meeting with these handful of agencies, it is important to take note and ask yourselves these questions:
Who came to the meeting?
If senior managers or the CEO comes to the meeting, it may be an indication that they are extremely interested in working with you
Are they familiar with your business?
It is important to ask them specifics about your business. If they cannot answer or give you vague responses, this means that they aren’t fully committed to working with you, or worse; they’re lazy. A good marketing agency should know all about your business.
This is an underestimated, yet extremely important aspect of the meeting. If you come wearing jeans and a t- shirt and your marketing agency comes wearing a suit and tie, you may not be a good fit. Now, I’m not saying people who wear t-shirts and jeans to meetings don’t care or are slack, all I’m saying is that it reflects a laid back attitude that may not click with you. It is important that you are all on the same page.
How do they perceive themselves?
It is important to ask the agency who you’ll be dealing with to describe themselves in a few words. Do they lean towards being a creative agency or are they more performance oriented. This too will be an indicator if the agency is the right fit for your business and brand. Do not believe agencies that say they’re good at everything. It is important for your agency to recognise its weaknesses as without this recognition and acknowledgement, they will make mistakes in your marketing campaign and not intend on fixing it.
What are their suggestions?
Although you have your ideas about where you want your business or brand to achieve, ask the agency some ideas that they suggest for your website, socials etc. This too will give you and indication on how quickly they can think on their feet and their level of creativity/expertise.
Once narrowing your decision down to about 3 or 5, give them an assignment and get them to pitch their ideas and approach. Make sure that this assignment is similar to what they’d be doing. This allows you to get an understanding of how they work and the ideas they come up with. During the pitch ask yourself such as:
Are they creative?
Their pitch and the solution within the pitch should be creative.
Is their solution useful?
Again, we revisit the age old debate aesthetics vs practicality. If their presentation is gorgeous but their solution isn’t so great you need to ask yourself if they are the right agency to go with.
How did they present it?
You want an agency that presents with confidence and dedication. If your agency is presenting without passion it may be a sign on how much confidence they have in themselves, presenting in their work for your business.
How much time did they spend presenting?
If there is a deadline and there are agencies who do not meet the deadline, forget them. Pay attention to how long agencies spend presenting. Pay close attention to the content. Ask yourself questions like, are they dragging out? Are the missing key, important details?
Always remember to take notes after every pitch and ask the presenters questions.
The Final Decision
Along with the pitch, marketing companies should also include their fee structure. It is important to note that the cost of the marketing agency should not influence your decision (unless ridiculously high for said promised results). It is always important to go with whatever company sounds right for your business. Rather than making a decision right away, I suggest taking all your notes and other material given by the proposed marketing agency and discussing it all with your team as they may have seen something that you didn’t.
Ultimately there isn’t a right or wrong when choosing a marketing agency. It all comes down to your gut feeling and whether or not you feel comfortable entrusting your business with that agency. Worst comes to worst, feel free to head on over to our services page and check out the kind of work we do and what we have to offer 🙂