Whether you’re on the verge of partnering with a new digital marketing agency or you want to make sure you’re getting the most out of the agency you’re currently working with, it’s hard to know what to look for.
No matter what kind of company you work for, whether it’s a nonprofit, a tech company, or anything else, you’ll want to find an agency that generates the best return on your marketing dollars. Here’s what to look for.
First things first: the work has to be right. Content is king, and if you don’t find an agency that can create exactly what you need, you’ll never reach your full potential.
Who Are Some of Their Previous Clients?
Lots of agencies have some form of portfolio page, but even if they do, it’s a good idea to dig into the work they’ve done for other companies. As you know, no two companies are the same. The work you do, the audience you target, the budget you have at hand, and a dozen other factors will all influence the way you want your marketing plan to work.
Goals are worth thinking about, too. Is your main goal to bring in more leads? To convert the ones you’re getting? To increase your social presence? To boost revenues? It’s a good idea to see if your future agency has worked with a similar company before in pursuit of similar goals.
How Do They Measure Success?
Modern digital marketing involves a lot of data — sometimes an overwhelming amount of data. If you’ve been frustrated by reports that seem unhelpful or confusing, you’ll want an agency that can help you sort through all the noise and pull out the metrics and KPIs that matter most.
Are They a Swiss Army Knife?
An agency won’t be much good to you if they’re a one-trick pony. Versatility is key if they’re going to spread your messaging across multiple channels in an efficient, profitable way. Writing great blog posts that drive traffic to your website isn’t very useful to you if your website is outdated, and hiring a lot of contractors for everything you do isn’t plausible.
You need an agency that can handle everything your company might need:
- Web Design
- Web Development
- Website Hosting
- Digital & Inbound Marketing
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Social Media Strategy
- Public Relations
The next thing to think about is the people at the agency. Working with the right people is just as important as getting the work itself done right.
Who Will You Be Working With?
You’ll want to know who’s managing your account, who’s interacting with your company directly, and who’s actually executing the work. When it comes to copywriters and social media managers, you’ll need to communicate clearly what kind of tone and attitude they’re conveying.
Some agencies use in-house teams, some use freelancers on a project basis, and some outsource a lot of their work to contractors and offshore workers. You should know who’s handling your account before you sign it over.
Do You Have a Chemistry Fit?
You’re going to be interacting with the people at your agency a lot, so it makes sense to talk to pick people you get along with. And we don’t just mean a shared vision of the company’s goals — the way you handle conflict, disagreement, project supervision, and the approval process should be in sync too.
The tools you use to do the job are as important as the job itself. You’ll be sending a lot of files back and forth, constantly communicating, and managing projects with your agency. It’s definitely worth asking about software tools before you get started.
Which Marketing Software Do They Use?
There are seemingly as many software options as there are marketing agencies — HubSpot, Marketo, Eloqua, Pardot, Salesforce, and so on — so if you’re familiar with one option, it makes sense to look for another agency that uses it.
On the other hand, don’t get locked in. Ask your new agency to explain why they use the software they use, what the advantages are, and how it’ll help your marketing goals. Maybe it’s time for a change!
What Project Management Tools Do They Use?
Marketing projects involve a lot of back-and-forth. The agency comes up with ideas, then you approve them. The agency creates website mockups, and you offer feedback. The agency writes blogs and you make edits. When projects fall through the cracks, money gets wasted and timelines are thrown off.
In order to hit the ground running, you’ll want to know what project management will look like — who’s approving things, how often they need to check in, and how far in advance things get done.
Go With Your Gut
When you’re evaluating an agency, you can start to create a list based on criteria like industry experience, level of expertise, breadth of service, and pricing. From there, you can ask questions like these to narrow your search and find an agency that just feels right.