How to Evaluate a Digital Marketing Agency
If you’re looking to hire a digital marketing agency to manage the various advertising and promotional initiatives of your business, it is absolutely critical that you do your homework before making any final decisions. Developing a solid set of criteria by which to evaluate a digital marketing agency will be the key to determining whether or not they will be a good fit for your company. Below are seven tips to help you know what to look for when evaluating and selecting a digital marketing agency.
- Clarify your company’s goals. What are the main objectives you are looking to achieve by hiring an agency? Although this is an internal activity, it will have a huge impact on which choice you ultimately make. If your in-house marketing efforts seem to be falling short of your ROI objectives, seeking the help of a qualified digital agency can help eliminate any “blind spots” and provide you with additional insight on how to optimize your online marketing efforts.
- Ask the agency what their definition of “success” would be in terms of digital marketing. If they respond with anything along the lines of getting thousands of likes or followers, do yourself a favor and run in the other direction. A solid digital marketing agency will place emphasis on implementing a comprehensive strategy versus simply chasing a handful of superficial social metrics.
- Evaluate their fee structure. Typically, most digital agencies will receive compensation in the form of some percentage of your ad spend or media buys (e.g., pay-per-click advertising, banner or display ads, etc.). A common fee percentage range is between 10-20 percent of total spend. This fee-based structure is one of the most feasible methods of compensation for advertisers and marketers, as it allows them to make more accurate predictions of what their recurring expenses will be.
- Personally interview your most feasible prospects. Contact them by phone, get a feel for them and ask them to send you a Request for Information (RFI) or Request for Proposal (RFP). You may want to contact some of your associates and peers in the marketing space and ask them which agencies they’re working with as well – many times the most qualified agencies will come by way of referrals. When talking with potential agencies, discuss your business goals with them to determine whether or not the relationship will be a good fit.
- Ask them for some case studies or recent work they’ve done for other clients that have business goals similar to yours. If they are unable to produce a project that provides a solid demonstration of their digital strategy, you may need to keep looking. Seasoned agencies should have no problem fulfilling this request.
- Check out their corporate blog. Is it up to date? Do they provide useful industry-specific insights and information, or are they just cranking out “token posts” to keep the blog fresh? Have they positioned themselves as innovators or thought leaders in their industry? Do they produce other useful content such as webinars, white papers or ebooks? The diligence and proficiency with which they market their own content will be a good indication of how they will market yours.
- Check out their social networking profiles. Any good digital marketing agency worth its salt will have at least a few of their team members maintaining some type of active presence on the prominent social media websites (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, etc.). Does it seem like they have influence in their industry? Are they trend setters, or do they seem to be trend followers instead? Again, you really can’t expect them to do more for you than they’re currently doing for themselves.
When it comes to selecting a potential digital marketing agency, the importance of performing thorough research simply cannot be overstated. Make sure that you do your due diligence – you owe it to your brand to be thorough in your evaluations.