How to choose the right digital agency

Your business is ready to move forward and you realise that you really need to up your game in terms of digital marketing to get it to that next stage. But once you’ve come to this realisation you then need to make the decision as to whether to take on this project yourself, or hire a digital marketing agency to manage the process for you.

Let’s face it: how hard can it be?

This is probably one of the most common phrases uttered by businesses before any decision backfires and leads to an epic fail. If you are going down the digital marketing route, it is essential to get things right so that your time, effort and resources do have the desired result of driving traffic to your site and converting this traffic into sales.

Hiring a digital marketing agency could be the best thing you ever do for your business. If all goes well, you will be hiring a team of professionals who have the time, expertise and the right repertoire of tools to put your agreed strategy into action and deliver much better results in much less time than if you were trying to do it on your own.

But with all the digital agencies out there to choose from, how do you pick the right one for you? How do you know if they will make a good job? If you make the wrong choice, will it end up being a waste of time and money?

Here are our 5 tips on criteria to help you choose the right digital agency:

Expertise

First look for evidence of expertise in digital marketing itself. Your agency should have proven knowledge and experience of a wide range of digital marketing topics, including SEO, content marketing, social media, branding, and paid media. Also be aware of the ever-growing impact of the mobile market. Mobile web searches have now overtaken traditional computer searches, so rich media for mobile – such as videos and banners – can help to impact and engage your audience. Also look for a solid understanding of technology and the ability and willingness to keep up to date with new developments and incorporate those into the ongoing digital marketing strategy.

Ask for details of some of their current campaigns and how these are resourced: the best campaigns tend to use a multi-functional team of specialists which offers better value for money and time.

Understanding of your business sector

For peace of mind, look for an agency that also has solid experience in your business sector and has improved results for a business such as yours. For example, if you are in the financial sector then make sure you find an agency with experience of digital marketing for finance businesses as the needs are very specific even though many general digital marketing principles will still apply. But any service sector business needs the reassurance of a digital agency that has proven track record of lead generation and conversions in your sector; an agency that can help you reduce your CPA and maximise ROI whilst simultaneously winning more business. Don’t be afraid to ask for references and talk to existing clients personally to see if they would they recommend the company to you.

Offers a personalised service

Beware of an agency that tries to shape your specific needs into a “one size fits all” package. The future of digital marketing is agile and flexible working so agencies should show evidence of greater flexibility in their contracts with clients. As part of this, you need to be clear about what you want out of your digital marketing campaign and what your specific targets are, whether it is increased traffic or higher search engine results or a more extensive social media presence. It is important that the digital marketing agency is able to provide you with a personalised combination of your chosen options, rather than imposing a full package on you.

Empathy

As well as being confident about their expertise and business understanding, find someone that you like and feel able to talk to. Find someone who talks about strategies that you can understand rather than baffle you with jargon; someone who will willingly give you straight answers to your questions, no matter how basic those questions might appear to be.

A Reasonable Budget

Last but by no means least: the cost! Do NOT choose an agency just because it is the cheapest. In fact, when interviewed on the subject of digital agencies, Robert Craven of Google stated that most should put up their prices because this would mean that they can create better quality work and truly value what their clients are doing. So be prepared to pay higher if you want better quality work.

Yes you will have a budget to meet, but remember that with an agency you will usually be getting a team of professionals working on your requirements. Whilst any good digital marketing agency will produce a budget tailored to the specific requirements of your business, don’t be tempted to cut corners and reduce their effectiveness.

So if you are about to introduce of boost your digital marketing strategy and are looking for an agency to help you do this then choose well. Use the above criteria to find the right fit for you and your business, and it will be one of the best business decisions you ever make.