Have you been thinking about engaging the services of a digital marketing agency? Maybe you’ve been handling your online marketing in-house, but it’s starting to take too much of your time. Or, maybe you’re wondering about the results a focused group of professionals could attain. Perhaps you’re even currently working with an agency, and they’re not quite meeting your expectations. Regardless of the reasoning, it’s always good to know what questions to ask a digital marketing agency prior to seeking services.
No matter what situation your business is in, you can likely benefit from a digital marketing agency. It’s a high-tech field that changes at a rapid pace, and it’s extremely difficult to keep up with if it’s not your full-time job.
When you’re interviewing a new agency, try to focus on three main topics:
- What is their overall strategy?
- How will this strategy be applied to your business?
- Why is this agency the best one to provide this service?
In order to get the answers, here are the questions to ask a digital marketing agency.
Digital Marketing Strategy
What past experiences do you have that is similar to my company or industry?
First and foremost, find out if they’ve been successful with someone in the same boat. That doesn’t necessarily mean a direct competitor, but maybe a business of a similar size in an industry on par with your own.
Leave this one a little broad because you might be pleasantly surprised at the answers they have. It might teach you to start branding your company in a completely different way.
How similar do you expect your previous answer would be to my situation?
You left the question wide open on purpose, but make sure they don’t fill your ears with strange buzzwords and questionable comparisons. If you’re a large law firm and they really helped out a small restaurant, make sure to get concrete ways that experience would translate.
What is your general, overall strategy for companies similar to mine?
Digital marketing is constantly changing. It’s often literally different one day to the next. Because of that, you need to make sure an agency does two things:
- Has a concrete plan
- Regularly revisits that plan
You’ll want to find out if they use paid search, post content on your site, build a strong social media presence, refine your page for SEO purposes, and many other strategies. But, don’t forget to find out how and when they’re going to update that plan.
What areas do you focus on?
Just because an agency “does everything” doesn’t mean they actually focus on everything. Maybe they’re very involved in social media and paid search, but they’re not incredibly strong in design. Or maybe they’re great at building websites, but they don’t manage your online presence after the fact.
Many agencies have partners they work with that cover their weak points. Ask about this because you might be able to get a package deal.
What areas do you NOT focus on?
Some agencies are hyper-focused and will tell you that from the start, and others have their hands in a lot of cookie jars. But, if you’re not satisfied with the answer to the previous question, then follow up with this one. Be wary of a marketing agency that doesn’t highlight what they are and aren’t good at. They’re going to be helping you differentiate your brand, so it’s not a good start if they can’t even do it for their own.
What awards have you won, and how is that relevant to my business?
Marketing agencies tend to be very proud of any awards they have won. They should be, since this is a mark of doing better than all the competition, but also make sure they can tell you why they’re getting it right in an area that will benefit your bottom line.
Application of Digital and Brand Strategy
A strategy is an important process of all digital marketing services. Before embarking on marketing tactics, you must first gain clarity on the best method of approaching said markets. Competent and well-versed digital agencies will be able to provide clarity on processes and what you can expect. Here are additional questions to ask a digital marketing agency to further illustrate who is equipped to handle ongoing marketing.
How do you measure success?
Digital marketing is loaded with metrics. That can be both good and bad, depending on how you use them – the right metrics can make an empty glass look half full. Find out what the marketing agency will be measuring, and then have them explain to you why those are going to benefit your specific goals.
How long do you anticipate before we will see results?
This is a very tricky subject in the world of digital marketing. Viral success can unpredictably happen in hours, but this is also like being struck by lightning. Most areas, such as SEO, require patience. The best way to handle this is by interviewing a few agencies and asking them all this same question. Make sure your agency of choice has a reasonable time frame compared to others, and be more skeptical of a short timeline than a long one. Wishful thinking never acquired more customers.
How often will we be getting reports?
Since you might not start seeing immediate changes from day one, you should be getting regular updates about what’s going on. Trends happen slowly, so there should never be any surprises.
What will be the communication and workflow between your agency and our company?
You’ll typically have one or two contacts within the agency, and they’ll be the voice for everyone else. However, it can also be beneficial to have meetings where you’ll interact directly with the different experts in the agency. This can be walking a tightrope between getting a lot of transparency to what the agency is doing, vs. spending a lot of unnecessary time in meetings.
Just find out the workflow and time commitments, and make sure it’s reasonable with your schedule.
What changes will you make to my website and other platforms?
Your digital presence is a major part of your brand in our modern times. For this reason, make sure you know exactly what’s going to happen to your properties. Website changes aren’t always as easy as hitting an undo button, so you’ll want to be in the loop as early as possible.
Agency Specific Questions
What is your team like?
Marketing agencies range in size from one-person teams complemented by talented freelancers to global organizations with offices in tons of cities. Size is far less important than the quality of the service being provided, but you should at least find out who will be contributing to your digital marketing.
How do you handle situations when expected results aren’t happening?
Let’s face it, sometimes things don’t go as planned. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it buy your product. Any good marketing agency knows how and when to adapt. And, while we’re using classic sayings, “we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it” isn’t a good answer to this question. Sooner or later, the strategy will need to be updated, and you don’t want to be the one to identify it – that means it’s time for a new agency.
Why should we work with your agency over the others out there?
We’ll finish off with an abstract question with no right or wrong answer. You’re about to hire an agency who, at a very basic level, will be helping customers come to the same conclusions about you and your competitors. Trust your instincts on this one.
Follow Up with Details
This is far from an exhaustive list of questions to ask a digital marketing agency. Each answer is likely to generate about a dozen more to ask, so take your time (and take a lot of notes).
Also, don’t be fooled by buzzwords or intimidated by jargon. Marketing is a concept that should always be able to be explained in simple language, so avoid any agency that doesn’t want to do that for you.
Full-Service Digital Marketing Agency
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For brands, we initiate tried and true methods that drive results for business growth. Contact us today for more information.