February 13, 2020 - Brittany Garlin

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7 Things To Consider Before You Hire a Digital Marketing Agency

Is your business looking to hire a digital marketing agency? Social media is continually evolving and it can be difficult to manage your online presence while running a business full-time. However, with the rise of marketing agencies it can be challenging to know which one to choose! To help streamline the decision making process, we have provided insights into 7 key considerations before you hire a digital marketing agency.

Understand Your Business Goals

Know what you want to accomplish! This will be key for the strategy behind your account, social media posts, and campaign structures. If the desired results or expectations are not set – it could result in a misuse of time and resources for both parties. 

The agency you hire should send a performance report at least weekly, monthly, or quarterly. Depending on the agency and your pricing package – this should include high level statistics on your organization’s digital growth. Make sure you understand each KPI and are focusing on the metrics that will drive growth in the areas important to your business (ie. top funnel, middle funnel, bottom funnel). 

Another thing to consider when reviewing your performance report is that the agency will handle promoting your business online through various mediums – but it will depend on your internal on-boarding strategy as to converting leads and traffic. Ensure that your business has an on-boarding strategy in place before you hire a digital marketing agency.

Do Your Research

Do they market themselves well? If you’re looking at an agency to manage your social media or redo your website and theirs isn’t done well – look elsewhere. You can also visit their Agency Vista profile to see the latest activity from their social media in one place. There has been a lot of marketing agencies pop up in the last few years, you want to ensure you are working with a professional and credible company. 

Online reviews are a valuable resource that provides insights into client-agency relationships. Not having reviews is a red flag – it’s also important to check references. Agency Vista allows businesses the option to review their experience with a marketing agency. There are also numerous awards available for digital marketing agencies. Having won awards is a sign of quality work. If you are looking at running PPC or online ads – you will want to work with an agency that is a verified marketing partner with Facebook or Google. Another way to verify an agency’s credibility is if they have the Agency Vista verified badge on their site. 

Find Out Their Expertise 

Most agencies started out by becoming an expertise in a particular area of digital marketing through providing value to a specific need. If you have found an agency you are interested in working with – make sure to fact check this area of expertise. Visit their Agency Vista profile to review their performance and get high level insight into the current clients they are working with. 

It’s worthwhile to learn about an agency’s history, as well. What did the founder do before starting the company? You can learn a lot by reading information online – not having relevant press is a red flag.

Assess Their Previous Clients 

Nobody wants to be the first business an agency works with – you also don’t want to work with an agency that has a potential competitor as a current client. Taking the time to know their current clients will be important for your business, having a unique strategy for your company is key for driving your desired results. If the agency is working with a competing company – you might end up with the same strategy out of convenience. 

If you are running a paid campaign on Facebook, you can utilize their ad library and research the campaigns your competitors are running. This will allow you to see what placements, locations, creative, ad copy, and landing pages they are using. Unfortunately you will not be able to have access to targeting, campaign structure, budgets, or bids. Although you do not want to have an agency that works with a competitor – you will want to work with an agency that has familiarity and prior success within your industry. 

Set Realistic Expectations

Before deciding what agency to work with – set expectations for your involvement and availability. Depending on the reason you are partnering with an agency, it will help establish a guideline for how your account will be managed. If you’re looking for limited involvement, you may get frustrated with constant emails for approval or performance updates. 

If you are looking to keep costs down and have the internal resources to do so, then you will want to work directly with the campaign managers and strategist. Businesses with limited bandwidth require more attention and support. It’s best to discuss needs openly so that agencies can determine the level of account management required. 

Establish Your Commitment

A reputable digital marketing agency will provide you with a contract and scope of work to get the program started. In these proposals, they should include some legal terms that outline the length of the contract, cancellation process, and indemnification from future lawsuits. However, most agencies offer an “out clause” – generally a 30 or 90 days notice before terminating the contract. Agencies that do not offer a cancellation process or out clause generally aren’t as committed to the account. Be sure to read these terms, as they are legally binding once you sign. Send the contract to a lawyer to review for added reassurance – especially if you feel overwhelmed by all the legalese. 

Finalize The Cost

Agencies will charge a fee not only based on the services provided but also on the roles and resources that will be utilized. If your account will need multiple people involved in managing it – including executive level employees – then you will be charged a higher fee. Larger agencies generally have a minimum monthly budget that they require to even take your account on. However, smaller agencies generally charge by hour or flat fee for smaller engagements. Hours are estimated based on the scope of work and time consumption that will be involved. If you decide to move forward with a flat fee – then the agency is required to deliver the full scope of work – regardless of the time spent on the project. 

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