Looking for a Digital Marketing Agency to deftly position your brand and to acquaint you with your online audience. An agency that will secure your position in the digital space while aligning with your KPIs? These days the possibilities are endless. Without looking too hard, you’ll find a plethora of agencies pitching for your business. Each assures you of a better result than the next. A shinier prospect. But this association is not one that you want to venture into blindly. Here we will show you what to look for in a Digital Marketing Agency before you take the leap.
2020 in hindsight
The way we do business has changed. Even how we conduct our banking results in a conversation with one’s browser and not a banking clerk. With this shift, logistics has blossomed, and payments are undertaken with a click. This trajectory has certainly been in place for some time. Still, the event of a planet-changing, people-isolating illness and the crunch of current circumstances have left businesses jostling for some form of an online presence. Many so-called Digital Marketing Agencies have sprouted (overnight) from what appears to be nowhere.
If yours is a business that previously only relied on brick-and-mortar sales, the necessary change in mindset may have been dramatic. Perhaps even traumatic. To keep ahead of the rat race in an ever-altering, fast-paced economic environment, you need a digital footprint, and you need it now. Enter the services of an acute and savvy digital marketing agency. One who will ensure that your digital transformation is as seamless and fluid as it can be. But what should you be looking for in this agency?
A good digital agency should have at least 3 years of proven in-field experience. The SERP (Search Engine Results Page) is dominated by new blood or even flash-in-the-pan startups. But if you own a business that prizes longevity, choose an agency with a sound legacy and strong leadership. How do you measure this? Read on…
A Solid Portfolio
Have more than a cursory look at the work that an agency has undertaken before. Investigate client diversity. Seek mention of blue-chip clients. Case studies and examples of previous work are good ways to quantify the quality of the agency.
A Bouquet of Skills on a Multitude of Channels (AKA Avoid One Man bands)
These days it is far easier to check the credentials of an agency than it was before. Google demands a high level of insight from campaign managers. And likewise, it’s not easy to acquire the Facebook Blueprint badge. It is necessary to refresh both of these disciplines yearly. As a result of the myriad of platforms out there, digital marketers must have a good grasp on their criteria and cultural aspects to allow for ready dissemination.
Keep an eye out for the “Analytics Expert” aficionados, many of whom don’t know their data from their elbows. The one-person multi-tasking agent is a definite no-no. Specialization is crucial digitally. Furthermore, many digital agencies have high staff turnovers. As a client, you don’t want to deal with a new Campaign Manager every month. Again, strong leadership is a must and attracts talent that sticks around. Relationships are important in this business and indispensable to your company.
The Ability to Design, Develop and Deliver
Whether you’re after PPC search services or want to merely rely upon strong SEO, the Digital Marketing Agency you select should be well-versed in both forms of online representation. You should be able to rely on an agency to keep abreast of the ever-evolving digital landscape. This requires strategy and careful planning. eCommerce sites are packaged differently from service sites and thus require customized solutions. A great agency will cement your values and business goals into a feasible product. From ground zero, both you, the client and your agent need to be on the same page. Your agency will be giving an almost palpable form to your business ideals in the design and development phases. Even at this stage, brand development and lead-generation planning will be taking root. Be mindful that your agency’s ability to design, develop and deliver the website you have envisaged will be an ongoing process.
Agencies do not work in isolation, and we value collaboration. A site should remain dynamic to accommodate market changes and trends. If you’re after leads and revenue generated from PPC (Google Search), Landing pages are under constant construction to improve quality scores and mitigate costs. Likewise, content needs to be refreshed. Developing a wholesome and value-adding relationship with your agency is vital to connect closely with your users (potential customers). That is precisely why we refer to partnerships.
An Agency that Does Not Over-Promise
An agency that launches an ad with we’ll maximize your ROI is questionable primarily because return and investment are variables. The best possible way to explain this without using agency lingo is: “We will optimize your revenue based on what you are willing to spend on your marketing” and then to add “as best we can”. No one foresaw the banning of alcohol in South Africa for a hefty part of the year. Any agency who promised a great ROI to an online bottle store walked away with egg on their faces. Life happens. Perhaps this isn’t a fair example, but a more transparent promise would be, “We’ll build your brand and increase your online presence.”
Avoid Agencies that attempt to tie you into a lengthy and unwieldy contract term; they’re not worth their weight in bytes. A Digital Marketing Agency determines that valuable partnership with their client by being performance-driven, by delivering the product required of them. Therefore, contracts are not needed or even desirable for client retention. The exception to this rule is evident in clients taking services in-house or when an agency works as part of a greater creative team, but then clear boundaries should be established from the onset of a project. Here a MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) outlines expectations and milestones, deliverables, and deadlines.
In a Nutshell
In closing, this may seem like a lot to absorb. But bear in mind that the agency you choose should mirror and meet your vision. It takes a fair amount of skill to transform a company digitally. You will entrust your assets, projections, and the revenue derived from marketing efforts to another entity. Your collaboration with an experienced Digital Marketing agency is instrumental in producing profit and healthy exposure. By inference, this agent will be acting, marketing, and generating solid leads on your behalf. If you’re looking for an ideal agent to represent your business, the onus does lie with you to find that talented, reliable crew who will cross the t’s and dot the I’s. If you don’t undertake the research, it will cost and frustrate you, and you could land up with an over-promising, non-starter.
As American artist and cartoonist Scott Adams wrote: “Informed decision-making comes from a long tradition of guessing and then blaming others for inadequate results.” And we couldn’t have put it better!