Top 3 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Digital Marketing Agency.
You built a better mousetrap, but you didn’t know how to get the word out about it. So your mousetrap is just sitting on your inventory shelf. Good news for all the mice out there, but not so good for your bottom line.
And when you tried implementing your own digital marketing strategy, you ran into three big issues:
1) you didn’t know what to do,
2) you didn’t know how to do it and
3) you didn’t know when to do it.
Does this scenario sound familiar? If so, then maybe it’s time you considered hiring a digital marketing agency to help get your mousetraps off the shelf. But to get the best results for your marketing dollar, you need to evaluate the agencies you are considering to make sure they will deliver the results you need.
The marketing agency you choose should be willing and able to help you with all phases of your digital marketing campaign—from choosing the tools for best results and implementing a monitoring schedule to measuring the results when the campaign is completed.
Here are three questions to ask during your agency interview process.
1: How will you help me reach my goals?
The marketing agency you hire will be a partner in your success. And for the partnership to work, you need good communication and a clear understanding of what each member brings to the table.
For example, if the agency recommends putting all your advertising dollars in a specific social media bucket, the company should be able to show you statistics that this is where your target market goes to get product or service information before making a decision. Otherwise, the results will not produce the ROI you desired.
Points to consider include:
- Is the agency familiar with your product or service, and more broadly, your industry and the sectors you’re targeting?
- Can the agency help you define your goals, identify your target market and develop your message? [i] [ii](And “More sales,” “Everybody” and “Buy my mousetrap!” aren’t adequate answers!)
- Will the agency collaborate with you on the creating the marketing plan and recommend the best marketing tools and strategies for reaching your target market? Note: the recommendations should be backed up with data and align with the company’s capabilities and expertise. An agency that only specializes in PPC (pay-per-click) services may push that option, even if it doesn’t match up with your target’s preferred decision-making strategy.[iii]
2: How often will we review the progress of the campaign or strategy?
Depending on the type of tools being implemented, you may need to have bi-weekly meetings for status updates and changes, or only discuss the campaign once a month or so. But since it’s your dollar and your business, the agency should be willing to accommodate your preferences, especially if the relationship is a new one or the campaign is one you haven’t tried before. An unwillingness to do so or an attitude of “just let us handle it all and don’t worry about it” should be considered a red flag.
At the same time, your expectations regarding results must be reasonable. Discuss with the agency what is realistic for each tool, since it may take weeks or even months for the individual tool as well as the campaign itself to bear fruit.
3: How will you measure the success of the marketing campaign?
When it comes to measuring success, it’s all about the data. The agency should have specific benchmarks, KPIs (key performance indicators), and analytics to measure progress and outcomes. In digital marketing speak, these are called “metrics”: the collection of numerical data that serves as a report card for your plan.[iv]
This is especially important if you have multiple tools in use simultaneously, or when you have short- and long-term goals as part of your plan. For example, if the goal of your inbound plan is to draw customers to your website, you may use email marketing campaign combined with social media advertising. You want to be able to measure the results of both to see which one was more effective.[v] By having the agency provide you with a status report while the campaign is running, you can make adjustments on the fly. Then, when the campaign is completed, the agency should deliver a final report for a big-picture analysis of what worked and what didn’t.
Digital marketing has five stages, from defining and implementing the plan to measuring the conversion rate, revising where needed, and finally, repeating the campaign—i.e., starting the plan all over again, this time with improvements and adjustments to make it even more effective.[vi]
Think of digital marketing as a long-term investment with compounding interest. Realistically, it can take three to six months to see substantial results, although regular reviews can show incremental progress, since it’s all about nurturing of the relationships you’re building with your followers.
Remember: there is no one-size-fits-all solution for an effective marketing strategy. The digital marketing agency you choose should present with a custom-tailored solution that fits your goals and your budget.