12 Questions You Need to Ask Before Hiring a Digital Marketing Agency
The fact that you’re reading this probably means you’re contemplating the decision to partner with a digital marketing agency. It could be that you need a hand with the mounting marketing responsibilities, or you’re looking to scale with a marketing firm that will take your business to the next level.
Irrespective of the specifics of your situation, first pat yourself on the back! You’re about to begin a new and thrilling phase that could transform your business into a major player in your industry—well, provided you can make the right moves and secure a deal with the marketing agency that’s committed to the future goals of your company.
At this point, you’ll find there are countless options, and you need to narrow down your choices.
What should I look for when hiring a digital marketing agency?
Generally speaking, narrowing down your options means identifying the most crucial reason you need to hire a marketing agency. You should never leave it to the agency because your brand has particular challenges.
However, if you ask a social media firm about solving your challenges, they are most likely to say more social media activity. Likewise, an advertising agency will answer ads, while a content marketing agency will say more content is the solution.
You get the point – Knowing your brand’s needs will help you determine which agencies can develop and execute the right strategy to propel your business forward.
What questions should I ask my digital marketing agency?
Due to the diversities of digital marketing companies, selecting the ideal can be a tricky decision. Naturally, you want to speak with the team and assess the agency’s ability to meet specific marketing deliverables essential to your company. Your questions could be as varied as possible. These questions help you evaluate each agency under consideration. But how do you rate the answers you will get?
How do you evaluate a digital marketing agency?
It depends on your objectives and what you expect to get from the partnership. The essential thing is that you need to be on the same page regarding how to drive growth and increase sales through marketing. Again, you can only find out by asking. Hence, there are some key questions you shouldn’t leave out.
So, without any delays, let’s get the ball rolling with twelve questions you can use to single out the perfect marketing partner for your company.
1. Are You Official Partners with Top Search Engines?
One of the first signs of high-level SEO and SEM expertise is the Google Partner badge. If a digital marketing agency has this badge, it means employees in the team are Google AdWords certified. The agency will have an in-house Google agency team and be up to date with the latest innovation in that sphere. Apart from Google, you also want to check for Bing Accreditation.
2. Is Any Aspect of Your Work Outsourced?
Since every successful partnership requires trust, your agency should be transparent about who is working on your account or projects, designing your content, or running your ads. It’s a good sign if an agency performs your work in-house and names a point of contact. But this isn’t always the case if you opt for a white-label digital marketing agency. This person should be a call or email away and always ready to discuss your campaigns and projects when necessary.
3. What tools do you use in your business?
Now that you have a better idea of what to expect and who you’ll work with, you have to learn how. Marketing and project marketing tools are not created the same. The right agency also needs the right tools depending on specialty. A social media agency should use tools like Later or Buffer; email marketing agencies will need tools such as ConvertKit or MailChimp. Meanwhile, an SEO agency will require SEMrush or Ahrefs services.
4. How do You View Our Brief?
They will be some back and forth with your brief. But while the average agency will seek to execute your brief quickly, a great agency will challenge some aspects of your brief. You want to gain a new perspective from your digital marketing partner anytime you bring forward an idea. So, allow the agency to provide feedback so you can assess their strategic approach and ability to add value.
5. Can You Name Some of Your Previous Clients?
If you notice that any agency can only provide previous clients that operate in the B2B sector, but you’re an NGO, you should take note. Agencies can be versatile. However, it’s better to work with an agency that has been tried, tested with proven results from previous clients in your sector. On the other hand, you also have to be wary of conflicts of interest from agencies that specify in a specific industry.
6. How Can We Expect You to Work with Us on a Daily?
The strategic partner is what you want in a digital agency. Agencies such as small business marketing companies, do not only execute your plans but play an integral role in thinking through and solving your challenges by devising the strategies that fuel your marketing goals. As such, you need to understand how you’ll communicate and work with agencies on a day-to-day basis, so you’re both on the same page.
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7. What Are the Greatest Achievements of Your Agency?
This question aims to understand how an agency delivers value and whether it can replicate these achievements in your situation. Look for successful blog posts and case studies of previous clients, preferably for businesses like yours. Listen for words like revenue generated, increased sales, reduced costs, and saved marketing costs of earlier clients. The best agencies pride themselves on the profits they generate for clients.
8. Do You Specialize in Any Marketing Software?
Suppose you currently use a marketing automation software and would prefer to continue using it; your new agency should have experience relevant to this particular software. An example is the increasingly popular inbound marketing software called HubSpot. The platform has over 2000 partner agencies, and if you already use it, it’s vital to know if your agency is HubSpot certified.
9. How do You Plan to Increase my Conversion Rate?
Avoid getting too vested in the talk of traffic and visibility. An agency with an in-house web development team can better address your website’s conversion rate and on-page SEO and make the needed changes to bring in quick results. Please find out how they plan to increase your conversions and sales for the maximum return on investment. If possible, let them outline the steps they take in this case to ensure you get nothing but the best possible conversion rates.
10. What Strategies Have You Executed for Your Brand Successfully?
To ascertain a prospective agency’s ability to deliver on promises, briefly switch your focus from your brand’s marketing objectives to theirs. Learn about how they achieve growth by using marketing strategies for themselves. The aim is to know if your would-be marketers practice what they preach. If you can ensure that a digital marketing agency is its best case study, you can become more confident signing that retainer.
11. What Are the Costs Involved?
First, you need to discuss your prospective marketing agency’s budget to execute your marketing campaigns successfully. An experienced agency will have a pretty good idea of how much you have to invest in a marketing project to get the expected results. One thing to remember is that the affordability of a marketing budget doesn’t always reflect its quality.
Next, learn all you can about the return of investment you can expect after signing a contract with a given agency. What deliverables can they promise, and when can you expect to see these results after investing in them? What is the duration of the contract? Does renewal come with any discounts? Or check the conditions when you wish to terminate the partnership and if there are any penalties.
12. How to You Evaluate Success?
Marketing goes beyond the art of running campaigns; it also involves a lot of data and analytics. Sure, the best call-to-actions and landing pages play a role, but the best agencies go above and beyond to show you how their efforts are affecting your bottom line. For any claims your prospective agency makes, it should inform you about how it intends to support it with data. So, you should ask about their approach to analytics, metrics, and benchmarks. Also, look out for jargon-heavy explanations. The best marketing agencies will take the time to explain the details to your understanding.
These questions are in no specific order. Thus, it’s up to you to ask the ones that are most relevant to the success of your brand. Usually, an agency will gladly provide satisfactory answers to each of these. Even if you have something in mind that doesn’t appear on this list, ask away. Due to the high stakes involved, there can be wrong questions when evaluating the digital marketing company, especially when both parties want a long-term partnership.
Final Pro Tip: You might need to test drive these questions with an actual agency; in that case, don’t hesitate to reach out.