Learn what a small business needs to know before hiring a digital marketing agency.

You are considering getting help from a digital marketing agency. You are buried and just don’t seem to get ahead. I get it.

But what if you could get more done and improve your marketing performance too? Now that would be nice – right?

CEOs are fed up with nonsense metrics. You should too. They are holding CMOs and marketing teams more accountable for bottom-line results.

Fournaise Marketing Group in London surveyed 600 CEOs and decision-makers to find that:

Startups, SMB’s to enterprise companies are all hiring a digital marketing agency but especially a small business. So you’ve decided to start exploring hiring a digital marketing agency.

Whether it’s your first time hiring a digital marketing agency or you’ve done it in the past. Follow these eight steps and hiring a digital marketing agency will become a snap.

  • 72% of CEOs think marketers “are always asking for more money, but can rarely explain how much incremental business this money will generate.
  • 70% think marketers “bombard their stakeholders with marketing data that hardly relate to or mean anything for the company’s P&L.
  • 67% think that “unlike CFOs and Sales Reps, [marketers] don’t think enough like businesspeople. They focus too much on the creative, ‘art’ and ‘fluffy’ side of marketing and not enough on its business science.

Only 9% of today’s marketing leaders “believe traditional ad agencies are doing a good job of adapting their service capabilities to digital transformation revolution.

Compared to 22% that believe their agencies are struggling to transition their service offerings and business model. 51% of marketers surveyed think their digital marketing agencies are “playing catch-up.”

72% of CEOs think marketers "are always asking for more money, but can rarely explain how much incremental business this money will generate." Click To Tweet

Most digital marketing agencies are just bolting on different aspects of digital marketing. They do this without taking an integrated approach, according to a study conducted by the Chief Marketing Officer Council.

Marketers like you aren’t looking for agencies playing catch up. I have talked to our clients over this past year who work with agencies. I found out what components they look for when evaluating an agency’s performance or potential partnership.

Do You Know Your Score?

Your marketing ROI is critical. For you and your company.

Measurement matters now more than ever. Use this marketing scorecard toolkit to bring structure and meaning to your numbers.

What to Look For in a Digital Marketing Agency

There are no shortcuts to success. Building your digital strategy in capabilities is a process that requires significant time, training, and experience.

If you want to drive traffic to your website, nurture leads, and increase sales you need a digital marketing plan. Companies that want to dive into blogging, social media marketing, video, SEO, email marketing, mobile, you might need some outside help.

The marketing world is constantly changing, and it is the hybrid agencies that are rising to the top. These agencies are tech-savvy, offer integrated services, hire and retain versatile talent and provide value for their clients.

advertising firm

The traditional agencies unwilling or unable to adapt will quickly be left behind. Legacy systems slow down large, established marketing agencies.

Whereas, hybrid marketing firms can install software and introduce processes, lower operating costs, increase productivity, and increase profitability quickly.

Hybrid agencies are able to build more scalable marketing technology models. They operate with cloud technologies, capitalized in online communication and mobility, and employ agile marketing methodology to drive results.

Marketing Case Study – Security

ARA saw amazing results:

  • Website Traffic: 191 percent month-over-month increase in website visitors
  • Leads: 232 percent month-over-month increase in top-of-the-funnel leads generated

In today’s data-driven world, marketers are getting smarter about which agencies they choose to partner with. How do we know? For one, their digital marketing agency is on the line.

I have talked to our clients who work with agencies in the past. They helped me with the top 8 criteria they used to evaluate the effectiveness of their existing and potential partners.

Why Hire a Digital Marketing Agency?

Digital Marketing Agency
Source: Pixabay

Here are the primary reasons an organization seeks help from a digital marketing agency.

  • They have a small internal team of 1–3 people, and just need ongoing support to lead them in the right direction.
  • They lack an internal team and need to outsource everything because they don’t have the time or resources to accomplish it themselves?.
  • They need help in a certain area of marketing. Such as content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, website design, social media, marketing technology, or improving your lead conversions.

Choosing the Right Digital Marketing Agency

Before you start your search for the ideal digital marketing agency, you may want to think about it before jumping to the first agency you see. There’s a good number of businesses out there, but not all of them will offer what they claim. So be careful.

You want a digital marketing agency that can show you measurable results from their marketing services and help you grow your business.

Marketing has changed more in the past 2 years than in the past 50 years. It’s constantly changing. To see results from digital marketing takes time and is a continuous process, so choose carefully. If a marketing agency promises quick results, run. No run fast.

Marketing has changed more in the past 2 years than in the past 50 years. Click To Tweet

From my experience, the results typically take time because the company may have a weak foundation. The foundation tells marketers how much building needs to be done. If a company’s foundation is weak, then resources need to be allocated to strengthen critical areas.

However, if your foundation is strong, then time and money can be focused on short-term digital marketing campaigns that produce results faster.

FREE MARKETING ASSESSMENT

Get your comprehensive analysis of how your digital marketing programs are performing.

It is critical, to begin with, a full marketing assessment to help you determine what you really need. You might also want to do an SEO gaps analysis against your top 3 competitors for a keyword, web traffic, and backlinks. The assessment can be used to find quick opportunities and help you identify blind spots.

Marketing success requires a commitment to consistently create an exceptional customer experience. Combined with transparency, agility, and accountability at all levels.

Let the digital marketing agency tell you the primary industries they cover, and they must share with you some tools and techniques they use.

Listed below are the top 8 components you should be looking for when evaluating and selecting a digital marketing agency.

Digital Marketing Agency Evaluation and Selection Criteria

Digital Marketing Agency Evaluation

1.Trust and Credibility

  • Did they address my business goals in the sales process?
  • Do they practice what they preach?
  • Do they have: Social media presence?
  • Blog? How often do they post?
  • Do they have references and/or case studies?

2. Compatibility

  • Are the agency personnel easy to get along with?
  • Does their cultural vibe mesh with ours?
  • Do they have the necessary marketing experience?
  • Do they have proven industry experience?

Fast and Painless – Website Redesign

The Result? A beautiful, fast, SEO tuned and mobile friendly website.

3. Pricing and Value for Marketing Services

  • Are their services within our marketing budget?
  • Does the pricing reflect the value we will receive?

4. A Holistic Approach to Marketing Delivery

  • Do they provide services for traffic generation, lead generation, lead nurturing, and customer acquisition?
  • Do they have services to reflect all stages of the buying cycle?
  • Do they use data to guide the ongoing marketing strategy?

5. Efficiency and Efficacy

  • Is the turnaround time for services and deliverables reasonable?
  • Do they have systematic delivery processes for services?
  • Are they nimble and can act fast to real-time marketing opportunities?
  • Are they results-driven and demonstrate that they will constantly test, change and innovate?

6. Communication

  • Do they set clear expectations?
  • Do they have a clear process for updating our team on the progress and timeline?
  • At any given time, can the agency provide numbers around our progress toward our established goals?
  • Will they be responsive if I have questions or concerns?

7. Education and Training

  • Will they invest in training our team on software, methodologies, and digital tools to help us achieve our goals?

8. Accountability and Measurement

  • Are they laser-focused on driving business results?
  • Do they set challenging but reasonable goals?
  • Are they focused on measurement, but won’t bombard us with meaningless metrics?

Wrap Up for Digital Marketing Agency Services

best digital marketing agency
Source: Canva

Technology innovations continue to accelerate the rate of change in the marketing industry. Therefore, it has created a growing demand for tech-savvy, forward-thinking digital marketing agencies.

Trends and shifts in consumer behavior, business processes, software, data analysis, communications, and marketing philosophies have affected the need for evolving services.

Traditional marketing agencies, public relations firms, advertising, search engine optimization, and website development firms are all fighting to remain relevant.

Do You Know Your Score?

Your marketing ROI is critical. For you and your company.

Measurement matters now more than ever. Use this marketing scorecard toolkit to bring structure and meaning to your numbers.

They are grasping for new services, such as social media, mobile, and content marketing. The modern digital marketing agency is focusing on what really matters to their clients. This includes pricing, technology, staffing, infrastructure, processes, and purpose.

These agencies in professionals will adapt and evolve, and many traditional marketing firms will become obsolete.

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General FAQ’s

How do you select a digital marketing agency for a small business?

You might think you have a need or not, so start with an honest marketing assessment to find the gaps in your strategy, talent, and technology. Do this before you begin an engagement, and you will learn a lot.


Why do I need a digital marketing agency?

Whether it’s the digital transformation or understanding your customer touchpoints, to sales funnel lead generation campaign a digital marketing agencies have the talent and understanding of the digital landscape.


What questions should you ask a digital marketing company?

What types of companies do you serve, and in what industries or markets?
What are the core capabilities of your agency?
What is their pricing model?
How would you describe your company culture?
How long have you been in business?
What marketing and sales technology do they use?
What is their engagement process?

FREE MARKETING ASSESSMENT

Get your comprehensive analysis of how your digital marketing programs are performing.