Digital agencies provide online business promotion services through digital communication channels. To advertise the client’s company and create its positive image, these agencies usually use social networks, contextual and media advertising, website promotion, advertising in mobile applications, and reputation management. Unfortunately, these days, not all digital marketing agencies develop marketing strategies that are effective for particular businesses. We will talk about how to choose a digital marketing agency in our article below.
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So what should be the main selection criteria for choosing a marketing agency? Let’s figure it out.
How do you choose a digital marketing agency from the point of view of their core business activity?
Digital marketing agencies that provide comprehensive services, at first glance, may look very attractive in the eyes of potential customers. However, as a rule, only large companies with impressive authority can gather really cool diversified experts into a single team. If the digital agency you have chosen is young enough and at the same time promises a full package of marketing (or not only marketing) services, there is a possibility that it outsources specialists and it might not be clear if their work is of good quality or if they will be able to complete their work on time.
Talking about narrow-focused digital marketing agencies, in this case, you will have a better chance of getting an effective promotional campaign. However, to maximize the effectiveness of your promo strategy, you may need to contact several such companies at once and be ready to spend more time on communication and management processes.
As for choosing the key activity of a digital marketing agency, it should depend on what stage your business is at. In particular, for growing companies with a short history of existence who want to expand their reach to the target audience, contextual advertising, social media promotion, and affiliate/influencer marketing will show maximum efficiency in the shortest possible time.
However, once the target audience is formed, you will have to focus on longer-term and sustainable types of promotion, such as SEO and email marketing
Now let’s talk about the main activities of these narrow-profile companies in detail (in fact, there are more than a dozen other types of digital marketing, but the ones we listed below usually form the main profile of the vast majority of digital marketing agencies).
The search engine optimization of a website brings it traffic from search engines. Such traffic is called search or organic. This method of promotion has a number of features. Below we propose to consider the most important of them:
At the same time, you should understand that you will not see the results of SEO within a couple of weeks. It usually takes about six months to gradually improve. That’s why you shouldn’t trust companies that promise fast SEO results.
Another important factor is the additional cost of refining the website. In particular, to achieve higher conversion rates, you may need to completely change the content of your website and some of its functionality.
Contextual advertising is a type of paid advertising that is displayed in response to relevant queries from internet users.
The main difference between contextual advertising and any other is the presence of a direct connection with user requests. Thus, it’s displayed only if a person entered the name of a particular product or service into the search engine.
Contextual advertising helps to quickly attract an interested audience to a website to perform planned targeted actions: purchases, registrations, newsletter subscriptions, etc. That is, this type of advertising attracts users who are interested in some products in advance, and all you have to do is just make them a tempting offer.
Often, contextual advertising specialists also specialize in SEO, so you do not have to contact several agencies at once. On the other hand, you need to understand the fundamental difference between these two types of promotions: SEO involves working on the quality of your website and the number of inbound links, while contextual advertising is responsible for creating attractive advertisements. SEO gives a delayed result, and contextual advertising brings leads in the shortest possible time.
In social media marketing, SMM professionals use social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter as digital marketing channels. In particular, they buy ads to attract a new audience, create business profiles and regularly post relevant publications there, interact with influencers, etc.
As for choosing a specific social media platform, it depends on the type of your target audience. For example, Instagram is best suited to reach an audience between the ages of 18 and 40, while an older audience may show more interest in Facebook. Note that such a gradation by segments of the target audience is quite rough, and when building a real strategy, the number of parameters for determining one or another segment of the target audience can be quite large.
If we talk about the need for SMM, then this type of service demonstrates the greatest efficiency in the case of offline businesses that may not even have their own websites. In this case, for a moderate cost of services, they will be able to establish interaction with their target audience and increase its loyalty in the digital plane.
Email marketing is a way to promote products and services through email newsletters. Email marketing is one of the most effective digital media tools that can not only attract and retain customers but also increase brand loyalty.
In terms of ROI, email marketing is one of the most effective, far more than attracting customers through SMM. On the other hand, this type of marketing is aimed at interacting with loyal customers (those from whom you were able to get an email address), so it is almost never used as an independent digital promotion tool.
However, in combination with other types of digital marketing, email marketing can bring even higher conversion rates than one of them being used alone.
Content marketing is a long-term marketing strategy that aims to boost brand awareness, increase brand loyalty, ensure customer education, and improve customer engagement. To achieve these goals, marketers create and distribute relevant content. In practice, they work with the company’s website (usually a blog), maintain pages on social networks, interact with the media, etc.
Content marketing aims to demonstrate to the masses the unique selling proposition of your business and therefore requires a creative approach. In some cases, the greatest effectiveness of the chosen content marketing strategy is achieved through the involvement of highly specialized experts—for example, video editors and storymakers.
You can get more information not only on how to choose a digital marketing agency but also on how to build an effective digital marketing strategy.
Before you choose a marketing agency, check its portfolio.
The portfolio of a digital marketing agency is a hallmark of the potency of its business activity. Some companies have poorly developed portfolios on their websites, which may indicate their lack of experience and the ineffectiveness of the marketing strategy they have chosen for their own promotion.
However, even a cool portfolio alone is not a sign that you found a digital marketing agency where true professionals work only. Therefore, you will also have to do web research on real customer reviews in search engines. Of course, you may come across negative reviews of competing companies, or vice versa—paid reviews that companies write themselves on behalf of their customers.
That is why when you choose a digital marketing agency, it is worth devoting not five minutes but at least a few days to analyzing reviews—after all, perhaps one of your acquaintances has already had the experience of working with the digital marketing agency you are going to contact.
And of course, when choosing a marketing agency, do not forget to contact the staff of a particular agency to find out more details about the success stories of businesses with which they have collaborated in the past.
Another factor that will allow you to choose a digital marketing agency for your needs is the ability to provide KPIs and other performance metrics in completed cases. It is possible that this information will not be freely available on the website of the digital marketing agency you choose. However, there are no barriers to requesting these metrics in a private conversation.
For example, if a digital marketing agency promises you that they provide you with a certain number of likes each month, you may not be able to tell if this results in real sales. The following metrics are used to measure true business success.
You can also read more about other important metrics in digital marketing.
How do you choose a digital marketing agency when your business needs a niche standard of compliance?
While the vast majority of digital marketing agencies work with all types of businesses, some of them may have more specific expertise that you might find useful. In particular, this can mean blockchain projects, projects in the field of healthcare or law, projects that need to comply with certain user data security standards (for example, HIPAA), as well as projects aimed at ensuring accessibility for different user groups (in this case, your promotion campaign must be completed in accordance with the ADA).
That is, if your project falls into one of these categories, before hiring a specific digital marketing agency, it would be better for you to clarify whether it has the industry expertise you need. Otherwise, you risk getting a strategy that will work against you.
Another significant aspect to consider when choosing a marketing agency is pricing. A high price does not always mean a high quality of the services provided, just as a low price tag does not mean otherwise. Moreover, sometimes after a personal discussion of your project, the low price depicted on the agency’s website results in a rather large budget. We recommend treating such agencies with skepticism because such an approach to attracting clients can hardly be called completely transparent.
When you choose a digital marketing agency, you have to be sure that you hire a professional. Thus, your independent research on all the above criteria is not enough. That’s why it’s much better to search for a digital marketing agency based on the experience of people you know, or the experience people share on review platforms (like Clutch.co). Perhaps you also have a company in mind for a long time whose activities you regularly check, so you will have no doubts about whom to contact.
On the other hand, this approach to hire a digital marketing agency significantly reduces the variability of available options, so it is better to have at least three or four options in reserve as contenders for future cooperation.
In general, to make sure you hire the right marketing agency for your business, you need to understand what your business needs are. For example, you need help growing your email list, or you want to get more organic traffic with SEO content. Find out what you need first and match it with your team’s skills.
If you’ve narrowed your search down to a few digital marketing agencies, reach out to them for advice. Sometimes these consultations will be free, and sometimes they may cost some fixed amount of money. However, usually companies that are confident in their professionalism, like us, provide free expert advice.
The question, “How do choose a digital marketing agency?” also implies checking if you are right for a certain agency.
To control the hiring process during the interview, it is worth preparing questions in advance. The fact is that agencies, especially large ones, know how to convince a client to work with them. That is why when you hire a digital marketing agency, in order not to be distracted by the flattery of sales managers, you will need to prepare a specific list of issues that are important to consider. In particular, the agency with which you are going to work must share your values as an organization and as an individual.
You should also analyze what types of companies your agency cooperates with. For example, if your company has a long history and has long been among the strong market players, a digital marketing agency that cooperates primarily with SMEs may not have the necessary skills and experience to work with such large projects.
You can also to find out not only how to choose a digital marketing agency but also how good your eCommerce marketing strategy is.
When you hire a digital marketing agency, you should look not for subordinates, but for partners. This is the only way you can get a working promotion strategy that can meet your long-term business goals and not just bring high performance and better metrics indicators in the short term.
That is why it is so important at the very beginning of your partnership to tell the agency what you expect from working with them. It’s up to you, not the agency, to decide what results you are going to achieve.
In response, your partner team will explain to you which digital promotion techniques, tools, and approaches are best for you and why. By discussing this question, you will be able to understand whether the agency has really considered your specific project, or has come to you with a template strategy proposal that may be not so effective in practice, as you wish. But, if you are lucky and come across the first option, you will not only get an fruitful promotion but also be able to save your budget from unnecessary expenses on approaches that do not work for you.
Finally, note that as the duration of your cooperation grows, your partner company will get to know your business better and be imbued with its details. Thus, over time, the strategies offered by its specialists will be more and more tailored to the specifics of your business, and therefore more effective.
We hope that we’ve helped you figure out how to choose a digital marketing agency for your needs and now you can get high-quality services to promote your business in the digital plane. Note that we have great expertise in the field of online promotion, so if you are looking for the best ratio of price and quality of the services provided, just write to us.
There are several types of marketing agencies, such as:
The final choice ultimately depends on your business needs and budget:
If you want to choose a high-level digital marketing agency, make sure they have projects similar to yours in their portfolio. Review their case studies to ensure they have experience in your industry and have achieved successful results for their clients. Pay attention to what challenges the agency’s specialists coped with and how they achieved their goals. And, of course, don’t forget to explore clients’ reviews to check the overall credibility of a vendor.
It all depends on the specifics and size of your business, as well as its goals and needs. That’s why when choosing a digital marketing agency, pay attention to the following points:
Therefore, the question of how to choose a digital marketing agency is very related to the nature of your business and long-term promotion goals.
The final cost of digital marketing agency’s services depends on the following factors:
A reputable agency must provide you with a detailed proposal outlining their services, deliverables, and costs. Beforehand, you should discuss your goals and expectations with the team, and choose KPIs to focus on. Which KPIs to rely on largely depend on the project goals, be it website or app promotion, lead generation, email marketing, etc.
A customized approach is a much better option since it can offer more personalized strategies tailored to your business needs. In this case, the strategy of marketing activities is created for your goals and business niche with its specifics, so you’ll get the maximum ROI and the best KPIs.
The standardized approach, of course, is cheaper, but, unfortunately, it won’t be able to give you a similar result: after all, the agency doesn’t dive into your project details to the same extent and doesn’t take into account the uniqueness of your request.
Choosing a digital marketing agency offers the advantage of accessing an experienced group of specialists with a diverse range of skills and expertise that an in-house team may lack. It can also save you time and money compared to hiring and training in-house experts.
In addition, the digital marketing agency can implement cutting-edge promotion techniques, guarantee a fresh look at your current situation, as well as build enhanced strategies to grow your business. As a result, the agency can offer new tactics and more digital channels to use for your company promotion.
When choosing a digital marketing agency, it’s important to review their team’s experience, skills, and qualifications. Look for a company that has expertise in your industry and a proven track record of success, understands market trends, and is able to find new growth opportunities for your business.
No less important is communication with the team and how much the vendor is ready to get immersed in your project: both at the proposal stage and when developing a strategy and implementing effective digital marketing solutions. Make sure you’re comfortable communicating with the agency and can get the desired feedback from the experts.
Take your time when analyzing different types of marketing agencies to choose a reliable and experienced vendor for your successful business promotion.
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