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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.

If you want to learn more about the digital marketing services we provide, visit our Services section. 

5 Aspects to Consider When Looking for a Digital Marketing Agency

So what should be the main selection criteria for choosing a marketing agency? Let’s figure it out.

How to choose a digital marketing agency

Core Business Niche

How do you choose a digital marketing agency from the point of view of their core business activity?

Most digital marketing agencies that provide comprehensive services, at first glance, 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 digital marketing 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 professional digital marketing agencies).

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) 

How to choose a digital marketing agency

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:

  • No need to pay for clicks. Search engines don’t charge for organic clicks, so you don’t have to pay for users that come from search, unlike contextual advertising, where every click on an ad will cost you money. However, you need to understand that SEO still requires certain investments, even taking into account the fact that traffic from organic search is several times cheaper than traffic from contextual advertising. We also note that to optimize a website, you may need to rework its structure, create additional landing pages, as well as order content marketing services.
  • Effective acquisition of potential customers. When internet users search for a product or service, they enter relevant search terms. Therefore, organic traffic is one of the most high-quality and inexpensive channels for attracting leads.
  • Flexible choice of requests. Only you define the complete list of search queries to move your website visitors through the sales funnel. These can be both queries related to your company and queries focused on specific products or services.
  • Website technical optimization. To make your website rank highly, you have to comply with certain search engine standards. Proper SEO can ensure that a website loads quickly on all types of user devices regardless of their form factor, as well as significantly improve website usability. Together, all these actions will lead to more purchases and new users returning to your website.

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

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 enters 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.

Social Media Marketing (SMM)

How to choose a digital marketing agency

In social media marketing, SMM professionals use social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter as digital marketing channels. In particular, they create business profiles, launch ads and regularly post relevant publications there to attract new audiences and retain existing audiences, 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

How to choose a digital marketing agency

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 

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.

Portfolio and Clients’ Reviews

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.

Efficiency Metrics 

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.

How to choose a digital marketing agency
  • The number of unique visitors. Usually, the bigger traffic is, the more conversions you get. However, it is important to understand here that the traffic must be targeted, and the visitors to your website should be already interested in buying your products or services. 
  • Time spent on your website. The more time visitors spend on your website, the more likely they will buy something from you. If your content matches their needs and desires, you will see them spend more time on your website.
  • Loading time of pages. This indicator is also an important factor to evaluate the efficiency of your marketing strategy. The faster your website loads, the less likely people will leave it soon.
  • The total number of traffic sources. If you find that one source generates a lot of traffic, you can focus your marketing efforts on that one.
  • Bounce rate. The bounce rate shows how many visitors to your website leave shortly after visiting it. If you have a high bounce rate, it may mean that your content is not relevant for your visitors or you have a poor UX.
  • Cost-Per-Click Rate (CPC). This metric is used for paid ads where you only pay when your ad is clicked. A high CPC may mean that your ad works well.
  • Click-Through Rate (CTR). This metric measures how many times your ad has been clicked in relation to the number of impressions it receives. You can use this metric to find out how well your ad is targeted.
  • Social interactions. When it comes to social media marketing, there are different kinds of KPIs that your marketing agency can track. The Social Engagement KPI helps you measure the effectiveness of your social media campaigns. 

You can also read more about other important metrics in digital marketing.

Experience Working with Specific Business Niches

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 certain digital marketing company, 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.

Pricing

Another significant aspect to consider when choosing a marketing agency is pricing. A high price does not always mean a high quality of provided digital marketing services, 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.

How to Know if You Are Collaborating with Real Professionals

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 hiring 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, 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.

How to Know if You’re Right for a Certain Digital Marketing Agency

The question, “How can you choose the right 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 find out not only how to choose a digital marketing agency but also how good your eCommerce marketing strategy is. 

Why is Partnering with a Digital Marketing Agency Better Than Regular Hiring?

How to choose a digital marketing agency

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 as effective in practice, as you wish. But, if you are lucky and come across the first option, you will not only get a 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 digital marketing strategies offered by its specialists will be more and more tailored to the specifics of your business, and therefore more effective.

Conclusion

We hope that we’ve helped you figure out how to choose a digital marketing agency for your needs and now, thanks to this, your digital marketing efforts will justify themselves in full. Note that NIX has great expertise in the field of online promotion, so if you are looking for the best ratio of price and quality of the digital promotion, just write to us.

FAQ

01/

What Are the Different Types of Marketing Agencies, and How Do They Differ From Each Other?

There are several types of marketing agencies, such as:

  • Full-service agencies, handling all aspects of marketing
  • Specialized agencies that focus on specific areas, such as digital promotion or PR
  • Digital agencies, which specialize in online marketing
  • Creative agencies, covering all activities related to branding and creative design
  • Media buying agencies that specialize in the acquisition and management of advertising space
  • PR agencies, focusing on managing a company’s public image
  • Social media agencies that are responsible for working on the company’s social media presence

02/

Can a Full-service Marketing Agency Handle All Aspects of Digital Marketing, or Should You Hire Specialized Agencies for Each Channel?

The final choice ultimately depends on your business needs and budget:

  • Specialized types of marketing agencies focus on specific services in which they can provide in-depth expertise and knowledge. Therefore, if you need a separate service like SEO or social media marketing and have a limited budget, a specialized agency will do just fine.
  • A full-service agency employs diverse experts and can cover every aspect of digital marketing, from SEO and ASO to paid advertisement, retention marketing, etc. So if you’re interested in full-angle scaling of your business and looking for an integrated approach to your project, you should choose this type of marketing team. They can become your long-term partner, which will ultimately save you money and provide you with a 360-degree view of your problem.

03/

What Should You Look for in a Digital Marketing Agency’s Portfolio and Case Studies?

If you want to choose the best 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.

04/

Is it Better to Choose a Local Digital Marketing Agency or One With a National or International Presence?

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:

  • Local agencies can offer the advantage of face-to-face meetings and a deeper understanding of your market and its specifics. It’s the right option if you plan just a local presence.
  • International teams have a broader scope of expertise and resources and can make a great choice if you want to offer your services or products worldwide. These agencies have more experience with different industries and can provide their clients with a helicopter view of the market in general and offer fresh perspectives on digital marketing issues and step-by-step action plans for business promotion. As a result, this leads to better brand awareness, more prospects, and improved ROI for your business in the context of growth in new markets.

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.

05/

How Much Should You Budget for a Digital Marketing Agency, and What Should You Expect in Return?

The final cost of digital marketing agency’s services depends on the following factors:

  • Team’s expertise and experience. The greater the agency’s expertise and the longer it’s been on the market, the higher the rate it might have. On the bright side, the quality of the services provided is also higher.
  • Project size and complexity. The final cost depends on the complexity of your project, the number of planned marketing activities, and provided services.
  • Your niche. Your business niche plays a role in pricing, as well. Some domains are harder to promote and therefore require more investment in marketing.
  • Timing. The tighter your deadline, the more intensively your digital marketing team will work, which also affects the total amount.

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 depends on the project goals, be it website or app promotion, lead generation, email marketing, etc.

06/

Should You Choose a Digital Marketing Agency That Offers a Customized Approach or One That Uses a Standardized Process?

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.

07/

What Are the Benefits of Choosing a Digital Marketing Agency Over Hiring an In-house Marketing Team?

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.

08/

What Are the Key Elements to Look for in a Digital Marketing Agency’s Team?

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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