There is a lot of confusion among small businesses as to the significance of hiring a digital marketing agency. Being a Phoenix web design agency that has to frequently dabble in digital marketing strategies ourselves, here are our two cents on the subject.

What does a Digital Marketing Company do?

Generally speaking, these agencies develop and design comprehensive online strategies for businesses that want to grow their brand digitally. From content creation and SEO strategies to social media marketing and display advertising – they do it all.

In some cases, even when a business has an in-house professional to oversee this aspect of business, they like to outsource the digital marketing. Ever since the boom in social media marketing, it takes more than one (or two) person to keep up your online marketing campaigns. For example, here are a couple of things a digital marketing agency can help you with;

Search Engines: You must be aware that Google is notorious for changing the rules of SEO consistently. Keeping your site optimized all the time is like trying to hit an ever-moving mark.

Social Media: Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and YouTube are continually reformatting displays, tweaking ad features, updating the feed algorithms, etc.

Content Marketing: Users are constantly evolving and adapting, and with new devices being launched every day, customers’ expectations are changing too.

The biggest advantage of hiring a digital marketing agency is they have more experience with what works and what doesn’t. They have tested and honed their strategies to succeed in the digital marketplace; it can take you years to figure out these successful strategies. While they focus on keeping you up-to-date on the latest marketing tactics, you can give your undivided attention to the other aspects of your business.

So, if you are thinking of hiring a digital marketing agency, here is something to look out for.

Avoid hiring an agency if;

It doesn’t have a track record: As a business, we know that everyone has to start somewhere. But avoid being a guinea pig for a freshly-minted agency. You need to minimize the risks; go with an agency that has proven itself in the digital world and has successful campaigns to show for their past work experiences.

Their website is unappealing: Mechanics with ugly websites are fine. But digital marketing agencies? Absolutely not. Check out their website, their content, and other social media content. If they manage to impress you with their own website, only then you can expect them to deliver an outstanding result for your campaign.

Their fail to communicate clearly: You are hiring a digital agency to communicate with the world. If this agency appears careless with their own communication with you, that’s a bad sign. They should be able to give you project guidelines, clear structure for regular meetings, and timely response to your phone calls and emails.

Now that we have covered what to avoid, here’s what you need to focus on while hiring an agency that’s the best fit for your business.

8 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Digital Marketing Agency

Instead of hiring an agency right off the bat because you just want ‘the job done’, make a list of key questions first. Interview the agency – in person, by email, phone, or Skype – and ask these questions before you finalize anything.

What KPIs do you measure? The success of a digital marketing campaign heavily relies on the technique of measuring KPIs. The ideal agency must have a fully tested and tried system in place for calculating a flexible set of KPIs.

In fact, see if they ask you about your marketing goals. A good and competent agency will first figure out your business objectives and then help you reach the KPIs level you want. 

How long have you been in business? Ask them about their experience in the market. You can also ask about the professional or educational background of the people who work in that agency and will handle your project. Also ask to see the case studies that show their capabilities.

How do you handle the reporting? It is important to ask how often they report the progress – monthly, quarterly, etc. Can they provide you with the sample reports? Are these reports customizable? You want an agency that keeps solid tabs on progress and can report that as often as you ask. These progress reports are crucial for determining the KPIs and how to improve it further.

Can you guarantee a ROI? Every digital agency provides an expected return on investment. Ask them about it and how soon you can expect to see that return. A competent digital agency will create projections based on your business goals and will also give you case studies to show their performance in the past.

Do you have a client portfolio? Ask them if they are willing to provide clients’ names and contact information for references. Also, ask if they can show you successful campaigns from their past clients. Can they share success stories and customer feedback with you?

Do you outsource? While some agencies have a team of in-house professionals to handle every task, some outsource the same. It is not necessarily a bad thing, but do make sure that if this agency outsources, they use reliable contractors and freelancers they have consistently worked with in the past.

What is your specialization? Some digital agencies are focused on content marketing, and social marketing, while some might be focused on SEO. Though it is good to hire an agency that does it all, it might be more efficient to work with two or three specialists who are master of their trades.

What are the terms of contract? How long is their contract term? What are the payment options? What are renewal or cancellation terms?

These are the questions you can begin with. And interview as many agencies as you can; having more options will allow you to make a better choice. Keep in mind the specific needs of your business. Once you have found the right digital marketing agency, your business will see growth and success like never before.