Due Diligence: 8 Tips for Finding the Right Digital Marketing Agency
When it comes to starting a business, creating a solid product that consumers love is only half the battle. The other 50 percent? Getting that product in front of potential consumers’ eyes.
Unfortunately, advertising and marketing isn’t as cut-and-dry as it was back in the Mad Men era – there’s not really a secret sauce or special tagline.
However, in our ever-changing online world, you do have a few resources at your fingertips to promote your brand, products or services: digital marketing agencies.
No matter if you’re looking for social media strategies, a new website design, a creative video, or a mix of everything, an agency can be your fairy godmother when it comes to navigating the world wide web and finding potential consumers. The trick is finding the right one for you.
Luckily, there are some tips to help narrow it down. Below are 8 easy tricks for finding the perfect digital marketing agency for your company.
1. Set a budget
As with any big purchase, the flourish and smooth talking can have you writing a check for more than you’re worth pretty quickly. Therefore, setting a solid, stoic budget is imperative.
This will help you in two areas. First, it will weed out any agencies that you simply can’t afford at this point. Sometimes, when you’re young, you can’t have the caviar, but that doesn’t mean the other appetizers aren’t just as delicious in their own way.
Secondly, knowing your top line and sticking to it may help you when proposals and negotiations come into play down the line. More often than not, agencies would love to boost their portfolio with a cool brand or great product, so if you’re firm in your pricing, they’ll likely work with you to get to a range your company is comfortable with.
2. Determine the goal you want to achieve
Digital marketing is far more than social media, so unless building a brand on Instagram is the only thing you need to achieve, you’d be best to review every goal you want to reach before meeting with any agencies.
Do you want to revamp your current site into a top website design? Are you hoping to add custom brand videos? Do you want to boost your SEO value tenfold? All of these items (and more!) fall under the quite broad digital marketing umbrella, and its likely best for your sanity and wallet to find one agency who can knock them all out (maybe even for a deal to save your dollars on no. 1).
3. Do some research
As with anything, a little autonomous research goes a long way. Take the time to see A). the brands who have released cool campaigns/print designs/brand videos/whatever it is you’re looking for, B). the agencies who concepted and produced the work and C). the results from the campaign.
This will help you further refine the goals you want to achieve, the vision you have for the company, and the people who can help you realize both. While you’ll certainly ask each agency you eventually meet with many of these questions directly, don’t blindly take their word for it. Instead, constantly be researching to confirm their results on your own.
4. Ask the right questions
Going off of no. 3, go into every meeting with a specific set of questions you’d like answered by the agency representatives. This can range from results of former campaigns to how they expect to achieve a certain result to expected timeframes to who your point of contact will be. Anything goes!
5. Take note of the details and the results
Now, don’t just do a quick Google, as a few questions and call it a day. Actually take notes and remember the numbers, figures and details that each agency provides! You’ll be hit with facts, figures, creative concepts and smooth talkers everywhere you look, but the proof will always be in the numbers. Keep those handy and you’ll be fine.
6. Review a formal proposal
Any agency that you find yourself in serious negotiation with should provide you with a formal proposal to review. It’s important to remember that this is different from a pitch or a concept idea, which is far less concrete.
Instead, this formal proposal should contain exact dates, particular ideas, listed designers and what the expected results from the campaign/redesign/project should be. Don’t be afraid to hold your standards high. At the end of the day, you’ll be paying for a professional service, and any respectable agency will take the time to make you feel comfortable with your decision in the early stages before a contract is signed.
7. Hash out the nitty-gritty
Before you get started on any project, take the time to determine every creative, logistical and legal issue you can think of – then put it in writing. This should include everything from due dates to non- disclosure agreements to your creative team to payment and potential refunds, should something go awry. Plus, be sure to determine your project manager or point of contact – both in house and at the agency. This will make it easy to track progress and determine the root of a mistake, should one come up.
Once you and your legal team have looked over the contract and feel safe, protected and comfortable, sign on the dotted line!
8. Go with your gut
At the end of the day, you’ll know if a particular agency is the right fit for your brand and project. Through copious numbers of interviews, meetings, pitches and negotiations, you’ll surely have a strong grasp on which agencies just “get it” and which ones simply miss the mark.
Trust your instincts, and that will lead you in the right direction.
Finding (and choosing!) the right digital marketing agency for you doesn’t have to be a daunting task. As long as you stick to these easy guidelines, you’ll surely find the perfect fit for your brand and get the results you design.
Determine a reasonable budget
Set achievable goals and find reputable agencies that can deliver
Ask in-depth questions and note how specific their answers are (or are not…)
Ensure each potential agency delivers a formal proposal
Create a contract you’re comfortable with
Follow your intuition!