Choosing the right digital marketing agency is a little bit like choosing the right life partner. You need to be absolutely sure you’re picking the right option for your business. Otherwise, you’re putting yourself at risk.
Think about the amount of trust you place in digital marketing teams you hire. You’re handing over responsibility for representing your brand online – something you’ve been working towards for years. What they do directly affects how your audience perceives your company. So they better get it right.
There’s no doubt there’s a desperate need for digital marketing agencies that can deliver. Currently, a staggering 61 percent of in-house marketers believe that their existing strategies are ineffective. Furthermore, only 22 percent of businesses are happy with their conversion rates.
Finding top marketing agencies in the US can sometimes be a challenge, though. Here’s our advice on finding an excellent service.
Find An Agency That’s Passionate About You
While technical skills are necessary, finding an agency passionate about what you do can pay dividends.
You want a service prepared to sit down with your team, listen to your ideas, and develop a bespoke marketing strategy. You shouldn’t feel like you’re yet another customer being processed. There should be a kernel of customization in everything the agency does. Marketing done right is holistic. Agencies need to imbibe your brand values and mission before they do any outreach on your behalf.
Ask About How They Track Performance
Marketing agencies are very good at marketing themselves. You’ll often arrive on their site, see all the goodies they give for signing up, and fall in love. Free blog posts, link building, content creation, logo design, and PPC – it’s all there.
At this point, you need to be strict with yourself. Remember, you don’t care about the number of services you receive, only their effects on your KPIs.
Some agencies won’t provide you with metrics telling you how well they’re doing. And that’s a problem.
Before signing any contract, ask the agency what evidence they provide to prove their work is having a positive effect. It could be bounce rates, click-through rates, cost-per-click, social interactions on social media, or page loading speeds. The very best agencies link their actions to your bottom line. They give you statistics, like the return for each additional dollar you spend cost per acquisition.
Read Through Client Testimonials
Top digital marketing agencies are also keen to show off their client successes and list them on their websites (this is something we do at our Chicago digital agency). If you see a marketing agency you like, take some time to read through the client testimonials and determine what people think about its services.
Also, ask the marketing agency for testimonials from accounts that didn’t go so well. No marketing agency can ever fulfill the needs of all its clients perfectly. So it is often helpful to find out how they dealt with problematic customers. You can also call up clients. It’s incredible how much more willing they are to divulge information over the phone than via email.
Find Out What Results They Promise
High-quality marketing agencies know that digital marketing success is hard-won. Hardly any quality agencies guarantee “bottom of the funnel” results, primarily because there are vast differences between firms. Returns in one sector are often radically different from another.
If you see an agency offering a blanket ROI, rule it out. It’s probably spammy.
You might want to ask a quality marketing agency something like, “How can you help me with brand strategy?”
A good answer might go something like this:
First, we consult with all the relevant stakeholders in your firm about your brand values and mission. We then discuss your current position in the market, your competitors, and your current strengths and weaknesses.
Next, we develop a plan designed to elevate you above your rivals. Our team uses social signals to find gaps in the market where your competitors are failing to capitalize.
We take your existing content and marketing and adapt it to these new niches to grab a competitive advantage.
Where possible, avoid agencies that promise “low prices.” In marketing, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Low prices often mean low results.
Lastly, be sure to demand transparency. Failing to list contact details (such as their address and phone number) on their websites is a big red flag. Agencies that look like they’re trying to hide something probably are.