There are many different digital marketing agencies from which to choose when you are looking to create or improve your company’s website. And no one agency is the same. So, how do you decide which one will do the best job for your specific situation? Don’t choose the first one that you find. Review your business objectives. Clearly envision the online presence you want. Your goal should be finding the right digital marketing agency, one whose services align with your objectives and help your business grow.

Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Digital Marketing Agency

Here are 11 questions to ask before you hire a digital marketing agency. (The first question is one you ask yourself.)

Question 1: “Why do I want to hire a digital marketing agency?”

Why do I want to hire a digital marketing agency?

This is a question you ask yourself. Clarifying why you want to hire an agency to help your business will lead you to the type of agency you should work with. Identify your business goals. Prepare yourself by determining what you want to accomplish. Do you want more business and sales? Do you want a more user-friendly site? Do you want to be optimized better for search engines so you rank higher? Do you want better content on landing pages, service pages, and blogs? Maybe you want all of the above. Your answers to these questions will direct you to agencies who excel in the service you want.

Question 2: “What services do you (the digital marketing agency) provide?”

What services do you (the digital marketing agency) provide?

Is the agency a one-stop shop for all things marketing and search-engine related, or does it specialize in a few services? Match their specialties with what you need. Do you need a marketing firm that has experts in Pay-Per-Click (PPC) or Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? Do you need an agency that can provide email marketing campaigns and great content to help in SEO?

Question 3: “Do you (the agency) focus on solutions instead of services?”

Do you (the agency) focus on solutions instead of services?

Be sure to steer your questions and conversations to what your business needs are. This will lead not only to the services the agency provides that align with your needs, but also the solutions they can provide for your business problems. The only way the digital marketers know which services to offer you is by first understanding the issues you are having. The agency may have a full range of services, but unless they interview you about your business and its goals, they can’t offer solutions to achieve those goals.

Question 4: “Do you have experience in my industry?”

Do you have experience in my industry?

An agency with a background in your industry can mean that it knows your pain points and your target audience. Past experience and success in your industry can indicate the ability to build great marketing campaigns and help you avoid ideas that don’t work.

Question 5: “Are you using the best tools in the business?”

Are you using the best tools in the business?

Metrics are important and you need a digital marketing agency that uses the best available tools. For example, if you are hiring them to do email marketing, are they using tools like MailChimp or Campaign Monitor? Or, if you want them to run SEO for you, will they be using Ahrefs or SEMrush to monitor trends and track keywords? If not, what are they using? What tools do they use to communicate with their clients?

Question 6: “How do you report?”

How do you report?

Reporting is critical in successfully partnering with a digital marketing agency. Agencies vary in the frequency and formatting of reporting. Select an agency that communicates the way you would like them to. There should be a clear expectation of engagement, whether it is daily, weekly or monthly meetings.

Question 7: “How do you measure results and ROI?”

How do you measure results and ROI?

You will want to know how they measure things like brand awareness, how people respond to your brand, and how much visitors like your content. This is accomplished through analytics. A good digital marketing agency has the tools and skills to measure key performance indicators (KPIs) such as unique visitors to your website and bounce rates. A great agency will work closely with you to identify the KPIs that are relevant to your marketing goals. Then they will use those KPIs to drive progress and structure future campaigns.

Question 8: “How do you charge?”

How do you charge?

Review your business’s current position and resources. Pricing for a digital marketing agency can vary. Pricing models include retainer structures as well as performance-based models. Most agencies work under a retainer. Also, consider your long-term budget. Digital marketing is an ongoing effort. If you need ongoing services (and you probably will), be sure to discuss it and determine whether you can afford them.

Question 9: “How long have you been in business?”

How long have you been in business?

Be sure to work with an agency that has been in business for a while and has a track record. When you are partnering with an agency, you want to be sure that they have a solid history of developing and engaging digital marketing strategies. They need to show you that they have expertise you need. There are no quick fixes in digital marketing, so the agency needs to have been in business for several years in order to show how they have improved the ROI for other clients.

Question 10: “What verticals, if any, do you specialize in?”

What verticals, if any, do you specialize in?

It’s important for you to know if the agency has a specialty in one or more vertical markets. They may specialize in markets that are completely different from your business. If so, they might not be the best fit. On the other hand, if they have vertical market specialties that are closely related to, or the same as, your business, they can use their knowledge to guide you toward successful strategies.

Question 11: “What size companies do you work with?”

What size companies do you work with?

For the most part, you want to work with an agency who has experience with businesses similar in size to yours. If a digital marketing agency is mostly used to working with larger or smaller businesses than yours, they may not be able to understand your particular issues. An agency’s ability to know how to design a marketing strategy for a business like yours is tantamount in your success.

How to Finish the Decision-Making Process

Once you ask all these questions, you’re not quite done. Here are two final steps for making this decision:

  • Ask more than one company for this level of information. It may be extra work, but it helps to compare companies. 
  • You can either go with your gut feeling about which company you feel most comfortable with, or you can chart it out. Make a simple chart to compare the answers to your questions. This will help you look at the information more objectively.

When you have all the answers, it’s time to pick. Don’t get caught by analysis paralysis. Instead, survey your information and make a choice. You’re probably not locked in for life and you could make changes in the future. Just get started.

About the Author: Dave Sweeney

Dave is an Emmy-Award® winning web designer/developer and has worked in the digital media industry in both newspaper and broadcast television since 1999. He has also worked as an Art Director for a medium-sized advertising agency in the South Florida market and TheeDigital's customers' are benefiting from his talent these days.

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