What to Know Before Hiring a Digital Marketing Agency

Posted at May 13, 2020 10:54:00 AM by Michelle Sternbauer | Share

If you’ve found yourself on this page, you’re most likely considering the benefits of hiring a digital marketing agency to assist with your marketing needs. Whether you need an extra bump in your marketing efforts or you’re not in the financial position to hire an in-house team, there are a few things to take into account before making a final, informed decision about working with an agency partner. Whatever the case, this is an exciting part of your company’s overall growth and journey towards becoming a marketing powerhouse!


A business owner celebrating the digital marketing success of her company


To aid you in your decision-making process, we put together some of the most important items to consider before making a digital marketing agency your trusted partner.

What are your marketing needs?

Understanding your marketing obstacles and why you are looking for an agency partner is a crucial first step in the process. Many times, hiring a full internal marketing team goes beyond the scope of what small businesses can afford. Agencies can step in here and take on the workload of an entire marketing department, from SEO, paid advertising, email marketing, and social media strategy, all the way to website maintenance, design, and development. Other times, businesses bring on agencies when they need to bolster the efforts of their smaller, one-to-two person marketing teams.

What are your marketing goals?

Maybe you are the owner of a fledgling business looking to drive more organic traffic to your website. Or perhaps, you need assistance in converting website traffic into more leads and potential sales. You could even be looking to rank higher in search results.

Whatever the case, it is important to identify exactly what you are looking to achieve for your business by investing in an agency partner - and to be as specific as possible. Make sure you understand how you are going to measure your goals in a way that makes sense for your business, and helps you assess your return. Some questions to ask yourself:

  • How much are you willing to pay for a conversion, or a lead? 
  • How many organic sessions are you shooting for on your website?
  • How many mobile sessions are you shooting for on your website?
  • What is the average lifetime value of your customer?
  • What marketing tools have you employed in the past? Do you still utilize them? Did they work for you?

Who is your target customer?

Think of it this way: your brand is an island. Your customer needs a way to get on your island. Your marketing is the vehicle that safely transports your customer to your island. But how can you market to your customer if you don’t know exactly who or where they are?

Before even thinking about bringing an agency on board, it is crucial for you to feel confident you are an expert in who your target customer is. You should be able to visualize this individual in your mind, from the color of their hair to what keeps them up at night.

By inserting yourself into your customer's day-to-day activities, making an effort to understand how they live and what they go through on a regular basis, you can identify the type of messaging that will resonate with them and lead them through the buyer’s journey to pick up the phone or order online. Knowing your customer’s habits means that your marketing team will have the tools to deliver the right information at the right time to move your customer down the sales funnel and get them to convert.

While your agency partner is likely extremely well-versed in crafting buyer personas, it is vital that you are able to set your agency teammates up for success by giving them as much detail and information as you can before they even get started.



Who are your competitors?

In the digital space, you’re not just competing with other businesses based on superiority of products or services. Website traffic, search engine rankings, leads, and conversions are now all up for grabs - and the competition is fierce.

Familiarizing yourself with how your competitors rank on search engine results pages, how they are engaging their target customers, their inbound marketing strategies, and their paid media approaches will inform you of industry best practices and how you can stay ahead of the curve. 

The goal here is to figure out exactly what your competitors are doing online, where you fall short, and how you can do it better.

What is your budget?

This one may seem like a given at first glance, but a budget can be difficult to determine if your marketing needs, goals, target customer, and competitors are not identified.

To craft a dedicated digital marketing strategy for you, agencies need to be fully aware of your budget to determine how much time they can dedicate to meeting your goals. It's not a matter of if an agency can execute, but rather - do they have the resources to make your marketing dreams come true? If not, you will need to reevaluate your expectations, or your budget itself.

Preparing for a digital marketing consultation

While it may seem like you have a lot of homework to do before opening a dialogue with a potential outsourced partner, keep in mind that the agency’s history is important to look at as well.

If an agency has tons of experience crafting strategies for home repair companies, and you are in the health and wellness industry, you may not end up speaking the same language. Proven results within your same industry provide a sense of comfort that your brand will be well understood. At the end of the day, you are looking for the perfect fit for your brand, and those vying for your business should be screened to ensure their expertise matches your goals.

When preparing for a digital marketing consultation with any agency partner, make a list of must-ask questions that include the following:

  • Who are your previous clients?
  • What industries do you specialize in?
  • Are your clients more B2B or B2C?
  • Do you specialize in one type of marketing service, or is your expertise well rounded in all facets of marketing strategy?
  • How many team members will be dedicated to my project?
  • Who will I be working with specifically?
  • How often will we meet?
  • How involved will I be in the strategy creation and execution?
  • Which marketing platforms and programs do you utilize?
  • How do you measure success?
  • When will I start to see success?
  • What type of search engine marketing strategy do you focus on? SEO or paid, or both?
  • Do you utilize inbound marketing?
  • Do you have an in-house content team?
  • How does your content team acclimate to various industries to embody a brand’s unique voice?
  • Do you have a graphic designer on staff? 
  • Do you provide web design and development services?
  • Do you have a social media strategy team?
  • Do you have case studies to demonstrate big wins?

As the saying goes, an ounce of preparation is worth a pound of cure. By identifying your marketing needs, goals, target customer, competitors, and budget ahead of time - and by asking the important questions of any potential agency partner, you can form a mutually beneficial relationship in which you both enjoy watching your company succeed.

Ready to partner with a full-service digital marketing agency? THAT Agency plans and executes advanced strategies for search engine marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, inbound marketing, and more. For details, call 561.832.6262 or request a proposal today.


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Tags: Digital Marketing

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