Hiring a Digital Marketing Agency: 4 Things to Know First

by on May 23, 2013

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There are several different reasons why people decide to hire a digital marketing agency, including everything from increasing brand awareness to increasing overall business revenue.  For most business owners, hiring a digital marketing agency isn’t a decision that happens overnight, however as more and more people are beginning to accept the permanence of the Internet, it’s becoming nearly impossible not to see that online marketing is necessary to compete in today’s market.  Today, if customers can’t find you online, you are losing business, that’s practically a guarantee.  

One of the primary reasons business owners are beginning to hire digital marketing agencies is because unlike other forms of traditional marketing, the digital medium can be extremely confusing.  With so many acronyms (SEOPPC, UX, etc.) and with the online marketing landscape changing every day, many business owners and traditional marketing agencies alike, consider online marketing too confusing a marketing channel to manage.   

To cut down on the confusion, we’ve put somewhat of a list of homework assignments for anyone looking to hire a digital marketing agency.  You don’t have to have concrete answers to these questions, knowing what these questions are will help you and the digital marketing agency you hire accomplish your overall marketing objectives.  

1. How will the digital marketing agency fit in with your current marketing efforts?

Many businesses are already doing other forms of traditional marketing like newspaper ads, billboards, bus covers, etc.  If your business is already marketing to potential customers in other mediums, you need to make sure that the digital marketing agency you hire is able to seamlessly fit in with your other marketing efforts and that they’re willing to.  Basically, find a digital marketing agency that is willing to be a team player. 

2. Who are you trying to reach?  Who are your target customers?

This should be one of the first questions any marketing agency asks you.  If a digital marketing agency doesn’t ask you this question, get out of there!  How are they supposed to figure out where to find your target customers online if they don’t even know who your target customers are? 

3. What digital marketing tactics are you looking for? How will those tactics benefit your business specifically?

Do your homework.  Figure out what the digital marketing tactics are that you think would best benefit your specific business.  Start by figuring out what you want to accomplish via digital marketing.  Do you want to increase brand recognition?  Do you want to increase your online presence to encourage social sharing?  Do you want to improve your search engine rankings for relevant keywords?  No matter what your goal is in digital marketing there is a tactic that is perfect for you.  Don’t let a digital marketing agency throw everything and the kitchen sink at you and tell you need it.  Know what you need before you come to the table. 

4. How much are you willing to invest?

Digital marketing is one of the most inexpensive forms or marketing today.  The potential for high return on investment is synonymous with digital marketing.  However, figuring out what exactly you’re paying for can sometimes be confusing.  Figure out how much money you are willing to invest in digital marketing by figuring out what you want to accomplish from it, what return do you expect to see on your investment?  Note: don’t think of digital marketing spend simply as just another one of your “costs”, but instead as an investment. You are investing in your online presence; obvious returns may not be immediate, depending on how much you spend, but even the smaller returns have higher ROI than many traditional forms of marketing.

If you don’t already know the answers to these questions, most digital marketing agencies can help you figure them out in the very beginning of your engagement.  So, consider it a red flag if a digital marketing agency isn’t able to assist you in finding answers to these questions.  If these aren’t questions your digital marketing agency is asking you and if they can’t help you determine the answers to these questions, then they most likely don’t have enough comprehensive experience to be effective in digital marketing.

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