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What To Ask Every Digital Marketing Agency

So you’re ready to partner with an expert team on marketing that hits the mark. How do you make sure your money makes impact? Before you sign on with any agency, make sure to ask them these questions. We’ve gathered everything you need to ensure you find the right fit for your business.

Digital marketing is what the most successful companies use as a key revenue driver. Marketing is a strategic investment that ensures your short and long term success.

Yet, 49% of organisations haven’t implemented a structured digital marketing strategy.

Often, teaming up with a digital marketing agency helps businesses:

  • Create a strategy

  • Implement that strategy

After all, agencies are a team who can quickly scale your efforts — a team of experts specialising in multiple channels such as content marketing, social media, conversion rate optimisation, inbound marketing and more.

Naturally with a team of experts, you would then expect only the best results. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen, and there are many reasons why. Poor communication can slow results and lack of alignment can mean you’re chasing different objectives.

Truth is, an agency is a great investment only IF the partnership is the right one. You want an agency that helps you achieve your business goals.

There are so many different digital marketing companies out there, offering everything you could imagine. These questions will help you to figure out whether you’ve found the right agency for you.

 

Wondering what to ask a digital marketing agency? Try these questions.

1. How are results tracked?

Measuring success isn’t the easiest thing to do with digital marketing. For example, you can attract a lot of traffic to your website, however, it may not affect your bottom line if nothing converts.

This question is so crucial because it uncovers whether:

  • Your agency listened to your objectives

  • Your agency is data-driven, not opinionated

Be wary if the agency focus on vanity metrics, such as the number of likes on Facebook. Likes matter, but that’s a metric that an unscrupulous agency could manipulate.

Instead, look for agencies that can connect the dots — first, by tracking the right metrics, and then by analysing those metrics to make data-driven decisions.

Valuable metrics may include: traffic, conversions, click through rates and customers.

You’re looking for them to show you a dashboard like this:

klipfolio-screenshot

Image credit: Klipfolio

Ask them what tools they use to track these metrics too. Each agency has its own preferences.

 

2. How do you report results?

A good agency will create reports that help you to understand the effects of their work.

Look for an agency that offers the following in their reports:

  • Cost data about the various digital marketing campaigns they run

  • Positions in search rankings for all keywords

  • Conversion reports

  • An overall return on investment figure

  • Comparisons between campaigns that highlight what worked and what didn’t

It’s also a good idea to find out how frequently you’ll receive these reports. Most agencies send out reports once per month. However, you may require more than that, especially if you’re running a lot of time-sensitive ad campaigns.

 

3. What technology do you use?

This isn’t a question that has a definite “right” answer.

Each agency will have different tools that they prefer. Instead, you’re looking for them to demonstrate two things:

  1. They have a deep understanding of how the tools work and how to use them to the benefit of your business.

  2. The tools they use integrate with any existing systems that you have in place.

The answer also offers some insight into how the agency works. You can figure out their processes and learn more about how they use the data from their tools to determine strategy.

 

4. Who will manage my account?

You need a central point of contact within the agency. This is the person who oversees the account and understands exactly what’s happening with it.

You need to know who they are and how accessible they’ll be. Ask about whether this person will work with you to create agendas for your progress. Find out how often you should expect to receive progress reports.

From there, talk about putting guidelines in place for communication. Tell the agency what you want from them and find out how they’ll work to those specifications.

You know you’ve found the right agency when your account manager acts like your champion within the agency.

You’re looking for someone who helps you to get things done and feels like your own team member.

 

5. How happy are your clients?

All great digital marketing agencies will be more than happy to show you examples of previous work. How many reputable case studies do they showcase on their website?

When you ask this question, you’re looking for them to produce evidence that their work drove revenue for their clients. Mention specifics about industry, type of businesses, different channels, different marketing services, different timeframes, etc.

However, that’s just your starting point. Once you have your answer, go away and research the agency. Check online for reviews on independent websites and forums.

An agency may pitch well. However, you may find that the client experience ends up being quite poor.

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6. Do you understand the local market?

Local SEO is vital to your overall campaign. Here’s why:

  • 46% of the searches on Google are for local businesses

  • Half of people who conduct a local search visit a store within 24 hours

  • 18% of local searches lead to the searcher buying something within a day

You need an agency that understands the local market and what it’s looking for. Establish that the agency has a local presence. This helps both in their understanding and in your ability to visit the agency, if needed.

If they’re interstate, look at their results. You’re looking to see if they’ve achieved good results for other clients in your location.

 

7. How do you market yourself?

This question comes down to the old “practice what you preach” concept.

An agency can pitch different techniques for hours. They can baffle you with all of these ideas that you may not have come across before.

You want to know that they can make these techniques work for themselves.

Ask what they do for their own marketing. Find out why they use those specific techniques and why your own strategy may differ. Then, perform some research at home. Ask for a list of keywords that the company ranks well for. Check these out yourself to ensure the agency can achieve what it claims.

 

8. Do you have experience in my industry?

An agency with experience is what you’re looking for. After all, experience in a specific niche helps to achieve those results again. An agency that’s worked in your industry understands the specific challenges that it presents. They will have an idea of the level of competition you face and how difficult it is to achieve good rankings for your keywords.

That experience also means they may also know some key influencers or have an idea of where to build backlinks.

However, a lack of experience does not equal an automatic “no” for the agency. Dig deeper if they haven’t worked in your industry before. Ask what they’ll do to learn about the industry and how this will affect the strategy they create.

 

9. How quickly can you adapt?

Digital marketing evolves constantly. The same probably goes for your industry.

A stagnant digital marketing strategy means you end up going nowhere.

This question helps you find out how flexible your agency is. You’re looking for them to tell you how they use the data they collect to alter your campaign.

Ask them what they do when a strategy doesn’t work. Discuss the importance of keeping on top of industry news and ask how quickly they can mobilise when trends appear.

A slow agency fails to capitalise, which leaves you in your competitors’ dust. You need an agency that keeps constant track of performance so they can make changes when needed.

 

10. What security do you offer?

A medium-sized business stands to lose $1.9 million if it’s the victim of a cyber-attack. Larger businesses stand to lose even more. A quarter of businesses find their websites go down for at least 25 hours in the wake of such an attack.

Furthermore, you have to tell customers if there’s a data breach. The Notifiable Data Breaches (NDB) scheme requires you to. A data breach has a massive impact on your brand’s reputation because it destroys the trust that people have in it.

This decline in trust can have a negative effect on revenue.

protect-business-security

Figure 2 - Arthur J. Gallagher

You need an agency that understands these threats to your business and actively combats them.

At the very minimum, the agency should be able to implement Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificates for your pages. SSL is a layer of encryption that protects important data. It’s essential if you’re handling sensitive data from clients, such as credit card information.

Furthermore, your agency needs to know how to handle YOUR data carefully. Ask them if they have policies in place to protect your business.

 

11. How will you help me achieve my business goals?

This is an important one as it gives you some insight into how well the agency understands your business.

You’re looking for the agency to talk about more than its general processes here. They need to understand what you hope to achieve and perhaps even provide information that helps you to set better business goals.

Look for them to talk about things like researching the competition and learning more about your industry.

Also, take note if they keep trying to change the topic to goals they want to achieve rather than goals you want to achieve. An agency shouldn’t try to tell you what’s important to your business.

You already know that.

At most, they should try to help you understand why certain techniques will benefit you.

 

12. How do you differ from other agencies?

This is the agency’s opportunity to give you the big sell.

You open the floor for them to tell you what sets them apart from other agencies that you might talk to.

The answer depends on the agency. Some will point to their results as the key differentiator. Others may focus on their relationships with clients or a certain specialisation.

The important thing is that every agency should have a unique selling point. They should have at least one thing they do better than anybody else.

If the agency can’t offer that then there’s no point working with them. You may as well go for the competitor that can achieve more.

 

13. Why are you the right agency for us?

An agency might achieve great results for a host of different clients.

However, that doesn’t automatically mean that an agency is a good fit for your business. Every one of their clients has different goals. They all work in different niches, which means competition and strategy varies for each.

You’re looking for an agency that develops a customised plan to help all clients achieve their goals. This plan needs to take the unique challenges that you face day to day.

Don’t get sucked in by a bunch of fast talk about results and different digital marketing techniques.

Make the agency explain why those techniques will work for you and how they’ll apply them.

Remember that you’re creating a partnership. A bad fit doesn’t produce results, even if the agency has a great reputation.

 

Over to you

There’s one key thing to remember when interviewing and hiring a digital marketing agency: you need to find an agency that fits.

Don’t just look at the results that they use in their marketing materials. Use these questions to dig deeper into the agency’s processes. Learn more about the techniques they use and how they’ll adapt them to your business.

Remember that you’re creating a partnership. You don’t want to partner with an agency that doesn’t understand your business or the challenges it presents.

Online Marketing Gurus fits the bill. We have the answers that you’re looking for to each of these questions.

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