So, you’ve decided to hire a digital marketing agency to help you boost your online presence, but you’re not sure what you should be expecting. Aside from ROI, of course!
The truth is that a digital marketing agency can mean a lot of things today. Some offer full digital services, others are specialized in a few services. And there are those who are ultra-specialized and offer a single service. Irrespective of how many services they offer, in order to meet your standards, they have to have a few qualities.
In fact, it turns out that only 52% of marketing executives are fairly satisfied with their agency and only 8% are very satisfied. If you want to beat the odds and make it to the top 8% that couldn’t ask more of their digital agency, look for these qualities before you make the hire.
7 Qualities to Look for in Your Digital Marketing Agency
There are countless agencies that offer social media marketing and management services, for instance. But if you contact them and ask what specifically they can do for you, you’ll get a stunning answer: “Post to your Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and others daily.”
OK, that’s great, but what will they post? Do they know what type of content your target audience needs to see on your social media profiles? Do they conduct any brand audit or do any research? Most often, they don’t. They just post something that looks cute or is trending and hope for the best.
This is wasted money.
You need a digital marketing agency that can run your social media profiles so that they bring in actual revenue. This entails a lot of research and constant monitoring.
Whenever we onboard a new client for social media marketing and management at Idunn, we start with thorough research. We always ask about business objectives so that we can align our social media strategy to them. If the client is a brand new company, we can always offer marketing strategy consulting services so they have a coherent roadmap. We never “go in blindly”. This is how we manage to bring actual ROI to our clients.
Yes, cats are cute and fluffy. They may bring your likes, but, unless you’re selling cat food, they won’t bring you any revenue.
Fair and Transparent Pricing
One of the most common things I’ve seen (especially in agencies who offer copywriting services) is a deceiving pricing structure. Clients are misled with extremely low fees (think as low as $20 for a blog post) only to find out that this is just ONE of the many fees.
You can then get charged if you want to upgrade to an “expert copywriter”. Project management fees or onboarding fees are also a common practice. Don’t get me wrong – I strongly believe that anyone should price their services as they see fit. For instance, charging project management or onboarding fees for large projects is perfectly justified. But it should also be clearly stated from the very beginning.
As far as offering different prices for different “levels” of copywriting goes, this is very often deceitful. For instance some agencies go as far as saying that their lowest-prices level will get you articles that “may contain grammar or spelling mistakes”.
Seriously? You hire a digital marketing agency to give you articles that are ridden with mistakes? In what world is this a fair deal?
When you hire an agency, you automatically expect them to be experienced professionals who don’t make mistakes a fifth grader wouldn’t do. Why would you pay for something you can’t use? Just so you can invest more time in editing and proofreading yourself?
Idunn’s copywriting services, for instance, come at a single level: top quality. I am personally involved in hiring every copywriter and making sure nothing short of perfect reaches the client’s inbox or website. That’s why a digital marketing agency has (or should have!) editors.
Excellent Communication Skills
Briefing, execution or evaluation are all critical stages in any marketing strategy implementation. Whether you plan to use a digital marketing agency for a single one of their services (like social media marketing) or for your entire online presence, your communication should be seamless.
And I’m not just talking about speedy answers. Your account manager should be a skilled communicator who knows how to get all the information the agency needs from you and how to keep you in the loop.
This is extremely important – especially in busy periods when you may not have enough time to read a lengthy email. Your account manager should know how to maintain focus and stay to the point instead of wasting your time.
There will also be times when your digital marketing agency will have to deliver reports or even bad news. Yes, it happens to the best of us – some campaigns simply don’t reach their goals. In such cases, you don’t want the agency representative to beat around the bush lest they lose your account. You want them to be straightforward so you can learn something from this failure.
Timely Deliveries – ALWAYS!
I remember that, when I used to be a freelance marketer and copywriter, most of my clients were astonished to see that I delivered what I promised on time. After the first few times I had to ask:
“Why did you expect the delivery to happen later than promised?”
Their response was invariably the same, irrespective of the size, the value or the niche of the project:
“Oh, no one really delivers on time.”
As a beginner freelancer, I was astonished. I had seen tons of freelancers (the ones I was competing with) who had hundreds of excellent reviews. I couldn’t understand how you can get an excellent review without delivering on time.
Despite learning that it’s apparently OK to deliver late, I made a trademark out of delivering on time no matter what. At Idunn, I maintained the same policy. In fact, it should be even easier for an agency to deliver on time. As a freelancer, you can get sick or have personal problems that need to be attended to without any delay. As a digital marketing agency, you are supposed to be able to cover for such events.
If your agency fails to deliver on time once, you can tell them you understand something came up. But be sure to add you expect timely delivery to be the norm and delays the exception.
An Understanding of Digital Trends
This one should be implied, but you’d be surprised by how many digital marketing agencies allow their staff to fall behind trends. In other words, if your digital marketing agency can’t tell you what the latest Google algorithm update was and what the changes it brought mean to your business, you should search for a new agency.
One of the main reasons for hiring an agency is having a team of experts in your corner. In a field like digital marketing, where things move incredibly fast, it is crucial that your agency understands its employees have to be perpetual students.
If they can’t keep up with trends in their field, how could they make you a trend-setter in your field?
A ROI-Oriented Attitude
Speaking of industry trends and Google updates, it’s no longer enough to throw some random keywords and surround them with low-quality copy. Similarly, a social media post that brings tons of likes doesn’t necessarily bring revenue, as well.
Your digital marketing agency should know all that and come up with ways to use your online presence to boost your revenue. In fact, they should be the ones to tell you what you need to do in order to get ROI from your investment in digital marketing.
I worked with a lot of clients who wanted to implement tactics they had seen in others. I made it my agency’s mission to caution them against spending money on ads on platforms their buyer personas never access or on copy that is not designed to convert.
For instance, a perfect blog post is not just a copywriting masterpiece, an article that flows well and has at least one pretty picture. A perfect blog post should determine readers to take a step forward in their buyer journey.
Is your campaign not performing as expected? No problem! Your awesome digital marketing agency has a back-up plan.http://idunn.pro/about/
Did you (or your agency) figure out that 4 blog posts per month are not enough for your lead generation goals? No problem! Your digital marketing agency has the means to create as many as you need without diminishing the quality.
These are just two examples of how your relationship with a good agency should be. Irrespective of the retainer you sign or of the verbal agreement you have, the staff of a digital marketing agency that’s worth this name understands that change is imminent and is ready to support you whenever you want more out of your strategy.
Yes, sudden changes may be hard on an agency’s business. I know I sometimes have a hard time accommodating extra work that comes without any prior warning or urgent requests from three different clients in the same day.
But these are all part of the digital marketing agency life! This is the career we chose and, yes, even part of what makes this life exciting and amazing.
Want to work with a digital marketing agency that has all these seven qualities and many others? You have come to the right place.