Hiring A Digital Marketing Agency? 7 Factors To Keep In Mind

A digital agency

A stellar track record — this undoubtedly occupies the top rung of your agenda when you realize you need a digital agency.

However, that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Figuring out which agency is the right fit for you is a whole new ball game.

Circling out the must-have criteria in a marketing agency can get hazy and time-consuming.

Even if you know you want your marketing activities to reflect soaring sales figures and impressive online traction.

Regardless of how clear-cut and realistic your marketing goals are, selecting 'the one' among the gazillions of marketing agencies out there jostling for space in your search engine results seldom happens at the snap of a finger.

More so when every digital agency you come across is trumpeting the juiciest promises and claims on amplifying your impressions, clicks, engagement, leads, and conversions — everything leading to substantial marketing ROI.

And you are experiencing a hard time figuring out which of these agencies is worth your time and investment.

Trust me. We have all been there.

But guess what?

Selecting the ideal marketing agency for your business does not have to drive you nuts anymore.

Not when you keep these eight parameters in mind when you kickstart your journey of getting a digital marketing agency on board.

Table Of Contents

1.Why Do I Need A Marketing Agency?

2. How Does The Digital Agency Track Performance?

3. Does The Marketing Agency Have A Solid Reputation In The Digital Marketing Landscape?

4. Is The Marketing Agency Familiar With My Business Industry?

5. How Does The Digital Agency Handle Communication With Clients?

6. Task Before Hiring Marketing Agency Who Is My Target Audience?

7. How Does The Digital Agency Charge For Its Services?

    Wrapping Up

1.Why Do I Need A Marketing Agency?

Pictorial representation of business goals and marketing objectives walking hand-in-hand in the road towards digital marketing success

Launching your startup? Hiring an employee? Putting out a new product in the market?

Whatever it may be.

Before stepping into anything, the 'why' part is always the starting point.

Choosing a marketing agency follows the same route.

It might seem simple at first glance.

After all, what more could you want marketing to do than scale up your revenue and make your brand a household name?

But like it or not — marketing is a field with many sides that shape it.

Getting down to the ABCs of the 'why' part — your business and marketing goals should coincide.

So before you start jotting down your marketing goals, dive deep into your short-term and long-term business goals.

It could be anything — increasing your product pricing by 4 % over the next two months, entering a new market, setting up a corporate sponsorship program, or launching two new products in the market in the next eight months.

Once you get done doing this, you can strategically pick the marketing goals that have the potential to hit the bullseye for your overarching business goals.

The cherry on the cake is this —  the outcomes you want your marketing activities to stimulate will rip apart the generic binary of clicks and profits.

With, let's say, improving the brand image, giving a sharp nudge to lead generation, drawing in new customers, increasing market share, or ramping up the authority and engagement of your brand on user-generated content platforms.

Ultimately, you will now be able to base your expectations from a digital agency on the marketing goals you have mapped out within the canvas of your business goals.

And narrow down your choices to the ones that cater to them in the most time-bound, feasible, and strategic way.

It will also come in handy while negotiating a contract with the marketing agency you are set to hire by forming SMART goals and laying the ground for a well-defined client-agency relationship.

2. How Does The Digital Agency Track Performance?

Metrics, KPIs', and timelines of success: Must-have requirements in a digital marketing agency

Website traffic, leads, conversions, brand-building, guaranteed ROI — these are things you have heard a million times from all the marketing agencies striving to make you sign on the dotted line.

No doubt, they are indicators of optimal marketing success any digital agency should be talking about.

But sometimes, the claims made might come off as "too good to be true" — whether it manifests as a full-blown awareness or a slight hint of a feeling.

That is when you need to take a step back and pause.

Promises of grand and massive outcomes in an unrealistically small timeframe. And to top it all, a clearly-defined strategy to get there seems to be missing.

Nothing better than this sounds like the perfect scenario for the alarm bells to start ringing.

Even the newest entrant into the business world knows a thing or two about marketing — it takes time, planning, research, strategy, and creativity.

Not to forget, a solid mechanism to monitor and analyze the performance and outcome of every marketing activity — on both broad and granular levels.

So when you are out there looking for a marketing agency that will push your bottom line and brand goals to the next level, don't just select anything that comes your way.

The right digital agency will leverage a broad range of tools to measure marketing metrics, KPIs' and project timelines — positioning them on the same plane as the marketing strategies it implements and the output delivered.

It will go a long way in generating data-driven insights on the marketing activities and campaigns contributing to your marketing ROI — and those backfiring on your time and resources.

At the end of it all — efficient communication between you and your agency concerning goal-setting and the deadlines for accomplishing them will be possible.

3. Does The Marketing Agency Have A Solid Reputation In The Digital Marketing Landscape?

A picture showing the factors indicating the reputation of a digital marketing agency

The gulf demarcating digital agencies with well-established names in the industry and run-off-the-mill ones stretches miles together.

And the distinction isn't even hard to notice.

A simple way is to look into the client testimonials and awards won by the marketing agency.

Because let's face it — plenty of awards and recognitions are doled out to agencies each year.

Ultimately landing on their websites, social media, and every other digital platform they are present in — for prospects and clients to see for themselves.

Client testimonials provide a good sneak peek at what the marketing agency's past clientele has to say about its marketing performance and output quality.

But here's the thing — taking them with a pinch of salt is necessary.

The reason is simple.

Testimonials can be fake — sometimes, it is hard to tell a genuine client testimonial from one that is not.

A way to get around this hassle is by asking the agency for a portfolio of their work and projects executed — the ones worth a shot will always have this handy to back up their assertions of top-notch performance and expertise.

4. Is The Marketing Agency Familiar With My Business Industry?

A pictorial representation of the importance of industry experience while selecting a digital marketing agency

Marketing tools and techniques fit into the scope of every industry.

Suppose you want a marketing agency to come in and get your SEO done — all agencies specializing in SEO services will do, regardless of your business's niche.

The same goes for PPC, content marketing, search engine marketing, email marketing, website design and development.

But here's the thing.

It still does not make the benefit of roping in agencies with considerable experience in executing marketing activities to businesses falling within your industry any lesser.

Multiple agencies cater to the sector your business belongs to — even if the target segment is not pinpointedly precise to your industry.

You might be a B2B company selling HR software solutions.

You may not find a digital agency with a client base exclusively focused on this field.

Yet, in this case, a B2B digital marketing agency rather than a B2C or social media agency would demonstrate optimal forte regarding the marketing strategies that work well within your business sector.

If you are a pharmaceutical company, a marketing agency with considerable expertise carrying out campaigns for businesses in this area would be your best catch.

Again — getting this aspect checked off your list by asking the agency for a track record or portfolio of the work delivered is good practice.

5. How Does The Digital Agency Handle Communication With Clients?

An illustration of the communication tools used by marketing agencies

Every agency has its system for streamlining communication and collaboration with clients.

If you are wondering what makes an agency ace this factor, here it goes — setting clear expectations about every element of your partnership, from marketing goals to project timelines from when you and the agency strike a deal.

A credible digital agency will straighten out project deliverables, turnaround time, and point of contact in case of emergencies and unavailability of any team member.

Usually, marketing agencies leverage project management tools to open up channels for feedback, updates, reports, and periodic client meetings.

That's to ensure that the client and agency keep track of the implemented campaigns and strategies together and that both parties are consistently on the same page throughout the partnership.

What's that one red flag you need to look out for?

It's when communication frequency and channels are far from definite and stable — with swiftness in marketing ROI outcome being the single point of focus during the contract-signing stage with an agency.

6. Task Before Hiring A Marketing Agency Who Is My Target Audience?

A depiction of the importance of knowing target audience before hiring a digital agency

Whether it comes to crafting landing pages that boost CTR, high-quality blog posts, or social media campaigns — nothing in marketing escapes the initial move of knowing your target audience.

But this isn't solely reserved for getting your marketing fundamentals right.

You might be holding the reins to your startup or even a full-fledged business, for that matter.

And even then, knowing who your products and services cater to is the spine that holds every single operation of your business upright.

Before you knock on the doors of a marketing agency, you should be aware of who your target audience is like the back of your hand — if not, at least a general idea of the age range, profession, and gender will do.

It sets a productive direction for initial communication with prospective agencies — regarding marketing efforts that will be needed to spark desired action from the target audience.

This way, you can weigh the scales greater on agencies with extensive experience crafting campaigns and strategies for your target segment — avoiding the entire cycle of hunting down a suitable marketing agency from being all over the place.

7. How Does The Digital Agency Charge For Its Services?

An illustration of the common pricing models adopted by digital marketing agencies

When looking for a marketing agency, you want it to ramp up your website traffic, leads, conversions, sales, and overall marketing ROI — that's pretty much a no-brainer.

But there is something you cannot afford to skip while you are at it — keeping an eye on your budget.

No two agencies follow the same pricing system for their offered digital marketing services.

While hourly pricing is the most common structure adopted by a digital agency, there are performance-based, project-based, value-based, and retainer-based models to look into.

An hour-based model is ideal if hiring an agency is a new step for your business.

A performance-based model works when you are roping in a reputed agency that will charge you a portion of your sales once they have pulled off a marketing project for you successfully.

Maybe you want to assign your digital agency a specific task like on-page SEO to test the waters before considering it to take on a broader range of marketing activities for your business — project-based pricing will do the trick, then.

Value-based and retainer-based models are suitable when your business has scaled, and it is viable for you to allocate a sizeable chunk of the budget to full-stack marketing activities for diverse media and platforms.

The prices digital agencies charge has to do also with the size of your business, the range of services required, and the timeframe and scale of your marketing project.

While negotiating the price with a digital agency, keep two things in mind.

One, optimize the agency costs according to your budget feasibility — after all, you are roping in a marketing agency to add value to your revenue flow rather than draining it.

Two, insist on a breakdown of the cost of every service and overhead expenses — this needs to be laid down by the agency you hire.

It will help you keep fishy charges at bay — which do not account for any output in your marketing ROI but are nonetheless adding extra burden on your resources.

Wrapping Up

Choosing a digital agency should never be right off the bat.

Getting an agency on board typically comes into the picture when the sales cycle has passed through the jumpstarting phase — without contributing to the conversion rates and customer acquisition.

Let laxity pour into your priority for marketing — and this will filter out of the sieve a massive chunk of your bottom line goals and brand-building.

Something you could have bagged if you positioned your marketing, sales, and business objectives on the same field from day one.

Hiring an in-house marketing team sounds like a sustainable fix in such a scenario.

All said and done — you could secure the services of an agency for a quarter of the expenses of hiring an in-house team.

Add salaries, benefits, training time and costs into the mix — phew! It undoubtedly seems like taking a lot upon yourself.

Especially when your business is still striving to gain a foothold in the market and workflow in every department requires optimal attention, strategy, and resource allocation simultaneously.

A roadmap summing up the factors necessary to consider while hiring a digital marketing agency

But there are times agencies crawl inside their loopholes.

Want to know how? Check this out — Reasons why marketing agencies fail to grow.

However, let's not dive into a full-fledged in-house team versus agency debate yet.

Because hiring the first marketing agency you stumble upon is not going to do wonders for your business's marketing ROI and overall revenue generation either.

Are you geared towards an all-in-one solution to upscale your marketing activities without walking through the outsourcing, in-house team hiring or agency route?

With the AI-powered storytelling platform Creatosaurus, pour efficiency into your marketing from ideation to the distribution stage — all by yourself.

Note : This blog post was originally published on August 29, 2022 and has been updated on April 04, 2023 for comprehensiveness.