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How to Choose a Digital Marketing Agency

Choosing the right digital marketing agency can really help your business to get the necessary mileage, presence, and exposure on the Internet. This Buzzle article puts forth valuable pointers for your perusal.
Tip to choose a digital marketing agency
Advice
It is advisable that you get a local agency for the job which will be based near your business location. This will save you a lot of time and effort in traveling to the agency. Communication will also be quick and easy instead of giving instructions and adding confusion on phone or email.

In today's age of Internet, it has become crucial that you choose a competent digital marketing agency to leverage inbound marketing. It is important that you list down your goals and key result areas for the agency to work upon. You should shortlist a few good agencies and then call them over for a one-on-one consultation. Conduct a comparison of your marketing goals and budget, against the capabilities and offerings of the digital marketing agency. Only then will you be able to select an agency that will best suit your needs, and will result in lead generation. In most cases, you will look for hiring a firm to provide you social media marketing, SEO, SEM, mobile marketing, creating a blog, etc. As these agencies levy heavy charges, choosing a good digital marketing agency which will provide value for money becomes all the more important.

Get Recommendations
Firsthand information is any day better than relying only on the promotional content on the agency's website. Ask your friends and colleagues from a similar field for recommendations of digital marketing agencies. They will not only make you aware about the strengths of these agencies, but will also tell you about their weaknesses. You can also ask groups on LinkedIn for references of good agencies.

Experience
It is important that they have a considerable amount of experience in catering to the needs of your business. Look for the digital strategy they have implemented for a company that belongs to an industry similar to yours. For example, if you are a manufacturing company, hiring an agency with vast experience in FMCG will be of little use. Also, look at the quality of their work before finalizing the agency.

Capability of People
Ensure that your work is in capable hands. Look at the experience and qualifications of people in the firm. Ensure that they follow world-class procedures and have hired experts in a particular field to look after your work. If you find that the content expert is also heading the SEO and social media team, it should raise a red flag.

Cost
The charges of the service provided will become a crucial factor in deciding which agency will work best for you. You can hire a firm which will provide maximum services for a certain amount. In most cases, you will have to hire the agency on retainership basis and will have to give them retainer fees. Also, do not forget to ask for an itemized invoice for each service they provide. Decide how much fees they will charge for incorporating changes in the work. Try to negotiate the fees. However, remember that a low amount of fees will not guarantee quality work. So, even if a good agency is slightly costlier, go for it.

Up-to-date with Trends
Ensure that the agency you hire is abreast with the latest trends in the digital marketing industry and has the required expertise to incorporate them for you. Do some research on the relevant current trends and question them when they come for a one-on-one meeting. If they look clueless about the innovative trends or do not have substantial expertise in it, think once again about hiring them.

Offerings
Study the package of services the agencies are offering. Know what all they plan to cover. In most cases, they will provide the website design, online marketing, email and mobile web solutions, social media marketing, SEO, SEM, copy and content writing, etc. Try to hire an agency that will provide complete digital marketing solutions and will be a full-service provider. Understand how the agency plans to combine inbound and outbound marketing for maximizing the impact of marketing.

Study Their Marketing
One of the excellent ways to judge an agency is to actually check how they have implemented their marketing. Study their website, blog, and social media pages. Check if they have an impressive and user-friendly website. See how they engage with the followers on their social media pages, how frequently they post, and what kind of content they put up on their pages. Ensure that their blog is updated and has a considerable number of followers. See what are the creative strategies and innovative marketing tools they have employed for reaching out to their target audience through digital media.

Reputation of the Company
Try to find out about the reputation of the digital marketing firm you are going to hire. Do not hire someone who is relatively new in the business. Try to seek the help of seasoned and established players. You can also have a look at league tables to get a comparison of many digital marketing agencies. This will tell you about the general public opinion of the firm.

Measurable Return On Investment (ROI)
Hire an agency that understands that you are hiring them to get the best ROI. One of the wrong ways to judge this is by calculating the number of followers they will get you for your Facebook page, Twitter page, or blog. You must find an agency that will implement the use of digital marketing analytics to measure the response and keep a track on what is working and what is not. This will enable you to take corrective action ASAP and focus more on strategies that will help you maximize your ROI.

Realistic Implementation
While interviewing them, don't get overtly impressed by the elaborate Internet marketing strategies they put forward. Understand if it is practical for your product and whether you will be able to tap into your target market. Also, look at the cost factor. Remember to hire an agency that understands your goals and provides viable solutions that can be implemented practically to get results.

Portfolio
It is important that the people send you links to their previous campaigns or carry their online portfolio when they come to meet you. If they send over links of their work, you will be able to go through it and base your questions on them. It is important that the portfolio mentions the strategy, target market, implementation, the positive impact, and returns on the project. This will help you judge the agency in a better way.

Testimonials
Do not forget to read the testimonials written by the other clients of the agency. This will also help you to understand the quality of work and service they offer. However, in most cases, the agency will ask them to write testimonials. Hence, this won't be a vital yardstick to judge the agency, but it will certainly give you an idea about the level and type of clients they deal with.

Read Online Reviews
One of the most credible ways to know about the agency's standing in the market is to check their BBB rating. In most cases, an established agency will be registered on BBB and you will also be able to read any kind of complaints about them. Also, try to read the reviews of communication and marketing professionals who have worked with them. These reviews are often found on various professional discussion forums.

Ask Them the Right Questions
When you are interviewing the representatives from these firms, it is important that you ask them the right questions. Tell them about your digital marketing goals. Then ask them how they plan to increase the footfall, website traffic, leads, etc. Understand how they will go about implementing social media to garner the necessary publicity and target market engagement. Know how they will implement SEO for all your websites. Understand the kind of allied services they offer like copy writing, design, graphics, etc. Also, know about the turnaround time for work and incorporation of changes.

Try to visit their office so that you know that they have a facility in place which can support your digital marketing needs. Knowing how to hire the right digital marketing agency will help turn your Internet marketing into a profit-producing tool. Check the awards and accolades won by the agencies as that will speak a lot about their work. Try to test them by giving smaller assignments before making a yearly contract with them.
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Published: December 17, 2013
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