How many times has “learn how to market online” gone up and down your list of priorities? Are you still dreaming of that day where you have enough time to get it all done?
- Engage on social media and really learn how to use LinkedIn
- Write a blog post
- Dig into Google Analytics to understand keywords and conversions, or even just set it up
- Get those pictures taken, videos and presentations online and up on your website
You can spend hours thinking about it, but when can you really make it a priority?
Now that I’ve got your attention, let’s face the facts. Like the 80% of other companies in our survey, there’s barriers to handling digital marketing that keep getting in your way, i.e. lack of time, talent and resources. Yet, you know you need it to compete. Why? The alternative to overcoming these barriers is a lack of new leads through your business’s biggest sales pipeline: your web presence.
The solution: stop trying to do it yourself. Hire a digital marketing agency that has the skills, tools, time and resources to build and implement a strategy that will help you:
- Create content that gets people talking and sharing
- Bring your brand to life online in visuals and messages
- Understand what visitors do when they visit your site, what pages they read and what content they download
- Build a social community
So if you’re ready to take the leap into digital marketing, but need a digital marketing agency to take the lead, here’s six key factors to consider:
1. Are they strategic?
Sure, it’s easy to jump at the bright and shiny tactics, especially when everything is visual and moving at a fast pace. But you need an agency that will look at the bigger picture and dive into your business to uncover who your customer really is, what their pain points are and where they look for information. You want them to think about everything else you are doing to market your brand and how digital marketing can play an integrated role. We like to call this real-time marketing, where everything starts with a strategy and then follows a process that builds your brand across many touch points. The graphic on the right shows it best.
2. Do they practice what they preach?
If you’re looking to build and implement a digital marketing strategy for your own business, you’d better hope the agency you’re working with has done the same for itself. In fact, they should be digital guinea pigs, constantly testing new ways to build web presence. The best ideas can then be transferred to your business, once all the kinks have been worked out and the process is mastered. For example, if they’re telling you to be more visual because it will attract 94% more views to your content, challenge them to show you why. It should be based on their knowledge and success stories.
3. Are they consultants or just order takers?
You don’t want an agency that will just nod yes at all your recommendations. You want expert consultants with an objective perspective on how to drive leads to your business and build your web presence. Don’t take offense if they present a different, unexpected approach that may push you out of your comfort zone. If they are truly consultants, they will bring forth on-brand and innovative ideas that will help you meet your business objectives.
4. Is their approach collaborative?
Think of your agency as an extension of your in-house marketing and sales team. You should be sharing ideas and industry insights with them that will help your online initiatives be more successful. And on the flip side, so should they. It’s often the sharing of information that sparks the next best piece of content, a new way to reach your audience or a different approach to an upcoming event or tradeshow.
5. What’s their reputation?
Just like any partnership, you want to be sure the other half has a solid reputation. Check out their client success stories to see their track record for achieving results. Speak to their clients or partners to get the real deal on how they deliver, and monitor their website and social channels to see if their tone, messages and content will be a fit for your business.
6. How do they work?
This is where fit really comes into play. An agency that doesn’t fit your brand personality and is difficult to connect with can affect the success of the relationship, and ultimately, the success of your marketing campaigns. Make sure they are committed to transparency, accessible through different forms of communication, flexible to make things happen, and simply, a great group of people. Because sometimes how people get the work done is just as important as what they get done.
That sums up just some of the biggies to consider when searching for the right digital marketing agency. The reason: a successful client/agency relationship is more than an ordinary vendor relationship — it’s a partnership.