It’s difficult to go at it alone. That’s as true of marketing as it is of life in general.
You need marketing professionals that can help you achieve your business goals and reach more customers. Let’s say you’ve already decided to hire a marketing agency over an in-house team, and now you’re looking around for options and wondering: “What’s the best digital marketing agency near me?”
But what makes an agency the best? Even more important, what makes an agency the right one for you? Here are 10 tips to help you get started on finding the right agency for your business.
1. Know Your Business
Before you look outwards, take a hard look at your own business. Both you and the agency you eventually hire need as complete a picture as possible.
Know your history, your target market, and your competitors. Create lists of general and marketing-specific strengths and weaknesses. Refine your vision of the future.
2. Determine Your Goals
What does success look like? Any strong marketing strategy will need focus and direction. Are you looking to increase leads, conversions, or brand awareness? You should figure out what matters most.
Think both short-term and long-term. Some goals take time to accomplish. For example: The effect of search engine optimization (SEO) is cumulative, but it takes longer than paid search ads. On the other hand, search ads only run for the duration of the campaign while quality website content will continue to attract visitors.
Are you looking to expand into new markets or dominate a local niche? Do you want to position yourself for industry developments you see coming down the line? The more precise you are, the better your marketing agency will be able to help you accomplish those goals.
Having strong answers doesn’t mean closing yourself off to new ideas. An agency may review your goals and identify unforeseen possibilities and compatible objectives. Take advantage of their fresh perspective and expertise.
3. Set Your Budget
First of all, never trust an agency that pretends money is no object or who fails to produce full, clear pricing information. Know how much money you’re willing to spend and what returns you expect on that investment.
You might also want to set a time budget. One of the benefits of hiring a marketing agency is that they can save you time and money. They can accomplish more with less, using expertise and resources you don’t have. Know exactly how much time you have to dedicate to marketing collaboration. When you meet with prospective firms, ask about the time commitment they imagine on your end.
4. Narrow Your Target
You’ve already decided to choose digital marketing versus traditional marketing. But what kind of digital marketing would best serve your needs?
Most people benefit from a full-service digital marketing firm such as Redstitch. However, some businesses have more specialized needs. If you’re looking for an agency to run an influencer campaign, then you’ll want a top social media marketing firm that specializes in those technologies and connections.
All of the following are part of the general category “digital marketing”:
- Content marketing
- Email marketing
- Paid search and display advertising
- Social media marketing
- Website creation
Redstitch offers a multi-channel platform and service but prioritizes high-quality websites and the SEO strategies and paid ads that bring leads there. This focus maximizes conversion. SEO leads are eight times more likely to convert to paying customers than traditional marketing leads.
5. Research Your Options
Once you know what you want, it’s time to research your options. Many small businesses find that the advantages of a local firm such as area expertise help them meet their goals more efficiently. If this is you, you’ll want to search online for “marketing firms near me.”
Make a list of your top choices and visit each of their websites. Their digital marketing efforts should have the professional polish you’ll expect them to provide you. Look around their website to get a feel for the firm. Pay particular attention to previous work, technologies employed, and their marketing approach.
At this point, you should be able to identify one or two worth a closer look and maybe even a conversation.
6. Ask Lots of Questions
Keep a list of questions nearby during your initial conversation. It’s easy to forget something at the moment.
Here are a few questions to ask a marketing firm:
- Do you specialize in a certain demographic or audience?
- What should I expect the first three months to look like? How about the first year?
- What types of businesses and industries have you worked with before?
- What will you need during the course of operations?
- What will you require from me before you get to work on my behalf?
The answers to these are important. Moreover, you should get a sense of personality and fit from the conversation itself. These people will need to crawl inside your business. Do you trust them to represent you well?
7. Request Case Studies and References
If a firm is cagey about offering up case studies and references, it’s a very bad sign. They should expect you to ask for proof of previous successes.
Depending on what kind of firm you need, you may want to see specialized material. Do you want to see content calendars, SEO numbers, email templates, etc.? While companies need to protect a client’s sensitive information, this shouldn’t interfere with their ability to provide overviews and sample products.
8. Discuss Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Reporting Practices
Ask what marketing KPIs they track, how they report this information to their clients, and how frequently the client can expect updates. Some digital firms may even give you access to a dashboard with the latest updates.
It’s also a good idea to ask what KPIs they prioritize. What do they consider most important, and does it match your investments?
There’s a good chance you’ll need to incorporate their data into your own sets, and you should make sure that their tools and data will integrate with yours. You don’t want to be forced to compile several different sources manually.
9. Establish Open Channels of Communication
In addition to feeling out an agency, an initial conversation can set the stage for a future working dynamic. Get comfortable asking them questions and ensure you have all the contact information you need.
Some additional questions to ask:
- Who should I contact regarding questions or emergent issues?
- What’s the expected turnaround time for different forms of communication?
- Who can I expect to hear from, and what will they need from me?
10. Insist on Honesty and Transparency
There is no magic formula. There are only proven practices and hard work. If something sounds unbelievable, check into it.
Make it clear that you demand transparency about all actions relating to your account. Inflated numbers won’t help you.
Don’t be afraid to ask about the agency’s weaknesses as well as strengths. No one can be equally good at all things. And model the honesty you expect from them in your answers about shortcomings, failures, and areas of confusion.
Pick the Best Digital Marketing Agency for You
When you’ve done you’re homework and vetted your top choice, you can say with confidence, “I’ve found the best digital marketing agency near me.” Move forward with confidence in this new partnership.
At Redstitch, we focus on conversion-driven tactics tailored to your brand by our experts and proprietary AI technology. We believe in our methods. They work for individuals as well as on a global scale.
But we’ll also tell you if we believe that your specific goals would be better served by someone else. Contact us today, and let’s talk about how to take your marketing to the next level.