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How to Choose a Digital Marketing Agency

Wilson Lau

Sr. SEO Marketing Manager @ AdRoll

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Choosing a digital marketing agency to market your brand effectively can be crucial in creating a successful online presence. The right agency will help shape how your brand is seen and should provide your company with resources and guidance on effectively implementing your brand strategies. Read on to learn how to select an agency that will elevate your brand perception, boost brand awareness, and attract a stream of leads and loyal customers.

Why Use a Digital Marketing Agency?

Digital marketing agencies help leverage your company's online presence by employing marketing tactics such as email marketing and SEO optimization to generate interest in your brand. 

An agency will have the technologies, strategies, and talent to help you build trust with your audience and increase brand engagement. A quality agency will help you optimize your consumer experience by refining your focus and approach and adding value to your audience wherever possible. 

What Are the Benefits of an Agency vs In-house?

Because the digital marketing landscape is constantly changing, keeping up with the latest trends and best practices is a full-time job. Digital marketing agencies make it a priority to remain up-to-date on the details that most companies don't have time to learn about. The right agency will put the best strategies to work to build your brand's online presence, expand your reach, track campaign results and optimize approaches based on the data. 

To match an agency's talent, expertise, and power, a company would need to hire an entire department of employees. Leveraging an agency relationship is a smart move that saves significant time, money, and resources while helping your business grow extensively in a relatively short time.

At this point, you may be wondering how to choose a digital marketing agency that's right for you. If that's the case, keep your marketing goals in mind and read on.

What Services Should You Look for in an Agency?

To get started, outline your company goals and desired outcomes. Why are you looking for a digital marketing agency in the first place? Some examples of goals may be increasing brand awareness, creating social buzz, and optimizing your return on investment (ROI). Focusing on the drivers behind your search will help you learn how to choose the right digital marketing agency for the brand. The agency you choose should include the following services to provide you with a comprehensive strategy and competitive advantage.

Market research

Many digital marketing agencies will conduct market research and help you understand what the results mean for your strategy. To launch a successful brand, you need to know who you are targeting, where to communicate with them, and what messaging will work best. An agency will use the research results to help you segment your audience, develop custom personas, and build our marketing strategies tailored to each one. 

Marketing strategy

Designing a marketing strategy is the next step. The agency you choose to work with should coach you by creating a goal-oriented marketing strategy. Companies benefit from more than the research itself when working with an agency. Because agencies work with a wide range of clients, they are often tapped into findings from other companies and understand which strategies work for different industries. Many of the hard lessons that companies learn on their own can be avoided by using the expertise of a digital marketing agency. 

The strategy your agency proposes should include various aspects of marketing such as SEO, web optimization, advertising, content marketing, and data analytics. These and other ingredients make up a comprehensive marketing strategy that will help you reach your audience, propel them toward conversion, and continue nurturing them after purchase to build customer loyalty. Always ensure that your plan includes the financials to stay on budget and achieve your target ROI.

Omnichannel marketing execution

Any digital marketing agency worth its salt will understand the importance of omnichannel marketing and understand how to create an integrated consumer experience. A campaign may include: 

  • Valuable content that entices your audience

  • A conversion-focused landing page

  • On-page and off-page SEO

  • Social media posts and engagement

  • Email marketing

  • Online advertising 

A mastery of content creation is critical to your marketing success, so ensure that your selected agency demonstrates skills in this area. That includes visual and written content since written content with photos or videos performs better across social media, ads, and many websites. Your agency should also advise you on ways to leverage social media to boost engagement and build a relationship with your audience. For example, Instagram Live has become a go-to option for product demonstrations, customer testimonials, interviews with founders, partnership programs, and more. 

Data-driven analytics and technology

Finally, data-driven analytics is key when choosing a digital marketing agency. Data enables you to learn from your marketing activities and continue to refine them over time. That is how companies reduce costs, increase margins, and improve their return on investment (ROI). It is also how successful brands learn about their audience, which is crucial to product development and customer satisfaction. Quality, accurate data should guide business decisions and marketing strategies so your company can achieve stronger results. If any agency you consider does not have a data-focused approach to marketing, walk away.  

Alignment

Once the technical requirements are met, also look for a good match in personality and values. You want to hire an agency that cares about your brand, and depending on how specialized your field is, you may prefer a company with expertise in your industry. Proper alignment will help to strengthen your relationship and line you up for long-term success.

How Much Will It Cost?

Often, business owners experience sticker shock after receiving proposals from digital marketing agencies. However, when determining the true cost of the service, remember to break down what you are gaining and how much it would cost to perform those services in-house. Agencies tend to do the work of at least three employees for small companies. All things considered, the cost becomes much more reasonable and may even save time, money, and resources. 

Agencies range dramatically in size, expertise, and service offerings. While most business owners prioritize finding an agency that fits their budget, it's equally important to choose an agency that meets your expectations and will add value to your company. Rushing toward the most affordable company is a common mistake. Unfortunately, some business owners have found themselves paying more for lower-quality services simply because it took the "cheap" company ten times longer to complete a project compared to an expert agency with higher hourly rates.

To guide your hiring decision, consider what level of employees you would seek to fill this role. As a general principle, hire agencies that meet or exceed that threshold in terms of talent, expertise, and services. This will help ensure that you get the quality you expect and the value as well.

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