10 great questions to ask when hiring a digital marketing agency
When you hire a digital marketing agency, you enter a business relationship. It should be a mutually beneficial partnership that lasts for years to come. After all, if you’re going to invest time and budget towards an agency, you want to make the most of those valuable resources and get that return on investment that you are looking for.
As a client, you need to communicate your needs openly and clearly. You need to be responsive to feedback. You have to trust your agency enough to let them seek out opportunities to build your brand, and when they do, be able to let them know what you think.
To help you choose a digital marketing agency, we’ve compiled a list of 10 fundamental questions you should ask before entering a partnership. These questions have been drawn from the questions that are most frequently asked by people when they are looking to establish a relationship with us as their go-to digital marketing agency. Straight from the horse’s mouth as they say!
1. What size is your agency and how long have you been in business?
Bigger isn’t necessarily better. It all depends on how a digital marketing agency is structured organisationally and what resources it has available to it. Large agencies may look great but don’t have capacity to attend to your needs as they may prefer to prioritize other clients. With a smaller agency, they can provide this focus and also a more personable touch.
Reflect on what your primary goals and requirements are and if they align with what the agency can offer. This can only be ascertained by asking them what capacity they have, the resources they have available, and who will be looking after your projects specifically.
Having a look at how long an agency has been in business can also be a partial reflection of their success and reliability. Also ask the question ‘is a digital marketing agency near me’. The digital landscape is constantly changing and so agencies are constantly changing with it. An agency that stays on top of digital trends is one that survives, so if it has been around for a while, that likely means that it is flexible enough to adapt and evolve, all the while implementing the latest trends for its clients.
2. Who will manage my account and who will do the work?
This is a pretty important question to ask, and one that shouldn’t be left out when exploring an agency partnership. You need to have certainty from both sides on who will be responsible for you as a client, and who will actually be doing the work.
This way you will know who to go to for queries and progress, which will bring accountability and transparency to the relationship. This helps both you and the agency, as you have clarity as the client on how the work is going and how your money is being spent, and for the agency they have internal accountability and oversight with their account manager who is looking after your particular account.
You don’t want to be in the position of having been pitched to by one person from the digital marketing agency only to find out after signing a contract that you will be working with someone else that you have never met before. You cannot vouch for them and so that makes things difficult from the start.
Request specific names of people who will be assigned to your account. Check them out on LinkedIn to see if their experience suits what you are looking for. If you want to be the best, you need to hire the best!
3. How will you measure progress when you are hiring a digital marketing agency
This is a great question, and one that will remove any confusion on what has actually been achieved. Marketing is very data driven, so there can be no excuse from the agency in providing concrete data.
When asking for recommendations on changes to your calls-to-action buttons or website landing page, the digital marketing agency should be able to support their recommendations with data, and also support their claims of how well the new landing page is doing that they’ve created for you. Ask them for reports on visitor numbers to your landing page and what actions they took while on it. A high bounce rate (people taking no action on the page and leaving within a second) probably means that the landing page isn’t effective. Keep this in mind when developing your questions to ask.
Along with this, ask questions on benchmarks, metrics, and analytics. Also ask about what adjustments can be made if data shows that a campaign is not working.
4. What marketing tactics do you specialise in?
Digital marketing includes a mix of things. It’s not just one channel that you want to focus on, such as Facebook for example. Ultimately you will want multiple channels to act as touchpoints for prospective customers, which will in turn create an effective cross-channel marketing strategy.
When hiring a digital marketing agency, you may have specific goals that you want to achieve, such as lead generation, pay-per-click ads, or search engine optimization (SEO). It could be a mix of these areas together. What’s great about agencies is that they should be able to address each of these areas and develop a multi-channel approach for you.
Research the digital marketing agency’s website and see what services they specialize in. This will help inform you on if they can help you achieve your goals. Follow this up by asking them directly on a call about the services they specialize in, who by name looks after those services in their teams, and what project examples they have to show for it. You want to make sure they are not just simply paying lip service on their website but actually are in fact creating these tactics regularly for clients.
5. Do you have experience in my industry?
Digital marketing agencies will highlight as aforementioned that they specialize in a variety of areas, for example SEO, web design, and video production and can address all of these to meet your marketing needs.
Query the skills of the people working at the agency, and who looks after what. Ask for project examples from previous clients when hiring a digital marketing agency. These should be displayed on the agency’s website, and if they are not, this could be a red flag. It’s also better if there is customer led testimonials that explain from the customer side how the agency met their goals. This is far more valuable content than that produced from the agency’s perspective.
If you see on the website brand names that the agency says it has worked with before, then don’t be afraid to reach out directly to that brand to find out what their experience was from working with the agency.
6. What software tools do you invest in?
A digital marketing agency uses a variety of tools to help you achieve your goals. This involves buying media content, analyzing data, managing projects, posting to social media, and so on. These marketing tools run into the multitudes and are constantly changing in what is a competitive and growing space. Digital marketing tools can help you monitor progress, identify who your competitors are, what your competitors ads strategy is, spot gaps in the market and more.
This isn’t important to you necessarily, as you are looking to find out if the agency is committed to investing in the best in class of digital tools, as this will have a direct impact on the success of your project.
Asking this question will give you an overview of these tools so you can do some research them and see if there is any online reviews on these applications.
7. How do you report on work done?
Key to this question is finding out if the digital marketing agency is able to explain whether status and budget reports come in the form of weekly reports, personalized emails, automated emails, or real-time dashboards.
It’s also important that you have specific time to talk through these reports during client meetings. Everything can be tracked, measured, and analyzed now with the leaps in digital tools, so you should receive this data in your reports.
You can request sample reporting or access to a reporting portal – if the agency has one – to see how it looks and if it’s something that will work for you. Having access to this will ensure transparency and robust, accurate reporting.
8. How does your team collaborate with one another?
Asking the digital marketing agency how their teams share information and create strategies for each client is a great way to get a key insight into how they work.
Digital marketing agencies will usually have different departments to handle different areas, such as SEO, social media, website design, app development etc.
If you are getting work done in multiple departments, you will need a strategy to ensure this workflow is fluid and meets your business needs.
Ask how they plan to share information and the strategies behind this for clients. If each team is working in harmony with one another, it will go a long way to achieving your goals. It will also ensure they are achieved in an agreed time frame instead of one area being pushed harder than another.
9. What is your process for working with my team?
When you are hiring a digital marketing agency, you may notice that marketing teams are often comprised of people with different specialities. For example, one person will specialise in website development while another will have a focus on social media management. If you want to work on one particular area, then you will most likely work directly with the website developer who may act as your account manager.
On the other hand, you may want to get a range of work done with the agency, such as improving your SEO, creating video, or developing Facebook and Instagram ads. This will mean that you may likely have interactions with multiple people but through one key account manager who will direct this traffic so as to simplify the workflow and stay on top of progress. At Glassfull Media, we assign a key account manager to our clients. This key account manager will look after all of the various projects that our clients want to achieve, and communicate the needs, requirements and projects of each of these projects. Clients who have multiple projects may communicate with multiple Glassfull Media team members.
You may want weekly check-ins with your marketing agency and deliverables sent over when they’re ready, or you may prefer monthly meetings and deliverables sent over every month by email. This is a good habit to establish when you’re just hiring a digital marketing agency.
10. What is the cost?
This is a great time to get a feel for budget and how far that will go towards achieving what you want from this partnership. You might not know what your budget actually is but you do know what areas you want to focus on (e.g. website design, social media content) so the agency should be able to provide their rate card on various packages available. View our online shop.
If you do know your budget and what you want done, then talk with the agency on this combination and what can be achieved with your budget.
Getting a breakdown of each project and the key deliverables will help give you an overview of the cost and whether it is a good return on investment. Remember, low costs don’t necessarily mean better. Ask for previous projects that the agency has completed in the area you are interested in improving, for example the last website they worked on creating.
If you’d like to get started on hiring a digital marketing agency and get these questions answered, then speak to us now by booking in a free consultation here.