October 18, 2021

Deciding that your brand needs to engage with and pursue digital marketing is easy. In fact, that is a no-brainer.

The difficult part is how are you going to select the right digital marketing agency to help you.

In the last few years, businesses of all shapes, sizes, and scale have started exploring digital marketing.

Why wouldn’t they?

With consumers shifting to online platforms, brands need to find meaningful ways of reaching, communicating, and making sales!

In this regard, strategies like building websites, doing SEO, opting for social media marketing have become commonplace.

However, the important thing to note is that the efficacy of these digital marketing strategies squarely depends on the kind of agency you hire.

In this article, we help brands by offering a 10 Step Guide on choosing the right digital marketing agency.

If you are a business owner or marketing head, looking to hire a new digital marketing agency, this article is for you.

10 Steps to Help you Select the Right Digital Marketing Agency

Step 1: Understand the Nature of your Business and Set Expectations

The first step is not to start researching digital marketing agencies. Rather, it is to understand the exact nature of your business and what you are after. Businesses have different expectations from online marketing.

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Black-Owned marketing agencies might be the correct fit for black-operated businesses as it helps them understand the nature of the organization. This is why businesses need to first look at themselves and then search out to find a partner on their journey.

Step 2: Decide on your Goals and Objectives from Digital Marketing

If you are a business that is just starting out, you need an agency that specializes in spreading awareness and establishing recognition. On the other hand, if you already have a sound base and are looking at aggressive sales, you need a performance marketing agency.

This is why businesses need to first decide on their goals from digital marketing. These goals will keep changing, but you need to complement the same with a sound strategy and digital marketing agency.

Step 3: Ask around for Referrals and Recommendations for Agencies

Contacting the first digital marketing agency that you find on Google search is not enough. It just means that the agency that pops up in the first position is doing great SEO! It is better that you start asking colleagues and friends first.

Get to know what kind of agencies they are working with, what is the experience like, and the budgets. When you have the names of at least five agencies, you can start the serious process of researching them individually.

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Step 4: Start the Shortlisting Process after Physical References and Google Search

You cannot contact the first agency you come across. This step needs to be preceded by your individual online research. Check the website and social media pages of the agency. See whether they have an active blog section.

Also, check for the metrics of their website. You need to ensure that the agency takes its brand website and social media presence seriously. If they are not doing that for themselves, how can you guarantee they will do that for you.

Step 5: Have Face-To-Face Meetings and Interviews with Prospective Agencies

Once you have been able to shortlist at least five agencies, you need to invest time and energy in meeting them. Make sure that you have face-to-face meetings to know more about the agency and its professionals.

You would be meeting the Business Development heads, marketing professionals, and maybe the CEO. Make sure to speak to the Creative Head, Copy Lead, and SEO Manager. These are the real people who would be looking after your account.

Step 6: Check for Credentials and Experience in your Business Niche

A digital marketing agency that was brilliant for your friend who runs an Ecommerce store, might not be the best fit for your B2B business. That is a fact you need to take into consideration.

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Ask the agency whether they have experience in providing services to businesses in your industry niche. If they do, you know that they are aware of the challenges and pressures. You can also ask the agency for sharing past client details and recommendations.

Step 7: Request the Agency for a pitch deck (Pitch Presentation and make it a paid affair)

The best agencies are excellent at winning clients after showing them a visual presentation of their prospective strategies, future, and goals. This requires a lot of work on the agency’s front. Make sure that you are compensating them.

Look for how well a particular agency understands your brand. Once you see that they have put in the work on both the creative and technical fronts, rank the pitches in order. This will help you majorly with your final agency selection.

Step 8: Talk to the Real Professionals who will be working on your account

Every agency has a team of copywriters, designers, developers, and SEO experts. Depending on the nature of your digital marketing engagement make sure you speak to the team. This is because that the pitch might have been created by the Creative Director.

He will not be handling the day-to-day affairs on your account. You need to speak with the professionals who will. Make an assessment of their understanding and see whether that will be able to deliver.

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Step 9: Negotiate the Budgets, Fee Structure, and Commissions with the Agency

At the end of the day, you will only be able to work with an agency if it suits your budget. More importantly, you need to assess whether you will be able to get the desired ROIs from your engagement.

A general thumb of rule should be not going with agencies that submit the cheapest quotations. This simply shows the value and quality of work you will be receiving. While you should not go for the most expensive ones, decide on an average and proceed with that.

Step 10: Decide on the Terms of the Engagement and ay of working on the account

While this is the last step, it is by no means the least important. Once you have finalized the agreement, you need to set up the terms of how you are going to work. This means communicating with the Account Manager from the agency.

You also need someone that will handle digital marketing engagements from your end. This also includes deciding on the creative process, report sharing timelines, and other to and fro communications. This is very important as it will determine the success of your efforts.

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The Final Word

With so many digital marketing agencies in the industry, choosing the right one can be an overwhelming affair. By following the points mentioned in the article, you can ensure that you select an agency that suits your businesses’ purpose, expectations, and budgets. If you have any questions or doubts, you would like us to clarify, please let us know in the comments below.

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