A lot of companies, big and small, are in need of a digital marketing agent.
It’s not surprising considering the benefits of having a digital presence. This can help grow your business exponentially.
Digital marketing is the ultimate arena for businesses looking to expand. It gives you the opportunity to tap into new markets and connect with your customers like never before.
Unfortunately, not everyone has the time or resources to do it themselves so they have to hire an agency to do it for them.
Digital marketing agents are becoming more common in the United States. It’s important to understand what makes them different from digital marketing agencies, and why you might choose one over the other for your business.
What is a digital marketing agent?
Digital marketing agents are often freelancers and consultants who specialize in certain areas of expertise – such as social media management or pay-per-click advertising – so if you need someone who can do all these things at once, then an agency might make more sense because they have access to different types of talent (like graphic designers).
A digital marketing agent is an individual who acts on behalf of your company. The agent can act as a freelance consultant or as a contractor for a marketing agency. Either way, the agent works for you and is paid by you.
A digital marketing agency, on the other hand, is usually a company that employs several people who work together to provide services to clients. These employees work for the agency and are paid by the agency, which means that when you hire an agency, you are essentially hiring their staff to do the work for you.
There are many pros and cons to hiring a digital marketing agent vs. a digital marketing agency, so it’s important to understand what you’re looking for and what your budget is before you choose either option. If you’re looking for very specific expertise and want more direct access to your consultant, then an agent might be right for you.
If you need multiple services like SEO (search engine optimization) content creation or web design for example, then an agency may be better suited to handle those tasks.
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Agents tend to cost less than agencies because they don’t have overhead expenses like salaries, benefits or office space (although some agents do work from home).
With that said, here are twelve steps to getting yourself a great digital marketing agent!
#1. Define your goals when choosing a Digital Marketing Agent.
First and foremost, the reason why you are hiring a digital marketing agent should be crystal clear.
If you have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish, you will be able to find an agency that is aligned with your goals. You can then measure their success by how well they help you achieve those goals.
There is no set guidelines on what you may want to accomplish by hiring a digital marketing agent or agency.
The goals may be –
- Generating leads and acquiring new customers.
- Retaining existing customers and building brand loyalty.
- Educating people about your brand and driving awareness.
- Driving organic traffic to your website.
- Driving traffic to your physical store if you have one.
- Increasing sales.
- Increasing revenue or profit.
- Increasing the number of transactions per customer or account.
#2. Know what you need? The difference between agencies and digital marketing consultants
Each has their own uses, benefits, pros and cons. Here’s how you know what’s best for you:
You’re looking for a one-off or short term project: Consultants are best for this, as digital marketing companies tend to be set up for long term retainer based relationships.
You want someone who will take a holistic approach and can manage your entire online presence in one place: Agencies have the benefit of having people with all sorts of specialties within the same company, so they can work together to provide a more integrated service. Consultants tend to specialize in either SEO copywriting or SEO coding, not both.
You already have a marketing team in place but need some extra expertise or advice on a specific project: A consultant will likely be best suited to this situation, as they’ll be able to come in and work alongside your team. Agencies might be too large and expensive for your needs.
You just want a basic SEO website review to see what needs changing on your site: Again, this is something that can easily be done by an SEO consultant without tying you into a long term contract with an agency.
In some cases, you can get consultants directly from agencies as well. For example, we at WinSavvy, are a startup consultancy helping businesses with a host of work, such as marketing, market research, MVP development as well as legal.
But of course, it is not one person doing all the work. We have separate professionals managing each niche, as well as specialists in several areas of digital marketing consultancy as well, such as a social media manager, a content writer etc. For businesses with specialist requirements, we can allow for our consultants with specializations in those niches to help out.
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#3. Choose a Digital Marketing Consultancy with a strong expertise in your industry.
A digital marketing agency that has a strong expertise in your industry is the one you should go for. But how do you find such consultancy? A little research is all that it takes to find a digital marketing agency with expertise in the concerned niche.
Here are some factors that can help you choose the right partner:
A. Industry Niche Knowledge
The first factor to consider is the expertise of the agency in your industry niche. In-depth knowledge of your business can be incredibly helpful in achieving results quickly and efficiently.
When you choose an agency that has experience in your industry and niche, they will be able to add more value to your business. They have gathered knowledge and have worked with similar businesses and brands, so they know the ins and outs of your industry.
B. Strategy And Planning
Strategy and planning must be on point for optimal results from any effort. Choose an agency that has a strong strategy and planning department to support their marketing efforts. The strategy must be relevant to your business goals and objectives for optimized results.
C. Past Experience And Portfolio
Check out past work experience and portfolio of a few agencies before choosing one for your business needs. Look at their case studies and try to connect with their existing clients to know more about their experience with the agency you are going to hire.
D. Team Skills And Experience
Team skills and experience play an important role in achieving success through digital marketing efforts. Agencies having a team of skilled professionals will be able to execute your marketing campaigns effectively.
E. Choose an agency who understands technology
It’s important that the agency that you partner with has a good understanding of technology, as well as its benefits and limitations. A good way to find that out is by asking the consultant or consultancy of the tools that they use for their business as well as their clients’.
F. Look at testimonials and reviews of past campaigns
A good way to find out if they are as good as they say they are is to look at previous work they have done. Most agencies will have testimonials and reviews on their website. You should also do some Google searching to see what third party websites say about them. If you see bad reviews, it might be a red flag or it might just be that one project didn’t go well.
Anyhow, checking out testimonials is important so as to ensure you are going ahead with a digital marketing agent who fits your needs.
#4. Consider the size of the Agency or the Digital Marketing Agent’s Team for that Matter.
The reason why you need to check for the digital marketing agent’s team size is important.
This is because there are some jobs that require more than one person in order to get done effectively and efficiently. For instance, if you’re looking for an online presence, social media presence, and content creation, then it will require;
1. A web developer – In order to get a better website design and increase user experience (UX), an experienced web developer must be involved. Though this may not be easy since finding an experienced web developer who understands how SEO works can be very difficult but there are individuals who wear both hats.
2. An SEO specialist,
3. A Social Media manager,
4. A content writer,
5. A conversion rate optimizer.
There are digital marketing experts who can do all of the above, for example – Neil Patel. But he is usually supported by a team, to whom he delegates most of the work to.
Another reason why the size of the digital marketing agent’s team is important is because you want to make sure that your project has their interest and attention. You want to make sure that they will not take on more projects than they can handle and leave yours in the dust.
#5. Don’t make ‘price’ your primary consideration.
Don’t make ‘price’ your primary consideration when hiring a digital marketing agent. Focusing on price can sabotage your marketing efforts or prevent you from getting the results that you wish for. Here’s why.
Staying away from the bottom feeders
First, you need to understand that there’s a wide range of competence in the field of digital marketing. There are some real bottom feeders out there who will take your money and deliver little or nothing in return.
Understand what you’re looking for
There are many different types of digital marketing agents and agencies, although most will have some form of expertise in more than one area. Don’t just go looking for a social media expert if you need someone that can address all aspects of your online presence. You’ll miss out on opportunities to improve other areas that could be holding your business back.
Have an idea of what the project might cost
If you have no idea what it costs to run a Google Ads campaign or how much time is involved in creating content, it’s going to be difficult to understand if an agent is being realistic or charging too much (or too little).
Price isn’t necessarily an indication of quality.
In fact, it’s sometimes the opposite. For example, some agencies will say they’ll perform X number of hours of work, but their actual hours worked might be significantly less than what they quoted — or their employees might be less experienced and effective than they should be.
A low-cost bid isn’t always the most affordable bid in the long run.
For example, if an agency quotes below-market rates, it might be because they’re going to cut corners somewhere else — such as by doing less work than was originally agreed upon or using outdated strategies that won’t yield results. A cheaper agency might also end up costing more in the long run because it takes longer to deliver the work.
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#6. Ensure that the digital marketing agents have a great website.
First impressions are everything right? So why would you not ensure that the digital marketing agents have a great website? It is basically their business card. A website that looks like it was built in 1999 is not going to be a good reflection on the client’s business and should make you question their abilities.
I also believe that if you are looking for a digital marketing agency from outside your local area, then this is even more important. The digital marketing agency should be seen as an extension of your own business. After all, they are selling your business online which can make or break your success. If people don’t like a website, they will click away and go to the next one. This is what the agent will do for you, so if their website is rubbish, how good are they going to be at yours?
So, what should you look for in the digital marketing agent’s website?
- A clean UI and UX.
- Fast website loading time.
- Methods to convert potential clients, such as pop-up forms, push notifications, free downloadables etc.
#7. Ensure that the Digital Marketing Agents have a Good Online Presence
If you’re trying to hire a digital marketing agent or consultancy, you should ensure that the ones you hire are willing and able to take care of their own marketing needs. If they don’t practice what they preach and allow themselves to slip down in the search results, how can you expect to trust them with your own online reputations?
Ensure that there are guest posts or podcast features from trusted sources written or participated by these consultancies. If you can’t find any, ask them if they have any guest posts or features in other websites in their niche.
Usually these guest posts and features do come up in search results too, and they can serve as evidence of the consultant’s expertise and knowledge about digital marketing. The more often these posts appear in search results, the more likely it is that they know their way around branding and the different aspects of digital marketing.
Also, if your work is geared more towards social media, check out the social media presence of the digital marketing consultant.
#8. Get referrals from fellow Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders.
If you’re looking for a digital marketing agency, chances are you will want one that is local to where you work. Most of the people we know that are looking for an agency to help them with their online marketing campaigns are interested in working with a local firm that they can meet up with face to face. So how do you find a good local digital marketing agency?
The first (and most obvious) place to start is referrals. If you know anyone who runs a business, ask them if they’ve used a marketing agency. Ask what type of service they received, and whether or not the experience was positive or negative. You can also contact your local Chamber of Commerce for recommendations.
Another option is to go online and search for local agencies in your area. This can be tricky because many digital marketing agencies don’t have websites; instead, they rely on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook to market themselves and advertise their services. You may have better luck searching for these types of agencies through search engines like Google or Bing.
One final option is to use LinkedIn as a resource for finding digital marketing agencies near you. LinkedIn has millions of members, so it’s likely that someone in your network knows at least one person who works at an agency near you.
However, a huge problem in hiring local agencies is that the talent gets severely limited. Plus, if you live in the US, UK, Singapore, Australia etc., talent is much more expensive than what you find in the developing countries like India and China!
In fact, in one of our surveys, we found a lot of businesses are outsourcing their digital marketing work and not opting for local.
#9. Check the References of the Digital Marketing Agents.
Before you make any final decisions, check the references of the digital marketing agency. It may feel like a strange thing to do, but talking with their past clients will help you get an understanding of their overall quality of work. These referrals can also help you understand how they have handled themselves in different situations and what they can bring to the table.
Some marketing agencies will have a list of referrals on their website, but others won’t. If you don’t see a list of references on their website, then you should ask them directly for a list before hiring them for anything.
You can also search online for reviews. This will give you an idea of whether or not the agency has a good reputation. You can also get in touch with people that have worked with the agency and ask them what they think about it.
#10. Make sure you can trust each other.
Make sure you look into the company’s history, their experience, and the services they offer. Also, take a look at the way they communicate with their clients and what kind of reputation they have in the field of digital marketing.
You don’t have to be an expert in digital marketing, but you must have confidence in your agency’s ability to deliver. This is where a meeting face-to-face can be so beneficial. If you feel comfortable with the people you’re dealing with then the likelihood of developing a strong working relationship is greater.
If you’re looking for a digital marketing agency for your business, then contact us today for a free consultation on how we can help you achieve your growth objectives.
#11. Narrow down your options to Digital-only Consultancies versus Marketing Agencies.
Narrow down your options to Digital-only Consultancies versus Marketing Agencies that provide both online as well as offline services. You might want to consider going with a digital-only consulting firm if you have an in-house team or department that can take care of traditional marketing activities.
The advantage of going with an agency is that their team will be familiar with both online and offline marketing methods and will be able to come up with an effective strategy for you.
A digital marketing agency has expertise in planning, executing, and optimizing online marketing campaigns. The agency you choose should be an expert in your business domain, target audience, and brand style.
For example, if your business is focused on B2B lead generation, then you need to look for a digital marketing agency that can help you with tactics such as email marketing funnel building, content marketing, and SEO.
If your business is focused on retail sales then you have to look for a digital marketing agency that can provide services such as SEO, PPC advertising campaign management and social media marketing.
It’s better to Narrow down your options to Digital-only Consultancies versus Marketing Agencies that provide both online as well as offline services.
If the company has experience in your industry then they will be able to create a customized strategy for your company rather than following a general approach. There are many Digital Marketing Agencies out there but you need to choose the one that best fits your needs.
#12. Ask what digital tools they use and how they plan to use them to benefit your business.
This one’s kind of only for individuals who know a bit of digital marketing themselves. The reason behind this is that it will help you analyze and understand how the tools used by your digital marketing consultant will help you grow your business.
However, if you are new to the digital marketing arena, I’d suggest skipping this step.
Wrapping it Up
You can find a great digital marketing agent by knowing what you want, taking your time and asking difficult questions that requires thought.
When you come right down to it, not all digital marketing agents are created equal. In the end, the best agent is only as good as his or her contacts, experience and knowledge of the world around them. So, don’t be afraid to take a few days to interview prospective agents before hiring.
Now, we do help brands grow their online presence and boost sales. So, if you need help with your digital marketing needs, book a free call with us and let us show you how we can help grow your business!