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March 05, 2020 // Jeff Harsh

How to Select the Best Digital Marketing Agency Partner

With the rise of digital in the marketing landscape, there has been rapid growth in digital marketing agencies. Digital agencies can offer a wide variety of services including;  website design and development, search engine marketing (pay-per-click, retargeting), search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, content creation, online lead generation, media campaigns, email marketing, and more.

Things to Consider When Evaluating Digital Marketing Agencies:

When selecting a digital agency partner, it’s about more than just the price tag. While price is always a key factor, you also must make sure that the partnership is going to be successful for everyone. Choosing a partner is a strategic business decision, and it can feel overwhelming. So, how do you know if the vendor you’re evaluating the best partner for your business?

Specialization

If you’re looking for assistance with paid search you need to focus on agencies that specialize in paid search. If you’re in the material handling industry, chances are you’ll want to focus on agencies with experience in the material handling industry. There are instances that working with generalists can bring value, but most of the time, those agencies that are able to demonstrate experience and expertise with tools, channels, industry insight, and audiences that matter to you should rise to the top of your list. This is probably the number one factor to consider when considering what to look for in a digital marketing agency.

Who Owns Your Digital Assets?

Agencies can talk a good story when trying to close a sale for a website or paid search campaign.  But they can lack transparency when it comes down to the bottom line of digital asset ownership. 

What are digital assets?  Your website, your Google ads or Microsoft ads account, images, blog content, and emails are all considered digital assets.  Does the vendor you’re currently using/considering discuss your ownership of these items at the end of a contract?  Do they offer transparency into the assets they’re managing for you?  Can you access your Google Ads account any time you want?  If not, it may be time to consider a new digital marketing vendor.

Tools

What tools is the agency using to execute? Are they capable of accomplishing your organization’s program goals? Are they using their own tools or are they able to and/or flexible enough to leverage tools your organization is using?

What Type of Experience Does the Agency Have?

Is the digital marketing vendor brand new to the digital scene? Do they have experience building websites or managing social media accounts?  Do they offer any testimonials about their service or allow you to talk to current customers for a referral?  If a digital agency won’t offer up any information into their experience, history, training or past/current clients, this should be a warning sign.  If you’re going to be spending money for an agency to manage your digital assets, make sure they are who they say there.

Being a digital partner lends credibility to the agency you are investigating. Is the agency a Google Paid Search partner?  In order to receive the partner badge from Google, that agency has met high standards and performed better than other accounts for a minimum of 12 months.  A HubSpot Gold partner has reached that level from managing a certain level of clients for an extended period and have maintained email marketing compliance for all of those accounts.

The Agency’s Own Online Presence

“Do as I say, not as I do…” is typically not ideal coming from an agency partner. If you’re looking for an expert in online marketing to assist with your needs, a quick tell in their ability is the agency’s own online presence. Keep an eye out for agencies with bad web sites, a low level of engagement in social platforms they claim expertise in. If they claim to be able to help increase search rank, some quick research on where their results are as an agency can provide great insight to their ability.

Fit

At the end of the day a good agency-client relationship is all about fit. Are you able to communicate openly? Do you trust they have your best interest in mind? Does the agency share similar company values with your organization? Look for an agency that clearly values their employees and that cultivates a creative, trusting work environment. That kind of culture will likely equate to a high level of service to you!

Finding, evaluating and choosing the right digital marketing agency can take time. However, finding the right partner to meet your needs and deliver the measurable results aligned with your business goals is worth the front-end time and thoroughness.

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