Hi and welcome to our video. My name’s Martin and I’m the founder of Blue Thirst.

Today we want to give you some advice on hiring the right digital marketing agency for your business. There are lots of digital marketing agencies out there. They offer different packages, different prices, and lots of promises. It can be hard to tell the good from the bad. So, we’re here to help.

What do you need?

The first question you need to ask yourself, is what service do you need? What digital marketing activities do you want for your business?

Digital marketing encompasses everything from SEO to Social Media Management. You need an agency that specialises in exactly what you want for your business.

If you want to improve the quality of your website and your organic rankings, then you need a specialist SEO agency. If you’re looking to run paid ads on search engines such as Google and Bing, you need a PPC agency. If you want to dominate social media ads or have a killer organic social media strategy, then you should hire a Social Media Agency.

If you’re sitting there thinking you want all of the above, then you need a full-service digital marketing agency. Most agencies offer all of the services mentioned, but they tend to be more specialist in a single area. You also need to remember that the more services you want, the higher the cost is going to be. It’s important to examine your budgets and where you think you’ll see the most profitability.

What are they promising?

Once you know what services you’re looking for. You need to examine what these agencies are promising you.

If they’re promising you the world, I’d be wary. If their case studies look a little too good to be true, you could try reaching out to some of their clients. Whether they are past or present clients, they should be able to give you a good testimonial of their experience. This isn’t necessarily something that would work with huge clients, but it’s definitely worth a try.

You could also reach out to the agencies directly at this point. Let them know you’re looking for an agency and start to ask questions about their processes and how they produced some of their results. They won’t give everything away, but if they’re struggling to answer your basic questions then it’s probably a red flag.

Do they have experience in your industry?

Some agencies choose to specialise in specific industries such as, travel or eCommerce. This usually means that they’re specialists in those areas and have success in advertising those industries.

Any digital marketing agency you choose should be learning everything there is to know about your business, competitors, and industry. So, you don’t necessarily need to seek out an industry specific agency. It would be a positive sign if they do have some experience in your industry. But really you want to focus on the types of marketing they do, and whether or not this aligns with your goals.

What KPIs and reporting do they suggest?

In digital marketing there are vanity KPIs and KPIs that will actually link to your business revenue.

If a digital marketing agency is focusing on KPIs such as reach, impressions or click-through rate as a form of success then you may want to think twice about working with them. These are all valid metrics to track, it can help an agency understand and improve the campaigns. But none of these will make you money.

The main thing you want to improve with digital marketing is your revenue. Let’s face it, you might have a beautiful site, but you don’t just want people looking at it. You want them to purchase. You want to be tracking conversions, revenue, cost of sale and return on investment. Equally, if all they promise you is to supersize your conversion then be wary.

A good digital marketing strategy should work customers through your purchase funnel. All KPI’s have their place in your strategy, but your strategy should be working towards those sales goals.

Can they answer your questions?

When trying to find a digital marketing agency, you need to have done your research on the kind of things you want. This will likely mean you have a few questions about that service. Maybe how it works, the benefits of it or how it can be supported by other activities.

If an agency can’t answer your questions to a satisfactory level, they’re probably not the right fit. Most of the time, you shouldn’t know more about the service than they do. You want to work with experts. 

Are they priced fairly?

Prices in digital marketing can vary greatly from agency to agency. It can be confusing seeing so many different price points.

Don’t just go for the cheapest because it’s ‘affordable’ or the most expensive because you think it will be ‘the best’. In most cases, this can’t be applied. Options may be cheaper because they’re single freelancers or small teams. They may also price for individual services rather than packages so that you can build your own set of services.

Also the most expensive isn’t necessarily the best. Maybe they just have a big team, or they’ve been told to inflate their prices to look better, or they’ve had some big names and think this improves their worth.

Always choose your digital marketing agency based on the services you want, their previous results and their knowledge.

Do they market themselves well?

If you’re hiring a digital marketing agency, you’d expect them to be marketing themselves as well as they’ll market your business.

No one wants to hire an SEO agency that appears on the second page of search for phrases such as “SEO agency in [location]”. Our recommendation is to look for their marketing strategy. If you can’t find anything, ask why you haven’t seen any of their ads. It may be that they’re at capacity and in the process of hiring new staff. It may be that they’re rebranding and want to hold off. There are genuine reasons you may not find their ads. But it’s definitely something to consider.

Do they have the same vision?

Digital marketing agencies can play a really important role in your business growth. So it’s important that they have the same vision that you do.

Some agencies are very data driven, they focus on the numbers and intense reports. This is great to really understand your marketing success, but they aren’t often creative. If creativity is important to you, then this is something you should look for in an agency. When it comes to specialities, a PPC agency is likely to be very analytical and data focused. Whereas Social Media agencies are going to be on the more creative side.

Do they respond promptly?

Lastly, are they responsive in the discovery stage? Have you been able to get a call to discuss your business? Are they replying to your emails as quick as you’d like?

The last thing you want is to be paying a management fee, spending thousands on marketing and then not getting a response from your agency. Maybe you have an offer that needs updating, or the leads you’re getting are low quality, or you haven’t had a performance report you were supposed to get.

Your agency should respond to your queries in a timely manner. Even if it’s just to let you know they’re looking into something. Don’t accept slow responses from your agency, but also make sure that you’re getting back to them in a timely manner too. This way, you’ll both get the most out of your business relationship.

Find Your Agency

Overall, there are a few main things to do before hiring a digital marketing agency.

Research the service you want so that you understand the basics. This way you’ll be less easily fooled by false information and promises. Next try to validate their case studies, this could be reviewing their clients’ sites, search results and social media; or it could be reaching out for a testimonial. If you’re happy at this stage, review the KPI’s they include in their case studies and the results they talk about on their services pages.

Once you’ve reviewed your options, you want to contact them. This is where you can ask your questions, get a feel for their visions and see what their response times are like. It’s also the stage that you’re most likely to receive a quote for their services. If they meet your criteria and they feel like a good fit, then they’re likely the best agency for you.