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Hiring A Digital Marketing Agency? 8 Factors To Keep In Mind

Deciding that you need a marketing agency is just the starting point. Choosing the right one is a whole new ball game. Time to crack this issue.

...Sharmila Chowdhury Aug 31, 202212 min read

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Sharmila Chowdhury

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Deciding that you need a marketing agency is just the starting point.

Or wait . . . If you still haven't got that out of the way, here's something you should take a look at 12 signs its time to hire a digital marketing agency

Figuring out which agency is the right fit for you is a whole new ball game altogether.

Circling out the must-have criteria in a marketing agency can get hazy and time-consuming.

Even if you know you want your marketing activities to be ultimately geared towards soaring sales figures and a lot of online traction.

No matter how clear-cut and realistic your marketing goals are, selecting one among the gazillions of marketing agencies thronging the digital space to transform them into reality seldom happens at the snap of a finger.

Especially when every single marketing agency you come across is overflowing with the juiciest promises and claims on your sales, leads, ROI basically everything that will push the profit margins of your business to unscaled heights.

And you are having a hard time figuring out which one of these is worth your time and investment.

Trust me, we've all been there.  

But guess what?  

Selecting the right marketing agency does not have to drive you nuts anymore.  

Not when you keep these eight parameters in mind when you jumpstart the process of getting a digital marketing agency on board.

Table Of Contents

1.Why Do I Need A Marketing Agency?

2. How Does The Digital Agency Track Performance?

3. Does The Marketing Agency Have A Solid Reputation In The Digital Marketing Landscape?

4. Is The Marketing Agency Familiar With My Business Industry?

5. How Does The Digital Agency Handle Communication With Clients?

6. Task Before Hiring Marketing Agency Who Is My Target Audience?

7. How Does The Digital Agency Charge For Its Services?

8. Does The Digital Agency Have The Marketing Skills And Services I Need?

9. Conclusion

1.Why Do I Need A Marketing Agency?

Pictorial representation of business goals and marketing objectives walking hand-in-hand in the road towards digital marketing success

Launching your own startup? Hiring an employee? Unleashing a new product into the market?

Whatever it may be.  

Before stepping into anything, the 'why' part of it is always the starting point.

Choosing a marketing agency follows the same route.

This might seem simple at first glance. After all, what more could anyone want marketing to do other than scaling up revenue and making the brand a household name?

But . . . marketing is a field with many sides to it.

Here's something to get the ABCs' of this right your business goals and the reason you need a marketing agency should work hand in glove.

So before you go off jotting down the marketing goals you need to attain, take a close look at your long-term and short-term business goals.

It could be anything. Increasing the pricing of your products by 4 % over the next two months. Setting up a corporate sponsorship program within a timeline of six months. Launching two new products in the market in the next eight months. Entering a new market.

When you get done with this, chalking out which of the marketing goals will be needed to hit the target for your business goals will not just be easier.

It will also be time-bound, feasible, and strategic rather than an eeny meeny miney mo fare.  

And you will find the outcomes you want your marketing activities to generate breaking the generic binary of profits and awareness.

Say, improving your brand image. Giving a boost to your leads. Drawing in new customers. Increasing market share. Reducing client elimination rates. Ramping up the authority and engagement of your brand.

And with your business goals all sorted, you will be able to strategically pick the marketing goals that blend well with your business objectives both short-term and long-term.

At the end of it all, you will have a clear idea of what you expect from a marketing agency and narrow down your choices to the ones that cater to your marketing goals in the most strategic way.  

Not to forget, this will also come in handy while negotiating a contract with the marketing agency you are set to hire by setting S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals and laying the ground for a time-bound, feasible client-agency relationship.

2. How Does The Digital Agency Track Performance?

Metrics, KPIs', and timelines of success: Must-have requirements in a digital marketing agency

Optimal leads, ROI, website traffic, brand engagement sales pitches adopted by marketing agencies striving to grab your attention are nothing you haven't heard a million times already.

But if the claims of a marketing agency are giving off the slightest hint of 'too good to be true', step back and pause.

This might usually be the case when a marketing agency promises massive and instant outcomes. For instance, 9 X lead generation in 2 months. And to top it all, a clearly-defined strategy for getting there seems to be missing.

Even the newest entrant into the business world ought to have a hold on a thing or two about marketing — it takes time, planning, and reasonable time frames.

Not to forget, the final brick in the wall is a solid mechanism to monitor and assess the performance and outcome of every single marketing activity.

So when you are out there on the hunt for a marketing agency that will push your ROI margins to the next level, don't just select anything that comes your way.

The right marketing agency for you will have put in place well-defined marketing metrics, KPIs' and project timelines — which will be positioned on the same plane as the marketing models it implements and the output it delivers.

Ultimately, it will help you fetch data-driven insights on strategies that are leveraging the most optimal impact on your marketing goals, and those backfiring on your time and resources.

A solid base for a scheduling system in your marketing activities will also be laid out this way, leading towards efficient communication of deadlines and goals with the marketing agency you hire.

3. Does The Marketing Agency Have A Solid Reputation In The Digital Marketing Landscape?

A picture showing the factors indicating the reputation of a digital marketing agency

The gulf that separates marketing agencies with well-established names in the industry and run-off-the-mill marketing agencies can sometimes stretch for miles altogether.

And the distinction isn't even hard to notice.

The simplest way to go is by taking a look at the company's website. In it, the client testimonials and awards won by the agency.

Because let's face it, there are plenty of awards doled out to marketing agencies each year.

And the ones that hit the bullseye when it comes to performance, delivery, and output will have a handful of awards and recognitions to their name — ultimately landing up on their website for clients and customers to see for themselves.

Client testimonials are a good way to have a look at the reviews of an agency's past clientele. Apart from the website of the company, Google reviews will provide you with easy access to this as well.

They come in handy while assessing what previous clients had to say about the work quality of the marketing agency in the marketing campaigns and projects they executed.

But taking them with a pinch of salt is necessary.

The reason is simple.

Testimonials can be fake. Sometimes it is hard to be able to tell a genuine client testimonial from one that is not.

And this is why asking for a track record of the work and projects executed by the agency is especially necessary. The agencies worth a shot will always have a portfolio to back up their claims on high-quality service and specialization.

4. Is The Marketing Agency Familiar With My Business Industry?

A pictorial representation of the importance of industry experience while selecting a digital marketing agency

Marketing tools and techniques usually map the bounds of every industry and domain.

Suppose you want a marketing agency to come in and get your SEO done. Any agency specializing in SEO services will do. The same goes for PPC, content marketing, search engine marketing, email marketing, website design and development.

And this is regardless of any industry or niche your business belongs to.

All the same, it still does not make the benefit of securing the services of an agency with considerable marketing experience within your industry any lesser.

There are multiple agencies that cater to a target industry.

However, the target segment may not be pinpointedly precise to your industry.

Suppose you are a B2B company that sells HR software solutions to other firms operating within India. You may not find a marketing agency with a client base exclusively fixated on this field. Yet, a B2B digital marketing agency rather than a full-service or social media agency would be better able to understand what marketing strategies and techniques work well in the B2B sector.

The same logic applies to any other domain your business might be specializing in.

If you are a pharmaceutical company, a digital marketing agency with a massive client base in the same sector would be your best catch.

A one-size-fits-all approach never works in marketing.

It is always better to choose a digital marketing agency that has considerable experience and forte in delivering marketing campaigns and strategies for clients within your industry.

5. How Does The Digital Agency Handle Communication With Clients?

An illustration of the communication tools used by digital marketing agencies

Every agency has its own system for streamlining communication and collaboration with clients.

If you are wondering what makes an agency worth a shot, it is this — setting clear expectations about every aspect of your marketing journey from partnership goals to project timelines right from the moment you and your agency sign on the dotted line.

Instead of going on and on about bombastic claims, like say, an increase in customer acquisition rate by 50 % within 2 months, the right marketing agency will straighten out project deliverables, turnaround time, members in the client's team, along with point of contact in case of emergencies and unavailability of any team member.

Usually, marketing agencies have project management tools in place to open up channels for feedback, updates, reports, and periodic meetings with clients.

This is to make sure that the client and agency are tracking and monitoring the implemented campaigns and strategies together, no one is kept in the dark, and both the parties involved are on the same page throughout the partnership.  

What's that one red flag you need to keep at bay here?

When communication frequency and channels are far from being definite and consistent — with quick results being the single point of focus during the contract-signing stage with an agency.

6. Task Before Hiring A Marketing Agency Who Is My Target Audience?

A depiction of the importance of knowing target audience before hiring a digital marketing agency

Designing landing pages that boost CTR . . . Engaging and high-quality content . . . No marketing technique escapes the initial move of knowing your target audience.

But this isn't solely reserved for getting your marketing fundamentals right.

You might be holding the reins to your startup or even a full-fledged business for that matter. And even then, knowing who your products and services cater to is the spine that keeps every single strategy and operation of your business upright.

Before you knock on the doors of a marketing agency, you should be aware of who your target audience is like the back of your hand.  

Even a general idea of age, place of residence, and gender of your target audience will do.

Why is this necessary, you might ask.

It ushers in clarity about what you expect a digital agency to do for you.

The process of hunting down a suitable marketing agency will not be all over the place it sets a productive direction for initial communication processes with prospective digital agencies. Zeroing in on marketing tactics that drive action in the form of click through rates, engagement, and leads from the target audience in question.

Most importantly, you can weigh the scales greater on agencies with extensive experience in formulating and delivering marketing strategies and campaigns to your target segment.

7. How Does The Digital Agency Charge For Its Services?

An illustration of the common pricing models adopted by digital marketing agencies

When you are looking for a marketing agency that gives a strong lift to your ROI, leads, conversion rates, or website traffic, keep an eye on your budget all the while.

No two agencies follow the same pricing system for digital marketing services.

While hourly pricing is the most common structure adopted by a digital agency, there are performance-based, project-based, value-based, and retainer-based models too.

If hiring an agency is a new step for your business, an hour-based model works best.

A performance-based model is ideal when you are roping in a well-established agency that will charge you a portion of your sales once they have pulled off a marketing campaign or project for you successfully.

Maybe you want to give your agency a specific project like on-page SEO to test the waters before considering them to take on a broader range of marketing campaigns for your business. Then a project-based model should work for you just well.

Value-based and retainer-based models are suitable when your business has scaled well enough and has the potential to allocate a sizeable chunk of the budget to full-fledged marketing activities across all mediums and platforms.

But the prices digital agencies charge has a lot to do with the size of your business, the range of services being availed, as well as the timeframe and the scale of your marketing project.

While negotiating the price with a digital agency, two things need to be kept in mind.

Optimize the agency costs in relation to your budget. Because after all, you are roping in a marketing agency to add value to your revenue flow and not the other way around.

And a breakdown of every service and overhead expense needs to be laid down by the agency you hire. This will help you do away with fishy charges that do not account for any outcome in your marketing ROI but are draining away your resources nonetheless.  

8. Does The Digital Agency Have The Marketing Skills And Services I Need?

A listicle of services provided by all-in-one digital marketing agencies and types of specialized digital marketing agencies

Agencies usually offer every marketing service falling under the umbrella term 'digital marketing'. SEO, PPC, blogging, web designing, email marketing, paid media campaigns, everything.  

At the same time, there are marketing agencies that are built to provide highly specialized services as well. Like inbound marketing agencies, social media agencies, content marketing agencies, and so on.

Again, if an agency is claiming to deliver high-quality performance and output in specific marketing activities, it is good practice to ask for social proof. This can be in the form of the past track records of the agency and a portfolio of the work done by the agency so far.

Whether you choose an all-in-one digital agency or a specialized marketing agency, it needs to be in alignment with your business goals.

Along with this, it also boils down to the range of marketing services you require.

Going back to the part where you are chalking down your business objectives and have formulated a set of marketing activities needed to accomplish them. If you find that requiring, say, SEO, PPC, content marketing, social media marketing, email campaigns, and instant message marketing, it would be time and resource-friendly to opt for a digital agency catering to a wide scope of digital marketing activities.

But if a full-fledged search engine marketing campaign is the only thing you need to leverage your marketing ROI for the time being, securing the services of an agency specializing in this particular marketing activity would be ideal. Something that would kick in feasibility and expertise at the same time.

Ultimately, the decision needs to be based on your marketing objectives. The extent of marketing services you need. And the level of specificity and expertise needed to pump out sizeable outcomes from your marketing campaigns.  

9. Conclusion

A roadmap summing up the factors necessary to consider while hiring a digital marketing agency

Choosing a marketing agency should never be a last-minute decision.

When does getting an agency on board usually come into the picture?

When the sales cycle has well passed the jumpstarting phase without any solid lead generation and conversions coming out of it.

This is a scenario that won't strike as unfamiliar to you.

Let me put it this way.

Ushering in laxity in your marketing priorities always manages to snatch away a massive chunk of sales, revenue, and brand awareness something you could have bagged right from when you put your sales operations in place.

That is . . . if you positioned your marketing, sales, and business objectives on the same rung from day one.

Hiring an in-house marketing team sounds like a sustainable fix in a scenario such as this.

All said and done, there's something that needs to be let out of the bag. You could secure the services of an agency for a quarter of the expenses of hiring an in-house team.

Put salaries, benefits, training time and costs into the mix. . . and phew, it definitely would seem like taking a lot upon yourself.

Especially when your business is still managing to gain a foothold in the market and tasks in every department require optimal attention, strategy, and resource allocation at the same time.

But there are times agencies crawl inside their loopholes.

Want to know how? Check this out reasons why marketing agencies fail to grow

However, let's not dive into a full-fledged in-house team versus agency debate just yet.

Because hiring the first marketing agency you come across online is not going to do wonders to your marketing ROI and revenue flow either.

And this is why summing up the factors that need to constantly underpin your evaluation criteria of every marketing agency is necessary before you go ahead and choose the one that fits your needs perfectly well.

Pricing. Scope of specialization. Short-term and long-term business goals. Performance metrics and KPIs'. Recognition. Expertise. Marketing experience in the same business niche. Target audience. Services offered. Format, channels, and frequency of communication.

Do you find yourself geared towards an all-in-one solution to upscale your marketing activities without having to go through the outsourcing, in-house team hiring or agency route?

AI-powered platforms like Creatosaurus empower you to make your marketing activities speedy and efficient from the ideation to the distribution stage all by yourself.