Why is it so hard to find the Right Digital Marketing Agency?
The short answer is: We’re in an industry where the barrier to entry is extremely low. This problem is not new to any industry with a low barrier to entry.
There are dozens of course “gurus” and “coaches” teaching people “how to open your own agency!” and the result is we’re getting tons of people with zero marketing experience selling marketing services to business owners and then not surprisingly, failing hard. Every person who has not got a job suddenly decides to become a social media manager or a digital marketing expert.
We are all feeling the consequences of that because a) they’re undercutting our rates and b) they’re peddling snake oil which then raises the skepticism level when legitimate marketers come around trying to sell.
We are just as frustrated as you are but the marketer part of us sees it as an opportunity to differentiate by demonstrating experience, expertise, and skills through prior work. We just wish that business owners would be more discriminating (read: smart) and ask those tough questions to these wannabe marketers before actually forking over their marketing budgets and getting burned.
In this article, we will explain how to ask those hard questions and which Red Flags To Watch Out For When Selecting A Digital Marketing Agency for your business.
Start with your business needs assessment
Before you start looking for a new digital marketing agency, you must first have clear goals for your business identified. Your goals and motivations are the first steps to begin your digital marketing journey. With different views on how to develop your own business, you can make a more precise decision. It is a critical process because it determines your future. And if you don’t know where to start, check out these guides: 1. How to Create and Tell your Brand Story, 2. How To Create A Marketing Plan For A Small Business.
Look for the value, not the price
The truth is that business owners want things as cheap as humanly possible so always fixate on cost over value – they don’t know how to see value in what they don’t know, so go for the lowest price possible. Then they’re angry and resentful when their “free” DIY or super cheap sites never generate any traffic. Sometimes we will go off on clients and tell them the truth, other times we’ll try to explain to them that they get nothing back in return for nothing spent or given.
Either one of those will typically chase clients away: information just confuses them more and telling them the truth makes them angrier. So we just focus on “do you want help solving the problem enough that you will invest a little money to make much more?” And we guarantee results or we just don’t take the work.
While the cost of labor plays an essential role in the final decision, you should not choose who offers the cheapest rate. Your goal should be to find a digital marketing agency that gives you the best value for the money you invest. Get a clear understanding of what is expected from everyone to help build confidence that your money will not be wasted. The right agency can and will help you to find the perfect strategy that will ultimately improve your business.
Do your homework well
We had a lawyer a few weeks ago who was angry and resentful that her free website created on Wix.com was not generating any leads. He was spending something like £2000 per month on Google Adwords and still not getting any leads. We told him that it was like pouring wine into a bottle with a hole in the bottom of it. He was furious and didn’t understand what SEO was or how it worked and thought his website should be as good as any other. We offered to answer any questions he had – and by the time he was done asking and us answering, he admitted that he — an adult lawyer — was completely overwhelmed and confused so would choose to do nothing as a result.
We had the same thing happen a few weeks after that with an NPO client where she had a “free” DIY site and no one could find it on Google search (of course) and no one could use the site to donate money or download anything. Her budget? £200. We told her very gently that her goals did not match her budget and that typically you budget for ROI as if you were joining a local Chamber of Commerce or BNI – this totally blew her mind in half and she said she’d stick with her “free” DIY template. This is more of the client not seeing value in more donations and increased SEO – but we guess the point is that the blame lies as much with the clients for fixating on cheap as it is for con artists and scammers and hobbyists on both ends of the spectrum.
Plan a long-term relationship
Digital marketing does not mean throwing money, increasing the status of your brand. It is indeed not a one-time process. Digital marketing is a continuous process, and you have to develop a strategic partnership with the agency to build your business for a better future. You need to take into consideration this strategic relationship for an extended period. As it takes time to create a brand in every digital form.
It is vital that you trust someone you work with as well as them trusting you. There are unfortunately some client types who love to wield negative power over the agency “you’re never good enough, prove it to me” as a manipulative ploy to get “better work” from us. You know what? It never worked on us. We would rather spend our time and efforts working with someone who will appreciate our work because your success is our GOAL and we want you to grow your business so we can grow with you. So, we are on your side don’t try to bully us.
Choose an Agency that fits your style
When you do your homework, start with their company website! A good agency will have an informative website that will answer most of your questions about their work. So pay attention to it. Also, check out their work ethics and work culture. Since your goal is to build a lasting relationship, it is essential that their culture is similar to yours. Choose an agency that fits your culture.
Avoid shady salespeople
Unfortunately, there are a lot of agencies that pedal low quality work because they can sell but can’t deliver the work. Demand transparency!
Your agency should be open to sharing your data and information with you. Buy this we mean giving you access to everything. Not only after it has been filtered through their systems but pure raw data. Demand access to your analytics and AdWords accounts. Expect straight answers with data and results to back it up. Most importantly, expect the truth. Your agency won’t always have great news. If things are always sunshine and roses, beware. Things will go wrong and that’s OK, with transparency and trust everything can be fixed.
Don’t trust them if they claim to have a secret formula
There is no secret formula or magic in Digital Marketing. It’s only hard work and knowing what you are doing. Sadly, many agencies claim they have a secret formula or recipe for success these days. If an agency responds with anything but hard work, you should ask for clear and concise evidence of past success. You should also make sure the evidence gives weight to promises of future success before entering into any agreement and commitment with them.
Ask to explain everything in a clear language without industry jargon
If they can’t put their work into a language you understand, it’s a RED FLAG! That means they either don’t know what they are talking about or don’t do what they promise you. You have to understand everything. You aren’t ignorant if you don’t understand. It’s them hiding something.
So after reading all this, you are probably thinking is it a good idea to hire a digital marketing agency. Well, the answer is definitely yes. Here is why:
1. Save money and time
If you’re a business owner, you’re probably too busy running your business already. There are meetings, phone calls, and additional matters of the company. There is little or hardly any time to focus on the marketing needs of the business. Hiring an agency for digital marketing will give you a piece of mind. You do not have to be restless about advertising your business online because you’ve left the job to professionals.
2. Get fast results
If you manage the marketing division of your company, you are probably not exactly sure of what does, and what does not work, you play and guess.
Agencies are 100% sure what is exactly working and what’s not because it’s their responsibility to deliver results. By hiring a Digital Marketing Agency you will bring intelligence into your organization. It will lead to a rapid expansion of your business.
3. Save on tools and technology
For successful digital marketing, you need the correct software to keep an eye on your accounts, analyze data, schedule the content and do other marketing activities. As an owner of a small business, you probably will not be able to afford all the tools and technologies you need to do the best job. While agencies invest in these technologies because it’s their tools for work.
If you want to talk to an honest and results-driven digital marketing agency in London we are here for you. Provide us with some basic information and we will be in touch.