Hiring a New Digital Agency? Look for These 3 Things

Hiring a digital marketing agency requires an investment from your marketing budget, but even more importantly there is a time commitment to find the right fit.

To save time, money and get the right relationship, consider these three things.

  1. Visit a prospective agency’s site and look for up-to-date work with results. Make sure to look at the website on a phone and laptop. It should look great on both. Does the work resonate with you? Do you love some of the design and copywriting?
  1. Set up an introductory call. During the call, the agency should interview you as much as you interview them. You should expect questions about your goals, budget, and industry trends.
  1. Identify an initial project and expect to share critical information about your organization and industry.  If it is a digital engagement, expect the agency to request log-in information to your analytics and social media accounts to understand how things are set up.

Keep reading to see in detail why these three things can be telling as you try to identify the right digital ad agency and get the advertising work you deserve.

Up-to-date Work

An agency with strong digital marketing credentials will have a website that showcases a variety of work including website development, mobile apps, video production and animation, social media campaigns and media buying. In addition to these tactics, check and see if the agency has experience with your target audience. For example, if you sell a luxury product, does the agency have experience marketing expensive products and services?  Also, do the design and graphics of the site appeal to your taste? You should like and react to many of the campaigns, although some may not appeal since you may not be the target audience.

Two-way Interview

Experienced agencies know their sweet spots, meaning what types of clients they service well.  Those sweet spots may be the size of the accounts, the type of projects or target audience.  While almost all agencies have digital capabilities, some have deep experience in select areas, such as new site development, eCommerce or 360 video, to name just a few. So a good interview is critical to uncover if there is a match.

So what are some of the right topics in this two-way interview? 

  1. The prospective client should be prepared to discuss goals and timelines.
    1. Every agency expects to jump in and work hard.  However, some clients may be unrealistic.  For example, a Client that wants immediate results, such as the number one ranking in the Google search engine may not understand the situation.  No one has magic software or a buddy at Google that can deliver an automatic first-page ranking.  If an agency is promising this, you have to look more deeply. Often if you rank on the first page right away, it may be for low competition keywords that won’t make any significant impact on increasing your leads/website traffic. Read more about the best practices of SEO here if you want to learn more.
  2. Ask about compensation.  
    1. An agency should clearly explain how projects get estimated and billed.  What are the service agreements?  Good agencies will be very clear on this subject because they don’t want to disappoint. It is unrealistic to think the first job will be free.  Both sides will need to commit time to the project, and an agency almost always spends more time than they are paid for, to ensure the first work meets the mark.
  3. Discuss the team and skills needed on both the client and agency sides.
    1. Based on goals, the client may need an agency with a strong video production skill set or numerous social media. A good agency will take the time to figure out the right staffing but it’s good to discuss it early. The interactions of the team are the most critical aspect of the relationship. There is an old saying, “The creativity brings clients in the door, but the account service keeps them.”

Share Critical Information, including Logins

Identify your first project and be prepared with relevant statistics and sales information. Bring what you have and if more is needed the agency will ask. 

You might be really surprised by this next request. Most agencies will want to see your analytics and social media log-ins to see the data for themselves. They want to understand what you’ve done and how your digital marketing has performed. Your agency team will always want to see any prior reports and recommendations.  

The subject of log-ins is a small but revealing topic. 
Here’s a true story: the CEO of Wright IMC, a Dallas-based advertising agency, revealed that one of their new clients had a hiccup when they went to supply data.  The client realized its former agency owned the login information to their Google Analytics account. After several calls to Google and unanswered phone calls from the former agency, it was clear there would be significant challenges for Wright IMC’s new client. They had signed a binding contract and handed off their login information. Mistakes happen, even big ones. It’s good to own the issue and then plan with the agency to avoid it in the future.

Why Just Three Topics?

There are certainly more than three things to look for as you begin a relationship with an agency, but these topics are some of the best ways to start the right conversations. The development and nurturing of this relationship through trust and progress will benefit you and your company for years to come.

Contact us here at James Ross Advertising to begin that relationship!