How to Confidently Hire a Digital Marketing Firm (Questions)
Online marketing only becomes an investment, not an expense, when it produces results. The right San Diego digital marketing agency can help you achieve your desired outcomes.
How do you pick the best among hundreds of choices? Ask these questions:
- Do I need a digital marketing team or a marketing strategy consultant?
- Which online marketing services are your specialties?
- What results have you achieved for clients? When do I see them?
- What is your process of collecting and analyzing data?
- What is your price?
Why do these questions matter? Let us talk about each point below! Let’s go!
Are you looking for a full-service digital marketing agency? See the DAP difference below!
1. Do I Need a Digital Marketing Team or a Marketing Strategy Consultant?
Many business owners mistakenly believe their poor online performance is due to insufficient search engine optimization (SEO) or the number or type of paid ads. Sometimes the problem is deep-seated. In some case, the overall business operations and directions are of more concern than the marketing strategies.
- Your tactics do not align with your short-, medium-, and long-term goals.
- The target audience is badly defined, affecting your content and messaging.
- The brand does not stand out from the competition.
- The price point is beyond what your prospective customers can afford.
- Your potential users cannot see the value of your products and services.
- The market cannot trust you.
- You lack the budget and other resources to pursue or scale better marketing strategies.
When these become your core issues, you will likely need a marketing strategy consultant rather than a digital marketing firm. Usually, an agency helps out with tactics, but a consultant provides experienced advice and direction on how to get from point A to point B.
2. In Which Online Marketing Services Do You Specialize?
Today, many digital marketing firms offer (and sometimes bundle) several related services. These can range from search engine optimization (SEO) to paid ads, social media, and website design. Choosing these teams has several important pros and cons.
- They are more capable of developing comprehensive and holistic online campaigns. However, your situation might require more specific solutions. For instance, if you are building a brand in California, local marketing tactics might suit you better than blanket SEO strategies.
- Your retainer’s fee already includes many services, but depending on your goals, the budget is often insufficient. You might also end up paying for tools and systems you do not need.
- These teams can run several campaigns at once. However, reports and data can be overwhelming.
Whether you pick a company specializing in only one or two digital marketing services is up to you. But your choice should align with your objectives, address challenges, and help you maximize opportunities.
3. What Results Have You Achieved for Clients? When Do I See Them?
To get clients, some online marketing firms can become deceptive. They might conceal their past failures, downplay their weaknesses, and overstate their minimal skills. Of the many lies you can come across, these are the most common:
- “You will get results in a few days or weeks.” Some do give quick results, but most do not. Usually, it takes between three and six months to see major improvements in traffic and engagement.
- “We have a secret process that guarantees results.” Online marketing is both an art and a science. It does not guarantee anything. Even the most successful outcomes can change overnight due to unforeseen changes, such as when algorithms are updated. In addition, processes should be transparent and communication unrestricted. This is one of the ways companies build trust with each other.
- “We have worked with [brand]. We can confidently do the same for you.” Every business has different objectives and challenges. Every campaign should be customized to meet these unique needs.
This question is vital to (1) avoiding online marketing firms that over promise but underdeliver and (2) knowing how to weed out the good from the bad. For instance, when evaluating your choices, you can:
- ask for their credentials, testimonials, or references;
- compare and judge them based on their processes and not just a list of well-known clients;
- require recommendations and learn how to assess them;
- quickly determine transparent, honest companies from those who only present fluff;
- identify who can truly churn out results.
4. What Is Your Process of Collecting and Analyzing Data?
Data is key to any digital marketing campaign. It can inform you of what has been done, what works, and where it needs optimization. Getting insights from all the metrics available requires a well-thought-out process that only experienced online marketers can provide.
The best teams have:
- An ethical, sustainable system in place for collecting data points
- Meaningful, updated, and understandable presentations
- Actionable insights
For instance, they
- do not buy lead-generation lists but instead improve their processes for acquiring first- and zero-party data;
- understand user behavior and motivations;
- use data to identify high-value customers and target them with customized campaigns;
- develop automated triggers that can help you optimize your campaigns efficiently;
- utilize machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to accurately predict customer trends;
- incorporate ad testing techniques to measure the effectiveness of ads;
- analyze results regularly;
- identify the key metrics to track according to your marketing objectives and campaigns;
- avoid jargon in reports that may only confuse or overwhelm you.
5. What Is Your Price?
Everything comes with a price, particularly online advertising. While US marketers plan to spend less this year, total ad spending will still grow by 12%. If you are a small business, you may struggle to increase your budget by this much or more. This issue:
- limits your growth,
- puts you behind your big-name or aggressive competitors,
- prevents you from taking advantage of something expensive but essential.
Asking a San Diego digital marketing agency about the cost of their services immediately lets you know whether you can afford that firm, how much you can spend if you are under or over-budgeting, and what alterations you need to make in your original plans.
Most agencies have an hourly rate for project-based work, a flat campaign fee, or a retainer-based model. The best ones allow you to negotiate or extend financing options besides giving you special discounts for a long-term project.
Just because the firm has worked with Fortune 500 companies does not mean it is the right fit for you. The key to finding the perfect partner is to vet them and ask relevant questions about their processes, capabilities, and pricing.
Digital Authority Partners (DAP), a San Diego marketing agency, is ready to answer them. Contact us now for a free consultation.
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