Companies who have waited to get started with social media still have an opportunity to get started with website design, search engine optimization (SEO), email marketing, social media interaction, blogs, and other types of digital marketing tactics that will grow your business.

How Reliable is a Marketing Agency?

The problem is that there are numerous agencies out there who are ready and willing to take advantage of small businesses or medium-sized businesses who don’t understand social media, website design, web analytics (like Google Analytics), SEO, and other digital marketing techniques. These agencies can charge customers high prices and may not deliver on their claims to boost website traffic, increase conversion, or bring more customers through the check-out line. Clients sign contracts in order to say, “hey, we’re online!” But, their digital agency never takes the steps to integrate into the businesses overall marketing efforts and business plan in order to increase ROI or help company reputation. In turn, business owners end up feeling suckered. This most likely could have been avoided by asking a few preliminary questions, and here they are:

  1. Does the company have an updated modern website? If the agency’s site looks old, is difficult to navigate, is confusing on where to start, and not attractive, chances are high that you’ll receive the same quality of work as they’ve done for themselves.
  2. Does the agency offer a free consultation? This gives you and the agency time to see if you are a good fit for each other, discuss ideas, and see how the agency works.
  3. How often do they send analytics, and how often will they schedule to discuss the analytics? (a monthly meeting is ideal for meeting with your digital agency)
  4. Do analytics cost extra? If they do, I’d recommend you not work with or recommend that marketing agency. Analytics show the progress of your website, and a solid agency should want to show you the progress of campaigns.
  5. If the agency will be doing SEO for you, be sure to ask them which keywords they will be testing and the progress of that testing. (This should also be at no extra cost to you)
  6. Who else are they working with in your industry? Its easy for many small to medium-sized business owners to fall into the trap of working with an agency that “specializes” in a particular field. At first blush this sounds great, but it isn’t. What it means is that they will give you similar designs and will be working to ensure your competitor’s success as well (who will win out on the search results in Google, Bing or Yahoo? You or your competitor?).
  7. What do you look for in a successful client relationship? This should be a good indication of the treatment you will receive from this agency. Will they respond to emails in a timely manner (typically within 24 hours)? Will they do what it takes to make corrections where needed? This will be a very important element in your overall relationship satisfaction.
  8. Who will be managing your account and executing the work? It’s important to know if your work will be worked on by an in-house team, outsourced to offshore companies, or freelancers. In-house teams or locally outsourced teams are preferable. It is important that you feel confident in the experience and expertise of the marketing agency you are working with.
  9. What planning and strategy exercises will be required to get up to speed? A good agency will take the time to get to know your company and do a good amount of front-end work before launching your marketing campaigns.
  10. What will the first 90 days of work entail? One of the great thing about working with a good inbound marketing agency is the fact that you can really hit the ground running. Experienced agencies should be able to direct your inbound marketing efforts from day one.

Finding a good digital marketing agency can be difficult, and it’s important that you ask good questions from the beginning to ensure success for your business. Your budget is sacred, so be sure to spend wisely with an agency that will do what it takes to ensure your success.

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