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How to choose the right digital marketing agency for your business

Whether you're a small business or an entrepreneur, there’s no doubt you understand how important digital marketing is in today's world. With more and more people spending time online, it's vital to have an effective strategy and also tactile execution that will help your company attract and engage customers while adding value to their experience.

Does that already sound like an impossible feat with your demanding schedule?

That's where having the right marketing partner comes into play. If you’ve been delaying this part of your business because it’s overwhelming or looking for a change, then you are in the right place.

Let’s review what a digital agency can do for your business and then dive into tips on choosing the right marketing partner.

How can a full-service digital agency help my business?

So digital marketing is anything online? Well, there’s a bit more to it than that, but essentially yes!

There are digital marketing tools and platforms with different intentions on how to reach your customers and grow your business. Digital marketing, compared to traditional marketing and advertising, helps businesses reach a larger, targeted audience, analyze ROI and make more informed decisions on product and service offerings.

In today’s digital world, you will find a range of gurus selling you the world, specialized marketing agencies, consultants, strategists, and full-service marketing agencies.

There’s no doubt that this can be overwhelming, especially when searching for digital marketing 2023 on YouTube. Digital marketing is fast-paced, and ever-evolving in today’s world. Whatever type of marketing partner is right for you, they should help you navigate the digital world based on what’s best for your business, not what’s best for them.

Let’s take a look at what a full-service digital marketing agency can offer:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

  • Digital Advertising

  • Email Marketing

  • Pay-per-Click

  • Online Marketing Campaigns

  • Content Marketing

  • Social Media Marketing

  • Web Design

A full-service agency might be known to specialize in one of these services over the other, but they should be able to execute a successful strategy on any of these services. It’s not uncommon for a full-service digital agency to leverage specialized expertise.

You may be asking yourself, do I really need a full-service digital marketing agency?

The answer comes down to your business and your goals. The benefit of working with a full-service digital partner is that you get access to all their service offerings in one place, versus working with a handful of different digital marketing experts.

What factors impact choosing a digital marketing agency

Choosing the right digital marketing partner comes down to the value you place on your time and your people. As a business owner, you already need more time in a day, a bigger budget, and more resources. How can you possibly squeeze marketing into the mix?

Marketers can really help you with the balance of growth and bottom line! These factors may impact new business owners more than an established business of 10+ years. They will always be present, though, in choosing what agency will represent your business the best.

Time – How much time does it take to send an email? Well, that depends. A full email campaign promoting your service may take some time to develop. Time is one of the greatest assets of business owners. If you don’t already have expertise in marketing, then you certainly don’t have time to learn the ins and outs of digital marketing.

Budget – Every business and industry is different. In general, though, spending between 7% to 10% on digital marketing is a good starting point. Choosing the right digital partner will help to avoid overspending, and, worse, getting burned by an agency. Check out our post to learn more about the real costs of digital marketing.

People – Is your administrative superhuman doing your marketing too? Or maybe your niece is doing your social media marketing? Utilizing available resources is a cost-saving approach, but eventually, you will need deeper expertise to help you grow and stop spinning your wheels. Even if you have an in-house marketing employee, leveraging a full-service agency through their efforts could elevate their employee experience and your business.

Align Business Goals with Marketing Strategy

Your vision is the driving force behind your business. In order to keep growing, you will need to take the time to set goals and understand how marketing can help you get there.

Prepare to partner with an agency by knowing what your pain points are and also your data on past marketing strategies. If you are green and just starting out, setting those goals is even more critical! There can be pressure to try all the marketing options. And while any good marketer is going to tell you all about omnichannel strategies, they should also present a plan that is based on your goals and pain points.

Take a deep breath and take the time to review your goals, your past marketing efforts, and any pain points a marketer can help you through. Keep in mind that your marketing agency should build on the pain points that you need and not sell you on something that doesn’t apply to your situation.

Keep your eyes open for offerings and packages that do not align with your current goals.

Here are examples of goals or pain points that business owners seek digital marketing agencies to help with.

  • Improve local visibility

  • Content consistency

  • Not sure about brand messaging

  • Ineffective web presence

  • Outdated website

  • No conversions from high traffic

  • Budgeting online advertising campaigns

Your vision and growth goals are just as important to the bottom line. If you don’t know how or where you are going, then you may be spinning wheels and wasting money.

Top 5 Tips For Choosing Your Next Digital Marketing Partner

After you prepare your goals, which can change daily, it's time to let the fun begin!

It’s no surprise that you may instantly feel overwhelmed. Start your process with any agency referrals and local agencies if that makes sense for your business.

  1. Communication – Pay attention to how an agency responds to an inquiry. Do they respond within a day, a couple of days, or a week? Is the communication clear and easy right away? This is a good indicator of how they will communicate with you, especially in any urgent citations impacting your business.

  2. Online Presence (web & social media) – While this isn’t always a top factor for the excuse of any busy marketer, check out their online presence. Do they show up on Google and local searches? Is there a website professional with clear communication? Is there activity and any social proof in your industry? Also, take a look at their branding. Is there consistency and clear positioning?

  3. Portfolio – Can you easily see past work, including case studies and examples of their service offerings? Look for a mix of recognizable brands and smaller brands. Having noteworthy brands is not always necessary, and on the other hand, if that’s all they have, then that can be a red flag, too, or a sign that they only work with large brands. Look for agencies supporting similar-sized businesses or similar industries.

  4. Reviews & Testimonials – What are the people saying? Are the reviews positive and showcasing results? If you can, try to contact previous clients about their experience to help determine if it would be worth your time.

  5. Service Offerings and Price – Check out their services and make sure they are offering what you are looking for. Some agencies may not showcase pricing on their website, but if you ask for it, there shouldn’t be hesitation or any hidden costs associated with subscriptions or ownership of digital assets.

What questions should I ask the digital agency?

Digital marketing companies come in all sizes and shapes, so choosing one that works for your business is critical for your time, money, and growth.

So now you’ve sent an inquiry to a few agencies. What should you ask about on that introductory call? The first meeting is a great opportunity to draw the curtain and get a good peek at the operations and overall vibe of the agency.

Here are some common questions that will give you clarity on what to expect when working with them on your business growth.

  • Who will be working on my account? Remember, it doesn’t always matter how smart the owner is, it’s more important if the team behind the owner is able to execute. If you know you prefer a hands-on, small-team, or 1:1, approach, then keep that in mind too! A change of hands at large agencies can be distracting to your marketing needs.

  • How do you track the success of your work? No matter what size of the agency or individual marketer, there should always be transparency around the ROI. Will you get a monthly report or access to a custom portal to see live reporting? Remember to keep in mind what is the most digestible and easy way for your life.

  • Do you have business references? This may seem redundant after searching online, but if any company refuses references, that would be a red flag. Hearing first-hand from clients can answer a lot of those questions for you.

These questions should lead you to the right decision. It’s very much like an interview and your opportunity to get all the information you need to save you significant amounts of time and money.

One last question that may be obvious, but overlooked – Do you feel comfortable and confident that the company will REPresent your business in the best way?

Looking For A New Digital Agency?

The best digital marketing agencies should take the time to know you and your business, understand your pain points and goals and then develop a custom strategy that is aligned.

Hiring a digital marketing agency is not going to grow your business overnight. There will be ramp-up time as they research your competitors and explore your customer journey to create the best solution for you.

What’s your online reputation saying now? Not sure, or looking for the right digital partner?

Ritch Reps is here to help REPresent your business with a hands-on custom approach with real results.

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