The following is a guest post from Junaid Ali Qureshi at Elephantation.
Often times, marketing heads of digital agencies and media companies are seen tearing their hair out at the money they have spent outsourcing agencies to utterly no avail. There’s no denying that trusting an external agency with your ideas, money and resources can be quite daunting. It’s understandable that everyone wants to settle for nothing but the best for their agency. Unfortunately, “best” is only a relative term.
There will always be a company with a marketing game stronger than yours. It does not necessarily mean that they are working with a marketing agency better than yours. You don’t have to go door-to-door looking for the award winning agencies doing a great job in the marketing world. Instead, look for an agency that is compatible with your business needs.
You can never create an exhaustive list of jobs a marketing agency needs to accomplish for your company. There will always be tasks that spring up spontaneously as you get your nose in the business. A marketing agency compatible with your own would better understand and develop impromptu strategies than one which may have shelves upon shelves stacked with awards but an inflexible set of limitations.
The following strategies will help you determine the digital marketing agency best for the needs of your business.
List your marketing requirements
Before setting out on a marketing agency hunt, you need to have some idea of what to look for in a marketing agency. Depending on your needs, you will be looking for a company expert with experience in some or all of the following:
- Website strategy, design and development
- Blogging and content creation
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Email marketing
- Social media marketing
- Search engine marketing
- Marketing automation
- Online advertising (PPC, Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, etc.)
Pro tip: Content creation helps inbound marketing methodology exponentially, as illustrated by successful digital marketing agencies based in Dubai, New York and other big tech savvy, metropolises.
Dig into how they run their own business
The most comprehensive and honest example of how a marketing agency conducts business is their own blog, website and social media presence. Before skimming through their portfolio, visit the blog of the marketing agency’s own blog. That should give you a crystal clear image of their ideas and practices. If the blog is well kempt, well designed and well informed with loads of useful articles that are frequently shared across the internet, the marketing agency is well versed in their business and would prove to be a handsome addition to your company.
Pro tip: Ask the firm about their own marketing strategy, website traffic and how they generate leads. If they are running a successful marketing firm, they would have no problem showing you their insights.
Apart from their blog and website, evaluate their social media presence. You can check out the firm’s profile and those of their staff on social media sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
Discuss how they measure success
Many branding agencies lack in working out a very fundamental facet of marketing: analytics. You don’t want to set yourself up with people who are not fully equipped with the capabilities of measuring and reporting the performance of your business back to you. Before hiring the services of an outsourced marketing agency, make sure they give you the details of their analytics plan. Reputable agencies will gladly lay out their plans. When they do, look out for the following key metrics:
- Website traffic
- Leads produced
It’s important to work with people who value numbers as much as you do.
Test their tech-savviness
Digital marketing relies a great deal on the use of the latest technologies and staying updated with new tools and techniques. Don’t forget to ensure that the marketing agency you are looking to work with has a high level of technical expertise. Their equipment and software should be up-to-date and they should be aware of means of accessing the advanced features of social media sites.
These things do not usually fall on radars which test the suitability of a marketing agency for your company, but are crucial to the development of your company. You cannot turn a blind eye to the vitality of technically literate people if you wish your company to compete in the ever changing, ever challenging world of technology out there.
Check their reliance on systems for success
Undoubtedly, organization is the key to success in today’s haphazard world. Marketing agencies that lack documented processes and automated system are bound to a dreadful fate. To avoid the hassle of inconsistent services and results from your marketing agency, make sure the company you shortlist to work with does the following:
- Complete projects within the given time and budget limits
- Focus on detail and quality
- Do not feed you impractical and unrealistic goals
- Produce meaningful results that can be measured
- Keep you in the loop with successes, setbacks, shifts in strategy, etc.
Meet the team
Before officially hiring, make sure you are introduced personally to the team your company is going to be assigned. Nothing gives off a more true impression than talking to the people, getting to know their backgrounds and expertise, and showing interest in their previous work portfolio. As a rule of thumb, your marketing team should be experts in the following, be it individually or collectively:
- Web development
- Graphic design
- Writing and editing
- Marketing automation
- Project management
With that, we hope you mingle with the right people in your first attempt and save the trouble of tearing your hair out.