A successful relationship with a digital marketing agency should last for years, act like an extension of your marketing team and help you achieve your online goals. And not just website goals. Your digital marketing agency may be responsible for other digital channels including social, email, apps, display ads, Google ads, online PR, affiliate marketing – and the list continues to grow monthly.
Before you begin the process of sourcing a digital media agency you first need to set online goals for your organization. Digital goals could include one or more of the following:
As a ten year old digital marketing agency we’ve seen it all. When we take on a new client, we are often not the first agency to have been hired to manage activities. We are continually shocked to find that with the end of a relationship with the previous agency (they got fired or quit) so is the end of the client’s access to their own digital channels including social, Google Analytics, Google Ad access and beyond. The client is completely stripped of their assets and must start from scratch. Because of repeatedly witnessing scenarios like these and other equally absurd real life messes we’ve had to clean up, I have put together a checklist for companies to use to ensure that they’ve got their “assets” covered:
The Defining Digital Marketing Agency Checklist
☑️Have you determined the agency’s got great credibility?
☑️Can the agency easily share case studies, references and testimonials?
☑️Does the agency have certifications? Are they a Google Partner? Do they have contacts at Facebook, LinkedIn and other social networks?
☑️Can you easily communicate with the agency? Will you be setting ongoing meetings?
☑️ Does the agency track metrics and provide ongoing reporting?
☑️ Does the agency give you complete access to all of your own social, ad and analytics channels?
☑️ Does the agency have a specialty or area of expertise that responds to your unique digital marketing goals?
☑️ Are all of the agency’s tactics “kosher” or do they use “black hat” strategies?
☑️ Has the agency worked successfully in your vertical before?
☑️ Do you like and trust them? Do you have a rapor?
All of the above answers should be a resounding yes!
Not included in my checklist, are two issues that while not deal breakers are important to the fundamentals of a sucessful relationship.
In-person meetings: Our agency is based in Israel and we successfully work with clients across 3 continents and multiple time zones. We ensure that there is a comfortable window of time daily where our clients can communicate with us and “meet” us over video conference, phone or WhatsApp. This kind of accessibility (with limitations of course) is simply a baseline for success. That said, I am a big believer in face to face meetings as well, but not all of my clients are a car ride away. I make it my business to visit with my international clients a minimum of twice per year, at my own expense. There is nothing like a face to face meeting, especially in the formative months of client on boarding to really get to know each other. Make sure that the agency you hire, invests in at-least some in person meetings.
Budget: While a company must independently determine their digital marketing budget (including agency retainer, ad spend and third party tool costs) a seasoned digital marketing agency must determine how to allocate ad spend effectively. Ask your agency to suggest how they would break down ad spend. Furthermore, ask them to connect you with some of their clients and find out if they are satisfied with the way in which budgets are allocated and importantly, if the agency is successfully sticking to their monthly budget.