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How to find the right digital marketing agency for your business?

digital marketing agency to plan and execute your [highlight2]digital marketing[/highlight2] can be challenging if you have little experience in dealing with digital or marketing services agencies. In our previous article we explored 6 steps on how not to choose the wrong agency. In this we will explore how to find the right one! Most agencies hide behind extensive terminologies designed to confuse or convince prospective clients about their capabilities, while for most clients; cost is the single most important evaluation reason. However, if you’re in a business that requires you to hire a digital marketing agency or marketing services provider in your city, you will need to approach the subject matter scientifically so as to avoid unhappiness later on.

Step 1: Identify prospective digital marketing agencies

You can do this in several ways. Using Google Search you can identify prospective digital marketing agencies in your city. Use the city keyword e.g “delhi” or “pune” or “Mumbai” if you are looking to hire agencies from a particular city. Google will throw up a list of potential marketing services agencies that you could look at. Another way is to look at directories and LinkedIn to identify agencies.

Step 2: Explore the shortlisted marketing services agency website

Not all digital marketing agencies are capable or skilled enough to execute all digital marketing projects. If you’re looking for support in lead generation, look at the agency website and understand whether this is a subject matter or service area that they have highlighted. If not, drop them. You don’t want to call in someone who doesn’t know how to execute.

Step 3: Understand their depth of knowledge in the area of interest to you

No agency will ever refuse work. Only a professional one will. And they are in a minority. Hence if you are to work with a professional one, you need to understand how deep their knowledge is about the area of work that you are going to give them. Check out their case studies and their blog section. Most agencies will typically showcase their best work in their case study sections and this should give you an idea of the kind of work they have done. Similarly their blogs section will give you an idea of how deep their knowledge is about their subject matter. If you find the information in the blog section boring and common knowledge, rest assured you’re looking at the wrong agency. A good professional agency will have a depth of knowledge that will be showcased throughout their site. You would at the end of the day prefer to work with a professional one, paying a bit more than with a run-of-the-mill digital marketing agency that will charge less and possibly deliver lesser. There’s better ROI in hiring a better agency.

Step 4: Understand who runs the agency & check out his LinkedIn profile

If you’re hiring a small and mid-sized digital marketing agency, the chances are you’re going to be dealing with the agency head. Hence critical to check out how good the agency head is in digital marketing himself! A good way to understand this is to check out the agency head’s social profile, especially on LinkedIn. A good agency head would be fairly active on social media platform like LinkedIn. Send out a connection request to those profiles you find suitable.

Step 5: Create a 1-page briefing document for the final shortlisted agencies

Now that you have done a final shortlist of 4-5 agencies, create a 1-pager briefing document that explains the following: a) Your company background including details of your website, social media links etc b) Your digital marketing objective – is it to generate leads, drive traffic, sales, improve SEO, google AdWords, manage social media or run Facebook advt? c) Your target geography- this is a critical input to provide. You don’t want the agency to come back with a plan targeting all India for you when you’re just focused in one city! d) Your budget (if you wish to disclose it). In my experience, it is best to share a broad indicative budget that you are prepared to spend. Most clients hesitate to give this believing that agencies would typically swallow the entire budget and prefer to get a budgetary estimate from the agency and then try to beat the agency down. Do whichever works best for you. This 1-pager document is something that all professional agencies will insist on. Remember it’s your money that is being spent. You need to get relevant ROI from it. Ask yourself these questions before you begin to prepare the 1-pager

Step 6: Invite the agency to present the plan to you.

Here’s where you can get a whole lot of free advice! Invite the agencies to present their plan to you. Probe the digital marketing agency head during the conversation as to how he would achieve the desired results. You will be surprised at the quantum of free advice you could elicit during this conversation. Use this knowledge to fine tune your own digital marketing objectives.

Step 7: Negotiate

No deal is complete without negotiations. Agencies expect it to happen and will always leave scope in their cost estimate for you to negotiate. How do you know when you have reached the negotiation end point vis-à-vis the agency? When the agency says no to the project. A good agency will always walk out of an un-profitable project while bad agencies will continue to harangue you with their follow ups long after the negotiations are over.

Step 8: Document  the digital marketing agency deliverable

This is by far the most critical aspect of your relationship with your new digital marketing agency. Always, always document the deliverable that are expected both from you as well by the agency during the project period. A good agency relationship depends on mutual trust and workmanship.]]>

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