As the CEO of a boutique digital marketing firm, I am often asked my opinion on all things relating to my field. Frequently, I am solicited for my expertise regarding how to find and select the best digital marketing company for businesses of all sizes.
Now, of course, I’m going to be a bit biased, but, in all honesty, my own digital marketing company is not always going to be the best for every business. It is imperative to find a digital marketing firm that is going to represent you and your business in the best way possible.
Here are five of the most important considerations I’ve found when it comes to selecting the perfect digital marketing company.
1. Know your needs
Long before you begin your search for a digital marketing company, you’ve got to know what you want.
Are you looking for impeccable content creation and SEO expertise? A better social media presence? Or are you more interested in research and demographic studies?
Get your team together and make a list of everything you’d like your future digital marketing company to do.
This list might include:
- Creative (from copywriting to video/multimedia production)
- Search engine optimization
- Social media management/marketing
- Search engine marketing
- Email marketing
- Online advertising in all its forms -- Instagram promoted posts, Facebook sponsored posts, Google AdSense, etc.
- Content marketing
- Website development/coding
- Marketing automation
- Inbound marketing
- Public relations
And that’s the short version. Take some time to create your list and draw it out. Know what you need specifically and be able to articulate that to the digital marketing firm when the time comes.
2. Know their strengths
Not all digital marketing firms are created equal and just because they might be big doesn’t mean that they’re better. If your company specializes in, say, sportswear, you wouldn’t necessarily want to work with a big marketing firm that mostly caters to companies outside of your niche. It may behoove you to find a digital marketing firm that fits with you, even if that means going boutique. The benefit is that they’ll already know the market and whom you’re trying to reach.
Of course, there are firms out there who would be enthused to get your business despite the fact that they might not know much about your product or field. Are they exceedingly creative? Have they done work, even if it’s outside of your wheelhouse, that you admire? Maybe you don’t want someone who’s been marketing the same types of products for the life of their firm. They’ll be quick to get your work done, sure, but it may look and feel a lot like the rest of their portfolio.
3. Research their current work
This goes back to what I mentioned above. If you think that a creative campaign, maybe something that has a playful voice, might be just the thing to start driving traffic, do some research on the tone of their marketing. If you want something a little more buttoned up, look for a firm that specializes in a more professional voice.
This applies to all facets of the marketing company as well. How is their SEO/SEM presence? Were you driven to their website because it was the first one that popped up on Google? If so, this might be a good indication that they can apply the same methods to your business. Go through their blog and check out their content. Is it what you would want stylistically? Remember, you are in the unique position to judge the firm as a customer -- the same way your customers will judge your business while the firm is handling your marketing.
To that point, what are the metrics they use to consider success? Find out the company’s methods for deducing what’s working and what’s not. You’ll want a firm that’s open about these sorts of things, this way, you won’t be left in the dark when it comes time to make these deductions yourself.
4. Consider the price
Chances are, the final price is going to be determined through contract negotiation. It’s an uncomfortable practice, especially for those who are not particularly attuned to it, but there are ways to make it easier.
Be flexible and consider putting your quote on a spectrum instead of settling on a number and trying to stick to it. If your number is non-negotiable, then consider negotiating on other aspects on the contract like length or specific clauses.
Keep in mind though, if you’re their lowest paying customer, there’s a good chance that you’re not going to get the marketing company’s major players. It’s a decidedly unfortunate side of the process, but those businesses that are willing to pay top dollar are the businesses that get allocated the top talent.
5. Don’t be afraid to be blunt
All things considered, this is your business’s money we’re talking about. Even if you’ve gone far into the negotiation process, don’t be afraid to walk away. While you need to set realistic standards, being open and clear with the direction of your company will help reveal whether or not the digital marketing agency is the right one for your needs.
In the end, staying firm to your convictions and finding a digital marketing company who is willing to work with your business plan will be a better outcome for all parties involved.
As you’ve probably noticed, this is going to be a process, as it should be. You didn’t build your company in an instant so don’t expect finding the right digital marketing company to be any different. Take your time, do your research, be flexible but be staunch where it counts and you’ll find the right firm to take your company to the next level.