To increase brand awareness and to build brand equity you have to admit that you need extra pair of hands and brains in order to create a strategy, a story, a campaign and interpret data. The marketing world is constantly changing and it requires a lot of time and effort to understand today’s purchasing decisions and why people make those certain decisions.
I understand that brands want fast results and the highest ROI on their marketing activities. There are so many digital marketing agencies, content marketing agencies, social media ‘experts’, branding ‘gurus’, freelance designers and so on. Not to mention that a lot of advertising and digital agencies slap the word ‘CREATIVE’ everywhere; Creative Digital Marketing Agency, Creative Social Media Team, Creative Designer, Creative Advertising and so on. It’s like if you don’t write ‘CREATIVE’ on the website or on your marketing activities it means that you are not creative. The same goes with brands; ‘QUALITY‘! Add this word to anything basically and you shall have quality.
Everybody can talk, but very few can actually do what they talk about. Countless times I was ‘tricked’ into buying something because a friend recommended it and it turned out that the product/service was crap. We have all been there and that’s why we are very cautious with our purchasing decisions. Marketing, and especially digital marketing makes it hard to evaluate a product or service because it’s easy for marketers to make it ‘sound’ good. The problem with ‘sounds good’ is that it doesn’t increase brand equity and it definitely doesn’t increase the bottom line (sales).
Working with a reliable digital marketing agency, either by using a specific skill, or by outsourcing the entire solution to them will shorten the time it to takes to achieve your goals and accomplish growth. In contrast to relying on your in-house team or hiring freelancers a professional digital marketing agency has the advantage of seeing results quicker without a lot of effort from your end as a brand. Don’t get me wrong on when I say quick I don’t mean that I can turn around my business from £100k to £1million within a quarter. Here are a few questions that you can ask your potential marketing partner that will help you understand more about their process and their mentality. From my experience, different agencies focus on different things and different agencies have different mentalities. It’s important that your mentality is aligned with theirs. A lot of agencies say that they are ‘content first’ or ‘social media’ or ‘branding’ but in reality you have to have a deeper look.
1. What Process Would You Use to Help My Business Achieve My Marketing Goals
Sure they will throw a something like this: ‘We will run some Pay Per Click Ads and promote your fan page to get more likes’. If you hear that, run; run as fastest you can. I suggest you asking them exactly the process of how. By asking how you will understand more on how the agency works. You need to go deep and see if they truly understand the difference between Facebook likes and building a business. There is a huge difference between likes & sales. What you need is relevant likes and of course having a content strategy in place.
2. What KPIs Will You Measure?
Key Performance Indicators (known as KPI’s) is a measurable element of any marketing campaign. KPIs it will allow you to see how well your marketing strategy is performing, what you should adjust and where to make improvements. Every business is unique that’s why a marketing agency should know what they should measure. Ask them what KPIs would they use in your marketing campaigns. Here are the top five KPIs they should measure:
- Website Traffic Source; where your website traffic is coming from
- Website Traffic; the amount of users visiting your website
- Conversions; the amount of people that visit your website and become a lead
- Cost Per Lead: the amount of money it costs to acquire a new potential lead by each marketing source
- Revenue Per Lead: the amount of money you make for each potential lead that was generated
3. When Did Your Agency Start?
I’m not a huge fan of this question because there are people that started out last year and they are doing pretty well but having said that the younger the agency the higher the risk of failing. As it’s so easy to start a company nowadays anyone with a computer can create a website and label themselves as a The Leading Digital Agency. Usually the price of their services is very low and some CEOs and marketing managers prefer to pay less. This is a matter of personal preference but have in mind the consequences of hiring an inexperienced agency could lead to having huge regrets in the future. When making this type of investment look at marketing as an investment in your brand, rather than money you’ll never see again. Ask them how long there are in the market and judge for yourself.
4. What Results Can You Expect In Six Months?
This is a very hard question because each business is different and they have different budgets. A lot of companies will promise the world and guarantee you results. Make sure they are not trying to sell snake oil. Marketing is not that easy. The best answer to this question is the honest one; that they can’t guarantee results. I understand that you want to hear something very promising, something exciting but the reality is that the truth and doing the right thing always is better than comforting lies.
5. How Did You Evolve As An Agency In The Past Five Years?
I’m a huge believer in evolving as individuals and of course as brands. I believe this is a key question that you can ask. Where they were five years ago (if they existed) and how did they evolve. With technology growing every single day it’s very easy to spot the truth and the lies. There are some things on IQD social websites that I didn’t remove because I want to see for myself how we evolved as a digital agency, how we changed and how we improved. Once they tell you and showed you how they evolved you will understand if they will be around in the next five years and if what they are saying is the truth. In the marketing world today, growth is fundamental.
6. Clients? Case Studies?
Key question; What clients have you worked on? What did you achieve for them? I understand that not every client will be a success case study but they should have under their belt a few case studies and they will be able to show you some examples. You don’t want just to take their word, ask them to show you something. Did they build a new website? Ask them for the domain name? Did they do a successful campaign? Ask them to show you something online or screen shots.
There are so many questions you can ask but I believe that if you ask this questions and see if the answers are genuine you will understand if they will be the right partner for you. I understand that it’s hard especially if they are recommended by a friend or a business associate, but regret is the worst feeling that one can have. Before you sign that contract make sure they are the right partner for you.