A digital marketing agency can do a lot for your business, or they can cost you a ton of money. For the last five years, I have seen this over and over again. I begin to work with clients out of the gate, and they are uneasy from previous companies that could not deliver their needs. 

Before we dive in, you need to ask yourself these questions:

  1.  Is my product or service great?
  2. How is my customer service?
  3. Do we follow up with our leads?
  4. Do we have a budget to spend on ads?
  5. Are we already tanking?

I have seen a company’s marketing strategy succeed greatly but the product or service was awful. The product or service got bad reviews. This will destroy your company!

If your customer service is bad, this will not destroy your marketing strategy. But, it can get you bad reviews. Take your business’s customer service into consideration.

I have seen many businesses get tons of leads but, they don’t follow up with them! What is the point of the agency getting you leads and then not following up?

If you don’t have a good chunk of money to spend on ads, what is the point of hiring a digital marketing agency? Ask yourself: how much is your competitor spending? You have to realize if they are spending 50k a month in ads then it is going to take time catch up to your competitor. I would recommend to start spending 2k a month in ads.

Tanking can be a major problem for your company and result in failure. If you are already tanking, try to implement the four major points. If you don’t see success as you test the points, you have internal problems. No digital marketing agency is going to be able to pick up your problems.

Let’s Dive Into the 18 Things To Watch Out For With Digital Marketing Agencies

    1. How big is the agency?
    2. Do they have low costs?
    3. Do they have transparency?
    4. Do they over promise?
    5. Do they have experience?
    6. Do they have case studies?
    7. How do they measure success?
    8. Do you own everything?
    9. Do they answer the phone?
    10. Can you see the results?
    11. How many failures have you had?
    12. Do they outsource?
    13. Will I be involved?
    14. When should I see results?
    15. How much content will they produce each month?
    16. How is their website set skill?
    17. What are their key performance indicators (kpi’s)?
    18. How many people work within the agency?

How big is the digital marketing agency?

This question is important for you to understand what the agency can do for you! You don’t have to dive deep for details. You should ask: how many clients do they maintain? Are they a freelancer working on more than 7 clients that is way in over his head? If he has a team that is underneath him, anything is possible! The client that you choose should be doing Facebook ads, PPC, SEO, email, and creating content. You have to determine a factor for every service they provide. I would give you a rough estimate for $500 per service, not including ad spend. Ultimately, it your choice if you would like to choose a freelancer or a major marketing company.

Is your digital marketing agency is super cheap? You might need to rethink your choice.

If they are promising they can give you full package deal (Facebook ads, PPC, SEO, email, and creating content) for you for $500 a month, don’t do it! If they are promising smaller services such as running Facebook ads or PPC ads for the same price a month, possibly take them into consideration. If you go cheap for your ads, you definitely get what you pay for. I would consider and be open to your options. 

Is the digital marketing company being transparent?

  1. Are they showing you results?
  2. Can you login onto Facebook and see the results?
  3. Can you login onto Google Paid and see what they are spending?
  4. Can you see analytics?
  5. Are they sending you screenshots?

You should have transparency between you and the agency. As a business owner, you should be able to go into the accounts to see your results. There are a ton of companies out there that set everything up with their own accounts, so there is no transparency between you and the agency. They can lie and create false data. They can use the false results to show to other clients.. Your data is your data! Your data should only be used for your business.

Is the marketing agency over promising and under delivering?

At times, a marketing agency can over promise and under deliver. A marketing agency can be misleading when they tell you that you can start seeing results immediately or by the end of the first month. What you need to understand is digital marketing takes time! It requires a lot of time and testing. For you to see results, it could take 6 months to 1 year to see a return on your investment. It takes time to educate people on social media, to build your brand, and all of this does not happen overnight.

What is their experience?

If they have a degree in marketing, it does not mean they know online marketing. Most online marketers that I have interviewed on my podcast did not get a degree in marketing. The only way you can truly learn online marketing is by their experience. Review how much money they spend on ads, how many leads they have generated, and their successes. Let’s talk results and experience!

Do they have case studies?

If they can’t show you actual case studies of companies they have worked for and how they have produced the results for other clients, that is a problem. Check out a few of my case studies.

How do they measure success?

There are many ways that businesses their vision of success. Some businesses measure success by how many views or impressions they are getting. Overall, this is not what matters! The numbers that actually matter are the cost per leads and your cost per sales. These numbers will increase your success.

Note: If you are a brand new company starting up: running ads, views, and impressions, are important but, be a beginning goal instead of an end goal.

Do you own everything?

Things you should own. All the assets they work on should be yours.

  1. Website
    1. Domain
    2. Hosting
  2. Facebook (pages, ad managers, Instagram, etc)
  3. Google
    1. Google Analytics
    2. Webmaster tools
    3. YouTube

Make sure you have access to all items on this list. I have seen companies hold all of your social media accounts hostage. If you have transparency with everything on this list, you are in good shape!

Do they answer the phone?

Contact is important when you are giving your business over to them. If you have their phone number and they do not respond in a reasonable time, or if you have to send an email and wait two days in response, don’t waste any more time!

Can you see the results?

You should be able to login and see all the results across the board on all paid platforms and organic platforms. NO questions asked!

How many failures have you had?

If they told you they haven’t failed, that is a lie. I’ve interviewed a ton of markers, and guess what most of them say, “I’ve have more failures then successes”. Online marketing is trial and error. But a good marketer fails, learns, and makes adjustments to everything very quickly.

Do they outsource?

This can definitely be a touchy subject. In my opinion, some agencies out source too much. They will hire a giant team of international workers and delegate all of their work to them. The marketing agency can claim that they train all of their people but, in my opinion, this can just be kind of suspicious.

Outsourcing shouldn’t make or break the deal. It all depends who they are outsourcing and what they are having them do. Their outsourcing should be helping the company compared to delegating everything to international people.

Will I be involved?

You need to ask the digital marketing agency how involved you will be? If they say that you won’t be involved at all, then don’t plan on seeing great results. The best results I’ve seen is when the owner is involved with the online marketing process. The owner needs to contribute to videos and creating content. Yes, the marketing company can get you leads, but if you want to take your company to the next level you’ll need to be involved!

When should I see results?

There are some results that you can see quickly such as: relevance score, views, and impressions. One thing marketing companies can’t guarantee right out of the gate is high quality leads. Yes it can happen right out of the gate, but usually it takes time. I have worked with a lot of companies that didn’t see results until 6-12 months into the process. After 12 months, guess what happened? Things really started to take off! Hiring a digital marketing agency should be a long term relationship, not a quick fix.

How much content will they produce each month?

If you are hiring the company for SEO, I would assume that they are producing at least 6-10 blogs per month.

If you are hiring a team for ads, it depends on the results. A good ad agency will make changes according to results. Sometimes ads can work for a few months. Just realize if you are spending money on paid ads, you should be seeing leads come in. If you aren’t, they aren’t doing it right.

How is your website site skills?

If they say, “I custom code”, “I’ve coded”. As Iron Maiden would put it: “Run to the hills…. run for your life!!!!” I’m serious though nobody needs custom coded website. If you want certain features for your site, make sure it helps your business grow. More than likely, those small little things don’t increase conversions, so don’t do it. Use a template with zero code and your site will never crash. Obviously you need a good theme. But seriously don’t custom code.

What are their KPI’s?

Does the digital marketing agency know there kpi’s? Kpi’s stand for key performance indicators. If they aren’t willing to discuss this with you or they don’t know what that even means, you have a problem. They should be able to discuss with you and have an idea what your conversion rates should be, or a goal they have to see what you’ll convert at.

How many people do you work within this industry?

Make sure the digital marketing agency isn’t working with your online competitor. If they are, you will be competing with yourself.

My Conclusion To Hiring A Digital Marketing Agency

Be careful! There are a lot of lousy digital marketing agencies out there. I would suggest to research your possibilities. I would contact them and have long conversations with them. Make sure they are a good fit for your company.

If you have any questions about digital marketing agencies, feel free to ask!

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