In an ideal world, we’d have all the time and resources to do all of our own marketing and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). The reality for small- and medium-sized businesses is that any time you take away from doing your regular job, is time you take away from customer and potential sales. You can’t do it all – but should you hire a digital marketing company?
There are numerous benefits to hiring a digital marketing agency, the majority of which are related to maximising your ROI (return of investments) and freeing up some of your time as a busy business owner.
Some of the primary goals for hiring a digital marketing agency are to generate maximum leads, sell your product or service, and increase brand awareness.
Choosing to hire some outside help is a big step, and you shouldn’t take it lightly.
With a plethora of agencies in the market, each with their own unique models, how do you know if a digital marketing partner is really as good as they claim to be?
In this post, you will learn what to look for when recruiting a digital marketing agency, so you can make the right choice for your business.
Benefits of hiring a digital marketing company
There are lots of reasons to hire a digital agency, and most of them are tied to your website. Gathering leads, selling products, and increasing awareness of your business are everybody’s digital marketing goals – and those conversions happen on your site.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of benefits of working with a digital marketing company:
- Expert strategic advice
- Objective perspectives
- Support in executing and managing tasks
- Increased website traffic
- Better ranking and visibility in search results
- Better brand recognition
- Higher engagement on social media
- More website conversions
- Better use of campaign budget
- Reliable analytics reporting
- Proper KPIs (Key Performance Index) to measure progress
What to look for in a digital marketing company?
Here are some questions you need to ask of yourself or the company, as well as things to look out for, as you are sourcing for an agency you are considering partnering with.
- Understand your priorities and what you wish to achieve
The majority of marketing agencies specialise in just one or two areas. Although many of them may offer a 360-degree all-round service, some prefer to work on projects that are only relevant to their field of expertise. Some creative agency Singapore like I Concept is able to assist you with every phase of the work, from developing a brand identity (including doing the market research) to developing email newsletters (EDM, or electronic direct mailers) and social media campaigns, and regular maintenance of website performance (SEO).
Therefore, it is crucial that you understand your goals and expectations before choosing or partnering with a digital agency. Here are some tips:
- Break down your marketing goals into deliverables. For example, a fully managed content marketing strategy,
- Understand the goal of those deliverables. For example, to attract the right traffic to your website.
- Outline the end result you hope to achieve. For example, a website is fully managed by the agency.
Knowing these things will help you articulate your expectations for your marketing partner.
- Look for a genuine-looking portfolio of past clients
Smart companies take pride in the clients they work with and often publicise their collaborations for all to see.
It is okay if you do not know about their previous customers (brownie points if you do). However, if you can’t find a client list or past examples of their work, that could be a serious red flag.
If you are looking for the best digital agency in your industry, you want to have some kind of social proof that their services have worked in the past with businesses like yours.
However, certain services such as content marketing and SEO are difficult to display. As a result, agencies focusing on certain fields could be unable to exhibit their work in a portfolio.
In any case, a client list or success stories are always a clear example of their experience. An outstanding portfolio also helps hemp up the agency’s branding.
- Are their methods current?
Digital marketing changes more often than many people change their pants (especially in the age of working-from-home).
Updates to features and algorithms in some platforms can have a huge impact on how to successfully market your particular product or service.
Many of the popular search engines and social media platforms constantly and regularly roll out updates. When you are considering a digital marketing company, ask questions to establish their methodologies and awareness of any changes.
To do that, you need some familiarity with digital marketing news. You don’t have to understand it all – that’s what you’re hiring a company to do – but keeping abreast of what’s happening will help you ask relevant questions.
You might speak with a company that uses a practice that you’ve heard has changed (often relating to SEO). If they have a solid reason that they can explain, and back up with legit sources, that can be a good sign. It likely means that they wait to analyse data before making adjustments, rather than reacting to industry gossip and unstable trends.
But if they still use outdated practices and can’t give a good reason, or if they aren’t aware of a recent change that would directly impact your industry or business, then move on.
- Are they comfortable talking about digital marketing?
Speaking of asking questions – you will definitely want to work with a company that can talk to you about what they’re doing, and why.
It’s a red flag if you ask a marketer to explain an aspect of their niche, or data in a report, and they can’t break it down for you in plain language. Sure, it might be social awkwardness. But it could be that they have memorised the textbook definition, and don’t actually understand how it works.
Nobody knows it all, and oddities will come up that require further investigation. The trait to look out for is comfort (or better yet, joy) in talking to you about strategy and performance. Hire a marketing company that sounds passionate about their work, and leaves you feeling smarter and satisfied.
- Are they well-rounded?
Even if you are hiring a specialist to focus on one area, you will want whoever you work with to be versed in how all aspects of digital marketing work together.
- Technical and on-page SEO are different, and both are necessities
- SEO, social, advertorials, and emails drive content marketing results
- Social media contributes indirectly to SEO
- Link building is a key part of SEO, and is often tied to content marketing
- Most channels drive customers to a specific or custom landing page on your website
It’s okay if they don’t offer certain services. But be wary of an agency that has no understanding of other digital marketing components, or tell you not to bother (and can’t provide data to support their recommendation.)
For example, if a company tells you it’s okay to focus on social or PPC/Google ads because you’ve “already done SEO”, then you probably need to rethink your choice.
- Do they practice what they preach?
Essentially, they should. If a company is going to handle your digital marketing:
- They should have a strong and unique brand identity
- Their site should be optimised and ranked for relevant terms
- They should have at least one active, engaging social media channel (and definitely not have half-assed accounts on every single platform)
- Their Google Business Profile should be claimed, branded, and populated
- Any ads, social posts, or emails should feel cohesive and on-brand
Search their company online, and view all of the results to see how well they optimised their metadata. If they have an email newsletter, sign up for it. Check out their social media content, posting frequency, and hashtags usage.
- What kinds of promises do they make?
There are some promises a company can keep. Honouring a contract, meeting deadlines, and completing a project to specifications are things that can (and should) be promised.
Unfortunately, there are scams aplenty in the industry. Beware of any digital marketing company that makes claims like these:
- Getting your site into position 1 or position 0 in search results
- Getting quick and immediate results
- Achieving perfect technical SEO health for your site
- Earning a specific email open rate or advertising click-through rate
- Reaching specific numbers in social metrics (likes, follows, comments)
- Achieving a specific domain authority
These are all attainable, and a company might have even been able to help another client achieve these goals. But that’s what they are – goals. Any company that promises they can deliver an exact number or give you fast results is a red flag.
Digital marketing is a game of ever-changing strategies and numbers. Content marketing can take six months to years to show its first results. SEO is an ongoing effort, and every time a search engine changes its algorithm, it can impact your performance. Open rates and click-through rates depend on many factors and require constant testing and adjusting.
It’s all about the right fit
Learning how to choose a digital marketing agency takes time and patience. The time you put into your search will ensure you’re matched with a company that makes a great partner with your organisation. Rush the process, and you may be paying for poor service and struggling with your digital marketing work.
If you are on the hunt for a digital marketing and creative agency Singapore to assist you with establishing and promoting your brand, be in contact with I Concept Singapore today. We’re a leading digital agency in Singapore, offering a range of digital solutions and services, with a team that’s got the know-how to create engaging campaigns and sustainable SEO and social media publicity efforts.
Talk with our digital marketing consultants to see if we make the right partner for your business.