Looking for an online marketing agency?
We’ve got good news and not-so-good news.
The good news is that you have a lot to choose from. Google ‘Hamilton digital marketing agency’ and you get over nine million results.
(SociallyInfused Media is Number One, but we digress.)
The bad news is that it’s hard to tell which ones really get results. And when you want to increase awareness of your brand, positive results are everything.
So aside from going with whoever’s number one on Google, how do you pick a result driven online marketing agency to build your online presence? And why is it so important?
Let’s take a closer look at what you want to look for, what you want to avoid, and how you can make the most of your relationship with the agency.
First, Know What You Want to Achieve
Start by confirming your goals. What exactly are you looking to accomplish?
- A bigger following on Instagram or your other social media platforms?
- TikTok videos that resonate with your audience?
- A shiny new AODA-compliant website?
Digital marketing agencies are like any other business in that they do some things better than others, even if they advertise as full-service. Therefore, the first step in choosing the right result driven online marketing agency is understanding what results you’re after.
Start by breaking everything down into deliverables with goals. Here are a few examples:
- A mobile-friendly website that scores strongly in Google’s Pagespeed tool
- Digital newsletter with a growth rate of 150% year-over-year
- Product videos that focus on the right intent (in this case, purchase intent)
This laundry list will make it simpler to explain what you’re looking for. It will also be easier for an agency to know whether they can actually help you.
To show you what this looks like in practice, let’s assume that you’re a law firm seeking new clients. You hope to achieve this goal by creating ‘FAQ videos’ in which your team answers the questions you get the most from potential clients. You need help shooting the videos and optimizing the summaries and content for search engine optimization.
- What are the deliverables? A series of branded marketing videos with optimized descriptions.
- What’s your business goal? Create confidence by showing potential clients you know how to solve their problems.
- What result are you after? A series of videos that attract attention and encourage viewers to contact the firm.
Now you can look for digital marketing agencies that curate amazing videos (some don’t) and can show you that they deliver results for video marketing–this can be in the form of customer testimonials and previous videos that attracted a lot of engagement.
You know what you want and you can narrow your choices down to online marketing agencies that do the best work in that area of expertise.
Why a Result Driven Online Marketing Agency is Key to Your Success
Not all digital marketing agencies are created equal. Some create blog posts, videos, and even entire sites, but their involvement ends once these assets are delivered.
While this approach is less expensive and may appeal to those who prefer to manage their own marketing, you’re not getting the full benefit that a result driven online marketing agency can bring.
When we say ‘result driven,’ we’re talking about an agency that:
- Has systems in place to monitor the websites and other deliverables it creates;
- Knows how to gauge success and respond to downward trends;
- Has a proven track record of successful execution
These are the agencies you want to work with because they’re invested in your success. When you win, they win. And who doesn’t want to be a winner?
How to Recognize a Result Driven Online Marketing Agency
You know your goals and understand the benefits of working with an agency that values results.
It’s time to go over your top choices and look for signs that a particular agency has the digital marketing solutions you need. When a company says it’s the best, they should be able to prove it.
Here are 8 ways you can tell that you’ve found a result driven online marketing agency.
1. Their Site is Next-Level Awesome
Websites are a gateway. The question is, does a particular agency’s website make you want to cross the threshold or go next door?
A well-designed website is essential to digital marketing success. If an agency’s site looks like it was developed when Netscape was still a thing, it’s doubtful that they’ll do a better job on your web project.
Spend some time browsing through their site and trust your instincts. If the design and user experience aren’t high quality, look for better options.
2. They’ve Got a Kick-A$$ Portfolio
Successful online marketing agencies are proud of their clients and their work. Additionally, they regularly display their partnerships on a ‘Portfolio’ or ‘Our Clients’ page to showcase their accomplishments across various digital marketing channels.
If they have some big names on their list, great! But even if they don’t, take a look at their work and see if it’s aligned with what you want to accomplish. You can tell a lot about a company’s digital marketing experience by seeing what they’ve done before.
- For digital marketing services like web development or business branding, you should see an attractive showcase of past projects.
- Other areas, like search engine optimization (SEO) and content marketing, aren’t as easy to display in a portfolio, but if they’ve listed some client sites, check them out. (Even better, look for these sites) on Google and other major search engines to see if they come up.
- If the agency is an award-winning online marketing company, even better!
What if a digital marketing agency doesn’t offer any examples of its past work?
This one’s easy- move on. You want proof that they get results.
3. They’ve Got A-Listers on Their Team
A result driven online marketing agency will have the right team members for every service they offer. If you’re interested in branding services, for example, they should have the personnel to support the project, from graphic designers to copywriters and web developers.
Visit their ‘About’ page to find out who their team members are. If they don’t list their employees and contractors, don’t rule them out automatically. If you love everything else about them, head over to LinkedIn, search for the agency, and check out the people listed as working there.
Bear in mind that not all of their star performers will have a LinkedIn profile, and any contractors they use likely won’t appear on the company page. If the credentials of the employees you do find look stellar, add the agency to the running!
4. Their Clients Love Their Digital Marketing Results
Testimonials and client reviews provide valuable insight into what it’s like to work with an agency.
When a company is result-oriented, it understands the value of social proof, and you’ll find evidence of happy clients all over their site. If you don’t find anything, chances are they’re likely a) new or b) unfamiliar with the importance of social proof, in which case you might want to question their expertise.
If they have a Google My Business listing (and they should), check out any client reviews. If there are bad ones, how does the agency respond? Acknowledging and knowing how to deal with unhappy clients is a good sign that your satisfaction takes priority.
5. You’ve Got Things in Common
What’s your company culture like? Its core values?
What you’re looking for is your digital marketing counterpart. Your bestie in collaboration.
Why? Because it’s important to partner with a full-service digital marketing agency with the same standards and work ethic that you have.
These days, all we’re hearing about is someone or something being a ‘good fit’ for an organization. You want to make sure you’re working with a company that not only does great work but also meshes and works well with your own team.
Check the following for signs that you and a particular agency are meant to be:
- Words and phrases used frequently on the website. Do they align with your core values and your project goals?
- Imagery and graphics. We’ve got a banana on our homepage- if you’ve got ice cream on yours, it’s looking good!
- Social media marketing. Are their posts engaging and accounts follow-worthy?
- Blog posts. Are they clear, engaging, and knowledgeable?
- Mission statement. Does the agency care about the same things you do? Most importantly, does it care about delivering results?
If it looks like you’ve got nothing in common with this agency, move on. Plenty of fish in the digital sea!
6. A Result Driven Online Marketing Agency Doesn’t Promise the Impossible
If an agency claims that its digital marketing strategy will fast-track you to the number one spot on Google, you can cross them off immediately. When SEO companies promise these types of impossible results, it’s a clear indication that their industry knowledge is nil.
Here’s the truth: SEO is a long-term marketing strategy. Even if you hit the top spot, it takes continuous work to stay there. Of course, that’s not what over-eager clients want to hear, but you’re ambitious, not desperate.
Pay close attention to the claims and promises an online marketing agency makes. Make sure that the results are both realistic and attainable. If it sounds like they do magic tricks, look for a company that’s more transparent.
7. They Use Reliable Metrics
What metrics does the agency use to measure success in digital marketing campaigns? The answer to this question will vary depending on the project.
Here are some basic metrics questions for a PPC campaign:
- Do your ads have a good click-through rate?
- How is that rate being measured?
- How are qualified leads being identified?
Here are a few metrics for social media posts:
- How much engagement are they attracting?
- What analytics are being used?
- What about active users?
It’s important to note that some marketing activities, like SEO, may take a little while to see results. In the meantime, positive metrics are a good sign that you’re headed in the right direction.
8. They’re Easy to Contact
Finding a company’s contact information shouldn’t turn into a virtual version of Where’s Waldo. A results driven online marketing agency will make it as easy as possible for potential clients to contact them.
If their contact page is more than a single click away and there’s no clear call to action, web navigation probably isn’t their strong suit. You don’t want a similarly frustrating experience for your clients, so give this agency a pass.
Also, if you reach out, they should respond within a reasonable amount of time. If not, are they too busy, or is this simply a side hustle for them?
You’ve Found a Result Driven Online Marketing Agency! Now What?
You’ve picked a winner! Now you want to create a working relationship that maximizes your results. By taking these steps, you can ensure smooth and successful collaboration throughout the entire project.
Ready Your Team
Everyone needs to be on the same page. Tell your team about the new partnership in plenty of time so they can prepare. At the same time, make sure the marketing agency has everything it needs to both understand your business and your expectations for the project. Don’t leave anything unsaid- we all know what happens when you assume anything.
Before starting, make sure everyone with a stake in the project agrees on the scope and timeline. Go over all phases, from research and discovery to review and offboarding, and confirm that all team members, on both sides of the relationship, know what they’re expected to do and when, as well as what the key indicators of success are.
Prepare to Collaborate
Collaboration is key to successful digital marketing projects. Moreover, your input and ideas help steer the project in the right direction to meet your desired results.
Some marketing efforts are more collaborative than others. If you’re looking for a new logo, the agency’s graphic designer will likely have to communicate only with you. Web development, on the other hand, will require input from your dev-ops team, branding specialists, and even copywriters, depending on the services engaged.
But be wary of any agency that doesn’t want to include you in the plan. You know your business better than anyone and that knowledge is mission-critical.
You will see and experience a lot of new things if you’ve never worked with a digital marketing company before. You likely won’t understand everything that’s going on, especially in the beginning, so be prepared to ask questions about the marketing plan.
Maybe you don’t know why they chose a particular title for a blog or why a graphic on the sliding header is a certain shade of yellow? If you’re not sure you like the result, ask about the reasoning behind it.
Are they trying to target a particular keyword in the blog title?
Is that yellow one of the colours they feel will resonate with your defined target audience?
Express your concerns and work with the agency to find a happy medium. Remember that this is a learning experience for them too: answering your questions and fine-tuning results will help them understand your expectations even more, and once this project is finished, you’re in an excellent position to collaborate with them on future ones.
There’s a Result Driven Online Marketing Agency Out There for You, Guaranteed!
As a final piece of advice on how to choose a digital marketing agency, follow your gut instinct. You should be able to trust your digital marketing team, know what they’re doing, and understand why they add value to your business. When they’re results driven, that value should soon be apparent.
Good luck in your search for a digital partner! If you’re in Hamilton or the GTA, SociallyInfused Media would love to be in the running. As a full-service agency and accomplished digital marketing experts, We’ve been getting results for clients since 2008 and love to prove it, so schedule a consultation today!