Knowing what to look for when deciding on a digital marketing agency is critical to ensuring future success. Much like hiring a new employee it's critical to be certain that the fit is right and that enough value is being brought to the table to justify the investment. Here's a few great places to start when evaluating your future potential marketing partner (and yes, this will be largely self-promotional, because we're geniuses and we're excellent at what we do!):
SIGNS OF A SMART DIGITAL MARKETING AGENCY
1 – THEY RECOGNIZE EVERY BUSINESS IS DIFFERENT
Here's a shocker... every business is different. Because of this, it's important to know that your marketer is able to provide what your business requires to grow right, while also being able to adjust to your ever evolving needs. There is no marketing solution that is one-size-fits-all, so one-trick ponies (classic example could be a social media guru who thinks every business type needs to be super active on Facebook, while other examples are radio, newspaper, or TV reps) aren't able to adapt to individual business needs. And remember, WHAT GOT YOU HERE WON'T GET YOU THERE - your marketing strategy needs to evolve over time, and a truly smart agency will be able to have a long-term point of view in order to anticipate the changes that you'll need to make over time.
2 – THEY WANT TO LISTEN
If a marketer comes to you with a prepared solution before getting to know your business, run. Just as a doctor can't diagnose an illness without extensive testing, a marketer can't tailor a solution for you without getting to know you, your business, your goals, and your audience. Only once there's an intimate understanding can a marketer provide an optimal solution for you.
3 – THEY RELY ON DATA TO DETERMINE OPTIMAL SOLUTIONS
A smart marketer knows that in order to intimately understand your business and your audience, data is hugely important (personally, we're crazy about it - it's part of every aspect of our operation, and we don't do anything we can't track). Digging into the troves of data and analytics that are available will allow a smart marketer to distill all that data into a strategy that will play an important role in the future growth of your business. If someone tries to downgrade the value of data, or insists that data isn't essential, it's time to say goodbye, because they'll cause you to miss out on a lot of future opportunities.
4 – THEY CONSTANTLY MONITOR CAMPAIGNS TO MAKE ADJUSTMENTS ON THE FLY
How hands on is this marketer? There is no set-it-and-forget-it in marketing. If your marketing campaigns are not your marketer's version of fantasy football, again you'll miss out on future opportunities. Just like an international flight, a marketing strategy is a long long journey. If a pilot is off target by even a few degrees, the plane will end up miles and miles from the desired destination. Small adjustments along the way will spell the difference for your marketing campaigns, and only a very engaged marketer will be able to recognize when small adjustments are needed.
5 – THEY REGULARLY HAVE CONSTRUCTIVE MEETINGS WITH CLIENTS
This should be a given. All too often, we hear of businesses who have gone months without substantial contact with their marketer. How successful can a marketer be if they're unaware of what's going on with their client? If meeting in person isn't possible, at least communication - phone calls, email, etc - of some sort needs to be happening , and certainly that marketer shouldn't be hard to reach. Don't allow your marketer to be anonymous.
6 – THEY ARE TRANSPARENT
Your marketing budget is precious, and you have every right to know what's happening with it. The data and results from your online marketing efforts should be freely available. Success must be measurable, and a marketer that isn't willing to be forthright with data isn't trustworthy. You should have and be able to understand the results that your marketing efforts are creating.
7 – THEY ADMIT WHEN SOMETHING NEEDS TO CHANGE, AND THEY DO IT
It's true that sometimes, something isn't working. A marketer that deflects responsibility or who doesn't fix something that's wrong is lazy. We once had a client for whom we had an extensive campaign running across Southern California, and the campaign was targeting men and women of a certain criteria. We found within a week (when significant data was available) that women were not responding to the campaign nearly as well as the men. We immediately made the necessary adjustment and the campaign had great success. Change was needed, and we didn't miss a beat.
8 – THEY RECOGNIZE WHAT THEY’RE GOOD AT
Everybody has strengths, and your online marketing partner should be comprised of experts. Meet the team! Get to know them! In reality, a truly professional agency attracts and nurtures the best talent. Unlike an individual marketer, such an agency can offer their client the advantage of a team of multidisciplinary specialists, who can work together to formulate a well-rounded marketing strategy. At Level 11, we've grown by bringing together people who have already established themselves as leaders in their specific discipline, and our clients have been spoiled by having the best of the best at their fingertips.
9 – THEY DON’T RECOMMEND UNNECESSARY SURGERY
We were once approached by someone seeking SEO help. With a very niche product and an extremely narrow potential audience, we knew that they certainly would need to excel in organic rankings in order to grow. As we performed our free audit, we found that this business was actually doing quite well. Well enough, in fact, that even significant investment would not move the needle for them. We simply gave them our report and advised them on a couple minor adjustments they could make to make incremental improvements. Not a single dollar changed hands, because there wasn't need in the area they were looking at, nor were any other areas prime for improvement.
10 – THEY ARE NIMBLE
Your agency should be able to shift quickly with changes in your market, business, or marketing plans. Nothing stays the same in businesses or marketplaces for long, and the nimble agency not only is aware of changes, but anticipates them with an eye to the future. The nimble agency is ahead of the trends in digital marketing in general and in their client’s business in particular. Your online marketer should be abreast of the changes and new tools and strategies that are constantly becoming available. A successful online marketer keeps a pulse on the future, as hockey legend Wayne Gretzky famously said, “skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” The most valuable agency for you isn’t simply aware of coming trends, but it communicates those regularly to you, and is bold to make suggestions based on those projections, to ensure you stay ahead of your competition.
11 – THEY MAKE YOU MONEY
This is incredibly self-explanatory. A successful online marketer will give you more chances to do what you do best, which translates into your business becoming more profitable. Especially over time, you'll know whether or not your marketer is worth keeping around, just by following the dollar signs. Every day, we prove our worth to our clients, and by making our clients more profitable, we become not only a hired partner, but a critical piece of our clients' businesses for years to come.
About us: Level 11 Online Marketing is a fast growing digital advertising agency that is becoming known for disrupting the status quo. We specialize in digital advertising, video production, SEO, SEM, advanced analytics, custom web solutions via website design & implementation, social media strategies and conversion optimization. Headquartered in Utah, you will find Level 11 team members in Utah, Washington, California, Idaho, and Colorado. We have the best creative minds in the industry backed up by the most talented software developers and video production teams which leads to powerful, efficient advertising campaigns.
If you have questions, comment here or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org today!