In the present day and age, marketing has completely transformed the way it operates. With the advent of digitisation, the world as we know it has undergone a major shift. And marketing is making sure to ride this wave of change. Marketing has now become digital marketing.
The last few years have seen an almost complete wipe out of traditional methods of marketing like advertising on TV, newspaper, radio, etc. With the onset of the internet, marketing has shifted from laptops to tablets to applications on mobile phones now.
And as businesses, you need to take advantage of this and make the most of digital marketing.
So, what is digital marketing all about? And how can you choose the right digital marketing agency that will put your business in the big leagues?
What is Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing is the use of the Internet, mobile devices, social media, search engines, and other channels to reach consumers.Investopedia
It is basically leveraging various online channels to reach out to where customers are- online. There are a lot of techniques that fall under the umbrella of digital marketing. To say competitive and relevant, businesses often use more than one technique to improve their business.
There are a lot of reasons why digital marketing makes a lot of sense now.
Firstly, more than half the world’s population uses the internet to find out information- read the news, listen to music, watch movies, play games, shopping and so on.
Secondly, because of this, more and more businesses are setting up their shop online. Organisations use websites, mobile applications to deliver their products and services.
Suppose you’re an online news providing portal. How will you make sure that people come to buy from your shop or they visit your website? Because you will not be the only news providing portal. There will be hundreds of other companies or competitors in your field of business. Whether you’re targeting local customers or a global audience, your brand needs to be visible to your audience at all times.
So, how do you make sure that your business reaches the audience you are targeting? And how do you turn these visitors into loyal customers?
Enter- digital marketing.
What Do Digital Marketing Agencies Do?
With every passing day, some new changes come up in digital marketing. As a business, you might have time and resources but you might lack in expertise. Or one of the other two.
A digital marketing agency comprises of experts in fields like SEO, content marketing, paid advertising, social media managing, video marketing, marketing automation coordination and so on.
How to Choose the Best Digital Marketing Agency?
So how do you find the perfect glove that will fit your hand?
1. The Services Required
Before you hire a digital marketing agency, ask yourself ‘why’ do you need a digital marketing agency? What are your needs and what services do you require?
Is it paid ads? Or SEO, social media marketing, website optimisation? Or do you want someone to handle your analytics? Every organisation will have different expectations and areas they need to improve on. Understand what you exactly need to improve on.
Once you’ve decided on that, ask yourself if your in house marketing team has the skills to take on these tasks? And if they can be taught?
If you think they aren’t equipped with the necessary skill sets, it would be best to outsource an agency which will fulfill all your requirements.
2. Determine Your Budget
You can set your budget as per your needs. You need to understand that even if you spend tons of money on your marketing, your business will never boom if your service or product isn’t good enough.
If your requirement is only to boost your social media presence, you need not spend on website design or Google ads. So, understand what you need and find out a digital marketing agency that is the right fit for that task.
3. The Expertise of the Agency
A digital marketing agency that promises to elevate your company’s presence online should be doing good themselves. That only makes sense right? Doing this will help you get an idea about their skills and capabilities.
So, you need to check how well the company ranks for the services they say they will provide. If you search for “best SEO providing digital marketing agencies,” does their website rank in the first few pages of Google?
Find out their clients and go through their testimonials. If the client is not your direct competitor, you can also try to reach out to them and ask them how their experience with the agency was? If the agency’s services actually helped them get the push they needed on their marketing?
4. Credibility and Legitimacy of the Digital Marketing Agency
I had mentioned about competitors in one of the earlier sections of this blog. Your competitors are companies providing similar services like you to a similar target audience.
So, just like your competitors, a digital marketing agency will have its own competitors working in the same niche. And there are thousands of such agencies “claiming” to be the best in their field. There are way too many companies in this field who have no idea how to do digital marketing. Don’t fall for their big words and just a beautiful website. Do your own homework.
One of the ways to check the legitimacy of the company is by following the earlier step that I talked about. Reach out to clients and find out their experience. Check for the digital marketing agency’s presence on Google.
Apart from this, you can ask the agency directly about the kind of companies they have worked with? What kind of services did they provide? What challenges did they face? If there were any companies with whom they couldn’t really help? If they couldn’t, how did they handle the situation?
5. Their Pricings
Less isn’t always more.
In fact, digital marketing guru Neil Patel goes on to say that, “A great SEO will never charge low prices. If you’re hunting for a discount, chances are you’ll end up with an SEO who cuts corners and hurts your site in the long run.”
Cost is the first thing that will come to your mind when you’re looking for a service. But it’s inadvisable to go for the cheapest one especially when it comes to looking for a digital marketing strategy. Simply because there are way too many digital marketing agencies who are in this field and claim they know everything when actually they don’t.
But this doesn’t mean that you spend tons of cash in your digital marketing strategies. Figure out the services you need and find out the agencies that have a name for themselves in their industry. If you think they’ll be able to help you, only then decide to spend on them.
6. Their Social Media Authority
Social media is a huge part of our life now. Almost everyone uses some form of social media like Instagram, Twitter, or even LinkedIn. That’s why businesses have decided to join the bandwagon too.
Having a social media page needs you to post pictures of your company – events, employee outings, conferences, new offers, giveaways, and so on. It is the best way to stay engaged with your customers nowadays. When you constantly keep updating your profile on social media, it just shows your customers that you are active which in turn adds to your credibility.
That’s why social media marketing is a different avenue altogether now. Reaching the right audience and getting more followers on social media has become an important part of staying relevant now.
A lot of digital marketing agencies specialise in this field too. So, if you’re a business for whom a strong social media presence will work wonders, you will need an agency who have a great social media profile themselves. They can only help you only if they know what they’re doing themselves.
Since you’re going to invest in a digital marketing agency, you have the complete right to know everything about their company. You need to choose the best for your business.
If the agency’s website looks lacking, it can be a problem. If it looks like they don’t have their address, client lists, testimonials mentioned in their website, it’s a major red flag. In case you can’t find reviews from other customers, it’s not worth investing.
Moreover, it is important that the agency has another communication channel between them and their customers apart from their website. Check if the company has profiles on social media pages and how actively they use those. If their last post is from 2017, then it’s likely they aren’t doing that good now.
Even after you’ve outsourced an agency, stay in touch with them constantly. Discuss what their plan of action and strategies are for your company. If you have more than one requirement, how are they going to fulfill each aspect? You need to ask about the duration, the people who will be working on it and what is the work they will be exactly doing.
8. Plan for The Long Term
After you’ve found the perfect digital marketing agency that ticks all the points in this checklist, be patient with your results. Your objectives will be completed and fulfilled, but it will take some time.
Digital marketing is a continuous process and your digital marketing agency will regularly need to employ new ways to boost your business. Starting from your website design, UX, content in the pages, blogs, CTAs, social media pages, ad campaigns need to be taken care under digital marketing. So, it’s a long process that needs to be operated simultaneously.
Therefore, it would be best to form a relationship and a long term bond with the digital marketing agency you choose.