11 Tips to Consider When Engaging a Digital Agency to Scale Your Business
Hiring a digital agency can be your most significant investment in a business; ensure you are getting the best out of it. Also, remember that hiring an agency does not guarantee success, so check that your business fundamentals are strong and you have a robust business plan.
Furthermore, it is imperative to keep logical expectations and not to get disappointed or drive the agency owners crazy with your unrealistic expectations.
To ensure success, you should know what to expect from a digital marketing agency.
Here are the 11 tips to consider when engaging a digital agency to drive the best results –
1. Do Your Homework First
You can’t expect your agency to do everything for you. So, before you hire an agency, do your homework and finish the prerequisites. For example, before hiring an agency for a paid advertising project, build a website with all the necessary landing pages. Conduct on-page optimization to easily convert customers when running paid campaigns.
Similarly, while onboarding new clients, your responsibility is to provide your credentials, such as logos and business information, give access to software, create customer profiles, and so on. Also, be ready with high-quality product photos, niche keywords, USPs, previous ad clips, and the terminology used in your industry.
2. Conduct a Business Feasibility Study
Before hiring a digital agency to promote your business, check your business fundamentals. If you don’t have a business plan and haven’t performed market research, you are doomed for failure. Assess your market size, competition, and people interested in your products or services. The lack of strong demand and a large targetable market indicate that your business has weak fundamentals. It can be risky to invest in marketing for such a business.
3. Evaluate Your Agency’s Expertise
Signing a contract without due diligence and evaluating your agency’s capabilities and expertise is like jumping into a dark well. You will engage with the digital agency to assign them the crucial task of your brand’s marketing and conversion. You should get some upfront value in exchange for the money you will invest in the services.
So, it is a good idea to check their proposals. A professional agency would always share a well-prepared presentation highlighting its strategy and execution. You can also give them a test project, but it doesn’t work with every service, especially SEO, because search engine optimization doesn’t yield any results in the short term.
Some agencies also offer a free website audit and plan to improve the SEO and web design for improved visibility and user experience. It proves that the concerned agency is serious in its approach.
4. Assess Your Agency’s Work Culture
There are no standard benchmarks for digital agencies, varying according to their work culture and processes. You must also understand that they work with multiple clients, so they can’t entirely focus on your project and might not use all of their resources and tools for your project.
So, you should have at least one person to manage your project in-house who knows the nitty-gritty of the project and monitors the results delivered by your agency. This ensures that both of you are on the same page. Make sure that the content and graphics your agency provides are as per your branding and convey the right messaging to the audience.
5. Stop Taking Daily Feedback and Doing Micromanagement
Marketing takes time to deliver results. So, stop pricking agency owners daily, as it can be counterproductive and annoying. Similarly, micromanaging everything is certainly not a good business practice.
Be focused on the results and avoid interfering with the tasks assigned to your team members. There should be just one point of contact in the agency, most preferably the account manager, so you don’t have to contact random people about your queries.
Your point of contact should be an expert in the field and have access to your project’s real-time updates so that they can provide satisfactory answers to your queries and clear confusion if any.
6. Make Sure That Your Agency Specializes in Your Niche
If you have worked with a specific niche earlier, you would be familiar with its nuances, such as the product life cycle, market trends, and customer psychology & preferences. Similarly, different marketing channels require different kinds of expertise and strategies.
If your agency hasn’t ever dealt with your niche, it can be a red flag because they’ll likely not be familiar with the channel-specific strategies needed to succeed in the tough marketplace. So, prefer an agency that’s experienced in your niche and adequately understands your market.
7. Check the Contracts
To prevent nasty surprises and unpleasant experiences, you need to be careful about the legal side of your relationship with your agency.
Here also, a few things can be a red flag. As nobody can commit to a contract with guarantees and own responsibility for any damage to your brand, you need to be doubly cautious about your agency choice.
Choose a prudent and competitive agency and go for a time-bound contract.
8. Estimate the Project Costs
Hiring an agency is technically much like outsourcing. However, cost-cutting is not always the objective behind outsourcing. Quality products and services are necessary to compete in the market, and they don’t always come at a low price.
You might hire agencies who will charge less for the same project, but you can’t be sure of the quality they will deliver. There must be indeed a logical reason if someone demands a premium amount in this tough marketplace.
To decode this problem, you need to do some math. Calculate and compare the price difference between setting up an in-house team and hiring a premium and experienced agency. Research the salaries experienced professionals charge in your field and what it would cost you if you hire an agency. Here is an example of price difference –
9. Identify Project Scope
All projects are not the same. Some are longer and more complex; in some projects, you get the actual picture only after working on them. For example, you received an SEO project, but soon it dawned upon you that you need more quality content on your client’s website first. So basically, it’s content marketing plus an SEO project focusing on content marketing.
So, you need to clearly understand your project before you decide to hire an agency. It includes the timeline of the project, its evolving needs, and how far its budget can stretch.
SEO projects normally take longer to achieve any concrete results regarding search engine visibility, but paid ads or PPC projects provide immediate results. However, paid advertising is considered extremely risky. So, you must be very careful about your paid advertising projects because the budget may soon skyrocket.
10. Be Realistic
Marketing has many more variables than other business processes, such as design, development, and operations—it is not easily predictable.
Given the competition and the market dynamics, things change rapidly, affecting the results. Furthermore, the first few months are the testing phase in every business relationship, which may last even longer. The agency business is no exception. Be ready to face this, and keep patience.
Failure is also an integral aspect of marketing; failure management takes time. If such a thing happens, get in touch with your agency and try to understand the underlying reasons. Bigger successes stem from failures. We need to learn from our failures rather than get disappointed and quit.
11. Hire Multiple Agencies if Needed
Adding multiple agencies is not bad because every agency specializes in one area. If we focus on delivering the best results to our clients, we may consider hiring various agencies.
For example, if a digital agency is proficient in SEO and another is popular for paid advertising, you should hire both for hybrid projects. Sometimes it is difficult to manage different agencies, but the rewards far outweigh the hard work. If you can’t handle more than one agency, stick to one only.
Having realistic expectations is crucial when engaging a digital marketing agency. It will help you get the best results and maintain an excellent relationship with your agency.
You should know what an agency is capable of and what it is not. Despite their proficiency and expertise, they can’t ensure success with a poor business plan and weak fundamentals.
Once you are ready with a business plan and demand forecasting, you can hire an agency to scale your business.