Finding someone to help brand your business and take on the responsibility to make it more profitable should never be taken lightly. You aren’t shopping around for a gardener; you are about to hand your business reputation and earning potential over to a complete stranger. When searching for the best digital marketing experts, you may view their website and think the agency looks great. But does this mean they can really do what they claim to do, and do it well?
Before you start asking Internet marketing companies a set of questions, ask yourself this one: what is it that I really want? Think about what it is you hope to achieve before you start looking for a marketer. Some business owners may say things like “I need a modern website”, or “I need SEO”. All too often those who say they need search engine optimization seek Google partner SEO agencies because it means a group of techy nerds flip some magic switch that starts driving in more customers. If this was the case then everyone would be a pumping out profits left and right.
What they really want is more customers, and not SEO.
Sure, all businesses exist to make money and turn profits. But how does that really happen? There are a number of factors that need to be taken into account such as your company’s location, its products and services, who your customers are, and how they identify with your brand. Depending on these points, a business may require a completely different digital marketing strategy from…say someone who sells sail boats, or even differ greatly from local competition.
Are people on Facebook regularly talking about your industry? Do you get leads but you don’t know where they came from and by the time you reach out they have grow cold? Are people searching for your products online every day, but very few seem to find your business? Multiple surveys show that most businesses searching for new digital solutions face these challenges, and if you answered yes to all of these then you need a customized social media strategy, an agile inbound marketing approach to nurturing your leads into paying customers, and damn good SEO all wrapped into one. Here’s the problem: most digital agencies only specialize in one of these.
So now that you know what you want, what are the two most important questions to ask marketing pros?
Ask How their Clients Achieve Business Growth
This is arguably the most important question to ask because it will help you differentiate between these three: (1) Joe Shmoe SEO, (2) agencies that really only excel in one component of digital, and (3) those all-star boutiques that customize strategies based on each client’s unique profile and needs. If one marketer answers this question by saying, “we have hand-picked the best SEO experts and we can rank your website” while a rep from another agency turns the question around right back at you and asks for details about your business (what you want to achieve) followed by sending a proposal that addresses services aimed at fulfilling each need all wrapped up into one robust strategy, your best choice is clear.
How Much Does it Cost?
This is a vital question to ask because it will help you detect and dismiss the cookie-cutter agencies right out the gate. If you interview a marketing agency that has the “bronze, silver, and gold plan” methodology behind pricing and the services they provide, expect the service to be generic and the results to be vanilla at best.
Because your business is unique, you need an equally unique marketing strategy. When doctors treat people with high blood pressure, there are hundreds of ways to do so based on other conditions and unique patient needs. Any high-end marketing agency should treat their clients the same way and hand-craft a strategy that no run-of-the-mill digital package can offer.
So how do agencies bill for this? There are several approaches. Some may do adjustable billing based on monthly services, while others may estimate the hourly work and coverage cost for internal platforms and tools. Really there is no right or wrong way; it’s based on each agency’s liking.
“How much does it cost” is also a legitimate question to ask simply so you know what your expense will be. Just be sure to ask yourself if your projected profits justify the investment. If you are talking to a top agency truly on their A-game who can forecast some tangible indicators, the investment will make total sense.