If you don’t have your own marketing department, or the skills and resources to effectively show how brilliant your company is, you’re probably frustrated by your limited marketing abilities. When you’re in desperate need of some support, you turn to Google (or Siri) to search for the best one…but you have no idea where to start.
Or, you know exactly what you need your new marketing agency to do, but you have no idea how to judge which one is best suited to actually doing it.
That’s always the problem.
Picture this, you spend weeks scouting for the perfect agency that will be able to showcase your business’ skills. A team with the capabilities to get you the results you been craving. Your marketing is sorted.
But twelve months down the line you’re back to tearing your hair out. They’re not delivering on time. The content they’re creating for you is terrible (or non-existent). They’re inconsistent, and they’ve yet to deliver a single lead.
All marketing takes time to produce results, but those results will never materialise at all if your agency aren’t at the top of their game and consistently delivering high quality work that’s carefully designed to achieve your goals and objectives.
Now, picture this. Before you make a decision on the right marketing agency for your business, you take a moment to learn exactly what you should be looking for, and how you can judge if you’re going to end up in that nightmare scenario. You do your homework, and make an informed decision.
Twelve months from now your marketing agency’s new plan for your business is consistently generating leads. Profits are up, client satisfaction and customer retention have never been higher, and there’s a real buzz around your brand.
Sounds divine, right?
Hiring a digital marketing agency can help you to find the light at the end of the tunnel, and get your company out of that rut you’ve been stuck in.
Nowadays, it’s easy to find a marketing agency. They’re everywhere (believe me, we know!), but how do you know if they’re suited to your needs?
How do you judge if they’re able to provide the creativity and innovation they promise? If they genuinely have the level of knowledge and expertise in the fields they advertise (and you need)?
You need good value for your money, and tangible results from the agency you hire. Without this, you can kiss goodbye to your ROI and say hello to a massive waste of time and one colossal headache…
With so many digital agencies saying they can provide the answers to all of your marketing problems, it’s tough to pick the perfect agency with the creative flair and professional savvy your business needs.
We know what you’re thinking…
How can I find an agency that checks all the boxes, when I’m not sure what those boxes are?
How is it possible to find a marketing agency capable of taking my business to the next level?
We get it. And to help you out, we’ve put together an easy guide showing you exactly what to look for in a creative digital marketing agency…
Step 1: Get A Pad And Pen…
First things first, why are you looking to hire an agency?
Is it for SEO purposes?
Or maybe you need a completely new marketing strategy?
Or perhaps you just haven’t taken advantage of social media yet, and need a helping hand getting started?
Before you can even look at hiring an agency, you need to write all your wishes down and be ready to explain to what you want (and need!) from the marketing agency you hire. So grab a pen and paper, and really think about it.
We know how tricky this part is, so to help you get it right we’ve made you a handy checklist, click here to download it now and read on…
Our checklist includes all the things you need to look out for to find an agency that actually has talent and knowledge required to do an outstanding job. Finding someone who can demonstrate these skills means you have found a company who is more creative and ingenious than your ordinary marketing agency.
You will need to consider every point with every prospective agency you find. Tick off the things that each company does correctly. Add the specific requirements your business has, and look at the experience of the creative agency you’re vetting in that area. You should end up with a literal view of which agency has the most going for it.
That way, you can find the company that best suits your needs, and will be knowledgeable enough to help carry your business forwards into a more successful future.
Step 2: Perform A Social Scan…
Now that you know the key areas you need to understand to find the best agency suited to you, it’s time to delve into each topic a bit more.
If you want to gain a realistic view of the agency you’re thinking of hiring, you will need to perform a ‘social scan’. This involves browsing their website, social media pages, and any news they may have been involved in to get a feel of the company, the employees, and the kind of work they create.
If they can’t rock their own marketing how can they be expected to handle yours?
Their website is an important factor too. This is where most of their leads will come through: the hub of any business is its website!
One thing to consider is how effective their lead generation system is – do they have email opt-ins? Are there freebies and offers available? And how contactable are they?
Because there’s nothing worse than a company you can never get hold of!
The website also holds details about previous clients and past projects, so you can see the work they’ve done in the past.
Step 3: Check Out Their Content…
If you’re looking to hire an agency to manage your blog, checking out their recent blog posts is a great place to start. Even if you’re not interested in hiring them as a content marketing agency, a company’s blog is still packed with great insights. Ask yourself as you’re reading: is this interesting? Have I learnt something?
Creating high-value content shows the dedication of the company in providing an exceptional client experience, and demonstrates the SEO chops of the agency (a vital point to consider if you want to hire them to manage your SEO!)
There are so many positive marketing benefits that come from blogging. If you can find an agency who understands that blogs are far more than just an SEO tactic, and can be used to attract a dedicated audience of ideal clients, then you’re definitely onto a winner.
Any type of content marketing can increase your brand awareness, visibility, and recognition, as well as allow you to develop lasting relationships with your audience.
The world of content marketing is endless and it is one of the most powerful ways you can grow your business.
Ultimately, finding a company who understands the value of exceptional content and is capable of consistently producing it (both for themselves and their clients) is one of the best ways to guarantee you gain the results you need.
Step 4: Location, Location, Location…
Another important thing to acknowledge is where the marketing agency is based, and if they’re local to your business. If you need any filming, photography, or for your new marketing gurus to attend any events, will it be physically possible for them to get to you, and feasible for you to commute to the agency if needed?
Depending on what you prefer, you can still communicate by phone and via email, but it may still be difficult to get to meetings and have the benefit of face-to-face contact. There is a chance that you will lack a strong relationship with your agency if you can’t get that ‘face time’, and if you feel an in-person connection is vital then this could be a deal-breaker.
Practically speaking, a company who is far away may incur additional costs if you have to commute to reach them or vice versa. This may include train tickets, fuel, and other travel expenses that you may want to avoid.
Not only have you got to think about the location of their company, but if you’re looking for local clients yourself then you may want to consider how this may affect you. If you’re targeting local clients, a local marketing agency will know the area and can help you thrive and grow as part of the surrounding community.
All that being said, in the modern digital age, location is a relative concept. Don’t limit the scope of your search to agencies that are literally on your doorstep. Rather, consider what a reasonable catchment area is, and compile a list of different options within it. For example, you may decide you want someone within a 10 mile radius of your office, or an agency operating in the same city, or simply someone within your local county.
Step 5: What Marketing Experience Do They Have?
Always ask about an agency’s experience. Usually, those with more experience are better able to share pockets of knowledge and are capable of coming up with new ideas that are more engaging and interesting.
They’ve been around the marketing block often enough to know all the shortcuts (including the ones that must be avoided at all costs!). They know where the potholes are and how to avoid them. They also know how to extricate themselves from any that are unavoidable.
Beyond that, they’re capable of thinking beyond the same-old and forging new and exciting paths that other people wouldn’t consider.
Experience isn’t all about practising how to do one thing until you get it right. It’s about gaining the insight, gumption, and whimsy required to see things from a completely unique perspective and use that vantage to the advantage of your clients.
You need an agency that understands the industry and can actually make a difference to your business.
You will find that the best marketing agencies have a small group of individuals who are each experts in a specific topic, rather than a bunch of people who are ‘jacks of all trades’.
As Benjamin Franklin once said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest”.
You will benefit more from a team of carefully chosen experts, where every member has their own specialised area. This ensures that you will have a high level of talent working for you over all areas. You should expect an effective marketing team to include someone dedicated to social media, someone else with great PR knowledge, and another person again who is capable of crafting the perfect brand voice for your business. Beyond that, consider they should also have people capable of building and developing the perfect website for you, handling any technical problems, and meeting any design and branding needs you have, as well as someone willing to spearhead your businesses development in the right way.
It is better to have a team of specialists who are all exceptionally talented at one or two things, than one person or a group of individuals who know a little about all aspects of marketing. When you find the former, you’re dealing with the A Team, capable of pooling their knowledge and resourcefulness to create tremendous change in your business. In the latter case, you’re looking at a team with knowledge that is limited. Whether working individually or as a unit, their capabilities are about the same, and that does your business no good at all.
Ideally, you’re looking for one team of specialists with at least one person who excels in all of the following areas:
- Content Marketing
- Video Marketing
- Graphic Design
- Web Development
- App Development
- Business Development
- Social Media
- Technical Support
- Inbound Marketing
- Email Marketing
Step 6: A Good Company Values Their Tools…
In the digital marketing era, a marketing agency should always have modern technology, software, and tools. This is one of the easiest ways to know if a company is suitable for you: if they have effective tools that utilise all the latest innovations and technical wizardry, then they are keeping updated with current trends and industry changes.
For example, if you’re looking for web development you need to look for a company who have the tools to set everything up and properly optimise it for you. They will also need the knowledge to effectively use those tools, otherwise you’re back at square one.
The best development tools in the world are useless without a coding genius.
A cracking marketing team will usually have specialist software they use internally, such as a development platform, an SEO platform, as well as performance software like Google Analytics, and additional software they use to market for their clients. They will also utilise effective communication platforms, both within their team and with their clients.
These kinds of tools allow agencies to check how well posts, web pages, and other marketing campaigns are performing. It also means they can improve and create strategies to improve. A good agency can reflect on their work and, if they don’t already have a solution to a problem, will know exactly how to find one and implement it.
Step 7: Find A Positive Company Culture…
When you’re trusting an agency with your marketing, finding a company with a culture that matches your ethos is an important factor. You want a company who is able to meet your standards and match your goals both personally and professionally.
This means you’ll always be on the same page, and your content, branding, and message will align with your values.
Good company culture is an environment in which a team works cohesively and gets the job done as a unit. There should be appropriate attitudes towards work set, and all employees should feel motivated to overachieve the goals of the company, as well as their individual goals. At the same time, there should be a general atmosphere of positivity and comfort within a business. Team dynamics are complicated, and you only get the best out of a company when everyone is on the same wavelength, comfortable and happy working together.
Like any business, your marketing agency will have its own set of values, goals, and feelings about the manner in which business should be conducted. Finding a company with a culture that’s matched to your brand values really creates the perfect partnership.
An agency that consistently creative, innovative, and driven to achieve growth and results. Without these three key elements, you’ll find yourself trapped on the ‘marketing bandwagon’, populated by average companies providing underwhelming services.
An exceptional company culture can also benefit you if you’re working closely with the agency, as you will gain knowledge and continue to build strong relationships due to the upbeat and motivated culture within the office.
Step 8: Are They Your Cup Of Tea?
Most importantly, you should make sure that your agency is friendly and welcoming towards you, your employees, and your business overall. A company that will act as a driving force, pushing you to grow, to innovate, to stay on-trend and up-to-date, is a business you want to stick with for life.
Here are a few other quick things to look for to help you make the perfect choice:
- Can they be proactive and put a 12-month plan in place?
- Are they able to provide good value and an impressive return on investment?
- Note their workload – do they have the capacity and availability to achieve your goals? Conversely, do they already have a healthy client list, demonstrating they’re good at what they do?
- Are their testimonials freely available on the website to provide references from past and current clients, so you can see how they have performed, and if customers are happy with their service?
If the answer to all of these questions is yes! you’ve hit the jackpot.
Complete The Checklist…
If a company can tick off all of these elements on your checklist then they are definitely the company for you.
When all these elements come together you find yourself working with a team capable of providing a service that is creative, approachable, and delivers exceptional value for your business, what’s not to love?
At Acrylic, we have the three core values of creativity, innovation, and growth, and are driven by results. We want to push your business to achieve maximum success, and give you the guidance you need to help your business thrive! Get in touch today for a free consultation, and kicksart your marketing efforts with one of our bespoke strategies, tailored to the areas you need the most…
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Acrylic’s very own Social Media Expert, Izzy Ford, is the genius behind every Tweet, Pin, Post, and Live on our clients’ social platforms. When she’s not penning polls, tracking down awesome images, and creating amazing competitions and events, Izzy writes blog content, and takes every available opportunity to get behind the camera and hone her videography skills.
Get to know her...