We have entered a new age of digital marketing, where all of the “entrepreneurs” are trying to jump on the money train.
It seems like you see a new marketing agency pop up on a daily basis. On the other side of things you also have old SEO/PPC agencies stuck in the past, who are trying to load sites with backlinks even though they know they are going to get the client penalized by Google. You will also find agency’s that mainly handle PPC, but believe they can build you a better website despite the fact it is not their expertise.
But don’t let this scare you, there is still hope! In this article you will find the questions you need to ask that will most benefit your company and increase your digital and inbound marketing experience!
1. What Digital Marketing Services Do They Offer?
If the rep starts stuttering or asks to place you on hold so they can get somebody more knowledgeable about all of the services, that should throw up a huge Red Flag. This shows you that you will have multiple points of contact and also that their employees aren’t knowledgeable about their own company.
2. What Is Their Teams Experience In The Services They Offer?
A company’s experience in the field will show you their expertise on the subject. If the Rep starts out “Well, I have less than a year of experience, but (and yes wait for the but) my boss has 7 years experience and after I get your info we can schedule a meeting with him.” Run for the hills!
All that means is that the rep has little experience or is just trained in one field of digital marketing. And believe me you will not have access to high level in the company on a regular basis. They will always be in a meeting or out of the office.
3. Can They Provide You With A Couple Of Case Studies Where A Company's Key Metrics Were Improved?
This is very important as it displays the real life results you can expect. And don’t accept a demo where they walk you through what they can do for you. The company should always be doing case studies to showcase their metrics. This shows they are proud of their clients success and the client is not just a number in the accounting system. The Case Study should show Positives and Negatives of the Accounts. There should be Benchmarked Metrics and it should also provide high level details about how the metrics were increased or decreased. It is important that a company shares it success as well as its failure. That will show you how transparent they will be in the future.
4. Did They Offer You A Website Audit and Proposal for a Premium Price?
DO NOT PAY FOR PROPOSAL’s and be very weary about paying for someone to do an audit of your digital marketing.
You have to remember they are trying to get your business, so most of the time they will just share the negative. Ask them what positives they found in the audit. And there are thousands of Agencies out there that are competing for business, so most of the time they will audit your digital marketing effort for free. This does not mean they are going to tell you how to fix it for free though, you will have to pay for that.
5. Have They Taken The Time To Get Certified On Any Platforms?
Not every agency posts all of the certifications on their site, so you should ask which certifications they have. It works the other way around too though, some companies will use certifications that they have not achieved. Every partner site gives you the ability to search for partners. On these sites you can enter the agencies name to find out if they are certified.
Important certifications to have are: Google Adwords, Google Analytics, Google Partners, Bing Accredited Professionals, Hubspot Certification, and some College Experience in Digital Marketing is always nice.
6. What Automation Tools Are They Using For Testing?
Digital Marketing companies should be using automation tools for A/B testing, crawl tools to check for errors and backlinks, functional widgets that consumers can be taught how to use, reporting tools, and a system to track SEO and Local Metrics. If they tell you they are manually doing this effort or do not believe in automation, then your site will suffer in the long run. I’m not saying that everything should be automated, but there are key pieces of your marketing that should be.
7. Are They Trying To Install Software On Your Site i.e. custom phone tracking, CRM’s, contact forms, and custom analytics code?
Custom Software from a digital marketing agency is the biggest trap in the digital marketing world.
Basically a company will install their phone tracking or CRM code on your website and when you go to cancel with them they will not port your phone numbers, unless you pay for them. Which you have probably already paid for, because you most likely paid the setup fee for the tracking. Either that, or they will talk you into paying a premium price just for that service.
IfByPhone offers a third party tracking tool were the code is pre-generated and you can track calls and customer id’s down to the keyword level and it is cost effective. CRM tools are important but make sure you are only buying proven software, not custom software that has little to no reviews. When paying for analytics setups do not pay for outrageous setup costs as Google pre-generates the code, so most of the time there is nothing custom about it. The only trouble someone might run into is a compatibility issue where code on your site needs to be tweaked. A reasonable price to pay for analytics setup is currently about $500, and this should include views and filter setups also. Although this does not include custom dashboards.
8. Do They Offer A Money Back Guarantee?
Money Back Guarantees do not exist.
The company will always find a way to get out of paying you your money back. Usually they will say something about how they increased some of you metrics, which improved your marketing effort, or they will place the blame on you for the efforts failure.
Digital Marketing is very expensive and most companies cannot afford to give you the money back, because of what they have to pay for their employees, software, and other overhead expenses. If you see this type of guarantee, don’t allow it to affect your decision, instead just go with someone that gains your trust and that has proven metrics in your vertical.
9. Ask High Level Questions, But Already Know The Answer!
The internet is full of information, so use it! Look up digital marketing questions and know the answers to them. This will allow you to filter out the companies that spew irrelevant information and also help you get rid of the digital marketing imposters.
You do your research when you buy a car, so why not do the same when you're investing into your website?
10. What Is Their Response Time and Communication Ability?
Response time is key to your success and by this I don’t mean they call you right back. You should give Digital Agency’s a few hours to respond to your questions. The reason being is that they usually do the research before they call you back, so they can answer your questions completely.
What you should expect is a response email back saying they are working on the issue and they will communicate to you as soon as it is fixed. What you should not accept, is an agency that does not communicate to you the same day, most of us carry our phones and have access to our emails after hours, so it is not acceptable to leave a client waiting over 24 hours or even overnight for answers.
Overall, when it comes to choosing an online marketing company it comes down to one thing: Trust. Without trust there can be no successful relationship. So choose a company that is transparent and trustworthy, who will take your company to the next level, online.