So you’re on the hunt for a digital marketing agency near you. It may seem easy enough to call around or set up meetings with places that look nice, but there can be some hidden pitfalls you can avoid with just a few easy tips. Take it from one of those local agencies, a well-prepared client is our favorite kind!
1 | Know your priorities
Before you set out to choose a company, you should know what you’re looking for. If you’re starting from the ground up and need everything from logo and brand design to website development and promotion, it may be tempting to seek out separate agencies who promote just those specific things. But the more people you involve, the more potential problems you’ll encounter–consider searching for full-service agencies instead and limit the number of cooks in the kitchen when it comes to developing your brand.
Alternatively, if you already have a strong brand identity and are looking to take it to the web (or perhaps redesign an existing site), it’s still worth looking for agencies that offer creative services in addition to web; it’s important that your website becomes an extension of your brand, and hiring a company that knows good design first will give you a stronger footing. Either way, set your intentions first (logo design, web design, web hosting), and look for companies that offer those services under one umbrella.
2 | Do your research
Now that you know what you’re looking for, it’s not enough to go on services alone. Any business can SAY they offer something, but it’s up to you to evaluate how well they actually do it. Since you’re looking for digital marketing companies, establish some basic evaluative questions to ask yourself about potential options. Questions like:
- What does their website look like? How easy is it to navigate/is it convincing you to give them a shot?
- What does their brand look like? Does it connect with you or your company values?
- Do they have a portfolio of work? What do their clients’ sites look like (and is the marketing company being clear about what role they played in developing the logo/brand/site versus how much the client already had to begin with)?
- How are they promoting themselves on social media? Are there any reviews or testimonials available from their clients?
These are all commonsense questions that boil down to the simplest form: do you want your company’s brand/website to look like what they’re making right now? If not, then keep searching until you find the company that meshes with your values.
3 | Ask about their process
Once you’ve picked out a few companies that look good online, set up some in-person meetings. This is one of the biggest benefits of working with local companies, because there’s really no substitute for meeting face to face to address your business’s needs. In this meeting, you’re looking to get the scoop on what they can offer you and why that’s worth your time and money. Here are a few questions that can help you get started:
- Who is your biggest client and how long have they been with you?
- What is your process for measuring success? (Do you share performance reports? How often/what do they include?)
- What marketing services do you specialize in? (NOTE: Most agencies worth their salt will discuss targeted SEO, backlink acquisition, and online ad campaigns. Check out our previous blogs to learn more.)
- What’s your standard approach for incoming clients? (What can I expect you to do for me if we move forward?)
4 | Come prepared to talk budgets
So you asked your questions, now they’re likely to have some for you. Be prepared to share this information, or at least know it for yourself. Some of these can feel uncomfortably direct, but it’s important to keep in mind that while you’re looking for a good agency, they’re also looking for good customers. Most are looking for long-term clients who will be reliable and consistent, and ultimately who are willing to trust the agency to do what they do best. Some suggestions for being prepared:
– Know your budget.
The knee-jerk reaction when this question comes up is often to feel suspicious that they’re trying to max out your price range. But that is rarely the case. Think of it from the viewpoint of a business owner yourself; they want your business, and they want you to stay with them long-term to generate consistent revenue and foster positive client relationships. Their best bet is to find a comfortable range that compensates them for their efforts, but won’t strain your budget and will give you the best service possible to make you a satisfied client.
The pitfalls for them are when clients refuse to give a starting range, and they have to start sharing numbers that potentially shut down the conversation before it gets started. So have a budget in mind of what you’re willing to commit, make sure you have services in mind that will make that number worth it to you, and ask what they can do for you at that price point. Chances are they will offer more than you expect, and if you still aren’t satisfied with it, try laying out what you were hoping to see done for that amount. This will give them an opportunity to adjust their offer or share alternatives you might not be aware of. In the end, if nothing works for what you’re wanting, then you aren’t committed to anything and at least gave them a solid chance.
– Know what number is COMFORTABLE for you.
This is one of the biggest things to keep in mind for budget discussions. You may be ABLE to afford $3000/month in advertising and web expenses, but think in terms that make the most sense for your business. If it’s at the top of your range at the start, chances are you’re committing to trouble down the road the first time business drops off or unforeseen expenses crop up. Identify the top end of your range, then drop it by a healthy percentage. Most agencies will work with a large range of budget limits, and it’s better for all parties if you can commit with confidence and receive uninterrupted service in the future.
5 | Come prepared to speak honestly about your business
Assuming all goes well and you’re ready to start working with the agency of your choice, they’ll need to know more about your business and customers. Good marketing is rarely about just reaching the most people. The most effective strategy is to target the people most likely to become new customers for your business. In order to do that, they’ll need to know who you are and who your current customers are.
Some important things to share:
- Your company’s story. How did you get your start?
- Your company values. What’s most important to your business (not you, personally, but your business)? Is it good service? Fast turnaround? Being a helping hand?
- Something that makes your business unique. Why do customers seek you out over your competitors? Who are your competitors?
- Your customers right now. What kind of folks are they? Level of income, geographic area, age ranges are all helpful to know how to build a website that connects with them.
These are all great starts, and you may come up with other relevant info to share based on your industry or circumstances. Overall, the marketer’s goal is to put themselves in the shoes of customers needing your business and develop logos/brands/sites/etc that are optimized for making them choose you over everyone else. So the more insight you can give them, the better.
If you have questions or have something to add to our recommendations, send us a message! And of course, if you’re on the lookout for digital marketing agencies in DFW, we might be just the local company you’ve been looking for–follow our advice above and give us a call today!
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