All modern businesses have one common goal  — to become an internet sensation. With a significant rise in the cost of advertising in print and electronic media over the last couple of years, many small businesses have opted to go for digital marketing, which is more cost-effective. 

The increased popularity of social media has also opened doors to more affordable and efficient ways for businesses to engage with prospects. The necessity of having a vibrant online presence has increased the requirement by businesses to have a reliable digital marketing strategy. 

Navigating the world of digital marketing can be a daunting task for most business owners, more so those that are thin on time and resources. Choosing the right digital marketing agency is crucial for your success. You’ll need a trustworthy and reliable partner that will manage all your online marketing needs. Getting the wrong one can easily drain your budget while negatively impacting your image.

However, getting the perfect candidate isn’t as easy as it seems. With many digital marketing companies popping up every other day, there are many factors to consider before settling on one. Here is a comprehensive guide to help you navigate the world of digital marketing to find the best partner for your business.

But first, let’s understand what digital marketing is all about and why you need a good digital marketing partner for your company.

What is Digital Marketing?

According to Wikipedia, digital marketing is the marketing component that utilizes the internet and online-based digital technologies such as desktop computers, mobile phones, and other digital media and platforms to promote products and services. It is basically leveraging internet-based platforms to reach where your customers are found online. 

To remain relevant and competitive, businesses often incorporate more than one online marketing strategies to boost their brand. Apart from traditional digital marketing techniques such as social media use and Search Engine Optimization, there are many other techniques with a greater Return on Investment (ROI). 

One of the latest entrants to the world of digital marketing is the use of podcasts. Starting your own podcast is easy, but it is time-consuming, and you may not have the time to prepare and share the content all over. This is why, among other reasons, having a digital marketing partner by your side would be beneficial.

But is it really necessary for you to create an online presence?  

Take a look at some of the reasons why you should take your business online:

  • Nearly everybody is online.

Approximately 4.6 billion people are active internet users worldwide. Regardless of the devices they use, you can still reach out to them and make your brand visible.

  • Ability to reach your target customer

While print and electronic media enable you to reach mass audiences, they are not always the best in terms of Return on Investment (ROI). On the other hand, digital marketing allows you to narrow down your scope by micro-targeting your business’s exact customer profile. 

  • Adapt and change quickly

Changing or retracting a piece of information put out in print or electronic media takes time, and you’ll also end up using up a lot of resources. Online, you can make changes to your campaigns in minutes. As changes occur, you can adapt and evolve as much as needed. 

  • Track the ROI

Unlike other media, you can gain access to see exactly how your campaigns are doing online with the ability to measure your conversions. You can also enhance your ROI through the data received to optimize your marketing efforts. 

Why Do You Need a Digital Marketing Agency?

With each passing day, new trends emerge in the world of digital marketing. For instance, the Google algorithm has changed 600 times. It would be hard to keep track of all the emerging trends that would be crucial to your brand. However, as a business, you need to stay abreast of all these changes and integrate them with current campaigns. 

Doing all this might be challenging for busy entrepreneurs who still have a business to run. Moreover, some business owners might have the time and resources to launch their marketing campaigns but lack the relevant expertise ‒ or one of the other two.

A digital marketing agency comprises of experts in the various fields of online marketing. Some of the services you can get include content marketing, paid advertising, SEO, marketing automation coordination, etc. 

Hiring a team of experts to manage your online marketing campaigns enables you to focus on other areas of your business. You’d rather spend more time on what really matters than spend weeks trying to master the various marketing techniques.

To help you choose the best digital marketing partner, this article strives to answer all your questions.

Choosing a Digital Marketing Agency That Fits You

Before you spend many days scouting for the ideal marketing agency, here are five factors that you should first consider:

  1. Know your goals and budget

When you begin searching for the best digital marketing firms, you must be ready to ask yourself a few important questions. For instance, what do you wish to achieve at the end of the campaigns? Are you looking to boost online or offline sales? Is it increased brand awareness, more clicks to your website, or something else? And how much are you willing to spend on your online campaigns?

Once you’ve identified your goals – whether increasing your online presence or redesigning your brand, you are ready to start scouting for the digital marketing agency that best fits you. 

Apart from thinking only about the end result, you also need to consider your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). These will be used to judge the success of your campaigns, making it easier for the agency to deliver specific solutions.

Furthermore, you should also understand your budget and how much you’re willing to spend. The good thing about digital marketing is that there is always something you can get regardless of the method used. A good digital marketer will listen to you and provide you with a budget that you can always adjust to fit your range.

    2. Specialisms

Most digital marketing agencies will offer you a variety of services that can be helpful to your brand. However, after determining your needs, you will realize that not all online marketing strategies work for your brand. For that, it would be prudent to identify an agency specializing in the field you’re interested in. 

For instance, a restaurant is much better working with a vibrant social media campaign strategy and not a pay-per-click advertising model. On the other hand, a plumbing business would thrive through PPC advertisements and need not have a very active social media account. What does the agency you’re approaching specialize in? 

Furthermore, if you were to pick a marketing strategy to maximize on, do they have the necessary tools to enhance this? If you were to go for content marketing, the company must have talented writers and creators that will curate highly-converting content. Should you decide to pay more attention to podcasting, does the agency have access to some of the top podcast hosting sites?

All these will be determined by the nature of your business as well as your needs. 

    3. Assess the credibility and legitimacy of the digital marketing agency

As mentioned earlier, there are very many digital marketing firms that you may come across, all claiming to be the ‘best.’ However, how credible are they? One of the easiest ways to determine this is by reaching out to their previous (or current) clients and ask them for their honest reviews. 

Some third-party review sites, such as Clutch, also come in handy when you want to know how the company operates, how it handles failed campaigns, etc. 

Finally, how does the agency perform in terms of its own marketing? They can’t convince you to purchase services from them, yet they rank poorly on Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) and have a bad website design. You can also check out their social media pages and determine how good the engagement is.

If you only see lots of negative reviews (or no reviews at all online) and the agency’s digital platforms don’t live up to the standard, it would be wiser to look elsewhere.

   4. Assess the company’s culture

You’ll want to check out how the company responds to certain situations. Every company and industry is unique, and therefore, the approach to various conditions may vary. However, certain things do not change, such as having dedicated support, transparency of the company, and clear communication channels. 

You should be able to contact the company at any time (within business hours), and they should be in a position to respond to all your queries.

Transparency is one of the factors that can build or destroy a business relationship. The agency should be able to explain to you their processes and tools used to achieve your set goals. 

Moreover, you will also want a clear explanation of how you will pay for all the deliverables provided by the agency. If the agency uses third-party companies to deliver some products, it should also be clear from the beginning and also state their pricing models. 

   5. Plan for the long-term

After you’ve found the perfect digital marketing agency, be patient with the results. Although your objectives will be completed, it will take some time to see the full results of your campaigns. This is because digital marketing is a continuous process that takes time. 

The agency you pick will be on a regular lookout for new ways to boost your business. This means that they may not work on all the services at once but over time. To ease the digital marketing stress, it is crucial to develop a strategic partnership with the agency that spans over a long period.

It’s All About Getting The Best Value

When it all boils down to you, you will have to pick people you can trust and rely on. Digital marketing is a significant investment, and you can’t afford to waste money on irrelevant strategies. 

The agency you choose should have your interests and goals at heart and can deliver what they promised. It is not about finding the cheapest agency, but one that offers the best value. Although it might sound as if you’ll be spending a little more in the beginning, but just like most business decisions, it is not about the cost, but the results. 

Lidia S. Hovhan is a part of the Content and Marketing team at OmnicoreAgency. She contributes articles about how to integrate digital marketing strategy with traditional marketing to help business owners to meet their online goals. You can find really professional insights in her writings.