Out of the 4.70 billion people online, 2.14 billion make online purchases. This means that you need a thriving digital presence for your brand’s success.
Your choice of a digital marketing firm can make or break your strategies. It can either put a dent on your budget or take your business up to the next level.
Here is a definitive guide on how to choose a full-service digital agency.
Table of Contents
Eight qualities when hiring a digital services company:
1. Robust Portfolio and Case Studies
Smart and reputable agencies take pride in a portfolio of impressive quality and size. They display their previous and existing partnerships for you to see and openly assess.
A portfolio does not have to comprise exclusively top-tier clients. It has to be diverse, comprehensive, data-driven and accompanied by social proof of competency.
Since key performance indicators (KPIs) vary based on client requirements, this portfolio is best coupled with case studies where goals, objectives, targets and results are discussed at length.
Together, these credentials will show you the range of what they have done prior, speaking volumes about the agency’s capabilities. Whether they have worked on a new website, a rebrand, a six-month marketing program or a full digital content campaign, a portfolio and detailed case studies should be able to reflect the successes.
The collection of previous work should also include visual components where appropriate—from mood boards and mockups to logos and business stationeries.
Numbers and statistics are also crucial. To name a few, it should showcase:
- Returns achieved
- Amount of site visitor growth
- Search engine ranking improvement of a web page
- Leads and sales increase
- Number of repeat transactions
All these give you insights into a digital company’s approach to planning, production and overall work.
2. Tailored Solutions
Businesses have different natures and needs and belong to distinct niches.
Your enterprise has unique demands and critical considerations to account for. Thus, you should veer from cookie-cutter agencies offering template strategies and accept only tailored services.
Employ the services of an agency that can bring conscientious work—one that can meet your requirements and address your concerns with personalized responses. They should:
- Investigate your goals, vision and ambitions for your brand
- Propose realistic, high-level yet vivid campaign strategies
- Perform tests and constant optimizations
- Ensure you get only the most favorable long-term resolutions instead and “set and forget” ones.
3. Honest and Transparent Pricing
Choose the best value over the best price. Cheap does not always equate to savings. To quote Neil Patel, “Tread lightly when it comes to very cheap agencies. Extremely low prices usually mean low-quality services.”
Similarly, expensive does not always entail great work either.
The key is to spend on an agency with a credible name to itself and can help you with what you need.
Another issue that crops up is extra, unexpected charges not declared at the onset of the transaction. And by the time you realize this, you are already so far into the project that you cannot back out.
Determine your budget and ask the agencies to provide you with realistic projections based on the resource you have at hand. Their pricing should be competitive and reasonable.
Seek transparency in terms of payment methods and pricing schemes to manage expectations. Do they charge a fixed rate, a flexible rate, or a consultancy basis?
These are the most common ways full-serve digital advertising firms bill their invoices:
- Fixed monthly retainer + a percentage of your business’s ad spend
- Hourly rate
- Project-based rate
4. A Spectrum of Specializations
Look for an outsourced team of powerhouse specialist talent, not generalists.
They should be analytical and have artistic talent and attention to detail. Each digital marketing task should be assigned to a designated expert equipped with relevant extensive experience and proficiencies in the respective area.
Your multidisciplinary team should have a professional working on SEO, design, development, content, branding and social media, among others.
5. Cutting-Edge Software and Other Modern Tools
Choose a full-service digital agency with access to essential tools and equipment they are comfortable and expert in using to perform and execute the job for you.
For instance, learn if they have an excellent selection of tools for:
- Project management
- Measuring website performance
- SEO analytics
- Inbound Marketing
- Social media insights
- Email marketing
- Content management system (CMS)
- Customer relationship management (CRM)
6. Up-to-Date Website
A good agency will have an updated and well-optimized website that makes them rank and easy to find on search engines.
If they are working on your digital presence, they should be able to do the same for their firm
The website should be home to necessary information on core services offered, company data, and contact details, among other critical information. It should answer almost all—if not all—your fundamental questions as you are scouting for a partner firm.
It should contain the key components of an efficient inbound marketing strategy:
- Responsive design
- Intuitive navigation
- Active blog section
- Effective conversion tactics with clear calls-to-action (CTAs)
7. Consistently Available Support
It is not only the technical skills you should look at. Communication skill is just as imperative because digital marketing is centered on conveying ideas and proper messaging. Plus, it is integral in a smooth business relationship and collaboration with your partner agency.
Digital firms should be conveniently and efficiently reachable by clients. They should be responsive and readily available to answer queries and clarifications using a simplified process.
If possible, they should have one dedicated point of contact to streamline all correspondences. This way, no time and effort are wasted by either party.
8. Shared Mindset and Culture Aligned with Yours
Your outsourced full-service digital marketing firm is, in essence, an extension of your team. So ideally, they should operate on values and a culture similar to yours for light and easy coordination.
Get a feel of their work environment. See if you will click and if it is the type you can hang with. Do they uphold the values of honesty and transparency? Do their actions mirror how they describe themselves? Do they have a long-term plan for the agency as well as for the clients?
While this is a more subjective aspect of the business, it is nonetheless important.
Takeaways: How to Choose a Full-Service Digital Agency
Hiring a full-service digital agency can help your brand reap the potential and benefits of online marketing that is most fitting for your business.
A full-service digital company has a specialized workforce and complete resources to provide scalable solutions and advertising methods.
If you are looking to amplify your plans and initiatives, a digital strategist can assist you with media and content management for more far-reaching promotion and brand awareness.