I need digital marketing… What do I look for?

Picking the Right Digital Marketing Company

Here is a quick easy guide for if this is your first time, or maybe the second time, looking for a digital marketing company to hire. The right marketing agency will go beyond the rankings and traffic report. There is more to marketing today than simply ranking high, or lots of traffic. Through the years we have even seen where traffic and rankings made no difference in a company’s bottom line. We will talk about aligning, or better stated partnering, with the right marketing company, through objectives, budgeting, what marketing channels to use, setting expectations, and who to trust.

Alignment with your company’s objectives

Your top priority when looking for a marketing agency needs to be its alignment with your organization. You need a digital marketing specialist that is able to work parallel with your team and be part of the conversations around your business goals and objectives. Stronger agencies that work as partnerships request to be brought into some meetings or work directly with CMO, CRO, or other executive leadership.

How much $ should I spend on digital marketing?

Reality Check: Don’t expect to spend $500-$1,000 per month and get the results of your dreams. It doesn’t happen, most often, it is wasted. I’ll say that again, in another way, do not expect to make a million dollars on a $6,000-$12,000 investment. Even a 10:1 ROI (or 10x) would be only $60,000-$120,000. Also at that level of investment, there isn’t much data to make sound decisions on, especially if you are using multiple marketing channels.

I have seen many agencies (and freelancers) sell the dream for cheap and after a year or two, companies have only made marginal gains, in some instances no return on investment.

There is no set-in-stone answer to this question.

However, for help with defining a budget check out our article on How Much to Spend on Digital Marketing Campaigns and Stay Profitable.

How should I spend my Marketing Budget?

If you are talking to someone and they infer that they are all in one, or that they will handle all of your marketing without giving you a breakdown, as to what, where, when, and why. Run! There is not one solution that fits all. Your business and/or budget may only need, or be able to, adequately handle some of the following digital marketing channels including: (simplified into broader groups)

Organic Search Engine Optimization
Paid Ads/PPC (Pay Per Click)
• Amazon or 3rd Party Marketplaces
• Social Media Marketing
• Copywriting
• Email Marketing
• Link Building
• Video Marketing
• And More

Where to place the weight on various digital marketing channels will depend on your ideal customer base, long and short-term goals and objectives, as well as your budget.

What should I expect from a marketing campaign?

What to expect from your marketing campaign is a loaded question. Budget restrictions, Organic results, and other factors are uncontrollable and dynamic, however with proper guidance, discovery by the marketing team, and clearly defined objections and key results. A marketing strategy can be laid out, with timeframes and milestone goals.

Use caution when deciding on an agency when they only talk about getting you on the first page of Google, or even #1 in Google. If the only metric you have is ranking, and you do achieve number #1 in Google you don’t have a marketing team. They might even give you a report of 50 keywords that are on the first 3 pages of Google. In fact, I have spoken to many owners who have thought SEO is a scam. (Yes you can be #1 in Google with no Sales). I’ll go into this more in another article, but for simplicity, rankings are not your only goal/metric. Your marketing metrics should include an analysis of Traffic, Referrals, and Paid Advertising, along with various conversion metrics.

Define these KPIs where both you and the Agency can be held accountable to them. These can even be outlined in service agreements. Also note that digital marketers, or agencies, do not control Google or any other 3rd party websites, marketplaces, algorithms, ad/bidding systems, or otherwise; and can make no promises for results, but should strive to give reasonable estimations. As such there may be times that something (bid cost, traffic result, time frame, completion, etc…) was under, or over, estimated. It is ideal that both parties meet regularly to discuss these and tweak any KPIs, OKRs, customer segmentation, etc… needed.

How to know who to trust with digital marketing?

Unfortunately, this is not an easy task to pick the right digital marketing company. There are agencies of all sizes that are can be fantastic or terrible. Some even get legitimate recognition and awards, and others pay into programs that hand out awards. You may ask for some examples or companies that they have worked with in the past or a referral. Some enterprise digital marketing companies may have a non-discloser, which prevents them from using their name without written permission.

Don’t buy into the Dream Sales pitches. However, some of this is to trust your gut and know what to watch out for. Find an agency that will do discovery on your business, and not just ask or assume what keywords you want to be found by. If it is an agency. Find out who is working on your project and how long they have been doing marketing. (NOTE: You do not want a different person working on your project each time; there is a learning curve to your business, customer, value props, etc.) Outline the KPIs that you will hold the agency/marketer to. Find the marketing agency you can partner with, to meet your objectives, not just a place on Google.