What to Look for in Digital Marketing Services Company: Complete Guide
It’s never too early to start investing in your digital presence. You don’t have to wait until it morphs into a necessity, like fighting off heavy competition or when you need to pull your company out of stagnation.
A good digital marketing campaign grows with your business and can change course depending on how your business is evolving, without losing key identity aspects like brand, reputation, and voice.
A large number of your target customers are already online, busy researching and comparing prime offers. The least you could do is make yourself visible, as you work on getting more eyeballs to your product or service offerings.
The question is whether you wish to outsource the work to a digital marketing agency or manage everything on your own.
All things considered, an agency can be a great way to build your company profile, connect with bloggers and influencers, and execute an effective digital marketing campaign. However, not every agency is capable of delivering on this promise – especially for those with a shoestring budget and would love to work with an agency that’s totally devoted to their brand.
Here’s the thing: a good digital marketing agency will never guarantee results. Instead, they’ll do their best to deliver them, exceeding your expectations in the process.
However, hiring the right digital marketing agency isn’t the most straightforward task. You need to plan to make the right choice, whether or not you’ve worked with a digital marketing agency before.
Why do You Need to Plan?
You need to be strategic with how you approach the whole process of choosing a digital marketing agency, and here are the reasons for that:
- You’re not just hiring an agency, but choosing a long-term digital partner. It’s a costly investment that you cannot afford to gamble with.
- Not every agency is ideal for every business. You need to figure out what type of agency would make a good fit for your business.
- Fix a bad digital marketing campaign is a lot harder than developing one from scratch. You want to make sure you’re starting on the right foot by making the right decisions right off the gate.
Unless you have a good and reliable recommendation from someone you can trust, and who’s seen satisfying results from working with the company, you want to begin by researching far and wide. Create a long list of digital marketing agencies you can work with before narrowing it down to a few potential hires.
When to Hire a Digital Marketing Agency
Regardless of whether you’re just starting, had an incredibly productive year, or are looking for a simple way to gain more exposure, hiring a digital marketing agency is a great way to amp up your marketing efforts and take your business to the next level.
So, when does it make sense to hire a digital marketing agency?
We’d say, the services of a digital marketing agency will always be needed – no matter what stage your business is presently in.
When Looking for a varied set of skills
Digital marketing is way more than the simple act of setting up a blog and running a few social media and PPC campaigns.
It’s a skill that takes times to build and years of practice and experimenting with different things to master.
It’s a full-time task that requires varied skillsets and immense knowledge that’s hard for one person to possess.
Agencies work great in such cases because they typically operate with a team of experts, each specializing in one particular area.
In their team, there’ll be someone who specializes in analytics, someone with a knack for words, and someone who understands graphics and the fine details of a professional design.
When Setting Up an In-house Team Isn’t a Viable Option for You?
Hiring an in-house team of digital marketers may seem like an economical option. But hiring a team of effective and well-trained digital marketers isn’t an overnight possibility.
First, unless you’re a digital marketer yourself, you wouldn’t even know if a qualified applicant shows up for an interview. It takes skills and many years of experience to recognize one.
It also takes so much time and resources to conduct these interviews and negotiate CTC. The process itself can be tiring.
In comes the services of a digital marketing agency. They have a reputation and clients like you. They also already have an established team of digital marketers with varied skill sets. Hiring one means you can use the extra time to better run and manage your business.
Access Existing Network
Perhaps the biggest advantage of hiring a digital marketing agency is that you won’t have to build your own network, but rely on the one that the digital marketing agency you’re hiring has already established.
A good agency will have a close association with key industry player: affiliates, influencers, journalists, and other individuals. You can tap into this network by simply hiring one.
When Looking for Guaranteed Return on Investment
A good digital marketing agency will blend experience and measurement to direct their marketing strategies. They are deft and will be tracking the greater part of their digital marketing campaign.
If by any chance they find that any of their strategies aren’t working, they won’t continue to push it simply because they’re convinced it should work.
When you hire a digital marketing agency, you can relax and have peace of mind knowing very well your funds are being invested strategically.
Their primary area of concern is generating leads. You can, therefore, bet they’ll be investing much of their time and resources in ensuring you’re getting what you paid for – and that’s, increased revenue.
When Your Efforts Aren’t Paying Off
You might be using the best strategies to boost your online visibility and get more people to check out your product or service offerings, yet your business is plateauing.
When this happens, you need an extra set of eyes to look at everything you’ve been doing and point you in the right direction. There’s no harm in seeking the help of more capable hands or someone with more experience and expertise.
You don’t have to keep doing the same thing and expecting to see different results.
From strategy to execution to analysis, conducting an effective digital marketing campaign comes with its share of challenges. It takes someone with a certain level of skill and experience to launch the most successful digital marketing campaign.
When Not to Hire a Digital Marketing Agency
Only hire a digital marketing agency when it’s necessary. You don’t have to keep on wasting your money or entertaining mediocrity.
That being said, here are a few incidences when it makes more sense to hire an in-house team of marketers or get your hands dirty by doing your own digital marketing campaign than hiring an agency;
When you’re low on cash but have unlimited time on your hands
In as much as we’d like to think it’s a better idea to outsource your marketing needs to a reliable digital marketing agency, we still don’t consider this the best move for someone with a limited budget.
Here’s a simple break down of how much it’s going to cost you to hire a digital marketing agency in Singapore:
Social media management: Between $100 to $5000 per month
Social media audit: Between $5,000 and $10,000 per audit
Social media strategy: between $10, 000 and $15, 000
SEO: Between $5, 000 and $20, 000 per month
PPC ad management: Between $1000 and $10000 per month (20% of your PPC budget).
That’s how much it’s likely to cost you to hire a digital marketing agency. The cost may vary depending on your region, but one thing we know for sure is that it’s not cheap.
When You Do Not Wish to be a Second Priority to a Digital Marketing Agency
You’re not the only client that the digital marketing agency takes in. They have many clients, some of which pay so much better than you. This could lead to some delays in meeting your deadlines.
It’s a different story when you’re marketing your own company. You can choose to 100% focus on growing your company and brand, whereas a marketing agency will be juggling between your marketing needs and those of several other clients.
Why Work with a Digital Marketing Agency?
How you choose to market your business depends on your target audience. For example, if your target audience primarily consists of business executives, then you might want to make sure your business is seen on LinkedIn.
If you’re targeting G’Zers, then Instagram, Snapchat, and Tiktok are the channels to prioritize.
Facebook, on the other hand, attracts all manner of people. Virtually every business out there can increase their ROI by running Facebook Ads.
New marketing tactics pop up every day. As an entrepreneur, it can be tough to keep yourself updated on every new trend that comes up. You wouldn’t even figure out how to best market on each of these platforms.
That’s where the services of a digital marketing agency come in.
Hiring a technical team of digital marketing experts to manage different aspects of your marketing strategy means you’ll be left with more time to focus on the core areas of managing your business.
What Digital Marketing Agencies Do?
Digital marketing agencies are all about helping you make more sales. They’re able to do this by leveraging different marketing customers to improve your online presence and attract your ideal customers.
The services they provide tend to vary from one agency to another, but generally, here are the services you should expect to get from them:
This is where it all starts. Before you even start thinking about which marketing channels to run your campaign on, you need to take time to first learn and understand your target market.
If you can’t, you can trust your marketing agency to conduct one for you. You might also want to note that there’s nothing like a one-size-fits-all digital marketing strategy. If an agency tries to sell you that, then run in the opposite direction.
Google Ads helps you capture your customers’ attention the very moment that they realize they have a problem.
Unlike traditional interruptive advertising, these ads are usually shown to people who hit search engines for solutions.
People turn to search engines when they need to find answers to their problems or pain point. So, by running Google Ads, you’ll be targeting these prospects and presenting yourself as a possible solution, hence more business for you.
SEO is how businesses compete to outrank each other in the search engine result pages. It’s one of the most coveted marketing strategies.
You also might want to note that SEO isn’t just about cranking up page views and getting more people to know your brand. It’s way more than that. By ranking high, that means you’ll be in a better position to capture potential customers right after they realize they have a problem and could use a solution that your business is offering.
While there are agencies that only specialize in SEO, almost any digital marketing agency out there will be offering this service.
Facebook Advertising is often offered as part of PPC management.
Facebook has one of the most advanced targeting features. That, combined with its massive user base makes it one of the most profitable marketing platforms around.
You can target your audience by gender, level of income, interests, educational level, major life events, status updates, and so on.
YouTube has more viewers than all the top primetime TV shows combined.
It commands a massive audience. That, combined with the high engagement on video marketing makes video ads an effective marketing strategy.
Like Facebook Ads, video as can also be targeted by location, interest, online behaviour, YouTube channel, demographic, and more.
Studies show that nearly 90% of searches conducted on mobile lead to action, with more than 50% of the users more likely to go through with a purchase.
The number is even higher when the search relates to a local business. In which case, 75% of local mobile searches often lead to an offline purchase.
Agencies have so many options to work with as far as mobile advertising goes, including in-app advertising, mobile YouTube Ads, and campaigns for boosting mobile app installs.
Content marketing can build a multi-billion business from scratch.
And by content marketing, we’re not talking about writing a few blog posts and publishing them on your website every week.
It’s more complicated than what most people are doing.
Services offered under content marketing include SEO writing, blog post generation, infographic creation, social media promotion, and content analysis.
Email marketing boasts the highest ROI. For every $1 you invest in email marketing, you’re more likely to generate $38 in returns.
No other marketing strategy can beat that.
Agencies that offer email marketing services also deal with list building, email segmentation, engaging with your list so it doesn’t get so cold, and autoresponder sequence optimization.
To help you solidify your digital marketing strategies, some digital marketing agencies also offer web designing services. Although not normally considered marketing, a good website design can either make or break your marketing campaign.
It sets you apart from your competition, sets you up as a credible entity, and most importantly, helps you gain more exposure.
Different Types of Digital Marketing Agencies
There’s no shortage of variety in the world of digital marketing. With that in mind, here are the different categories of digital marketing agencies you’ll come across:
Web Design Agencies: These are project-based agencies specialized in website creation. They design website-based clients’ needs and industry trends. Some of these agencies may provide the initial optimization, and maintain a retainer for updating the website for a specified period.
SEO-Only Agencies: These agencies usually take clients’ websites and optimize them for search engines. They may or not create content for the website, but they’ll sure make it more SEO-friendly.
Specialized Digital Marketing Agencies: Digital marketing is an all-encompassing term for different marketing tactics and strategies, such as blogging, SEO, search ads, design, email marketing, and more. Instead of throwing all these services in one bag and offering them as a package, some agencies may choose to specialize in only one or two of these services.
Inbound Marketing Agencies: These agencies only engage in inbound methodologies. They execute their digital marketing strategies and tactics more cohesively by focusing on creating a relationship with customers and nurturing them until they’re warm enough to take action.
It’s less about sending branded messages to your clients, and more about creating a connection with them first.
Top 10 Qualities of Reliable Digital Marketing Agency
You can tell whether or not an agency is reliable by looking at these 10 qualities.
1# Great Team
Agencies don’t run themselves. They’re run by people or a great team of digital marketers. And the more an agency is staffed with qualified and experienced digital experts in the various digital marketing fields, the more they’re capable of delivering.
2# Good Communication
A good agency wouldn’t just rush to deliver their services. They would want to listen to you first.
Remember: you’re not just hiring an agency but establishing a healthy partnership with the agency. That means communication must at all times be kept open and honest.
A good agency will see you as a true partner. They’ll, as such, try to keep their lines of communication open, regularly updating you on the progress they have so far made.
The digital world is never static. New trends keep on emerging all the time, and when they do, some adjustments have to be made.
For this, you want to partner with a digital marketing firm that’s flexible enough to stay on top of the latest trends. The agency needs to not just master these trends, but anticipate them and make the necessary changes immediately they occur.
You want to work with a digital marketing agency that’s creative and innovative. An agency that can come up with original or fresh ideas even without trying.
You want to partner with an agency that’s a trendsetter, not one that’s always reacting to the trends set by other agencies. The odds are pretty good that such an agency has ever won an award for their work.
5# Ability to Implement and Execute Ideas
Coming up with great digital marketing ideas on paper is never enough. You need to execute those ideas and make them work for you.
You can tell if an agency is good at executing ideas by looking at their clients’ retention rate. The longer the agency retains its clients; it goes on to show it delivers on its promises.
6# Problem Solving Abilities
Your digital marketing campaign isn’t going to be a smooth ride all through.
Problems will arise, and when they do, you want to be sure your digital marketing agency will be able to step in and fix the glitches on time.
A good digital marketing agency can easily identify potential problems and errors and offer quick fixes or workarounds.
7# Analytics Tools
A reliable digital agency knows how to perform effective keyword research and data analysis. They also know how to parse Google analytics data and identify all the areas that need improvement.,
Adding to that, they also make sure that the client understands this data and how it impacts their business.
8# Measurable Results
A reliable digital marketing agency should only have one goal – and that’s to get measurable results for their clients.
For this, you want to dig into the agency’s case studies and testimonials and find out what they have been doing to make their clients successful. Remember to also ask them how they measure ROI.
9# Strong Online Presence
A good digital marketing agency will be leading by example. If they promise to help you dominate search engines, then it’s only natural that you’d want to see them dominate the same search engine.
It’s the same with managing your social media pages. You want to also take a look at their social media pages and see how well they’re managing them.
10# Transparent Billing
A reputable digital marketing agency will be upfront with its charges.
Their billing process will be simple and easy to understand. That way, clients will easily know what they’re getting from the whole deal, and at what price.
Look for the agency’s month-to-month contracts, and make sure everything is explained in a language you can understand. If not, make a point to reach out to the agency and ask them all manner of billing questions you can come up with.
Find out what the amount covers and if other charges might arise.
Digital Marketing Budget
You need to consider your marketing budget. The cost of running a digital marketing campaign will make you cringe, whether you decide to do it yourself or hire an agency.
The only way to maintain your sanity is to prepare a budgeting strategy.
Digital Marketing Budget Strategy
How you allot your marketing budget will depend on your revenue, goals, market space, and your business structure.
When creating a marketing budget, you’ll first have to decide on what strategy to use.
Percentage of Revenue
This is the simplest and most common budgeting strategy.
Here’s how most businesses operate:
Small businesses devote about 20% of the profits they gross to marketing. Large businesses devote between 5% to 20%, while the largest corporations spend about 2 to 5% of the money they make on marketing.
This is the budgeting strategy that most people use. It’s straightforward and easy to understand, but not suited to more specific goals.
What’s Affordable to You
It’s aggressive and risky.
Works with businesses that want to grow fast. All you have to do is look at what’s enough to keep your business operational. The rest is then directed to marketing.
You calculate your marketing budget based on how much your competitors are also spending.
The point is to always budget a hair more than them.
It’s a great strategy for staying ahead of your competition, but it does come with its share of challenges.
It could be that your competitor is investing a lot in billboard messaging, while you’re more concerned about bringing in leads. Or that their marketing efforts and budget don’t sit well with your brand or goals.
It’s not a strategy we would encourage someone to use unless they have enough information to work with.
Decided Market Share
This is a little bit more involving.
You have to do some little bit of calculation and accurately find out about your market share and the cost of customer acquisition.
You also have to look into how other businesses are spending.
However, unlike the competitive parity strategy, this one assesses the entire market rather than just looking at one particular competitor.
It takes a lot of information to work out this calculation.
The Red Flags to Watch Out For in a Digital Marketing Agency
When interacting with any digital marketing agency, you have to make sure your antennae is raised, just in case any of these red flags show in any of them:
- They overpromise: If an agency is quick to promise you results, then do yourself a favour and run the other way – because they’re about to disappoint you.
- They have a long-term contract that’s hard to get out of. You should be able to fire an agency should it turn out they’re not a good fit for your business.
- They don’t outline their plan. Instead, they just rush into executing their strategies without making any effort to walk you through it first.
- They never introduce you to the team that’s working on your project.
- They’re more into short-term tactics instead of creating a full methodology or strategy.
- Their blog or website isn’t up to standard. The point is to make sure that whatever the company promises to do for you, they have already done it for themselves.
How to Establish a Good Agency Relationship Fit
When hiring the right marketing agency, you want to look at them as an extension of your team, not just an outsourced service.
That means you should hire an agency whose vision, mission, work culture and core values align with yours.
Here’s how you cultivate a good relationship with your agency:
Get to Meet the Team
Don’t just judge an agency by looking at their website. Instead, give yourself time to meet with the agency’s team, and decide from there.
Talk to them and ask them about their previous work samples. Get to know the agency a little bit more before deciding to work with them.
Schedule an Informal Meeting with the Agency
Every time you get to meet a digital marketing firm, think of every conversation you have with the agency as some form of information interview.
Just like you approach potential hires, you have to interview the agency and see if they can make a good fit for your company.
Enjoy Your Conversation.
If the conversation feels a little too clunky and stilt at first, then you’re certainly not going to enjoy working with the agency.
Even after you sign up for the contract, you still have to continue communicating with the company. So, it’s important to ensure that you’re actually enjoying every bit of it to avoid any form of awkwardness in the future.
Your Goals Align
You can start by writing down your overall goal for hiring a digital marketing agency. The next thing you want to do is go through the company’s profile and see if they have the capacity to help you achieve it.
For example, let’s say your goal is to get more leads in the coming fiscal year. You want to choose a company that can help you achieve this goal instead of just getting more people to like your page.
6 Important Tips for Hiring a Digital Marketing Agency
Outsourcing your digital marketing services to a reliable agency is important when you’re looking to grow your brand. Working with an expert means they get to bring new expertise to your brand.
The problem is with the many choices available to you. How do you choose the right one?
Well, here are 6 solid tips to help you make the right choice:
What services Are You Looking for?
Check with your business to find out what services it needs. Do you want the agency to help you out with CRM, email marketing, content creation, web design, or social media?
If you’re looking to outsource multiple services, it helps to go with a full-service digital agency.
An even better idea would be to go with an agency with a proven track record in the problem you want to solve or the service you want to outsource.
It’s important to think about your needs when hiring.
The Client Roster
You want to work with an agency that has experience working with different sizes of companies.
If the company has only worked with smaller companies, you can bet they’ll have a hard time seeing your future and helping you build your brand.
A reliable agency will have a mix of small, medium, and large-sized companies in their work portfolio.
Testimonials and Reviews
Go through the agency’s portfolio and see what their past clients think of them.
Do they have an active social media page where clients are free to comment or leave a review behind? Have they worked with any client you know or someone in your industry?
Watch out for agencies that overpromise. If what they promise is so good to be trusted, then take it with a flat of salt.
Any agency that promises you unrealistic goals will probably never live up to them.
Instead of them promising you anything, let them tell you what they did for their past clients, and be the judge.
Reporting and Results
You can tell if an agency is reliable if they constantly measure, track, and report results.
Do they have a solid reporting system? Do they provide regular reports and analytics?
Find out how they measure results? What digital marketing tools do they use? And what they do with the data they collect?
Vision and Strategy
Do your research. Are the tools they’re using the best that the market has to offer?
How does the agency promise to get you results? Can they deliver the results you want? And how much are they invested in understanding your goals?
Having a sound digital marketing strategy is absolutely crucial if you want to gain considerable success. Small and large businesses alike must stay abreast and competitive in terms of marketing and sales, but not all of them are committed to learning the ins and outs of an effective strategy. Furthermore, they may not have the resources or manpower to complete a campaign.
What you’ll need is a great marketing company who will guide your hand and hit all the success markers- gain more customers, more sales and increase brand awareness.
Here are some notable factors you should look for when choosing a digital marketing services company:
The employees of the digital marketing agency must have specialised skills that will bring something unique to the table. This means that you’ll get access to a full specialist staff who are great at what they do instead of just having an in-house generalist.
Pay close attention to the marketer who will work with you. Is his or her skillset a good fit for the marketing strategy you have in mind? For example, if you need to get ahead in SEO, or search engine optimisation, then you’ll want to work with someone who has years of experience in the SEO field. If you intend to build up an email list to generate interest or sales prospects, the marketing agent must have skills in the fields of email marketing and inbound lead generation.
It’s a good idea to ask the digital marketing services company upfront on what they specialize in, or if they offer a full-service package. In some instances it will be better if you have a few specialists from different groups instead of a single generalist agency. If this is the case, then you should quickly establish synergy and harmony within the group before starting the campaign.
A good digital marketing company sees to the following aspects:
High-Quality Content. Simply putting out content is not enough in today’s SEO as there are plenty of companies who deliver the same old content and blog posts. What you should look for is an agency who’s different in the way that they are creative, engaging and highly informative. In other words, the agency should be able to craft high-quality content that will resonate with your target audience.
Social Media Marketing. The whole world is on social media nowadays. It would be a waste of brand awareness and sales potential if you aren’t using social media to leverage, connect and do outreach marketing to potential customers.
Reputation Management. Digital marketing agencies should know how to respond to unfavorable reviews and comments from unhappy customers. Moreover, they should be able to highlight favorable reviews and make it stand out from the rest.
The right digital marketing services company must be able to provide a fully-tailored and proven solutions for your specific niche. The marketers should be able to pinpoint which marketing strategy is the best for you, whether it’s email marketing, B2B lead generation or social media marketing.
Reporting Process and Communication
How does the digital marketing consultancy measure success, and what kind of reporting software do they use? Can they deliver timely updates and metrics? These are all important as it is your investment for your business, after all.
Communication is an integral part of your relationship with your digital marketing agency. Ask how often the staff reaches out to their clients. A reliable line of communication is a must-have, with weekly meetings as a standard. If you’re more of the hands-on type, then you can ask the agency right then and there to meet you face-to-face.
Fair Value and Included Fees
It’s natural to find out the cost of each agency before making a list to pick out on. You’ll want to look for an internet marketing company who can provide the best service within your budget. More importantly, you’ll want to know that the cost of hiring the agency will be well worth the investment. For example, if you’re expecting your social media presence to be boosted, then you should work with a digital marketing company who specializes in that category and offers reasonable service prices that are within your budget.
Ask how much the expected monthly costs are before you sign up. Then, make sure that you understand any extra costs in services that aren’t included in the package. If there are specific marketing needs to be met, discuss it fully and find out if it’s included in the monthly charge.
Experience and Expertise
Expert digital marketing agencies are always favoured over a relatively new one. If the company has more experience working in a field you need to work on, then great. Agencies must be open to change and adapt to newer marketing strategies.
Look for a marketing company who can show an impressive track record and provide references if asked. Past work with successful clients, top-ranked websites they helped design, excellent content and social media campaigns that they had a hand on are just some examples of an excellent digital marketing services company.
Some of the best SEO companies in Singapore include MediaOne, Orangebox SEO Solutions, The Verticals Consultancy Group and SEO Agency Pte Ltd. MediaOne stands out due to its amazing pedigree of successful SEO campaigns and capable SEO services.
A Shared Vision
Digital marketing won’t be successful if it’s created for short term gains. You’ll be looking to partner with a digital marketing company whom you’ll be working with for a long time. It would be more efficient to know that your vision and goals are on the same page as the digital marketing company you’ll be working with instead of having to find a new agency after a year or so.
The right digital marketing agency will share your passion for success and have your best interests in mind. Take your time and do a close scrutiny of all potential digital marketing services company, then decide from the list which one’s the best fit for your company and your specific needs. Remember that a strong online marketing presence equals great success and profits for your company!