The first thing people will suggest you check out whenever you bring up the idea of hiring a digital marketing agency is your budget. That’s because most of them have been made to believe that a better budget is a precondition for a better outcome. But nothing could be further from the truth.
As a business owner looking to grow their business and drive more business, you have a better chance of making it happen by being smart about it rather than shoveling a stack of cash into the campaign in the hopes that that’s what will be making things work out.
While your budget may determine the agency to go with, it has nothing to do with the quality of digital marketing services you receive at the end of the day. Whether big or small, you have to start by doing thorough research on the available digital marketing agency options around you before you can go ahead and hire one.
Another common misconception is that bigger companies are better off hiring bigger digital marketing agencies. But that doesn’t always stand up to logic – considering, even the biggest of the agency you hire will only be assigning a fraction of their workforce to work on your project –nearly the same as the one you’ll be getting from hiring a boutique firm.
When you look at it, big agencies are always driven by the volume of clients they serve. So they pull together a much bigger team that they’ll be splitting up in different directions. Boutique firms on the other hand are driven by retention. They’ll be dedicated to your marketing needs in the hopes that they’ll exceed your expectations and win a returning client.
How To Hire The Right Boutique Digital Agency
Quite simply, size doesn’t make any agency better. That said, here are some of the benefits that make boutique firms a better choice of agency for CMOs of small and large enterprises alike:
The Budget You have Will Stretch Further with a Boutique Firm
Larger marketing firms have a much higher overhead cost and agency fees. Meaning, only a tiny fraction of the money you pay them actually makes it to the campaign production when compared to boutique agencies.
A small agency can do with a retainer that ranges from $1000 to $3000. While at entry-level, a bigger marketing agency will be typically paying $3000 per month.
Some of these boutique agencies work with freelancers and have a small production team. So in the end you can expect to receive more bang for your hard-earned marketing cash as opposed to hiring a much larger marketing agency.
Even the best of the freelancers you find have their share of bad days. For a company that relies on the services of one particular person in their team, this has the tremendous effect of affecting their overall performance.
The good thing with boutique agencies is that they’re always flexible enough and can easily pull a backup plan when a situation pushes for it. They can even pull together one or more people to work on your project and speed up the procedure instead of relying on the services of one individual that’s working from a cubicle.
Better Control and Flexible
Your business will always be under your control and care. It’s like your little baby that even after leaving them with a nanny, you still want to make necessary follow-ups and make sure that they’re okay.
You’re the only one that understands what’s best for your business. So at every point in progress, you want to chip in with your opinion and make sure it’s taken with the seriousness it deserves. With large agencies, it’s hard to get your voice heard amid a sea of experts – most of whom are convinced they’ve been in business long enough to understand it much better than you.
Boutique agencies on the other hand tend to be more collaborative. They want to work with you and get your business where you want it to be, and NOT what their mind tells them. So your input counts, and should you feel like you’re NOT comfortable with a particular strategy, there’s always room to revisit it and make necessary adjustments where possible.
Boutique Firms Specialise
Boutique firms pick a niche and specialise in it. This gives them a lot of ample space to compete with bigger agencies.
By doing this, some of these boutique firms end up developing a better understanding of that particular area of specialisation than a bigger firm can get the time to.
So they’ll be well aware of when the peak season is, a list of other businesses you’re in competition with, and what’s the standard industry lingo. This places them in a more favourable position to come up with well-thought-out marketing strategies that guarantee better results.
Faster Execution Time
It’s possible to lose lots of great ideas by over-complicating the creative process. With some strategies, you’re better off diving straight in and get started while making necessary adjustments along the way as you go.
With prominent agencies, however, this could take much longer because of the complexities and a series of other red tape issues involved in getting a particular idea approved before it can be allowed to hit the market.
Boutique marketing agencies tend to hasten up the approval cycle and it can take them as little as a few days to approve an idea and get it ready for the market. They’re therefore in a better position to test more ideas within a short span of time, hence more timely opportunities for them.
Suffice it to say that hiring a boutique marketing agency could be what your business needs to progress to the next level of success. Of course, their cost could significantly swing low compared to the cost of hiring a freelancer, but they do come with more mind power and commitment which could be what your business needs to be catapulted towards your goals.
In the end, hiring a boutique agency will most likely be saving you lots of money as opposed to the amount of money you’d have otherwise used in hiring a big-box agency. That’s besides giving you better control over your business and ample time to market your products and services.
Important Tips for Finding the Right Boutique Marketing Agency in Singapore
Size is of little importance when hiring the most suitable marketing agency for your business. But as we mentioned, with other factors held constant, there are reasons hiring a boutique agency stands as a better choice for your business as opposed to hiring a big box marketing firm.
But how do you go about finding the right boutique agency in Singapore from an industry filled with them?
Simple, here’s a list of all the things to look for in the digital marketing agency you’re about to hire:
Long-term Engagements Case Studies
Nearly every digital marketing agency you come across will be singing their own praise, talking about their achievements and what they can do for you. But more often than NOT, much of what they talk about is pure smoke. They’re simply trying to get you to consider bringing business to them. So they’ll be telling you everything you need to hear to soften up and choose them over any other alternative option you have in mind.
However, if you’re looking to hire the right company without missing the red flags or getting misled in the process, you’d want to dig deeper than what the company is trying to sell to you.
You can start by looking for long-term content marketing case studies. For how long have they been working with the companies in their portfolio? Is there a particular company that has stuck with them for a protracted stretch of time?
The business doesn’t necessarily to be from the same vertical as yours. When you look at it, digital marketing is pretty much transferable across niches. Meaning, it’s possible for an agency to still nurture great talents on broad verticals when there arises a need for it.
Diverse Portfolio of Work
While case studies provide an in-depth view of an agency’s long-term results, a portfolio provides a snapshot of the different types of campaigns an agency can deliver on, which makes it easy for you to choose which one among them is best suited for your business needs.
Also, it makes it possible for you to evaluate the quality of the campaigns and find out if they’re good enough for your business.
LinkedIn Recommendations and Onsite Client Testimonials
Client testimonials are the most authoritative form of recommendation you can get about an agency – with regards to whether or NOT they’re a good fit for your business needs. These clients have worked with the company before, more intimately, and can attest to what the agency is saying and confirm if it’s true or not, with no bias.
Where possible try pushing for a phone interview with some of these clients, and if the agency is comfortable enough to let you go through with one or a list of them, then that comes as an added bonus.
Besides on-site testimonials, you might also want to check out LinkedIn recommendations for deeper insight into the underlying agency. Do some thorough research on the company’s founder and see their past experience or how they deal with the acquisition or how their leadership team gets to interact with both clients and prospects.
The information you get by doing thorough research will clue you in on what to expect when you finally decide to go ahead and hire the agency.
A Comprehensive Strategy
While ordering for particular marketing services, like getting the company to make some infographic for you, you may find it cheaper to pay for it upfront. But if you’re looking for a company to assign all your digital marketing needs to, then you have to take your time and try to understand their marketing strategy and procedure. What is it that they exactly do?
The marketing industry is for the most part dominated by retainer packages ranging from ideation, strategy consultation, products, research, content marketing, SEM marketing, and influencer marketing to name a few.
All these strategies are meant to provide a longer-term marketing solution with the potential for a greater reach compared to a piecemeal campaign.
Boutique Agencies, Big results
Smaller agencies are sticklers for quality. They’re always more concerned about doing a bang on the job for their clients that they sometimes forget they should also be doing pretty much the same for their own brand.
So the last mistake you want to do is overlook them or judge them based on their resources and workforce – because there’s a whole lot you’ll be missing by doing that.
The agency could have a small social following or even lack a blog, but they could be a revered authority in the industry they’re in. Their size allows them to evolve really quickly and adapt to different market situations with so much ease.
In comparison, bigger agencies just have a bloated ego and when it comes to shifting some of their strategies and adapting to new market situations, they have to go through a protracted procedure just to get it done; thus dragging a whole lot where they could have just decided and then proceeded to take action.
Top Boutique Marketing Agencies in Singapore
Construct Digital is one of the most sought-after digital marketing agency in Singapore, and it’s all for a good reason. The company uses a holistic approach that includes SEO, content creation, social media marketing, web development, and email marketing among others to earn you more leads and, at the same time, help you drive more customers.
This digital marketing is best known for web designing. But that’s NOT where their services end. They operate with a team of creatives that can help you come up with a long-term business marketing strategy that will be propelling you to the next level of success. To keep it brief, the company offers web development, Search Engine Optimization, and Social Media Marketing services to the people of Singapore and the world at large.
Eastside Mafia is widely known for building brands using off-the-wall methods that have been tested and proven to work. Their methodology is one of their greatest form of revenue stream. They are the right kind of people to contact for SEO, SEM, and SMM services.
HSP is one of the leading online marketing agencies in Singapore, offering SEO, SMO, PPC management, and a long list of other online marketing services you might be interested in.
MediaOne is one of the most highly ranked marketing companies in Singapore for most of the key digital marketing keywords. Their experience and expertise puts them in a favorable spot to deliver on almost every promise they make.
They provide SEO, SEM, SMM, and ORM services to the businesses in Singapore and the world at large. In their portfolio, the company has so far managed to help an upward of 600 businesses scale up and grow their businesses to tremendous heights of success – and the best part is that they all have something positive to say about the agency.
12 Tips for Working with a Boutique Digital Marketing Agency
Already, we have discussed the benefits of hiring a boutique digital marketing agency in Singapore to help you get more results from your campaign. Hiring the best will help elevate your business to the next level of success.
The next thing you need to do is learn how to work optimally with the digital marketing agency to get the most results. Here are expert tips on how to collaborate with the agency to get maximum ROI.
1. Have an Understanding of your Brand
The most successful brands here in Singapore and abroad get the most ROI from boutique digital marketing agencies because they approach them with a clear and defined purpose of their target digital space.
You should approach and start working with the digital marketing agency with a vision of your brand’s current position and the goals you want to achieve. Create a mental image of how your company translates from the traditional billboards to TV ads to social media to a responsive website experience, Instagram posts and many more.
If you are yet to define your digital brand, take time to do that and involve the agency team to create a solid digital marketing team. Note that even though the boutique digital marketing agency has professionals, they still need some support from your team to create custom campaigns.
2. Be Open to Experimentation
The rapid changes in technology have huge ramifications on the digital marketing space. Google and other search engines are constantly changing their algorithms to provide the best results to searchers. To get value for every dollar, you spend on digital marketing agencies, you need to have an open mind. Embrace experimentation and new technologies or strategies of reaching out to the target customers.
The boutique digital marketing agency in Singapore will carry out competition analysis to develop campaigns that are better than your competitors. During the process, they will carry out A/B tests and introduce strategies that may be new to you. Trust them to do the right thing and focus on your brand’s interests and aspirations.
For instance, the agency might recommend using more user-generated content in your social media campaigns instead of in-house product review videos. The spirit of experimentations and a little freedom to experience a new way of communicating with prospects could be just what your brand needs to get a firm footing in the industry.
3. Understand the Essence of Data Mining
The main reason why your digital marketing campaigns may have been falling apart is that you were not making decisions based on market data. By bringing on board a reliable boutique digital marketing agency such as MediaOne Marketing, this will change.
You will stop shooting in the dark and guesswork. The experts will start tracking everything from the number of people who receive your marketing emails and read them to the number of people who visit your website from social media pages and paid ads.
The company will use advanced tracking tools to determine your ideal customer’s behaviour and movements on the website. All this information will help the agency to create tailor-made campaigns for each segment of your customers.
Social media is the most powerful digital marketing platforms. The agency will track what people are saying about your brand across different channels. This trackable data will be instrumental in helping your business scale up and stand out from the crowd. Be ready to furnish the agency with all the resources that they will need to collect and analyse the data.
4. Digital Marketing Goes Beyond Ads
The first thing that comes to mind when most people hear digital marketing is paid advertising. Yes, ads help enhance digital marketing campaigns’ performance, but in the modern digital marketing landscapes, agencies don’t just rely on them.
The best agencies have software engineers and programmers whose role is to develop systems that enable them to keep track of every click, interaction with prospects and monitor the entire customer’s journey. The team will work together to solve technical issues on your website that are hampering conversions and making it difficult for your brand to get to the top of the food chain.
As you interact with the agency, expect the team to come back after several business days with technical solutions and not just mere ads for social media pages and search engine marketing.
5. Foster Collaboration
Collaboration is the secret ingredient to success in digital marketing. When you hire a boutique digital marketing agency to create, run, and monitor your marketing activities online, you should not just sit back at the office and wait for results.
Instead, it would be best to collaborate with the digital marketing team to ensure that your brand’s interest and image are represented through the campaigns. The collaboration will foster communication and avoid common pitfalls down the road, such as disagreements about running email marketing campaigns and content to be used in the landing pages.
Your company and the agency experts need to work in tandem from the onset. Concisely, the collaboration will ensure that everyone is on the same page when a marketing campaign is launched. It will also give the agency a level of confidence and morale to know that you trust them to create stellar campaigns, but they cannot do that if you don’t give a helping hand along the way.
6. Set Goals Early
Once you decide to work with MediaOne Marketing, it is imperative to set the goals and objectives early. Set small milestones that are measurable and realistic to know if the campaigns and recommendations are resonating with your brand.
Here are some questions to help you set the expectations.
- What are you yearning to achieve by working with the agency?
- What is your definition of a successful marketing campaign?
- What behaviours or work ethics are unacceptable from the digital marketing agency?
- How do you think the email marketing campaign will progress?
The answers to these questions will help you set the goals and clear any differences or misunderstandings. Once resolved, you will be able to move forward as one team and work towards the set goals and objectives.
Be sure also to ask the agency what it expects from you and more details about their work processes. For instance, inquire about who will be communicating with you about the progress of the campaigns and how often they will submit reports.
7. Trust the Team by Verify
Trust but verify is one of the famous quotes that applies in social life and business. The beauty of working with a reliable boutique digital marketing agency in Singapore is that it will free up your schedule. That is, time which you would have spent crafting and running the campaigns yourself will be spent working on other facets of your business.
The agency will submit regular reports to help you know the progress of the campaigns. Even though a reputable agency’s chances of submitting false or misleading reports are low, you should confirm the details in the reports.
For example, if the report is based on Google Analytics, countercheck the information by looking at your desktop’s Google analytics report. Such checks and balances will ensure that you spend money on the best digital marketing services and guarantee the best possible outcome. Don’t shy away from asking for clarification if some of the report’s details are not clear.
8. Pay Attention to Recommendations from the Experts
Yes, nobody understands your business as you do, but you may not be conversant with the current digital marketing realm. It is why you have decided to hire the agency to market your brand instead of doing it yourself.
To get the most results from the boutique digital marketing agency, you need to learn how to pay attention to expert recommendations. Consider the agency as your advisor about digital marketing and be open and ready to implement the recommendations.
If the agency recommends that your preferred social media platform is not ideal for marketing, be open to stopping the active marketing campaigns to save money. Note that every recommendation made by the agency will be based on extensive market research and data analysis.
For example, if you have been spending thousands of dollars on Facebook ads and not get tangible results, be ready to shift to other social media platforms that your ideal customers use, such as Instagram and Twitter.
Concisely, remember that the main reason why you hired the agency is that you trust them as digital marketing experts and want your business to scale up, so be ready to take their recommendations positively.
9. Focus on the Results/Outcomes
When working with a digital marketing agency, it is very easy to get distracted by perceived low-level marketing decisions and how individuals operate. Desist from travelling down that road as you will get a negative perception of everything that the team does, even if it is suitable for your business.
You are better off channelling all your focus on the results or the outcomes you set for each campaign or strategy. Note that people have different ways of expressing their feelings towards a particular strategy.
Even though they may seem negative, their expertise could be what makes the difference for your brand.
If you have to judge the agency, do so based on the results they achieve after running the campaigns.
Trust them entirely, but as mentioned earlier, make sure that you verify the data presented in the reports. You can assign one of your in-house marketers to overseeing the campaigns’ implementation to ensure that your brand’s interests are not side lined.
10. Be Flexible
The digital marketing landscape is dynamic; a strategy that was sending a stream of leads to your website a few months ago maybe ineffective today. Being agile is one of the virtues that you need to nurture when doing digital marketing.
More importantly, when working with a digital marketing agency, you need to be as flexible as possible. Be open to shaking up your daily marketing routine and ways of communicating with the customers. Take new tactics and use them to connect with prospects in a different but professional and profound way.
Your flexibility will significantly help the boutique digital marketing agency develop fresh and creative ways of firing up your sales numbers. Remember, your competitors may be using conventional strategies, and this is your opportunity to get past them by being creative in how you communicate and advertise your products.
11. Know the Whole Team
Boutique digital marketing agencies have a small team of highly talented and skilled professionals who are determined to provide customers’ best services. Unlike the large digital marketing agencies, you can reach out to each of the experts and get to know them better before or after hiring.
Establishing a personal connection with the whole team will give you a clearer perspective of how the agency operates. Your relationship will also foster teamwork and collaboration, especially when things are not working as expected.
12. Be Transparent, Concise and Clear
As you establish a relationship with the team, be transparent about your goals and expectations. Provide thoughts and ideas that could improve the campaign and offer the best user experience to your customers.
Communication with the team should be concise and clear to avert disagreements and ensure that everyone understands what you want to be done and achieved within a particular timeframe. Proof the letters, emails, and other forms of communication before sending to ensure that the intended message is well represented.
Too many details can mislead and confuse the team, so ensure that the communication is as smooth as possible.
Let’s wrap it up
There’s no enough insisting as to why hiring a boutique digital marketing agency could be the smartest move you ever thought of making for your business, particularly here in Singapore. Your options abound, and the list provided barely scratches the surface.
The success you will get by working with a boutique digital marketing agency is dependent on how you collaborate with its team. If you’re interested in learning more about the digital marketing agencies in Singapore or help in hiring one, kindly consider reaching out to MediaOne today with your query and they’ll be glad to step in and help.
MediaOne Marketing is the leading digital marketing agency in Singapore. We offer holistic services geared towards helping your brand to get a firm footing in South East Asia and abroad. Call us today on +65 6789 9852 for a free and non-obligatory consultation session.