Placing your trust and your money into a digital marketing agency can be a scary thing, especially for SMEs. They take quite a lot of money and you don’t get anything tangible in return. You need to wait weeks before you see anything happen to your search rankings and you get a vague ‘you’ll get a lot more business soon’ conversation. Obviously digital marketing works, though much to Googles chagrin, but oh well, they’re a faceless money obsessed conglomerate, so who cares? Finding a trustworthy agency is difficult as one wrong step could mean disaster, seeing as most of them will need your site log in details, plus the future of your business might hang on the worth of their service.
First: What Not To Go On
If you don’t know what to look out for, you can easily be hoodwinked by a bad agency that looks like a good one. Whilst the points I’m about to make are important, you can’t take them as a sole measure of worth.
- A nice website just means they’ve paid a web designer a lot of money to make their site look good. An agency might be terrible, but understands the importance of a nice site and so voila, it worked as they have a new idiot customer: you.
- Standing out in local search results isn’t always a sign of quality. They might just be there because there website is really, really old and not because they are really, really good. Another point: the other local agencies might be terrible so they’re the best of a bad bunch. The beauty of digital marketing is, well, the fact it’s digital and so can be done from anywhere – you don’t necessarily need a local one.
- There are many massive agencies out there that employ hundreds of people. Bigger is definitely not better. I’ve worked at small agencies that have had massive multi-national clients and small-scale plumbers, etc. You need to find the one that is right for you, whether they’re massive or tiny.
Don’t be fooled by the ‘sheep in wolf’s clothing’ mentality. They may look the part, but they might be atrocious.
Second: What To Go On
And now the points you should be looking out for and the ways to go about finding them.
- Digital marketing concerns itself with such a broad spectrum of areas that it means not all agencies can be good at all aspects. One company that’s known for its link building, like clickintelligence.co.uk, may have as much knowledge of PPC as my sister’s Chihuahua … which I think is a bad example as I think they know their PPC, but you get my point, I’m sure. You need to think about the aspect of marketing you need and hone in on an expert in the field. If you need a bit of everything, then focus on a company that’s a ‘jack of all trades, master of none’.
- You wouldn’t buy the first house you see, so don’t plump for the first agency, either. Meet with them all; let them sell to you their service. Each agency will have a brilliant, charismatic salesman so don’t be duped. See through the sales pitches to what the agencies are actually referring to.
- There’s nothing better than a recommendation and so ask for case studies and then give them a ring, speak to them and ask them how the service was. If you find that a tad questionably ethical, just check out the companies yourself on Google and see for yourself.
Approach a company with caution and if something smells fishy get out of there quicker than a vegetarian runs away from a slaughterhouse.