You are well aware that investing in digital marketing services would benefit your company. You have already set aside a reasonable budget to grow your campaigns, goals, and your business. And then you decide to work with a digital marketing agency. So, what's next?

  • Which marketing agency would be a perfect fit for your business?
  • How can the agency help you grow weekly, monthly, and quarterly?

There are several things to consider while hiring a digital marketing agency. Before hiring a marketing agency, conduct a meeting to understand what services they are suggesting for your business growth. You would have built your precious business after years of hard work, thus your business must be in the right hands.

When you hire a marketing agency, your common goals might be:

  • Improve branding
  • Increase number of website visitors
  • Expand your current reach
  • Increase the number of leads and prospects
  • Grow your social media followers

Even after finalizing and hiring any agency, you must cross-check if your goals are accomplished. With some basic understanding, you can learn to sense the warning signals of a digital marketing firm that will do more harm than good to your business. Here are a few questions you must find answers to, to understand whether your digital marketing agency is helping you elevate your business or making holes in your pockets.

Is An Agency’s Strategy Fool-Proof, Efficient, and Practical?

Any digital marketing agency shares its plan of action, strategy, and a target before commencing the duties. Before you sign a deal with an agency, you must check:

  • Do they have experience in dealing with your industry and have they helped any other companies grow their businesses in your industry?
  • Do they have expertise, strength and resources available to execute the proposed work in professional manner?
  • Are they confident in helping you achieve your goals?
  • Have they identified your key strengths and weaknesses?
  • Have they analyzed your company’s current position before you hire them?
  • Do their suggested approach and methods match my company's requirements?

If you answered no, you are throwing money away on the misleading agency and a strategy that won't allow your business to meet its objectives.

Are They Incompetent in The First Quarter Of The Contract?

When you share your goals with them and they are incompetent and inefficient to meet your targets, maybe you should reconsider the contract you signed. If your agency is all talk and has no actions and is not delivering what was promised, maybe you should reconsider extending the contract.

The type of business you run, the products and services you sell, and your target market must all be considered in your digital marketing plan. Many agencies commit to helping you grow your business exponentially but fail to do so. The company's main priority must be setting a target, and the agency's top focus must be achieving those numbers. The activities and techniques performed by an agency are not yielding results repeatedly; it’s time to change your agency. They overpromised you in the beginning just to gain a client and now they are not even any nearer to that promise.

Are Their Reports Accurate?

Every agency out there shares weekly or monthly reports. It is advisable to have a closer look at all details mentioned in the report for their accuracy. Many marketing agencies practice false reporting, they manipulate the data to show the effectiveness of the marketing campaign.

Do manual check of all the data mentioned in the report including ranking, conversion, goal completion, bounce rate, impressions, clicks, social activities, engagements, number of followers, etc.

If all data seems okay then ask for the action plan what they are planning to achieve in next upcoming months.

"We're developing different creative from which we'll target this segment”. Don't let them get away with this kind of answer. Take it to the next level. Seek clarification as to why they believe that, and see if they can back it up with objective facts.

If they are being secretive about the techniques, not informing their plan of actions or progress updates, and only providing vanity metrics, it’s a glaring signal to part ways with that agency.

Know Where Your Hard-Earned Money Is Being Invested?

Having an idea of why you are paying an agency a hefty amount is comforting. If you are checking out several digital marketing agencies, look at why they are charging a specific amount and what services you will receive. Some basics of digital marketing aspects that you should check on are:

  1. SEO (Search Engine Optimization): The most important service that will help you get more sales is SEO since it will optimize your business website and get you more traffic. If your agency is providing you SEO services then you must also check what benefits they are offering:
    • If your SEO firm claims to have your website ranked number one in a few months, flee! Because no SEO company, according to Google, can guarantee you a top Google ranking in an eye blinking time. Google utilizes over 200 ranking variables, it takes months for an SEO to work for your site and to get it on top. Getting organic rankings is more important.
    • When you partner with an SEO agency, you should expect them to develop a link-building plan for you. Beware if they're using unethical link-building strategies like link directories, low-quality guest postings, FFA (Free for All) links, and so on. Hire an agency that focuses on earning quality links from high-DA websites rather than just link building.
    • Increasing web traffic and conversions is one of the primary goals of hiring SEO agency. A legitimate SEO company focuses on on-page, off-page, and technical SEO to improve your organic visibility. Make sure they don’t participate in black-hat or grey-hat SEO activities, which generate quick results but not in the long run, eventually creating diverse effects on your business.
    • Page speed and user experience are the key aspects for improving organic reach and, at the same time, encouraging users to take action. The SEO Company must have a proven track record that demonstrates its expertise in improving page speed and user experience.
  2. PPC (Pay-Per-Click): PPC is a great digital marketing technique you would be using to get appropriate leads through paid advertising.
    • In PPC services, you pay for your ad that is clicked. Every penny you spend matters, so your agency must set up a campaign that generates valuable clicks and conversions. The expected conversion rate for PPC should be between 4 to 5%. Make sure your marketing agency isn’t wasting your money on irrelevant clicks.
    • To improve the effectiveness of PPC campaign, the agency must focus on improving keyword quality scores. They must optimize the landing page for the targeted keywords and also add proper CTA (Call to Action) that lead users to convert into a qualified lead. High-quality score improves Ad Rank which reduces the CPC cost.
    • Monitoring a campaign's performance is also crucial, an agency is responsible to make adjustments in the campaign to improve the performance. They must look into the search terms, the number of conversions, cost per conversion, ad copy that generates clicks and negative keywords.
    • Ask for a detailed report at the end of every 15 days or a month, the report must include CTR, Clicks, CPC, conversion cost, and conversion rate. If any extensions were added to the campaign then the agency should include the performance of various extensions.
  3. SMM (Social Media Marketing): With the right SMM services, your company can reach out to potential customers on social media, pique their interest in your products, and encourage them to become long-term customers. All this depends on a specific strategy and techniques.
    • If your agency is promoting your product or service through Social Media Marketing, do check if it has a positive impact or negative.
    • You would be spending a handsome amount on ad placing, though is it profitable? How much return on investment do you get? You should verify this.
    • Check whether your SMM agency work towards adding unique UTM codes to your URL to identify the traffic, which channel they use, which specific region do they target, are they filtering the target audience?
  4. SMO (Social Media Optimization): You must be leveraging SMO services for increasing and optimizing your social media presence. Check if your digital marketing agency is providing you best SMO services:
    • Social media works majorly on two words- ‘Attractive Content’. Check whether your hired agency is working towards feeding attractive content to your online audience. For content to be attractive, the post they make should be of high quality, eye-catching, relevant, and meaningful, hashtags should be trendy, etc. In short, are they committing for quality?
    • How many numbers of posts go per week or month? Has the number of genuine followers increased? The number of likes and comments? Is your social media generating valuable leads?
  5. Email Marketing: It is the most effective way to generate leads by directly pitching prospective clients. Though it is vital to look if your agency is following healthy techniques for email marketing:
    • In the name of email marketing services, your digital marketing agency should not use spamming methods. See if they are not overusing this service and getting insignificant leads.
    • You must be paying for excellent, proficient, and advanced software with modern features like automated follow-up mail. Check which software they are using for your email marketing services.
    • The subject line of the mail should be attractive and not deceptive. The body text should be short and simple. These small things play a major role in getting a precious lead, thus they are very necessary to be examined.
  6. Content Marketing: It's a red sign if your hired agency focuses only on writing to please Google with keyword-stuffed content. The visitors should get more user-friendly content on your web page that speaks to them personally. A well-read agency will prioritize content strategy above backlinks, ensuring that your blog subjects are well-researched, recent, and interesting for visitors, as well as having a persuasive strategy in place.
  7. If an agency has extensive experience in all these sectors and has result-driven strategies that improve visibility, post reach, customer reviews, website traffic, backlink network, content, and conversion, then only you can work in coordination to take your business to a higher level.

Keep Track Of Your ROI

The main motive of outsourcing or hiring a digital marketing agency is to make profits in your business. Recognize that marketing and advertising are long-term investments rather than a cost center. Any investment demands its return and keeping the track of your Return on Investment will help you measure your success.

The first step is to set up a tracking system that analyses money coming in vs. going out (ROI). Is your digital marketing agency providing you your desired ROI or is your money just being wasted and suffering a loss? Fix or remove the mediocre players, and capitalize on the good ROI to increase profits.

What Happens If You Don't Pay Attention To These Warning Signs?

Warning signals are the starting of a war. If you ignore these signs and do not take any action in the early stage, then your business can suffer from a negative impact.

  • Financial loss
  • Negative impact on the business
  • Waste of time
  • Profit, revenue, sales, or ROI may seem a long way to go
  • You can have a difficult time getting your business back on track.

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Final Remarks:

If you have hired or plan to hire a digital marketing service provider, be cautious since not everyone can offer high-quality results. Just namesake digital marketing agencies can take your money while doing nothing to improve your web visibility and position your business for long-term success over time. Don’t let them fool you by their overpromising words, track their actions too. Monitor them and monitor your success with them - This is a must for every outsourced process.

It's now your turn to spy on your hired digital marketing agency to know if they have benefited you or harmed you?