Whether you are a Fortune 500 MNC or a startup, every company will require some kind of marketing strategy to make them stand out from the sea of competitors. There are, of course, a myriad of ways to go about it – building your website from scratch, printing and giving out physical flyers or buying a database to send marketing emails are just some methods.
Everyone can do some form of marketing on their own but whether or not you have the capability to do what you want, nicely, get it out there to the right people, or have the resources to do it, is another question on its own.
If you are a startup that has to carefully use your marketing dollar, you might prefer to work with a freelance writer to get your company’s blog going for SEO purposes. Say you are a mid-sized company who wants to outsource some of the marketing work to a digital agency, you might want to consider a boutique digital agency that can deliver specific digital marketing services that you are looking for.
So if you are thinking about hiring a digital marketing agency, how should you choose and what should you look out for? Let’s find out!
What are your needs?
If your company’s marketing team is already handling various marketing activities, such as maintaining your company blog, posting on the social media accounts and having an in-house designer, you probably only need an agency for a specific service, such as producing a marketing video for a product launch.
In this case, you could look for an agency which only specialises in video production. This has a higher chance of having videos produced by the agency itself instead of being outsourced to others. As the company is specialised, there will likely be more experienced with the steps and procedures, thus helping you save time in the process.
Of course, this is not to say that you should exclude a full-service agency who provides video production as part of their service. It really boils down to the standards and quality of their portfolio, any direct recommendations from people who have used them, as well as budget.
If it’s the first time you are looking for a marketing agency to work with you, you might have started by writing to a few agencies asking for quotes on the services you need. And you could have received numbers that are way too far apart.
Going to an agency with a big name would definitely cost you more, but it could also mean you are guaranteed results since they have more experience with bigger brands that could offer a bigger marketing budget. These typically charge a minimum of 5-figure sums so if that’s not the range you are looking you could try for smaller agencies.
Does working with smaller agencies mean you wouldn’t get results? Not necessarily. While we can say that the low barrier of entry in the industry could mean there are some out there who aren’t quite sure about what they are doing, this shouldn’t put you off working with them.
For a start, take a look at their portfolio. If you see some reputable names and case studies, it’s a sign that this agency could be trusted. Of course, you would most probably be able to gauge for yourself as well after speaking with them. Do they know what they are talking about? What can they tell you about the process and the results that you can expect?
Don’t brush off working with smaller agencies because there are a few advantages. They could be more reactive to your needs and last-minute changes and are definitely cheaper compared to the bigger agencies. While they may not provide a full suite of digital marketing services, they could be more specialised and knowledgeable in their specific domains and can provide invaluable advice.
Companies who only have limited budget could choose to work with a freelancer. Freelancers are pretty much a hit-and-miss because you can find some really good ones who take pride in their work or those who are around to simply make a quick buck. Of course, don’t expect cheap rates from experienced freelancers. Remember that paying a low price for work that you can’t use or does not show results is just money wasted.
Are they questioning your brief?
A good agency is one that works with you, not just work under your instructions. All too often, we’ve seen clients giving us design instructions. No offence but would you accept legal advice from someone that did not come from that background? Have trust and leave it to the experts!
This also means that as a client, you should be open to suggestions and feedback. Say for instance, when designing a website, our team works out the layout of a page with the user experience in mind. So coming in and asking us to change the placement of buttons without a rationale except that “it doesn’t look nice” isn’t something we accept. So if you are working with an agency that says yes to everything you say, don’t get too happy.
Before hiring an agency, it’s important that you and your team sit down to evaluate your digital marketing needs. Be realistic with your budget, and if possible, go with a trial before signing a full-year contract.
Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all approach when deciding how to conduct your digital marketing activities with or without the help of an agency. Your decision has to be made based on your specific budget and goals, and we hope the three-pointers above could help you filter out the ones that match your criteria. Since you are reading this article, we assume you are on the lookout for a digital marketing agency to work with. Why don’t you check out our portfolio and hit us up if you think we can help you?