Thanks to Justine Perry, Managing Director of award-winning digital marketing agency, Cariad Marketing for penning a guest blog!
So, the time has come to spread the word about your services and products to a wider audience. You know digital marketing is the way forward yet you have neither the time nor the expertise to do it yourself. As an SME you want to see a significant return on your marketing investment and so you decide to invest in the services of a professional agency. But as online marketing really isn’t your thing how on earth do you go about choosing the right agency to help you deliver your business and marketing goals?
Here are my top tips to help you make the right decision:
- Go local. Choosing a local agency will enable you to establish a strong working relationship with those working on your account as you can pop by the office for regular meetings and develop an ongoing dialogue. Nothing beats the personal touch and the better your agency knows you, the better they know your business.
- Check credentials. When doing your research make sure you thoroughly check out the agency’s credentials. Testimonials on a website can be forged but if you look at the company’s profile on LinkedIn or its Google Plus page then these are genuine third party endorsements which cannot be tampered with.
- Best of breed. Business awards are another great third party endorsement of a company’s performance. Check if your chosen agency has any award wins and if so what they are for; industry specific awards are always a great indicator of quality and innovation.
- Check social media profiles. If an agency sells social media marketing services and yet they are not doing any themselves – or it is not very good – what are they going to do for your business?
- Ask what level of reporting the agency is going to deliver. For example with an SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) contract you should expect to see the amount of traffic visiting your website, the number of enquiries as a result of website searches and the keywords people were searching for when vising your website. With social media your agency should keep you briefed about the number of new followers, the levels of engagement and your Klout score etc. Make sure you ask for a schedule of dates when this information will be delivered.
- Expectations. It is vitally important that clear expectations are set out at the outset. Both parties need to know what success looks like and if it has been achieved.
- Business contingency. It is essential when you are interviewing an agency that you ask about its disaster recovery and business contingency plans. You need to check that it has the infrastructure and processes in place so that should disaster strike and there are any issues -such as your website going down – then it can be safely recovered in a reasonable time frame.
- Beware of unachievable promises. If any agency guarantees you first place on the Google rankings, run a mile! With Google constantly changing its algorithms and a fiercely competitive marketplace to contend with no agency can guarantee a first place ranking.
- Make sure you ask about the agency’s internal processes and how your account will be managed and with what tools. You need to establish whether your data will be shared with third party software providers. Each agency will have its own processes and use its own software tools and it’s always useful to know what they are in case you ever change agency and need the information when you move.
Bonus tip – If after all this you are still unsure then ask to speak to one of your prospective agency’s clients who will be able to help you assess the agency from a customer’s perspective.
To find out more about Cariad Marketing call 01992 582824 or visit www.cariadmarketing.com.