Digital marketing is about connecting with your audience at the right place and at the right time. It encompasses all marketing efforts that use an electronic device or the internet. Businesses leverage digital channels such as search engines, social media, email, and other websites to connect with current and prospective customers. When done right, it is more cost-effective than traditional advertising and enables you to measure success daily and pivot as you deem fit. It also helps you to reach a larger audience and target the prospects who are most likely to buy your products and services.

Know When to Hire a Digital Marketing Agency

There are many reasons to consider hiring a digital marketing agency. At some point, you may need to involve partners who have great skills, ideas, and expertise as co-creatives and innovators, to help accelerate your business goals. Some organisations need to outsource their entire digital marketing function while others might just be looking to complement their in-house talents. The digital landscape is in a constant state of flux and even the savviest marketers do not have ALL the knowledge and skillsets to get ahead of the curve. In essence, digital marketing is a strategy in itself.

Whether you’re a solopreneur or part of a marketing function, here are some tips to help you ascertain when to engage one:

  • You know what needs to get done and you have the budget for it
  • You prefer to have your digital marketing initiatives on autopilot
  • You do not have the capacity or time to train/develop an in-house team
  • You are looking to grow your business exponentially
  • You have limited knowledge in digital marketing and need a subject matter expert to support you and/or your organisation.

Now that you’ve identified what help is needed, choosing the right digital partner is equally imperative. Any agency can claim that they have the chops for the job but doing a bit of research before engaging one is always a good idea. So, how do you identify one that is suited for your brand or company?

How to Hire a Reliable Digital Marketing Partner

Hiring a digital marketing agency is an ideal option for those who prefer to outsource facets of their online marketing. Agencies bring about subject-matter expertise and are usually on top of industry trends. They can assess your business from a third-party perspective and offer new, innovative ideas. There are two types of digital marketing agencies that you can choose from – a full service or specialised one. A full-service one will serve in a role like that of a digital marketing manager while a specialised agency offers 1-2 services that it is highly experienced in and will only focus on specific facets of your marketing efforts (for example website designing or content marketing).

Ideally, a digital agency should have the following key skills:
Marketing Planning
Content Strategy Development
Media Buying (Search, Display and Social Media Ads Expertise)
Social Media Management
Email Marketing
Video Marketing
Graphic and Web Designing
Conversion Optimization
Analytics and Metrics

When researching for potential service providers, you should consider these:
Client portfolio
A sizable portfolio or client list is a good indication of the agency’s experience – peek at its display of partnerships. If you wish to engage services like graphic design or website development, you should see a showcase of the type of work they do. Find one that matches your expectations.

An experienced and dedicated team
Make sure that the agency that you hire has the right team members and skillsets to suit your project.

Has a strong industry reputation
Do consider the agency’s social proof such as testimonials, ratings and reviews, influencer endorsements, media logos (“as seen in” media showcase), and social shares.

Share similar values and company culture
An agency is an extension of your business – choosing one with the right values and culture as yours, is just as important as considering the quality of its work.

Do they have a well-designed website?
By all means, judge the book by its cover! Look through the agency’s website and listen to your instincts. If it doesn’t look right and appears low-quality, move on to another agency that offers a good design and delivers an exceptional user experience.

Promises made, promises kept
Pay close attention to the claims and promises that the agency makes. Anyone who claims to be able to fast-track your way to the number one spot on search engines has a questionable understanding of SEO.

Easy to get in touch with
Choose one that provides a clear, call-to-action and make it as easy as possible for potential clients to get in touch. Don’t you find it frustrating when you don’t get a quick turnaround?

Once you have identified a list of agencies for consideration, pinpoint your goals and desired outcomes to them before doing anything else. The agencies should be able to coach you through this process (deliverables > goal > result):

Deliverables: A series of on-brand marketing videos and other visual assets
Goal: Communicate your new offer in a fun and engaging way for your audience.
Result: A finished product and the know-how (it should be simple enough for you to do it on your own).

Remember to prepare a list of questions to ask during the selection process. This can be done either via email, zoom, or in-person. The questions should include the following:

What KPIs do they measure? It is vital to measure the success of your digital marketing campaigns. Ask if they have a proven system for measuring KPIs. A good agency will learn your business objectives and help you reach your KPIs.

How do they handle reporting? Ask how often they will report the progress of your campaigns. The reports they provide should be furnished as often as you want. They should also track the progress of your unique KPIs and provide actionable insights based on the data.

What ROI can you expect? You should be able to get an expected return on investment (ROI) and be advised of the timeline to get a return. Ask for projections and if possible, case studies of past projects.

Do they outsource? It’s imperative to ask if they outsource any work or are all done in-house. Ensure that the outsourced contractors are equally credible.

How do they handle meetings with clients? Determine how often do they conduct the meetings and how flexible their schedules are. It helps to know how the meetings will be conducted.

What are the contractual terms? Clarify the terms of payments, renewals, and/or cancellation options before signing on the dotted line.

Investing your time to research and interview a list of potential hires is not an easy feat but it is much better than engaging an agency that does not meet your requirements or needs. We believe that partnering with the right agency can contribute to your growth, generate more revenue, and provide you with peace of mind (of getting everything handled)! At 90 Degrees Asia, we thrive in supporting and actualising your marketing objectives. Get in touch with us for a 30 mins 1-1 free consultation on your marketing strategy

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