Marketing may be fun, but it isn't always easy — especially if it's not one of your core competencies. Let's be real: you may need some help. That's where a marketing agency comes into the picture.
But how can you determine which agency would be the best fit for your needs? There are 3 key elements you should consider when making your choice:
- Your needs
- Your budget
- Trust and transparency
Let's dive into each of these, one at a time!
Understanding Your Needs
If you know what you need, great. If you don't know what you need, that's okay; a reputable agency can help you out.
Still, you should try to get a rough idea of what you want to gain from a partnership with a marketing agency. You also need to think about the current state of your marketing strategy. For instance:
- Do you have analytics set up? What are they telling you? Where are your main sources of traffic?
- Are you currently experiencing growth? If not, why not? Which of your pages are top performers, and which ones lag behind?
- Which devices are your visitors using to engage with your site? Smartphones? Tablets? PCs? Laptops?
- Where is your audience searching from?
When it comes to understanding your needs in a measurable way, metrics are absolutely vital. One of the biggest areas you'll want to capture with detailed data points is SEO. Basically, SEO (search engine optimization) is a way to grow your online business by optimizing how it is indexed by search engines and experienced by visitors.
SEO has a lot of moving parts: link building, keyword research, schema markup... the list could go on and on. And it takes some time for SEO to really shift into gear — maybe 6 to 12 months. But if you want to capture more search traffic over a sustained period of time, SEO is the way to go. That means you'll want an agency that has the expertise and experience necessary to kick your SEO into overdrive. Ask the agency about their SEO services, such as:
- Search engine results page (SERP) rankings
- Organic listing appearance on SERP
- Website speed
- Website content indexing
- Schema markup
You'll also want to look into other marketing channels, such as paid advertising. This is the most common service offered by digital marketing agencies; but as with most things, there's a wrong way to do it, a right way, and the best way. Look for an agency that has experience in paid search marketing, keyword research and analysis, and budget optimization.
Also, think about your sales funnel. For example, pizza restaurants don't need a bunch of SEO-driven thought leadership pieces to drive business: when people get hungry, they search for pizzerias near them. Boom! Stages one, two, and three of the sales funnel complete in a matter of seconds.
However... pizza restaurants do need to have an optimized listing on Google My Business/Google Maps to get the most customers. Again, you need to understand the specific needs of your business — and then partner with an agency that knows the best marketing route to take.
Understanding Your Budget
Here's the million-dollar question: How much should you spend on digital marketing? Well, if you're willing to give a penny for our thoughts we'll put our two cents in (that's a 100% ROI, by the way): It depends. It's not a very exciting answer, but that's the reality.
The fact is, each business is unique, and therefore has unique marketing needs, opportunities, and budgetary constraints. If you have a limited budget, you'll need to sit down with your agency partners and discuss the following items:
- What are your pain points? In other words, where does your marketing really need to be beefed up?
- What are your business goals? For example, where and how do you want to generate more leads?
- What is the current state of your marketing plan? (The agency will likely need to run an audit on your company's marketing performance to answer this question.)
Once these points have been hashed out, your agency can develop a plan of action tailored to your circumstances — and well within your budget.
Having Trust and Transparency
Deception is the absolute last thing that you need in a business partner. Frankly, you don't want to go with the agency that promises instant results from their SEO services and an ROI of 700% in the first month of your relationship. That's ridiculous. Instead, you want an agency that's open and honest with you; one that's willing to share both good news and bad.
You'll also want an agency that provides regular, transparent reports about SEO initiatives, campaign performance, website optimization, etc. If you have a question, your agency partner should be able to answer it — and if not, they should be able to find the answer and get back to you in a timely manner. They'll keep the lines of communication open. They'll ask you about your goals; they may even initiate regular "check-in" meetings. They won't keep asking you for more money.
In conclusion, if you want to work with an agency that will help you to understand your current needs, provide service within your budget, and communicate openly and honestly, look no further than Brightlark Digital. Reach out to us to learn more.