Choosing the right inbound marketing agency partner is a big deal. To be fair, there are a lot of agencies that do their jobs well. But there are many that learn as they go, and you don’t want them learning on your dime. If you’re not quite sure what you’re looking for (or should be), this post addresses some key considerations as you search for digital marketing services.
Design and Strategy Go Hand in Hand
While colors and fonts are fun, you want an inbound marketing agency that thinks of the purpose and business goals tied to your design choices. You are not just looking for design services – you are looking for strategic design. While a beautiful website is important, it does you no good if it brings in little to no traffic. Your site design conversation should include discussion of appropriate and effective search engine optimization strategies, as well as ways copy can and will appeal to people and search engines.
A website is like a physical structure. It needs to be built on a strong technical foundation, and you can’t just go around bashing out walls or support beams without potentially causing broken links or drops in search results. In this vein, you want a site that can grow with your business. Look for an agency that will build a site with responsive design and that is aesthetically and technically strong.
How do I know if the agency is a good bet?
Audit the inbound marketing agency’s practices you’re considering. Is their website user friendly? Do they have varied content? Their own blog? Branded social media channels? Do they post regularly? How they handle their own marketing and the tools they use can help you determine, at least to some extent, their understanding of the strategy necessary to take a website from pretty to a lead-generating, profit-producing tool.
Do they have dedicated design folks? SEO folks? Content specialists? It’s unlikely that one person will have high levels of expertise in all these areas, but an agency made up of experts will. Look for this type of agency. These are the ones that will impact your bottom line.
You might consider asking for some of their representative work or references. If they can’t share some project information for confidentiality purposes, drill down with questions. Ask prospective marketers:
- How will a website built by your organization attract traffic?
- Can you help me increase leads? How?
- How will you help me track my website traffic? Social media efficacy? Other analytics?
- How can I access/view these analytics?
- Do you offer monthly retainer services?
- Does your company provide copy writing services?
- Can I make changes to the site or will all changes have to be done through you?
- What is the turnaround time for changes? (This will vary depending on complexity of changes – e.g. minor copy editing vs. design or functionality alterations)
- Can we write our own website copy? Our own blogs? (Some agencies will want to do it all, while others will let you write your own copy that they’ll proof for SEO purposes.)
The Data Question
The amount of data generated by, and available to, companies presents tremendous growth opportunities….but only if they can figure out what that data means and what action should be taken because of it. You need to distill all of your data into meaningful numbers. I like to think of these as actionable numbers – a number that tells me what I need to address to reach my goal, whether that be increasing site traffic, increasing customer conversion rates, creating more content offers, engaging more people on social media, etc. Find an inbound marketing agency that understands this and can offer suggestions on tools available to you to leverage the data you gather to impact your bottom line.
KPIs are important. Find someone who is an advocate of measurable marketing. Your bottom line depends on it, and a digital marketer who knows what they’re doing will encourage you to employ analytics that can help you track, measure and adjust your marketing efforts accordingly for the best ROI.
Choose an Inbound Marketing Agency Partner
This is particularly important for larger organizations. You might only need one-time services, but chances are you’ll want some kind of monthly upkeep. This is often easier to outsource, rather than doing everything in-house
The ideal agency is focused on YOUR goals, and they know what digital strategies will and will not achieve results. Some of it will be trial and error, but they shouldn’t be learning how to do things on your account, they should be determining how to do things best for YOU on your account.
About Digital Impact Agency
Digital Impact Agency is a creative firm specializing in interactive media and inbound marketing strategies for manufacturing and technology companies, professional service firms (architectural, engineering, construction, legal and consulting), nonprofits and enterprise companies. We are a team of innovative entrepreneurs focused on creating the most strategic and effective communication channels for our clients.