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7 Key Questions to Ask Your Digital Marketing Agency | Hiring Guide
Find the perfect digital marketing agency by asking these top 7 questions that reveal expertise, reporting transparency, and more. Watch out for 3 red flags to avoid bad partnerships.

7 Questions You Should Ask When Hiring A Digital Marketing Agency

Finding a digital marketing agency that has just the right balance of expertise, personality, and transparency can be tough. To help you find your perfect match, we’ve shared the 7 questions you should ask a digital marketing agency before you hire them, as well as 3 red flags that should send you running in the opposite direction.

1. How Do You Share Reporting and Results?

Transparency is key to a good partnership, so you should expect access to reporting platforms as well as regular meetings to go over results. To get the most out of your partnership, expect your agency to review the data, its significance, and how it impacts your future strategy.

2. How Will You Interact With Our Team?

A digital marketing agency should be an extension of your team. Ask how the agency will work with your core team of employees and how much collaboration and communication your employees should expect. Be wary of any agencies that want to limit their interaction with you or team members. To be most successful, you’ll want an agency that establishes clear lines of communication and regular updates on your business’ progress.

3. What’s Your Process For Getting To Know Our Business?

To give you the best marketing strategy, a company should have an in-depth onboarding process to help them fully understand your business and your industry. Ask what kind of research, competitive analysis, and assessments the agency will do to prepare for your partnership.

4. How Will You Build Our Marketing Strategy?

There’s a big difference between custom/semi-custom strategies and plug & play marketing models. Understanding how the agency plans on building your marketing strategy will tell you if they’ll re-use past formulas or create an individualized plan for your business.

5. Do You Have Case Studies or Examples Showing Your Previous Results?

A reputable agency should have case studies or examples of their work Not only will you get an idea of the quality of their work, but you’ll find out if the agency’s approach matches your business’ style and values.

6. Is Your Team In-House or Contract-Based?

Since internal communication is easier when employees are in-house, these teams may focus more on their clients and be able to get up to speed faster than contract-based agencies. If you highly value close collaboration with your agency, you’ll probably prefer an in-house agency. If those aspects are less important to you, a contract-based agency may be right for you. Either way, ensure you know who is doing the work and how you can expect to work with them.

7. How are your fees structured?

An agency’s cost and payment structure has a big impact on determining if you’ll hire them. Some agencies charge monthly or yearly retainers, while others may charge hourly rates or project-based fees. Understanding the agency's fee structure can help you tell if it’s a good fit for your needs.

Red Flags

Throughout your conversation with your potential digital marketing agency, be on the lookout for these red flags:

  • They guarantee specific results: If an agency says something along the lines of “we guarantee we can increase your traffic by 20% in less than 6 months,” be wary. Though agencies can lean on past results from other clients, each business is different and requires testing to determine what will be successful. If an agency gives you specific numbers, they may be using black hat strategies (which could end up penalizing your company), or they may just be making it up.
  • They can’t demonstrate who the team is: The agency should be able to tell you about the team members, including their experience and strengths. They should also tell you who your designated point of contact is. If they can’t tell you who will be on your team, be cautious. You want to know who you’re hiring, right?
  • They don’t have references: Just like showing off previous work, an agency should be able to provide references. A good digital marketing agency fosters strong relationships with their clients, and a lack of references could indicate an inability to create strong partnerships.
  • They set up Adwords and other paid advertising on their own account: If an agency sets up your business’ campaigns in their own account, you won’t be able to see the results yourself. You’ll also lose access to your data if the partnership ends, which could make it more difficult to start again with a new agency. Make sure your agency is open to sharing data, results, and answers. We unfortunately see this tactic often. Further, make sure you have admin/owner access to your accounts and you know where the logs are of who can and when they access your accounts.

Hiring a digital marketing agency is a decision you shouldn’t make lightly - after all, they can greatly impact the visibility and reputation of your business. To see the best results, make sure to take the time to find an agency you feel confident partnering with.

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