5 questions to ask a prospective digital agency
Every hero needs a guide. Luke Skywalker had Obi Wan Kenobi. The X-Men have Professor Xavier. When it comes to digital marketing, who do you have? We know most Marketing leaders wear multiple hats. This excellent article calls out 14 different skillsets for a Marketing Manager.
Add “software expert” and “social media maven” and it’s easy to see why successful digital marketing can seem like a galaxy far, far away. Allow me be your guide to talking with potential digital marketing partners. May the Force be with you.
First, with everything already on your plate, how do you know when it’s time to use outside services? Ask yourself if your business or mission is losing out due to an outdated website, low search engine rankings or lagging social media presence. If the answer to any or all of these questions is “yes,” it’s time. Before you interview any consultants or agencies, be sure you have freed up some budget funds, and have a point person in your organization to manage the project. Here are my thoughts on the 5 key topics for a new partner in digital marketing:
5 Questions for Digital Agencies
- What do you recommend for our website CMS? (Customer Management Systems aka Platform)
Answer: CMS is the website development software (comes with templates) that will be used to build your new website. It is separate from “web hosting,” which you probably already have. A good agency will be helpful if you aren’t familiar with these technologies – definitely not condescending. They will likely have a CMS preference such as WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, Yola or other. They might also recommend changing your web hosting service to something faster, cheaper, better.
- What about Analytics? How will we be able to track website and social media traffic, page views, likers and other engagement
Answer: Google Analytics is a free service that works quite well, especially for new users. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn all have free business pages that include weekly and monthly analytics. You might also hear positive things about Hubspot and Hootsuite, which can roll up various online activities into one reporting service. There’s a range of monthly fees for these two options.
- Social Media
Answer: Listen for an agency that is willing to prioritize the various social media platforms for you: YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Vine, etc. If you’re new to using social media for your business or non-profit, there’s no need for you to be active on every site. However, you should understand that most business decision-makers are now active on social media. Yet it’s fine to grow as you go. We often start clients with increased LinkedIn posting, since they probably already have a page. You can raise your company’s online profile just using this site. Be realistic about how much posting you or your team can do. A few posts a month are usually sustainable, even on top of someone’s other fulltime responsibilities.
- Can you set up an outbound online marketing campaign?
For many businesses, a great website and social media posting aren’t enough. Pay-per-click is a low-risk way to boost website traffic or attract qualified sales leads. You should hear about a menu of options: Adwords. Remarketing. MailChimp. Constant Contact. Maybe a CRM like Salesforce. Ask for a comparison of costs and projected results.
- Fee Structure – how much will the program cost?
Answer: Look for clarity and details in the estimated costs. These generally include agency time required for design and initial content management, monthly fees for software and other online services, and possibly fees for monthly analytics reporting if you don’t intend to track your online marketing in-house.
As always, we are right here when you are ready to move things to the next level. Thanks for reading!