Efferent Media

The Questions to Ask Your Digital Marketing Company

There are many reasons why you need a digital marketing company for your business. Technology is constantly changing and algorithms on search engines and social media sites are often updated. Making sure your business ranks well on desktops and mobile while finding the target audience that leads to actual sales is a constant challenge and you need a digital marketer who meets that challenge every day.

Strong digital marketing is vital to help your business grow but when searching for a company to help your business, you may not be certain what to look for and what questions to ask. Efferent Media has a proven track record in helping clients achieve their goals and we want to share the questions we think you should be posing to your digital marketing company.

Do You Have a Portfolio/Who Are Some of Your Past Clients?

Asking to see a marketing company’s portfolio of past work and asking for references is important for multiple reasons. If a company is unable to provide a portfolio, this can raise several red flags. It could indicate lack of organization on the part of the digital marketer. It also might mean they’re uncomfortable about providing client information, which raises the question as to why. If a marketing agency tells you they don’t have a list of past clients, it can call their credibility into question.

But seeing a marketing company’s portfolio gives you an idea as to how they approach their work. It can give you insight into whether or not the marketing company’s work aligns with what you’re looking for and what your company’s goals are. Seeing a company’s prior work and references from clients will let you know what types of businesses and industries the marketing company has experience working with.

Strong computer skills and knowledge come with the territory. What Services Do You Provide?

It’s important to know what a digital marketer can offer you and whether these services fit your marketing needs. You need to gauge the level of your needs when talking to the marketer. Every company is different. A small company has different needs than a Fortune 500 company or a major brand. A new company has different goals than an established business. You want to make sure a digital marketer provides the services you’re looking for, but you also might not need everything they provide.

Among the services a digital marketing company commonly offers are:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Paid Search Engine Marketing or Pay Per Click (PPC)
  • Web Development
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Social Media Community Management
  • Content Development
  • Video Production
  • Paid Placements
  • Media Buying
  • Mobile Application Development (Android/iOS)

If SEO is a service you’re considering, it’s critical that you know what types of techniques the marketing company is using. You want the marketing company to use white hat techniques which involves optimizing content organically to ensure it performs well on search engines. They should avoid using black hat or grey hat techniques which involve getting high search engine rankings in an unethical manner. This may help achieve high rankings in the short term, but once the search engines catch up to what a black hat marketer is doing, it’s going to be a very expensive problem for your company to fix. The search engine can penalize or even ban your company which will bring your marketing effort to a screeching halt.

Do You Outsource?

Knowing who you are dealing with is a big part of the service you’ll receive. It may not be as clear as you think because digital marketing agencies are known to outsource some or even a great deal of the work they do. It’s not uncommon for marketing companies to work with:

  • Freelancers
  • Remote or Satellite employees
  • Other Agencies

Sometimes this can be done without affecting the marketing company’s product, but there are some problem areas. Outsourcing can cause delays and confusion creating stress if you have a specific need or have time frames to adhere to. There can be problems if the work is being outsourced to areas that aren’t in the same region or time zone as your company. The results can be a lack of familiarity with your local market and workers who understand your product or the needs of prospective customers in your area.

Who Will I Be Working With on a Regular Basis?

When you’re looking for a digital marketing agency the employees you meet with or interact with on the sales call may not be the same people you’re going to deal with on an everyday basis. While it’s hard to determine exactly who your main contacts will be in every case, because there are so many different types and levels of service, we can speak generally about digital marketing employees who commonly serve as client contacts. They include:

  • Account Manager: They may be your main point of contact although you’ll likely deal with other employees as well. This is the person who will provide you with regular updates. The account manager will let you know about current specials, changes in your campaigns, report on key performance indicators, and more. The account manager collectively collaborates with different departments within their company. This provides an easy streamlined process.
  • Project Manager: A project manager also works in unison with different departments overseeing campaigns. This boosts communication and allows you to speak with someone who is familiar with the entirety of the work being done on your behalf for a particular campaign or project.
  • Department Heads: In some cases it’s more convenient to deal with a point person from individual departments to get specific information. This is not unusual especially when dealing with true in-house agencies that have all of the departments you’ll work with on site. Many agencies use sophisticated tools that allow interdepartmental synergy. This can give a more customized experience to clients and it’s a great way to immerse them in what’s going on with their marketing campaigns.

How Do You Report on Results?

Teamwork and coordination are an important factor in working on client sites. While businesses always want to see the tangible results of their marketing campaign, most managers are also immersed in running the day to day operations of their business. There’s no one size fits all approach to reporting results, which presents a challenge to digital marketing agencies trying to produce the results of their work.

If you’re hiring a digital marketing agency, sometimes there may be campaigns in which you would like to receive daily reporting. In some cases, you might have to look at data reports 2-3 times a week to decide where you should be allocating budget for the marketing campaign. In most campaigns, monthly reporting is an industry standard. This allows the analysis of an entire month; which leads to month over month reporting and even year over year reporting within a monthly report. Quarter over quarter reporting is another useful way of reporting results

You need to decide the level of reporting that’s right for your company. Whatever level that is, you want always make sure you have a clear line of communication with the agency. Drawing a statement of work (SOW) is a great way to make sure both you and your agency understand the relationship.

How Frequently Will You Meet?

This is another area where the answer depends on the approach and schedule of the client. Meeting in person is important, in our opinion, but if that can’t happen, bi-monthly or monthly calls for review or strategizing are mandatory. Business owners are often busy running their operation and don’t have the time to meet as often as they’d like. There have also been plenty of instances where a business might have a designated representative to deal with a marketing company. This allows meetings to occur more often.

Monthly and quarterly meetings are the most common types of in person meeting. But this can change depending on seasonality or due to distance between the marketing agency and the client. Sometimes technology can get the job done and online or telephone conferencing can save both parties travel time.

Is There a Contract I Need to Sign?

Contracts are common if not standard procedure in many cases. They allow a business to feel comfortable with exactly what they are getting from their digital marketing agency. They allow everyone’s expectations to be stated, and executed.

Some agencies or companies prefer using a statement of work instead of a contract. Sometimes there might be no contract at all. Whatever the situation, you want to make sure you have an agency that is going to make you and your business a priority.

Now for the Best Part

Efferent Media is an agency that works completely with in-house employees. We use ethical White Hat SEO techniques, and offer every service listed above. Our priority is achieving results, driving positive return on investment (ROI), and full transparency. We deliver thorough and cohesive monthly reports and for some clients we do customized reporting. We invite you to come ask us the questions we’ve outlined today.


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