Over 70% of customers say converting leads into customers is their top priority. With COVID-19 still in place, however, you could struggle to generate leads. By working with an experienced marketing agency, you can expand your reach!
As you reach more customers, you can communicate your value to boost sales. By using effective marketing strategies, you can improve your ROI at the same time.
Want to set your business up for success in 2021? Here are the seven tips you need when vetting marketing agencies. With these tips, you can narrow down your options.
Otherwise, you might end up with a marketing agency that fails to help your business.
Ready to learn how to find the right marketing agency for your business? Get started with these seven easy tips today!
1. Establish Your Marketing Goals
Before you start searching for marketing agencies, stay SMART. You can establish SMART goals to ensure you find companies capable of achieving your goals. Otherwise, you could choose a marketing agency with limited abilities.
These goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Results-Driven, and Timely.
You can establish different goals for your business this year, such as:
- Generating twice as much website traffic before the fourth quarter by publishing two targeted blog posts each week
- Increasing your search engine ranking from seventh to first place for the keyword “dentist office” before December by gathering backlinks
- Gathering 1,000 new LinkedIn followers by November by posting industry news and education content once a day
- Generating 20 leads a month by using a targeted pay-per-click advertising campaign
- Gathering 50 new customer reviews on our Google My Business listing by sending an email campaign
Consider the goals you want to accomplish for your business this year. For each goal, set a key performance indicator (KPIs). Your KPIs will help you track your progress as you go.
A few KPIs can include your:
- Website traffic
- Social shares
- Bounce rate
- Clickthrough rate
- Funnel abandonment rate
- Phone calls
- Form submissions
- SEO ranking
- Conversion rate
You don’t want a marketing agency that will use a cookie-cutter approach when helping your business. Instead, they should consider your marketing goals before developing your marketing strategy.
For example, the top three challenges many marketers are facing this year include:
- Creating a cohesive customer journey across all marketing platforms
- Engaging customers in real-time
With COVID-19 quarantines still in place, overcoming these three challenges is a must. Since people aren’t meeting in-person, you need to engage customers in real-time online. You can use chatbots and live videos for starters.
To create a cohesive customer journey, you’ll need to consider your branding. A messy, inconsistent brand could confuse customers.
New trends are popping up throughout the year. If you’re not up-to-date with the latest trends, consumers will take notice. They might think you’re behind the times.
The top marketing agencies can help you overcome these three hurdles.
2. Know Which Services You Need
Once you determine your goals, you can establish which marketing services you need. Pinpointing these services can help you learn how to find the right marketing agency.
Do you only need one service? Consider choosing an agency that specializes in a single strategy, such as SEO. If you need more than one service, choose a full-service marketing agency.
A full-service marketing agency can help you create a cohesive customer journey.
Don’t hire a different marketing agency for each strategy. Their failure to communicate could impact your overall marketing efforts. Instead, determine which strategies you need before you start your search.
An old, outdated brand can affect every aspect of your marketing strategy. You need to maintain brand consistency to encourage awareness and recognition. Otherwise, someone might visit your social media accounts and website, only to think you’re two different businesses.
Look for the top marketing agencies that strive to develop standout, distinctive brands.
The marketing agency should first focus on your unique value proposition. How do you set yourself apart from competitors? Why should consumers choose your brand above the rest?
Then, the marketing agency can help you develop brand guidelines. These guidelines will ensure your brand remains consistent. Your brand can include your:
- Mission statement
- Vision statement
- Imagery style
- Color palette
You’ll use your branding within your ads, print materials, website, content, and more!
Make sure to choose a marketing agency with design capabilities. If they develop a brand that looks like a copy of someone else’s, look for another agency.
Web Design and Development
Your website can operate as your digital storefront, keeping your “doors” open 24/7. If your website is old and outdated, customers will take notice. They’ll think your business is old and behind-the-times, too.
Instead, look for marketing agencies that offer design and development services. Your design can have a big impact on customers.
In fact, design has a 75% influence on your credibility.
You’ll need to make sure your website functions properly, too. Otherwise, a negative experience could scare off customers for good. About 88% of online customers won’t return to a site after a bad experience.
Another 57% won’t recommend a business if the website isn’t mobile-friendly. Almost 70% of companies with mobile-friendly websites experience sales increases.
Look for a company that offers user experience (UX) design services. They’ll help you create a fast, mobile-friendly website. Then, you can market your business and make the most of your marketing strategy!
Once you have a wow-worthy website, you can engage your audience with informative, helpful content. What questions are your customers asking? What problems do they need help solving?
Content marketing can help you show customers you’re there to help.
The top marketing agencies can unite your content marketing strategy with your:
- Web design and development
- Search engine optimization
- Email marketing
- Social media marketing
You can reformat different pieces of content to reach audiences on different platforms.
Make sure the agency has experience developing high-quality content. Look at some of their samples to get a better idea of their abilities.
Can they create videos?
An estimated 50% of consumers will search for videos related to products and services. In fact, video content could account for 80% of all web traffic by 2022. You can even use video content to generate more sales.
Search Engine Optimization
Almost 70% of all online experiences begin with a search engine. If you’re not boosting your online ranking, you could struggle to reach customers. With search engine optimization (SEO), you can improve your ranking and expand your reach.
SEO will help your website appear in front of more consumers. It’s also an effective lead-generation strategy.
In fact, 60% of marketers say inbound strategies (SEO and blogging) are their highest quality source for leads. In fact, SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate!
Look for marketing agencies that offer high-quality SEO services. With their help, you can optimize your website for search engines like Google. Improving your SEO ranking can help you:
- Appear more credible in your industry
- Rank ahead of the competition
- Generate leads and sales online
- Increase foot traffic to your store
- Boost brand trust and loyalty
- Increase traffic to your website
Ask if the agency offers local SEO services, too. Almost 80% of people who search for something nearby on their phones visit a store within a day. Almost 30% of these searches result in a purchase.
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising will allow you to create digital ads on search engines. You can create PPC ads on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook too.
PPC advertising can become costly if you lack experience. Make sure you choose digital marketing agencies that have handled PPC for your industry in the past. Their prior experience could help you save time and money.
Do they have a strategy for display advertising? Can they create eye-catching remarketing ads for your business?
Choosing an inexperienced company, on the other hand, could hurt your ROI.
Social Media Marketing
Are you engaging your customers on social media? Look for a digital marketing agency that understands how to stay social. You can use social media marketing to direct more traffic to your website.
You can also partner with an influencer to boost brand awareness and trust.
Older marketing agencies might not offer social media marketing services. Make sure they’re capable of reaching customers through every avenue.
3. Choose an Experienced Team
Once you know what you need, you can start researching different marketing agencies in your area. Prioritize looking for an agency that has experience and know-how you can rely on.
They’ll know exactly how to help your business. Otherwise, their lack of experience could slow you down.
Develop a list of what to ask before hiring a marketing firm, including:
- How long have you worked in marketing?
- What training and education do you have?
- Do you have any relevant certifications?
- Has your marketing agency won any awards for your services?
- Are the members of your team trained and experienced in their specialties?
- Have you worked with a business like mine before?
Look for top marketing agencies that have experience with your industry. They can leverage their previous experience to give your marketing strategy a stronger start. With their help, you can get ahead of the completion instead of falling behind.
4. Consider Their Reputation
Many marketing agencies will try to claim they’re “the best in the business.” Don’t take their word for it. Instead, learn more about each agency’s reputation.
Ask them for referrals. Try to speak with at least three of their previous clients.
Did the client have any trouble working with the marketing team? Were they satisfied with the services they received? How did the agency help their business?
You can also look for reviews online. Check out the company’s Google My Business or Better Business Bureau listing.
If you see one or two negative reviews, that’s okay. An abundance of negative reviews is a red flag, though.
5. Ask for Evidence
Once you’ve narrowed down your options, ask the top marketing agencies on your list for case studies. Case studies can help you determine which agencies are capable of accomplishing your goals. Ask to see case studies that are relevant to the services you’re interested in.
Which KPIs did the agency track? How did they help their client achieve their goals? What strategies did they use?
Asking for evidence will help you focus on the most capable agencies.
6. Review Their Work Process
Remember, you don’t want a cookie-cutter approach. Instead, tell each agency about your goals. Ask how they plan on helping you accomplish those goals.
Know what to ask before hiring a marketing firm, including:
- What research will you gather before developing my marketing strategy?
- How will you learn more about my customers?
- How will you learn more about my competitors?
- Will you send monthly reports?
- How will you track the progress of my campaigns?
- How will we communicate moving forward?
- When will I start noticing results?
Make sure the agency asks questions about your business. Otherwise, they’ll fail to create a marketing strategy with your company in mind.
7. Check the Price
As you continue narrowing down your options, make sure to ask each marketing firm about their prices. Do they use an a la carte pricing model? How often will you pay them?
Will you pay them upfront, or after you start seeing results?
Make sure to get everything in writing. Having a written contract will help you avoid disputes in the future.
Get quotes from at least three different marketing firms. This will help you compare prices.
Don’t rush to choose the cheapest option, though. You’ll likely get what you pay for. Instead, choose the marketing agency that’s most likely going to achieve your goals.
Partner With the Pros: 7 Tips for Vetting Marketing Agencies
When researching marketing agencies, it’s important to find the one that will help your business. By partnering with professional marketers, you can boost your business in 2021. They’ll help you create a strong marketing strategy with your goals in mind.
As you generate more brand awareness and web traffic, you can increase sales and improve your ROI.
Ready to start marketing? We’re here to help!
Request a free marketing strategy session with our team today.