What To Look For In An Online Marketing Agency
If you are currently looking to hire an online marketing agency to help manage or grow your business there are several signs that you are either working with a winning team or one that could cause more headaches and cost more money than you would like. Below we will outline what we have learned as an online marketing agency when working with our clients.
Yes, this is a blog post about how we operate and yes, we are selling you on our services, but in this here blog you will find very useful information whether or not you decide to work with us. Read on to find helpful tips when choosing a marketing agency to help you grow your business.
One of the first places you should check for credibility is their online reviews. There are several places you can find these but the most popular, and credible sources of these would be either Facebook or Google. I should say that more often than not you will learn more about a company’s efforts to procure reviews from their clients than you will about the company itself. Since most companies will ask for a review after a client has worked with them on a project and is stoked on their work, the reviews tend to be higher on average for a company that recognizes the importance of great online reviews, i.e. marketing companies.
This is not to say that the reviews are not genuine, nor is it to say that you should not trust them, but as with anything else you buy online, reading through a handful of reviews can provide some insight as to their validity, what clients like/dislike about the company, and more. Look for reviews from profiles with a headshot, multiple reviews, or any other sign that it is a legit account.
Also, reading through the one and two-star reviews can be helpful. Not every time, but often you will find that the bad reviews are based on information that is completely irrelevant, inaccurate, or the person leaving it just had a misunderstanding with the company and decided to voice their opinion. How a company deals with negative reviews can also be telling of the company itself. Getting both sides of the story is helpful.
When vetting an online marketing agency, LinkedIn is another great place to learn about a company, but more importantly, it is a great place to learn about the company founders and team. We make it a point to connect with all of our clients on LinkedIn as it provides an opportunity for social proof, wherein someone considering doing business with us who gets a connection request from me and sees that I am a real person, with recommendations, and if I am lucky we have shared connections.
Having shared connections on LinkedIn provides an opportunity for you to reach out to whomever the shared connection is and ask them questions about the person and company you are considering doing business with. If you have a close friend or colleague that is connected to the founder of a business, reach out to them and get some information about them and their company.
The proof is in the pudding, right? Well, you can get a taste of what the company is capable of by reviewing their portfolio. A portfolio is a great way to determine if the online marketing agency you are considering is a good fit for your brand style. A diverse portfolio often is a reflection of the company’s ability to deploy skills and strategy across multiple industries and can come in handy when developing a game plan for your company, as it allows the team to pull from multiple fields to create an out-of-the-box approach to problem-solving.
You may also want to confirm that they have helped another company in your industry achieve their goals as it may be a rinse and repeat scenario that favors an expedited execution with more predictable results. This is not always the case, but it can be helpful in getting the project off the ground. Essentially, you simply want to confirm that the experience they have is sufficient, and their style aligns with yours.
Often times an online marketing agency will provide case studies on projects they have completed on their website, but sometimes you have to ask. Either way, a solid case study can be a more detailed version of the portfolio that allows you to dig a little deeper into their skills, experience, and most importantly, their results. In-depth case studies not only provide evidence of their effectiveness, they even provide proof the company is built by go-getters that understand the importance of these documents. I will say, that not all agencies will have these put together, as was the case with us, we were too busy working with our clients to put them together for the longest time, so not having them is not a deal-breaker by any stretch.
At this point, you have likely narrowed it down to a handful of potential marketing agencies and you have reached out to someone. One of the first things you should ask for is a list of referrals that you can reach out to via phone or email. Essentially anyone who has done business with them before and can answer a few questions about what it is like to work with them, how effective they are, any challenges they faced, etc. Any reputable company should be able to provide a few referrals and they should be on the ready with several of them. If this is something they scramble to put together, that may be a bad sign.
This may be the most critical of them all. It blows my mind how many companies come to us after a bad experience with an online marketing agency, and I ask them for any of their old reports, and they say they never received one. It makes me a little sad to know that there are companies out there providing services that require constant attention and work, and are not showing what work is being done, or the results that are coming from their efforts. Asking for an example of a report is probably not a good idea, as asking them to share client data is not really kosher, but simply confirming that they do provide monthly reports for any marketing or advertising efforts is essential.
Here at nobox we genuinely want your company to thrive. The above-mentioned items will help you choose the right online marketing agency to work with and if things work out, hopefully, it is ours. No hard feelings if you read this blog and choose another over ours, we just want to make sure you know what to look for so you end up with a good one, that can deliver the results your company needs to grow.