Choosing The Right Digital Marketing Agency
Marketing has always been about connecting with your audience in the right place, at the right time. Creating wholesome relationships between businesses and consumers is all about knowing how to showcase your brand, present your message, and sell the benefits of your products and services. It takes a special stroke of genius and a little marketing magic to actively place your business where consumers are searching.
With a little help from technology, consumers gained the power to have whatever they seek or desire right at their fingertips. Smartphones, tablets, and computers offer an advanced, yet simple solution to the problems, wants, and needs of consumers right here in Louisville, Kentucky and all across the globe. Today, marketing is about meeting consumers where they’re already spending their time: on the internet.
What Is Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing refers to advertising delivered through digital channels. These channels include things such as search engines, websites, social media, email, and mobile apps. In a nutshell, this form of marketing encompasses all efforts that use an electronic device or the internet. Most commonly, digital marketing takes place in the following forms:
Paid Search/ Pay-Per-Click (PPC): PPC advertising typically refers to the result on the top or bottom of a search engine results page (or SERP, for short). This method of digital advertising allows a business or company to show up in a prominent position among other competitors within search results. As its name suggest, Pay Per Click advertising is when a business only pays for the service when their ad is clicked. PPC ads can be tailored to appear when specific search terms or keywords are entered, which in turn, creates ads that are targeted to a particular audience.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO): SEO is a complex process that occurs in a multitude of methods. Simply put, search engine optimization is the process of optimizing the content, technical set-up, and reach of your website for the purpose of having your page appear at the top of a SERP for a specific set of keyword terms. The goal is to drive consumers to your website. In the world of digital marketing, SEO enforces the need and importance of a well-constructed, easy to navigate website full of engaging content.
Content Marketing: Speaking of engaging content, let us introduce you to the term “content marketing”. Content marketing is not advertising, and it’s important to understand that this is a craft of its own. Here’s why: The goal of content marketing is to sell people something without them realizing it. With the perfect combination of strategy, creativity, optimization, and promotion, content marketing offers your audience relevant information, builds trust, and makes your business appear as an authority within your industry.
Social Media Marketing: Between selfies, memes, and the greatest Vine clips on a loop, social media has taken over the internet. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, you name it. Your consumers are already there. Many consumers today rely on social media networks to discover, research, or educate themselves about a brand before ever engaging with that organization.
It’s not enough to just be on social media; it’s all about being active on your accounts if you really want to reach your consumers. Creating a powerful presence across social media platforms means your audience will want to engage with your content. The more they want to engage with it, the more they will want to share it. Ultimately, this leads to them becoming a loyal customer to your company.
Email Marketing: Email, as old-fashioned as it may seem, is still an essential method of digital marketing. Email marketing is one of the quickest and most direct ways to reach consumers with critical information. But think about it. How many emails in your inbox are sitting there, unopened, right now? Effective email marketing campaigns are not just about sending emails – it’s about sending emails that people actually want to open. There’s a science behind email marketing. It takes crafted effort from an expert to make your email marketing messages trustworthy, relevant, conversational, and most importantly, opened by consumers.
The Goals and Benefits of Digital Marketing
By now, you realize that you can’t just launch a digital marketing campaign for the fun of it. In order to do digital marketing the right way, you have to do it well, with proper planning and your target consumers at the forefront of your focus.
By developing your online presence and interacting with consumers with their benefits in mind, your company will appear both approachable and authoritative. The best digital marketing agencies in Louisville have a clear picture of how each aspect of a digital marketing campaign supports the overarching goals of their clients. Once you start to implement your tactics and strategies successfully, the benefits of digital marketing begin to speak for themselves.
With digital marketing, you can see results of your efforts in real time, as they’re happening. Return on investment (ROI) can be measured in any aspect of your marketing efforts. Most commonly, you can track your ROI through things such as website traffic, content performance analysis, lead generation, and call tracking.
Tracking your efforts, and your success at each stage of your marketing campaign, allows you to pinpoint what’s working and what’s not. Ultimately, successful digital marketing and advertising converts to increased brand awareness and lead generation, which in return, results in more business.
That sounds great and all, but how much is all of this going to cost me? Are you asking yourself this yet? Well, the answer is quite simple, actually. Budgeting for your online advertising campaign really depends on what elements of digital marketing you’re looking to add to your current strategy. As a rule of thumb, it’s important to remember that ultimately, you get what you pay for: the more you put in, the more you get out.
Before You Choose A Digital Marketing Partner…
So, the wheels are starting to turn. The lightbulbs are starting to go off. Your mind is having one of those “A-ha!” moments. Now, you know that digital marketing can take your business to the next level. You know what you need to do, but not how to do it. Or, honestly, you just don’t have the time. You’re a business owner, for crying out loud. You’ve got too much to think about and manage already… We get it.
There’s a solution for that.
Partnering with a local digital advertising agency in the Louisville, Kentucky area can take the responsibility of running a successful digital marketing campaign off your to-do list. Choosing the right agency to tell your brand’s story is critical.
As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to ask yourself the following questions before you hire a digital marketing agency to work with:
- Why do I want to hire a marketing company to handle my online marketing efforts?
- What exactly do I want them to do for me and my business?
- What is my budget?
- What is my end goal?
- What does success look like for my company?
A crucial thing to remember is that when seeking out a potential marketing partner, they can only take you as far as you want to go. That is assuming you actually know where you want to go.
Making sure your digital marketing agency is the right fit for your company means you are actively seeking out certain components to their process and asking particular questions to make sure their mission aligns with your own. Remember, your success is their success.
As you narrow down your search, ask local marketing agencies the following types of questions:
How do you measure client success?
Data is the backbone of successful marketing strategies. Ask the agency what kinds of tools they use to measure marketing performance. You also need to know how often, and in what manner, that the data will be presented to you. Finally, make sure the agency you are choosing to work with is willing to explain the data report to you, as well as anything else you don’t understand.
How many team members do you have and who will I be working with?
Once you lay out your ideas and plans, your marketing firm is likely to have a specific point of contact who will carry out tasks to turn your ideas into tangible results. Asking to know who is responsible for your work allows you to form a relationship with this person directly, which opens up a communication channel and builds trust between you and your chosen marketing firm.
How much should I budget? What can I expect for my money?
Depending on if you’re starting fresh as a new business, or looking to improve your current marketing efforts, will depend on how much you should budget. Generally speaking, the more you invest, the better off your business will be. Your budget greatly depends on the competitiveness of the industry, as well as where you currently sit with your search results, and how much you want to increase your rankings.
Digital marketing companies should never guarantee rankings or results. However, they should be able to give you data and answers based on what’s working and what’s not, once strategies start to be implemented and carried out.
Can I see examples of past work or case studies?
Any digital marketing agency you’re thinking about working with should be more than willing to offer examples of their past work or case studies that showcase their efforts for others. This shows they are confident in their work and can highlight different methods and techniques of marketing strategy they use. In addition, ask about reviews or testimonials from these past clients too. Knowing that others recommend your potential marketing partner is a good indicator that you’re on the right track to choosing the right firm.
What’s the cancellation process?
It’s important to remember that any type of effort that goes into a digital marketing campaign requires a decent amount of time for results to become noticeable. Specifically, any type of SEO work doesn’t happen overnight. For further explanation about when you can expect to see results for your efforts, check out our recent blog post.
However, asking about specific details of your agreement, before you sign it, is important. Knowing the ins and outs of the partnership you’re agreeing to, and feeling confident in them, is essential to forming a healthy relationship between your business and your potential marketing partner.
Do I own or share ownership of my website?
Since most professional SEO firms have ownership clauses built into client agreements, this question is important to consider. Knowing who has rights to your website also provides further clarification about how changes to your site are made, who can or cannot make these changes, and if additional payments are expected or included for regular site maintenance.
How will we communicate and how often will we communicate?
You’ve heard it at least a billion times: communication is key. When it comes to marketing, this could not be more true. Knowing what to expect, and how often to expect it, allows for you to feel comfortable addressing your concerns with your future marketing partner. You should receive updates about your results and progress on a regular basis, as well as be able to reach out whenever needed. Stay active with those who are handling your company’s online presence. Schedule meeting dates or check-in calls early, so you’re not caught off guard or over-booked once it’s time to sit down with your firm.
These are just a few questions to get you started. Now that you know what types of questions to ask, we can discuss what you should be looking for when trying to hire the right digital marketing agency. Better yet, we can also point out red flags that should send you running.
Digital Marketing Company: Do’s and Dont’s
Interviewing different digital marketing agencies in the Louisville area is kind of like speed dating. Kind of awkward, kind of personal, and normally, you’ll know right away if you’re at least a little interested or not.
Your digital marketing agency should be trying to get to know you and your company on a personal level. Potential marketing partners should be asking you certain questions too, as well as working to gather distinct information that deems you as a good fit for one another.
Any potential marking firm is going to be eager – just like that guy from speed dating – to sit down and get to know you. Local marketing firms want more clients, in general. So, the first thing to be aware of is making sure the firm is focused on you, and not how they can benefit instead.
The quality and depth of questions you are asked by the local agency will give you insight to their overall understanding of digital marketing, and how they can apply this concept to telling your brand’s story.
A good digital marketing agency will:
- Ask you, in depth, about your goals, budget, and your current and past marketing efforts.
- Establishing a baseline is critical. Knowing what you’ve tried in the past will allow your firm to either change or improve upon your efforts in the hopes of achieving more success. The same can be said for your budget. Knowing where you’re investing your money can be critical, as the firm can help you focus in on aspects of your marketing campaign that can give you a higher ROI.
- Practice what they preach, standing by their tactics and strategies.
- If your marketing company states that they offer a service, there needs to be tangible proof to back it up. You want to work with a company who can walk the walk, and not just talk the talk. The firm should be willing to provide you with specific examples of how different aspects of digital marketing has worked in the past. Remember those case studies and reviews we talked about earlier? That’s where these come in.
- Measure and track your data.
- On a regular basis, your firm should be sending you deliverables, from the moment the campaign kicks off. These reports should clearly explain, in detail, what they’re doing, why they’re doing it, and the impact they are looking to measure. A good marketing firm will appoint a team member who is held accountable for communicating these things with you.
- Will NOT guarantee specific, set in stone results or timelines for success.
- Success doesn’t happen overnight. There is work that has to be done before you begin to see ROI. Normally, it takes 4-6 months to begin to see changes in your online marketing presence, all depending on how competitive you are when compared to others in your industry. Your digital marketing agency should, however, work with you to forecast general success scenarios based on your budget, strategy, and competition.
- Will NOT always show up in the top spot on Google.
- Yes, this seems silly, but think about it. Marketing firms offer a variety of different services. It’s nearly impossible to rank high for all services, which means your potential firm may not rank high on Google. Your firm’s effort should be client focused, not firm focused. The best way to approach working with a firm who doesn’t appear high on a SERP is to pay attention to their reviews. Better yet, do some research on their clients and see where they’re ranking. If the firm has gotten past clients at the top of the pack, chances are, they can do the same for you.
Choosing the right Louisville, Kentucky marketing firm can be a timely and elaborate process. Knowing what to avoid helps you narrow down your search without any costly mistakes. It also helps you avoid wasting any time or money. When interviewing potential partners, look out for these red flags:
- The firm’s blog is somewhat empty or the firm produces little to no written content.
- Marketing firms should be producing fresh, up to date content on a regular basis. This is how a firm will showcase their expertise, and the tone they write in allows for their personality to shine. What kind of articles are being produced? How detailed is the content? Is it laid out in simple terms that are easy to understand? If you answered no to any of these questions, it’s time to find the nearest exit.
- The agency’s website is plastered with “Best Of” listings or rankings.
- Now this one can be tricky. It’s great your potential firm is being highlighted for their work, but it’s important to remember these listings aren’t always genuine. Often, you can nominate your own firm, as well as pay to be featured on these lists. If the marketing company you’re thinking about working with has multiple “best of” badges scattered across their website, take the extra time to do your research. Check out those rankings, read some reviews, and determine for yourself if you think the company is legit or not. If things don’t match up across multiple different review platforms, pull an NSYNC and tell the firm “Bye, Bye, Bye”.
- The agency offers pricing that just appears too good to be true.
- If pricing for different digital marketing services appears too good to be true, that’s probably because it is. There’s a ton of behind the scenes work that goes into a successful marketing campaign and the funding is no different. Trust your intuition, and be careful to avoid firms who offer empty promises and take shortcuts just to make another dollar.
- Reporting is vague, or worse, there is no reporting.
- Think about it. If your marketing company can’t provide you with (at least) monthly updates, that’s probably because no work is being done. Even if there have been no changes in the data yet, the firm should still be able to tell you the steps they’re taking to help write your success story. If you start to feel like the firm is hiding something, they probably are.
- The marketing company offers a proposal, before you’ve had an initial meeting.
- Okay, so two problems are presented here. 1) Your firm hasn’t taken the time to get to know you. 2) This means the firm follows the same, cookie-cutter routine for every client, every time. Every business and every industry is different. Without some sort of discovery meeting, client questionnaire, or other means of gathering information, the firm has no way of knowing your company mission, your products and services, or your end goal. Quickly gather your things and abort the mission, pronto.
- Nobody, not even the best digital marketing firm, is a “Trusted Google Partner”.
- The proof is in the pudding, folks. Nobody has a special relationship with Google. Earning the right to be a “Trusted Google Partner” has nothing to do with SEO, either, as many firms would like to claim. Instead, it just has to do with PPC advertising, and spending a certain amount of money every month. Even Google isn’t afraid to admit this, as they break down how to earn that “squeaky clean” Google Partner badge. If the agency you’re looking into keeps bragging, well, in the wise words of Ariana Grande, “thank you, next”.
Trust us. We’re not trying to expose the secrets of other Louisville digital marketing agencies. Hiring the right digital marketing agency should be a decision you make based upon authentic work, ethical standards, and quality production of results. Like momma used to always say, cheaters never win, and winners never cheat.
Making The Final Choice
If we’re recapping the technicalities, there are four main components to consider when running background checks on potential marketing partners. Referrals, trust, communication, and pricing are the top elements to account for when choosing the right digital marketing agency for your business.
If you’re asking us, on top of the four items we just listed, we break it down into pretty simple concepts. Do you like them? Do you trust them? Can they deliver the results you’re looking for? Does the firm’s company mission align with yours?
Louisville, Kentucky is full of creative, honest, hard-working digital marketing agencies. At One Thing Marketing, our goal is to help your businesses increase your overall online presence, get found by consumers, and effectively use digital marketing methods to help you grow your business.
We’re tired of local SEO companies who fail to deliver on their promises, and con their way into being recognized as a “trustworthy source”. We want to help relieve some of that burden by providing marketing advice you can trust, along with affordable, customized solutions proven to attract new customers and provide the best return on your investment.
Interested in working with us? We’d be honored to get to know you. And plus, we’re a lot more fun than that other marketing firm from our speed dating metaphor, anyway.