5 Important Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Digital Marketing Agency

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Are you looking at hiring a digital marketing agency? Do you want to increase the chances of success while eliminating the chances of getting scammed? Hi, my name is Francisco and I’m the owner of Planet Marketing, a digital marketing company. We specialize in Facebook Ads, Google Ads, and remarketing. Over the years, I have helped many small businesses achieve growth through digital marketing. I am, therefore, well placed to show you the way as far as marketing in the digital age is concerned. Today’s topic is important because if you choose the wrong company, you will lose a lot of money and gain nothing. In this article, I am going to;

  1. Show you why most small businesses suck at marketing
  2. Give you important tips for hiring a Digital Marketing Agency
  3. Give you 5 questions to ask when hiring a digital marketing agency
  4. What you get by asking these questions

Why Small Businesses Suck at Marketing!

Let me be blunt here; a lot of the small businesses that are out there suck at marketing. As a result, they fall prey to bogus Digital Marketing Agencies! But why is that the case? Well, the following scenario will help clarify my point;

I get a lot of phone calls from small business owners who say they need SEO services or Facebook marketing or Google Ads or a new website, etcetera. And what’s the thing that distinguishes most of these companies? Well, most of them do not know the type of marketing they need. They kind of have an idea, but they have no workable plan. I mean, it’s one thing to know that you need to start doing some online marketing as a way of growing your business. It’s quite another to know what to do! That’s because there are so many options. I have already talked about Facebook marketing, Google Ads, your own website and so forth? Which of these options would be best for your business? And how can you avoid being scammed?

Important Tips when Hiring a Digital Marketing Agency

Clearly, marketing is difficult for startups because, more often than not, they have no idea what they are supposed to do! They just know that they are supposed to carry out some marketing. However, they have not idea whether or not this should involve Facebook Ads, Google Ads, content marketing, SEO, etc. So, what should small businesses do to avoid being scammed? The following are some of the important tips that, based on my experience, will help small to medium sized businesses get the most out of hiring Digital Marketing Agencies;

Don’t hire a digital marketing agency till you are clear on your requirements.

If the above describes your situation, and if you have questions about the trajectory of your business as far as marketing is concerned, you SHOULD NOT hire a digital marketing agency till you have done your homework on what it is exactly that you need!

Okay, let me rephrase that to make it more understandable. A lot of people make the mistake of rushing to hire digital marketing agencies without first having a clear understanding of what it is exactly that they require!

Perhaps they have heard that digital marketing agencies are the way to go. Unfortunately, a lot of the digital marketing agencies that are floating around out there are less than genuine. They will be very glad to take your money without producing the desired result. The advice that I am giving you here is, therefore, unique and indispensable. Again, DON’T hire a digital marketing agency till you have greater clarity on your requirements.

In which category does your business fall?

When it comes to marketing requirements, most companies fall into the following three categories;

  • eCommerce companies
  • Service based businesses, like lawyers and CPAs.
  • Local businesses, eg; restaurants and grocery stores.

The thing to note is that marketing strategies for each of these categories are going to be different. That’s why it’s so important for you to understand the category in which your business falls before hiring a Digital Marketing Agency.

eCommerce sites use Product and Store Ratings, while brick and brick and mortar businesses use Store Ratings. So know it’s important to know your business’s category.

eCommerce companies, as an example, are going to be looking to get BOTH Google Store Ratings and Google Product Ratings as a way of improving the performance of their CPC text ads as well as their listings in Google Shopping. Brick and mortar businesses, on the other hand, do not really need Product Ratings. So, they may wish to simply hire a company that’s gets them Seller and not Product Ratings. Doing so could very well turn out to be cheaper! So, knowing the category in which your business falls is important for this an many other reasons.

Come up with a  clear marketing strategy

Before you start calling a bunch of marketing companies, you should develop your own in-house marketing strategy. That, of course, is going to be different depending on the nature of your business.

Having a marketing strategy allows you to get proper quotes. Otherwise some of the companies that are out there will try to up-sell you on things that you do not really require. And you will end up having quotes that range from $500/m to $5000/m or more!

Interview at least 3 companies

Once you have a customized marketing strategy, you should have greater clarity on what you require. The next thing that you need to do is interview at least 3 marketing companies. This ensures that you get the best deal that can be found out there.

5 Questions to ask when Hiring an Internet Marketing Company

Okay, so you have come up with your own in-house marketing strategy, which has allowed you to get clarity on your requirements. What do you do next? Well, I have come up with the following list of questions that every business needs to ask when hiring an internet marketing company;

  • All I care about are results. Who is going to do the work, someone in the USA or someone in India?
  • I want to stay informed so I can know where we are in the process or marketing my business. Do I get an account rep or do I get weekly reports? How does it work?
  • I need leads/sales. I’m in the XYZ industry. Has the company that I am considering hiring ever done any work in this industry?
  • How long have they been doing Google Ads, Facebook Ads, SEO, etc. 
  • Every marketing company wants to talk about its success. Tell them; “I’m not naive. I know that not all marketing campaigns work. Can you share some failures that you have had when it comes to marketing?”

1) Should I hire in the USA or should I outsource to India, South Africa and the rest of the world?

You can hire anyone in the world to do Digital Marketing for you

In all fairness, the nature of digital marketing is such that you can hire people from across the world to do the work for you! That’s the beauty of it! You don’t have to restrict yourself to the United States. In fact, if you hire someone from the U.S, you should expect to pay a hell of a lot more.

The challenge, in any case, lies in getting the right kind of people to do your marketing on your behalf from the rest of the world. Put simply, it can be a cesspool out there and you may have to do some dredging before striking the right vein! Hiring someone from the U.S ensures greater transparency! Not that there is no transparency in the rest of the world. You simply need to do a lot of work to be able to find it!

2) How do I stay informed?

You need to stay informed about progress in your campaigns

Wishing to stay informed so you can keep track of the work that is being done on your behalf is only natural. Indeed, this is something that you need to DEMAND before hiring a digital marketing agency. Most of the agencies that are out there will tell you that they are doing some work without providing you with a clear way of keeping track. Demanding to keep informed about the progress that is being made gives you the ability to hold accountable whoever it is that you will end up hiring. Questions to ask in this regard are?

  • Do I get an account rep?
  • Do I get weekly reports?
  • What are the key benchmarks/goals?
  • When can I expect to begin seeing some

3) Does the company that I wish to hire have experience in my particular industry?

Does the company I wish to hire have experience marketing in my line of business?

Remember what I said at the top about businesses falling into mainly three categories? Well, one of the questions that you need to ask when hiring a digital marketing agency is, has the company that you are interested in ever worked with businesses such as yours?

It’s okay if they say no. You’re looking for transparency. Maybe they have experience in a related industry which makes them relevant. I would, however, recommend that you only work with agencies that have a PROVEN track record doing marketing for businesses that are similar to yours! Otherwise they should offer a significant discount to get you to sign up!

4) How long have they been doing digital marketing?

Here is the thing, experience matters A LOT when it comes to digital marketing. What you do not wish to do is to work for a company that has barely started. In fact, I would recommend against working for a company that has been in business for less than two years.

That, of course, is going to be up to you! You may find that companies that are only just beginning offer better deals, which means a great deal for small business.

Another thing that you need to be on the watch for are some of the many YouTubers that are out there that spend hours bragging about marketing, yet they don’t even have a single client! Where possible, you need to DEMAND proof that the company that you wish to hire has worked with such and such a company! Otherwise, you are bound to get scammed!

5) Ask about the agency’s failures

Do not hire a company that claims to have a 100 percent success rate

Here is another thing, almost every digital marketing agency that’s out there will want to talk about their successes. Perhaps they have achieved this or that while working with such and such a company. That’s all great, but how about their failures?

Surely, if they are like most normal companies, they will have stumbled now and again. Here, what you are looking for is transparency. You are also looking to see whether or not the agency has learnt from its mistake. My advice is, ABSOLUTELY STAY AWAY from a company that claims to have achieved only success and no failures!

What do you get by asking these questions

These 5 questions should weed out 80% or more of the digital marketing companies that are floating around out there. Asking the questions enables you to get clarity on what to expect. You will notice that many of the companies that you were interested simply will not work for your business!

Once you finish your conversation, send them your ‘marketing strategy so you can get relevant pricing. Pricing for paid advertising most likely will be less than pricing for SEO. SEO has a lot more overheads. 

Get a Digital Marketing Strategy from Planet Marketing!

 If you need my company to create a customized digital marketing strategy for you, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me today! I have been in the business for over a decade and can help your business come up with a kickass digital marketing strategy!

What if I don’t really have the money?

Hiring a digital marketing agency on a tight budget

Okay, this is likely to be the case for startups. If you are one of these, you are probably at the limits of what you can spend. Probably you think digital marketing is the last thing on which you should spend the little money that you have in your pocket.

Well, almost everyone has been in this situation! The good news is that being broke should not be an impediment as far as getting work done for your business is concerned. In fact, you can still achieve amazing results as far as marketing is concerned.

All that you need to do, if you cannot afford an internet marketing agency here in the US, is  go to Upwork and hire someone overseas. There are plenty of good marketers out there. In fact, Planet Marketing hires people in the Philippines, India, Mexico, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Algeria, & USA.  All we care about is that the work gets done and that the client makes sales!

A Quick Recap

Hope this article has helped those that are looking at hiring a digital marketing agency. Here is a quick summary of what we have discussed in this article so far;

  • Get a “Marketing Strategy” in place before getting quotes from digital marketing companies; otherwise, you’ll be getting pricing all over the place and you won’t want to hire anyone.
  • If you need a Marketing Strategy, you can expect to pay $250 – $500 depending on the scope of what you’re trying to accomplish.
  • You want to be educated on what you need.
  • You don’t need to know ‘how to market online’, but you do want to hire someone who is qualified AND transparent.

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