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How do I choose a digital marketing agency?

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Whether you need SEO, content marketing, website design or branding, a digital marketing agency offers everything you need to grow your business online.

The tricky part is choosing the right digital marketing partner. Competition in this space is fierce and everyone claims to get results.

So, how do you decide which digital agency to go with? In this article, we’ll cover how to choose a digital marketing agency. Let’s dive in!

Social proof

Social proof includes reviews, testimonials and case studies. You can find these on the agency’s website, review platforms and sometimes on social media.

Social proof is important when choosing a digital marketing agency because it verifies the legitimacy and authenticity of their message.

Without social proof, how could you know that the agency is right for you? How could you know that the services they provide are sound?

Here’s what to look for in social proof:

  • Legitimacy: Is the review/testimonial from a legitimate business or person?
  • Authenticity: Does the review/testimonial seem genuine or made up?
  • Links: Does the review/testimonial include a link to the customer’s website?
  • Platforms: Where are the reviews/testimonials? Review platforms are easy to manipulate. Look out for reviews published close together from users with less than 3 reviews, no profile picture, and reviews that say the same things.

Case studies are even better than reviews and testimonials because they tend to cover work in-depth. Look out for these to analyse the agency’s quality.

Services provided

Not all digital marketing agencies offer the same services.

The types of service you require will determine the types of agency you can approach. For example, a content marketing agency won’t help you with website design, and a branding agency won’t help you with pay-per-click.

Here’s a rundown of the different services provided:

  • Aims to get you to the top of Google
  • Aims to increase sales with Google Ads and Bing Ads
  • Content marketing. Content creation, distribution, promotion and measurement
  • Social media. Social media management, influencer marketing, paid social
  • Website design. Design and build services for websites
  • App development. Design and build services for applications
  • Video production, optimisation and platform syndication
  • Conversion rate optimisation to improve conversions
  • Graphic design. Logos, brochures, infographics, etc
  • Brand design, brand development, graphic and asset design.

Agency type

Due to the wide range of services within digital marketing, many digital marketing agencies choose to specialise in a particular area while others offer a bit of everything.

Here’s a rundown of the different types of agency (they should be self-explanatory):

  • SEO agency
  • PPC agency
  • Content marketing agency
  • Social media agency
  • Web design agency
  • Branding agency
  • Graphic design agency
  • CRO agency
  • Full-service digital marketing agency (offering all the services above)

Some agencies call themselves a digital agency, digital marketing agency or digital marketing company. These are all the same things.

If you require a single service like SEO or branding, you might like to choose a specialist rather than a full-service digital agency. If you require a combination of services, you’ll have better luck with a full-service digital marketing agency.

Agency structure

Digital marketing agencies can have one of three structures:

  1. In-house, where all work is performed in their own studio
  2. Outsourced, where all work is outsourced using approved, vetted freelancers with project management performed in-house
  3. Mixed, where a combination of in-house and outsourced workflows combine with project management performed in-house

Outsourcing is a perfectly reasonable thing for agencies to do when it can achieve better results. For example, many agencies outsource content writing to freelancers or agencies they trust because they don’t have their own writers.

The truth is an agency’s structure needn’t concern you so long as you get a high-quality service and a return on investment. However, it does affect prices, with in-house agencies costing around 40% more than those who outsource.

Agency prices

How long is a piece of string?

You can expect to pay anywhere from £200 to £15,000 per month for a digital marketing agency, depending on the following factors:

  • Business size
  • Agency size
  • Services required
  • Strategy complexity
  • Resources required to execute the strategy

It’s important to remember that all digital marketing agencies are in it for the profit, otherwise they wouldn’t exist. The average profit margin for a digital agency is around 20% per campaign so they don’t make a huge amount.

As a small business, you should expect to pay £400 to £1,000 per month for a retainer and £2,500 to £5,000 for a website build. SEO costs between £500 and £1,000 per month, along with content marketing and pay-per-click.

You can double and triple these prices the more complex your strategy is. The resources that need to be allocated to your strategy determine the price along with agency factors out of your control like overheads and location.

You should speak with at least 3 digital agencies and get quotes from all of them. Ask for an itemised breakdown for each quote so you can compare prices.

Summing up

The right agency could give you a x100 return on your investment while the wrong one could cost you money. Reputation and track records are everything in this industry, so give priority to those who publish results and prove their worth.

Remember also that digital marketing requires commitment as well as investment. Don’t expect results quickly for things like SEO and content marketing. You also need to be able to track KPIs and results to ensure you are getting value for money.

Once you have chosen your digital marketing agency, read here to learn what you can expect from a digital marketing company.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]