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8 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Digital Marketing Agency

April 5, 2013 71 Comments »



Companies who have waited to get started with social media still have an opportunity to get started with website updates, social media interaction, blogs, and other digital marketing tactics.

Whether you’re the owner of a small company, or running a corporation, if bringing your digital marketing in-house isn’t an option, working with an agency is an optimum solution.

Buyer Beware

The problem is that there are plenty of agencies out there who are ready to take advantage of people who don’t understand social media, web analytics, website design and development, and SEO. These agencies can charge customers unfair prices and may not deliver on their claims because they assume their clients won’t know any better. Clients sign up for a contract and are able to say, “We’re online” but aren’t seeing ROI, and aren’t incorporating their digital marketing into their overall marketing mix. Clients probably have no idea what their website is or isn’t capable of, what level of engagement they have with customers, or if the SEO research the agency is doing is working.

Here are 8 questions to ask before hiring an outside agency

  • Does the agency have an updated, modern website? If the agency’s site looks old, is difficult to navigate, and not attractive, chances are your website won’t be either.
  • Does the agency have examples of their work on their site? (Portfolio) This gives you an idea of their aesthetic, types of clients they work with, and their creative capabilities.
  • Do they have clients you can call for a reference/recommendation?
  • Does the agency offer a free consultation?  This gives you and the agency time to see if the relationship is a good fit, bounce ideas, and get a feel for how the agency works.
  • How often do they send analytics, and how often will they schedule meetings to review the analytics? (a monthly meeting is ideal for a meeting)
  • Do analytics cost extra? If they do, I don’t recommend hiring that agency. Analytics show the progress and successes of your and the agency’s work. Agencies should WANT to show you the progress of campaigns.
  • If the agency will be doing SEO for you, make sure you get notifications of which keywords they’re testing and the progress of that testing. (Again, this should not cost extra.)
  • Will the agency or will you be updating the website? This is something to discuss with the agency to figure out the best solution for your company’s needs. If the website will be updated daily, someone in-house should be able to update it.

Time Flies

One of the last things to consider is the length of the contract. I’ve talked to many companies who got “a great deal” by signing up for a 3-year contract. What ended up happening is they forgot about their website, didn’t work with the agency (and the agency didn’t call them to discuss updates) so the agency got a lot of money for not a lot of work. A 1-year contract is the longest I’d recommend because that is enough time for the agency to test out campaigns, build up engagement, and to see if this is a relationship you want for long-term.

What other questions do you recommend asking an agency? Are there questions you wish you would have asked before working with an agency? Let me know in the comments section, or call Branding Personality at 1.888.747.3263.

Lori Johnson, MBA, blogs for Branding Personality. She works in the healthcare industry providing social, website, and branding strategies. Connect with her on LinkedIn and on Twitter.


Google and the Zero Moment of Truth

March 6, 2013 2 Comments »

Winning the Zero Moment of Truth

Yesterday I attended a special Google Fireside Chat at Branding Personality. Google has relationships with over 90,000 agencies but only 1,400 were chosen to host and share this event with clients, colleagues, and partners. (more…)


Content Marketing Workshop: The Honest Company

January 23, 2013 2 Comments »

The Honest CompanyThis is a 60-90 minute content marketing workshop designed for a social media and/or marketing team. This workshop can be done as a small group activity, or you can divide a large group into 2-4 groups for the Analysis Exercises and Challenge Questions.

Learning Objectives:

  • Analyze an example of a company that uses content marketing to consistently engage with customers and build strong brand awareness
  • Discuss how The Honest Company uses social media platforms i.e. different types of content and customer engagement
  • Apply knowledge to takeaway challenge questions to perform self-analysis of your company’s content marketing (more…)


Foursquare’s New Merchant Features Can Help Your Business

July 27, 2012 No Comments »

Foursquare’s New Merchant Features Can Help Your Business

FoursquareWith over 20 million users, Foursquare is undoubtedly one of the most predominant platforms for mobile social media. It has always been a great way to see whose nearby or simply what your friends are up to. But until now, its lacked value in terms of what it can offer merchants. Until now, merchants could only promote specials via response to a customer’s check-in on the application. Foursquare has now rolled out new capabilities that enhance the experience of merchant-customer relationships. All of the features of the last version are still apart of the new version, but there are some spiffy new add-ons and updates.



Social Media Marketing Tips for Your Blog

June 8, 2012 16 Comments »

Guest BloggingIf you are running a blog and want it to be successful and gain more visitors, you need to be good at social marketing. Without social marketing, you are going to struggle in generating traffic.



Top 5 Call to Action Features for a Website

May 18, 2012 14 Comments »

If you have a commercial website, you need visually interesting, graphically rich calls to prompt visitors to make a purchase or request a service. But different types of websites need different types of calls to action. For example, if you sell products on your website, you want to place an emphasis on pictures and making it easy to buy your most popular, best selling products with the highest margins.

Below is our top 5 calls to action for a website list below is geared more for service related website. Though many may seem like simple solutions, by including these features on your website, you may see higher conversation rates and more profits, which can make all the difference in today’s competitive online sales environment. (more…)


4 Steps to Yelp Success

March 30, 2012 2 Comments »

YelpBy now, I’m sure most of you have at least heard of if not used Yelp at least once to find a place to eat, shop, or visit. Yelp is considered to be a combination of a social network, user review site; as well as a local search web site. The key word in that last sentence is “Local Search Website.” For small local businesses, Yelp should not be an option but a requirement. Whether you like it or not, people will be searching Yelp to see what others are saying about your business, this is why it is absolutely crucial to make sure that you keep a close watch on your Yelp page. Below I will discuss the 4 steps every small business should take into account when creating and managing their Yelp Pages. (more…)


Are you looking for a Facebook Advertising Management Tool? Qwaya [Review]

February 22, 2012 8 Comments »


Promoting Ads on Facebook gets easier and more efficient with, Qwaya, A new Facebook Ad management tool. What makes Qwaya stand out from other Facebook Ad management software platforms, is the combination of its analytic power and the ability to customize ads to split/ micro target your target audience. This combination of tools goes above and beyond what Facebook currently offers.



Twitter Partners with American Express to Bring New Self-Serve Ad System

February 20, 2012 1 Comment »

Twitter Promoted TweetsTwitter announced on Thursday that it will open its doors this March to both individuals and small business to purchase promoted tweets and advertisements on the platform. Now, anyone with a credit card that wants to buy advertisements will be able to do so. The only catch is, it will only be available at first to American Express Customers. (more…)


Deadmau5 and Nokia Take London by Surprise

December 1, 2011 3 Comments »

While roaming around the Internet yesterday, one video really stands out. It is a genius video shared on Twitter. The video takes a new approach to marketing, and works well, as reports show that many places have sold out of the product. The masterminds behind this operation are the marketing department at Nokia. Nokia launched its new smart phone just in time for the holiday season. (more…)