Finding the Best-Fit Digital Marketing Agency in New Jersey
15 Questions to Ask Your Prospective Digital Marketing Agency
Hiring a digital marketing agency can be a challenging decision for a small business in New Jersey.
Search on Google with the key-phrase NJ digital agency, and you get more than 33 million results!
Ask some of the agencies for quotations, and you’ll get bids ranging from a few hundred to tens of thousands dollars.
Compare their services, and you'll get further confused because of the vast disparity among the offerings.
The confusion doesn’t help you answer a key question: which particular digital agency would be the best fit for your business?
What Does Your Best-Fit Digital Agency Look Like?
Digital marketing involves a range of diverse activities which occur on a variety of digital channels. So, before you start interviewing digital agencies, you have to know what services you need.
But, this is not to say that you need an exact match (in Google’s lingo) between your marketing needs and the agency’s services. To be the best fit for your business, a digital agency should offer the services you need now as well as those you’ll need in the future.
For example, as a startup, you can hire a web developer to create a stunning website. Soon, you might realize that no one is visiting your site, so you hire an SEO company to get you the traffic.
The next thing you know, you’re getting visitors, but they’re not buying from you, so you start looking for a conversion optimization pro. And then there are social media, email marketing services, video production, and other digital marketing activities for which you need professional help.
Just like too many cooks spoil the broth, hiring different companies (or individuals) to handle different channels and activities can spoil your marketing and branding.
For example, your SEO agency might tell you to revamp your website structure because the developers didn’t build it for SEO. Or, your conversion optimization pro might point out the mistakes in your SEO strategy.
In other words, you should work with a full-stack digital agency right from the start, so that you don’t have to hire outside help every other day.
The 15 Questions You Must Ask a Digital Agency
You should know your business and marketing goals before you start interviewing agencies. Do you want to create brand awareness, generate leads, create a social community, or do something else?
If you can’t figure it out on your own, you can attend a free consultation session that many New Jersey-based digital agencies gladly offer.
After you have identified your goals, you can shortlist a bunch of bunch of companies and find out their answers to 15 key questions.
1. What are the digital marketing results that you guarantee?
Just like a lawyer won’t guarantee the outcome of a case, a professional digital agency can’t give you any guaranteed results. It’s a trick question to differentiate between true professionals and enthusiastic amateurs.
2. What services does your digital agency provide?
A full-stack agency must provide the complete range of digital marketing services including web design and development, SEO (search engine optimization), PPC (pay-per-click advertising), video marketing, mobile marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, and content marketing.
3. In which areas of digital marketing do you specialize?
Digital marketing is such a vast subject that it is unlikely for a digital marketing company to claim mastery of everything. Ask your prospective agency about their strongest area and see if their specialty matches your requirements.
4. Can you show me your portfolio, case studies,or testimonials?
A serious digital marketing agency must be able to show you their client portfolio, testimonials, or case studies. Examine their work closely and see if they’d be a good fit for your business.
5. How do we start working with you?
Most digital agencies offer a free consultation to assess your current standing and present a rough plan. Some agencies also offer a free digital marketing audit. Your best-fit agency should take the time to understand your business and goals and propose a viable plan.
6. Would / do you work for our competitors?
If you have an innovative product (such as a new mobile app) and you don’t want competitors to get wind of your idea, you should work with a digital agency that agrees to sign an exclusive agreement. If they’re not willing to, they may not be a best-fit.
7. Can you introduce your team members? What skills and experience do they have?
You will be trusting your digital business to these people, so you deserve to know them well. Assess their capabilities by asking about their qualifications, experience, and previous projects.
8. Will real people or bots manage my account?
Artificial intelligence and machine learning may one day take the job of a digital marketer. Luckily (for us), that day is not here yet. You still need humans to manage your account, although they may employ automation or AI to run better campaigns. For example, AI tools can help in creating emotionally targeted content, but you need an expert to use such tools.
9. What activities do you outsource and how do you ensure quality?
Even full-stack agencies need to outsource certain specialized activities such as photography or 3D animation. You should know which part of the work will not be done by the agency.
10. Who will have the right to the marketing assets you’ll create?
Some agencies might lock you out of your own Google Ads account (or even your own website) claiming it to be their intellectual property. Leave no ambiguity about the fact that all rights to the digital assets will belong to you.
11. Who would be our contact person and how do we communicate?
Your agency should assign you an account manager, who should be approachable through email and phone. Top digital agencies provide a client’s portal where you can log in, see your account activity, and get in touch with your account team.
12.What KPIs do you measure and how?
Here’s Smart Insight’s short but comprehensive list of digital marketing KPIs from six major channels that your agency must measure and report. The people managing your digital marketing must use the right analytics software to track these KPIs.
13. What Martech (marketing technology) stack does your agency use?
Each of the major digital channels requires a dedicated marketing tool to manage. Buffer App or HootSuite will take care of social media, MailChimp or Constant Contact gets your emails out, and Google Analytics or KissMetrics tracks your marketing efforts.
14. How do you describe your company culture?
Your people are going to work closely with your agency’s staff. A prospective agency might have a rooftop swimming pool and hip culture, but will your people feel comfortable with them? If your agency employees use alcohol during office hours and frequently swear at work, you’ll have to see if such a culture will fit into your company’s culture.
15. How much will you charge us?
Finally, it gets down to dollars and cents. There are cheap services that you can buy a dime a dozen, but consider this: The average pay of a digital marketing manager is $64,293 per year. An SEO specialist’s average annual pay is $43,806.
And then, there are the developers, designers, email experts, social media managers, customer service executive, and other marketing services staffs. So, if you’re paying a couple of hundred bucks a month for hiring digital marketing services in New Jersey, you’re probably not serious about growing digitally.
Your best-fit digital agency has a transparent price policy. They should hide nothing and make sure you understand everything clearly. Review the agreement, request changes, and repeat until there are no grey areas.
So, what do you think of our 15 questions? Can you add to this list? Feel free to comment!