Hiring the wrong digital marketing company can be like being stuck in a bad marriage. You’re frustrated when you’re in the relationship, and it can be expensive and time-consuming to get out.
And like a bad marriage, it can leave you jaded afterward. You may not think that digital marketing is for you, or that it even works at all.
However, when there is a good fit, you will see marketing wins that almost feel like superhuman sometimes. Your SEO ranking will skyrocket to the top of the standings, and your sales funnel will suddenly open up.
Of course, when choosing the right digital marketing company, there are red flags you can look for early on, when you’re scanning their website, reading their RFP or interviewing them for the first time.
Here’s how to find a good fit.
Take a Deep Look at Their Staff
You want to know exactly who you’re dealing with. So start with their staff or “Our Team” page. Their bios will be cute, but their love of their labrador or kayaking isn’t going to help you.
Google their key people. Are they respected commenters or influencers in SEO or social media? Have they blogged about industry issues, or been quoted in other people’s blogs?
And take a look at their social feed too, to take it a step further.
Are they just posting pictures of brunch, or is there tweets about the Google Penguin update in there as well? You need someone who eats and sleeps SEO, so that should show on their social feed.
What Do They Promise You?
This is a big one. When you’re speaking with them, you don’t want one someone who is either:
- Way too specific (We can promise you 1# ranking in 30 days)
- Way too vague (We can help you raise the bar)
They can point to specific results they’ve helped other clients achieve. In fact, that’s a must. They need to be able to show you they helped client ABC achieve X, which led to Y% more leads.
Should a Digital Marketing Company Show Their Cards?
Also, beware of a company who won’t be specific in telling you how they plan to achieve these magical results. You want details, not promises.
Of course, they may be a bit vague in the interest of protecting their secret patented process. They don’t want you to take this strategy and bring it to someone else, or even try it yourself.
This makes sense on paper. But they should feel like the details of their plan and the thoughtfulness of their tactics will blow you away and you won’t be able to stop yourself from signing on.
- Too vague: We’ll combine proven SEO tactics with a PPC campaign to generate leads
- Specific enough: We’d like to start using longtail keywords in your blog titles and change the CTAs to open up more traffic and leads.
The fear, in an agency’s mind, is a “Why didn’t I think of that moment” will lead to the client trying it themselves. But those moments actually lead to a “Wow. We need to hire these people today” moment.
Check out Inner Spark Creative‘s page. They offer transparent, detailed marketing plans. This is what you need to be looking for.
Protecting their secrets is fine. But your business should be more important.
Bonus Tip: Beware any company that promises you a viral video.
Listen, viral videos are fun, and we would all love to see our logos on one. But the reality is this is lightning in a bottle, and there is simply too many factors out of your control to be able to promise this type of success.
You can do all the right things. You can shoot an amazing looking video that’s either funny or heartwarming.
You can have a sound strategy to promote it. But, if the influencers you reach out to are swamped with other videos, you’re going to miss the mark.
They can promise you a professional looking video, a solid script and proven tactics to promote it. But viral success is impossible to promise. And also, it’s a very vague term. Nobody is 100% sure what volume of traffic it’s describing.
So if someone promises this to you, walk away. They’re making big promises they can’t keep, just to woo you.
What Do They Offer You?
Let’s say you’re meeting with a new company for the first time. Do they spend their time trying to wedge you into a pre-built package, or do they ask you a lot of questions so they can custom-built a solution for you?
If they spend the whole meeting trying to sell you, they’re focused on your money. But if they spend the meeting trying to understand you, they legitimately want to see your business succeed.
Besides, a digital marketing company should never start quoting prices or packages before they have a firm understanding of exactly what needs to be done.
What are Their Clients Saying?
This is one case where you will definitely want to follow up with references.
How enthusiastic are these former/current clients when you speak with them? A properly wowed client should try to convince you that you’d be stupid not to work with these miracle workers.
Also, again, specifics are good. For example, “We now rank 1# for seven key search terms and our leads have doubled.”
Read their online reviews, from their site. Displeased clients will show up here.
And feel free to read their Glassdoor reviews as well. There is always going to be some bitter former employees, so take the bad reviews for what they’re worth. But too many of them hitting the same note is a sign of a possible culture issue.
Let’s Talk about your SEO
If you’ve read this far, you’re probably not happy with your website’s SEO performance and may be in the market for a new agency or SEO tools.