It’s challenging to manage a full-scale digital marketing campaign with only the resources you currently have in-house. That’s why most organizations turn to external digital marketing experts for consulting, campaign execution, and analytics.
There’s certainly no shortage of digital marketing experts available for hire. With a quick search, you can generate thousands of viable options. So what can you do to make your search for the perfect digital marketing service provider more effective?
How to Shop for Digital Marketing Services
These are some of the most important tips for shopping for digital marketing services.
1. Get referrals
If you can, get some referrals. Are there any businesses similar to yours or contacts in your network who have used specific digital marketing service providers and found great results? Can you get a recommendation for an agency or a team of freelancers? While you still need to conduct due diligence on any recommendations you receive, getting referrals can jumpstart the research process.
2. Search local options
Search for “digital marketing services near me” to find a list of digital marketing service providers in your area. Local digital marketing experts aren’t necessarily more skilled or more knowledgeable than their national competitors, but they probably know this area much better and may have more reasonable pricing. You can always scale up your search if you don’t find what you’re looking for in your own region.
3. Consider agencies and freelancers
Most businesses secure digital marketing services through an agency or individual freelancers. Both are worth considering; freelancers are less expensive, but also less reliable, while agencies have access to more resources and are somewhat pricier. Don’t rule out either option until you’re deeper in the decision-making process.
4. Know what services you want/need ahead of time
Marketing and advertising experts often recommend strategic additions, upselling you on new campaigns and strategies to try. While many of these are worth considering, it’s also important to know what services you want and need before you start looking for quotes. It can help you avoid adding unnecessary services while giving you an opportunity to research available services before generating quotes for them.
5. Set a budget (but remain flexible)
Marketing budgeting guidelines generally recommend spending between 2 and 10 percent of your revenue on marketing and advertising, though this number varies wildly based on the type of company you’re running, your goals, the strategies you choose, and other options.
Before you start researching digital marketing service options, set a marketing budget that you want to follow. This serves as an excellent guideline, but you still need to remain flexible; sometimes, it’s worth paying a bit more.
6. Read case studies closely
When you start reviewing individual options, read case studies closely. How, exactly, did this marketing agency help the client see better results? Can you prove that these results are real? Are there bits of information that are being left out?
7. Ask lots of questions
When you find some digital marketing partners worth considering, you’ll start having conversations with sales reps and/or account managers. During this stage, it’s important to ask lots of questions. Ask about their process.
Ask about their marketing philosophy. Ask about some of their biggest successes and failures. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about this business, including how it operates, and it’s your chance to evaluate the organization’s potential for smooth communication.
8. Review contracts carefully
Always read contracts carefully before signing them. What are the terms of this arrangement? How long does this contract last? Are there any clauses or requirements that seem fishy?
9. Be prepared to negotiate
Most marketing experts are willing to negotiate a deal. Before following through with a new arrangement, ask if there are any discounts available and push to include a few more services. You might encounter resistance, but it’s always worth asking.
10. Take your time
Finally, take your time throughout this process. Choosing a digital marketing partner is a huge decision and not one you can afford to take lightly. Your budget and brand reputation hang in the balance.
Making the Call
After employing these techniques, you should be able to generate a list of a few marketing experts worth considering. How do you make the final call? That all depends on your personal goals. Are you hoping for a long-term partnership or just some temporary help?
Are you trying to stay within a razor-thin budget, or are you all about getting the best possible results? There are countless variables to consider here, so it’s impossible to come up with a formula that works for every business or every individual.
Use the tools you have to make the best decision you can for your unique situation.