Tips on Choosing the Right Online Marketing Agency for Your Business
In the world of digital business, online marketing is more crucial than ever before. As the internet continues to evolve, mastering your online presence can be a difficult task. It has become nearly impossible to keep up with the latest trends in digital marketing, as well as implement them effectively, all while dealing with the day-to-day running of the business.
There’s no need to tackle it alone when you can hire an agency. A quality digital agency has access to individual experts across all online marketing disciplines. They’ll be able to provide you with the strategic direction, technical know-how, and creative design needed to help your business succeed. You may worry about the cost of hiring an agency of experts, but what about the cost of not doing it at all?
With both your brand and budget on the line, here's our tips on choosing the right online marketing agency for your business.
Make sure you know what you're looking for
From Pay Per Click advertising (PPC) to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), there are a wide range of different services that agencies can offer. While this can be overwhelming, having a basic understanding of what these services involve will help you to decide what is best for your business.
Here's a basic explanation of the two most popular digital marketing services you may be interested in.
Pay Per Click
Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising is a digital marketing model that works by only charging you when a user clicks on your ad. Google AdWords is the most popular version of this, and you’ll see these paid text advertisements at the top of Google search results.
Google Adwords also allows you to set up display marketing. Display marketing essentially acts as an online billboard by placing combined image/text advertisements on other relevant high traffic sites.
The second most popular PPC platform would be Facebook/Instagram. Similarly, Microsoft Marketing allows you to set up PPC ads on Bing, Yahoo, and DuckDuckGo search engines.
The key to high performing PPC is knowing the audiences that you can target through each of these platforms, and creating appropriate ads to suit. You can also opt to retarget your ads to previous website visitors. This means you’ll automatically promote your products and/or services to your target audience even after they’ve left your site. At OAP, we specialise in creating and implementing the optimal PPC strategy for your business.
Search Engine Optimisation
Another way to attract visitors to your site is through Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). There are many different aspects to SEO, but the main goal is to get your website ranking as high as possible in organic search results for your target keywords.
It’s important to note that SEO is a long-term digital marketing strategy. It takes time for search engines to notice and interpret changes on your website and because of their ever-changing algorithms, ranking changes can be unpredictable. They can change multiple times over the course of a day, or take months to move up one rank. The amount of competition in your industry is also a factor. If everyone is implementing the same SEO strategies at the same rate, not much will change. It’s important therefore, to choose the right digital marketing agency that knows what will work best for your business.
There are three main areas of SEO implementation:
- Technical SEO - Refers to the optimisation of the structure of a website as a whole so that search engines can crawl the domain more efficiently and effectively.
- On-page SEO - Refers to the optimisation of the individual pages on a website for certain keywords, and finding a balance between helping search engines, and helping the user.
- Off-page SEO - Refers to any actions taken outside of your website to improve rankings, and usually involves link building (getting links to your website from other websites).
Any agency you’re considering should make it clear that they implement all three areas of SEO. Focussing on one, while ignoring the others simply will not generate the results your business needs or deserves. Having this basic understanding of SEO will help you have informed conversations with prospective agencies.
Estimate a budget
Make sure you have an estimated budget for all digital marketing services you’re looking to hire an agency for. Your ideal agency should be able to work with any reasonable amount you propose and establish suitable expectations accordingly. Obviously the more budget an agency has to work with, the faster you can expect results.
Keep in mind that with a service like PPC, you will need to think about the advertising budget as well. Due to the fact you pay every time someone clicks on an ad, you’ll need to set up a budget for that to come out of. At OAP, we’ve got PPC experts that specialise in optimising your ads. This means you pay less per click, while getting better results.
Transparency & experience
If an agency doesn't appear honest, don't work with them. Not only will you be throwing money at a potentially dishonest company, but they may be implementing ‘black hat’ tactics which could harm your website’s reputation in the long run. The easiest way to tell if an agency is legitimate is by taking a look at their website.
Some things to look out for in an authentic agency include:
- Physical address
- Contact details like email address and phone number
- List of services with descriptions of each
- Examples of work, case studies, or list of existing clients
A reputable digital marketing agency will have no problem talking you through their services, and displaying evidence that they know what they’re doing. Don’t trust anyone who says, “Just give us your money and we’ll show you results.”!
Avoid the temptation of using the first agency you come across. Instead, take your time to find an online marketing agency that illustrates expertise and experience. Ask around your own business networks to see if anyone has recommendations.
It’s also worth looking at what certifications the agency has. Qualifications to look for include:
- SEMrush - For advanced SEO
- Google Partner - Shows that Google has recognised this agency as having solid experience and ability using Google’s platforms. You can read the requirements here.
- Microsoft/Bing Partner - Shows that Microsoft has recognised this agency as having solid experience and ability using Microsoft’s advertising platforms. You can read the requirements here.
- CXL Certified Optimizer - Shows that the agency has trained using the CXL Institute, and is now recognised as a ‘Certified Optimizer’.
- Google Qualifications - Multiple qualifications exist and are obtained by completing training and testing on the following subjects: analytics, search, display, mobile, video, shopping, etc.
Understand how the results will be measured
Google Analytics and other online data tracking tools are essential for measuring the success of any online campaign. Using these tools, an agency can present you with information such as:
- Overall website traffic
- New and returning visitors
- Session durations
- Exit rates
- Conversion rates
There’s an infinite amount of data that can be pulled from these tools, but not all of it is going to be helpful. In reality, access to all of this data is more likely going to be overwhelming. It is imperative therefore that the agency you choose is able to provide you with the data that really matters, and show you how they’re going to use that data to improve your digital marketing strategy moving forward.
With all of the above factors in mind, it becomes obvious why it’s important to find the right agency for you. It can make or break your business. At Online Asset Partners we are committed to honest, data-driven, strategic processes that will help your business thrive.