The modern marketplace moves fast, really fast. Fast enough that it is hard to keep your demographic firmly in your sights. As a business interested in maximizing profit, you cannot afford to let that faraway market stay so far away. Of course, creating an international chain of advertisements requires a lot of effort and expertise that your company likely cannot get without spending a ton of money. That is where digital marketing agencies come in.
These groups specialise in social media markets that can reach any target audience with an internet connection. They’re hybrids of marketing teams and IT people, and they are entirely focused on bringing your company’s message to the world at large. For a fee, they will be your PR people on the web. However, going from an idea to actually hiring one of these companies should be carefully considered. Like any business venture, you have to investigate what you stand to gain and lose on such a venture.
Why Use a Digital Marketing Agency?
The internet is massive. A lot larger than it was even five years ago, it is constantly growing and various platforms have risen in the past few years that have made reaching your target audience over the web even more difficult. Figuring out what platform works best for your business does not even begin to cover the challenge of how and with what means you can do this.
Digital marketing agencies offer you a service for a calculated fee and has very few surprises involved. Were you to undertake a media marketing project by yourself, that may mean hiring a programmer and possibly another marketing guy, one who specialises in social media marketing. Once that project finishes, however, you still have two bored and unnecessary employees who are likely consuming a fair amount of what was an open budget. These companies allow you to use the expertise required for the minimum amount of time with no obligations past the end of the project.
Even if you do know what it is you want to say, it may not be quite what is needed to be said. The modern consumer is bounds more intelligent than they were in the past and messages have to be fairly sophisticated in order to leave a lasting impression. As a marketing agency, these groups know exactly what can work and what marketing method fits your company best.
These agencies come in two varieties: large and small. Larger companies usually have access to a vast set of tools and can publish messages across multiple formats: Twitter, Facebook, banner ads, emails and many other great platforms. The smaller companies, sometimes called boutiques or specialists, lack the vast resources and tools of larger companies, but often have a higher degree of focus upon a single aspect of social media. In addition, they also allow person-to-person conversations with the top personnel in that company.
What You Need to Know
Of course, the burden of responsibility is not solely upon your prospective choice. There are things within your own company that you must think about carefully before making a decision. The size of your company can affect what you need. The area of dissemination of a social marketing message that spans the country might be useless if you are a small bakery that is trying to grow its regional business reach. The question of what can you afford becomes very important as you near the end of the hunt for the right social marketing agency. An extensive online campaign with all the glitz and glamour may be pointless if you cannot afford it for more than a week.
Once you decide to contact an agency, who will be your voice? The busy person that you are, it is not likely you will have time to go to every client meeting and air every single question that the programmers and designers have for your campaign all while performing your other duties to their fullest. You will need to determine who can best represent your IT people, your human resources people, the sales team, and everyone else involved.
Let the Hunt Begin
Searching for the right digital marketing agency is a lot like a really involved hiring process. It involves searching, making calls, asking questions and lots of contacts. Luckily, you are the one making the hiring and not the other way around.
Basic internet searches can give you face value information about their abilities and what that company’s reach is. You can also talk to the company itself. A simple informational email can be all you need to get their attention if they think a potential client is hovering about. These requests for information (RFI) will give you good data and accurate assessments on what this company can do for you. A request for proposal (RFP) can also be the opening dialogue in a business deal and often is taken as a warm up to an actual contract. Referrals are growing as a method of attracting business, so it is very likely you will have one of these companies reach out to you before you are even aware of them. When it comes to finding out the quality of their service, their business email may not be the best source to contact.
If possible, look up who they have worked with in the past few months. Plenty of review sites for almost every industry exist and finding public reviews may be possible. If not, then it is time to do some digging. You can ask the company itself for a list of previous clients. If they refuse to do that then something less than legitimate might be happening. Ask the companies on this list about their experiences. Did the ads correlate with a rise in business or profits? How flexible was this agency? What part of the service seemed the most/least well done? Their answers may give you an idea of whether you want to choose that company or not.
The Matter of Money and Signatures
Once you have figured out which company is right for you it will come time to discuss ideas and draft a contract. Like any good business venture, this document will cover everything that will be relevant in the coming weeks or months. The payment of the agency is often a very large question looming over this contract. There are two common methods of payment used by digital marketing agencies: a percentage charge based on revenue spent on the project and flat fee methods. The percentage charge can run from 10-20% of what is spent on the ads. Clients with smaller marketing aims may pay more in the short term as their campaigns are not as large or expansive. Large clients may pay a larger percentage over time with larger campaigns that last for months.
The flat fee method is new and catching on. More and more agencies are charging this way because it makes life easier for both the agency and the client. This comes at the cost of direct control over the service. If you have guaranteed a certain amount by a certain date, your hands are tied regardless of how things are going. However, these flat fee methods can open up unique and innovative ad techniques as the designers are going to be paid one way or another.
No matter what, these digital advertising agencies will always do their best work to ensure the money you are spending spreads your business presence in the marketplace. The contract is the final stage before the venture begins. Make sure that you know every aspect of its wording and what it is offering before you sign.