How to get the most out of employing a digital agency. 12 things to consider when hiring a digital agency like Media Shark.

SLQ Business Studio are very happy to welcome digital agency Media Shark for a series of guest blog posts in the coming weeks. Is there a topic you would like Media Shark to write about? Email us!

“Hire an agency to take care of your digital needs,” they said.

“It’ll make your life easier,” they said.

And they were right, of course. Hiring a digital agency will make your life simpler in the long run.

But what ‘they’ didn’t tell you was that there’s a certain amount of input required from you, the business owner, to get the best results from your collaboration with a digital agency.

With the world at your fingertips, a robust digital strategy is the most efficient way to get your business in front of the masses. Whether your business is based online or not, you need a digital strategy to facilitate growth and increase your impact in both your local and global markets.

But, with so many platforms, strategy options and, ‘expert’ advice out there, the digital element can also cause one of the biggest headaches for a business-owner, and it can be hard to know where to start.

Fortunately for business owners across the globe, digital agencies such as Media Shark can provide an integrated range of digital services to cure your digital woes.

Digital marketing, website development, SEO, mobile app development and CMS development are just the tip of the digital iceberg for the services that a digital agency can offer. They’ll provide and implement strategies in many digital areas which will help you reach your unique business goals, and make sure you have a good time doing it in the process!

Your business is your passion, there’s no reason that you shouldn’t enjoy sharing it with others, and your digital agency should be only too happy to help you do this.

To get the maximum benefits from your partnership with a digital agency, there are a few points you’ll need to consider to make sure that regardless of the size of your budget, every cent is a cent will spent!

1.Shop around.

You have a lot of options when it comes to choosing a digital agency, and it would be wise to look beyond the price of what the agency provides. While it’s understandable that budget is a strong and often non-negotiable consideration, it’s also just as important that you choose a digital agency which will give you the most value. Value relates to results, but it can also include factors such as the quality of the product they offer, the strength of their relationship with you, and how transparent they are with their methods. If you make your decision based purely on cost alone, you risk limited results and having to spend more money in the long run to make up the shortfall.

2. Complete a thorough brief.

Once you’ve chosen your digital agency, you’ll be required to undertake a comprehensive briefing process. If they’re local, your agency representative might suggest that you call into their office to complete the brief face-to-face. Otherwise, you can meet with them online via a Zoom video call. The brief is where you’ll get the chance to give every minute detail about how you want your brand to be perceived, and the specific goals you’d like to achieve.

3. Establish your expectations.

It’s important that you’re very clear on all your goals. Whether they’re related to financial targets, brand creation and recognition, future developments for your business, and even down to how much input you’ll have along the way. While your agent is the expert and will advise and implement a best-practice strategy to help you reach your goals, if you’re not thorough about what you hope to achieve from the outset, any ambiguity could lead to problems once work begins.

It’s easy to assume that your digital marketing representative knows exactly what you’re thinking. Heads up, they don’t! They’ll provide you with very clear guidelines on what you can expect from your arrangement, and it’s critical to the success of your campaign that if you want to see something that isn’t there, that you tell them from the outset.

4. Define how your results will be measured.

Whether you measure your results financially, through social media followers, or through CTR on an eMarketing campaign, it’s important that you’ve stipulated from the outset the precise figures you’ll be taking note of. Your definition of success might be different to the digital agents, so it’s important that you define this at the start.

5. Monitor your budget.

Budget is one of the most important considerations when working with a digital agency. While you can set an initial budget, some costs fluctuate with performance for tasks such as pay per click advertising. When you consider your budget, you must recognise the value of the service you’re paying for so that you see the bigger picture past the dollar you’ve spent. If you have any budgetary concerns during your campaign, you must communicate them so your representative can advise further.

6. You can’t guarantee outcomes, only productivity.

A marketing agency can only guarantee their productivity in advance, not the results of what they put in place. If they know what they’re doing, they will do an awesome job of predicting outcomes, but nothing’s certain. The outcomes you get from your digital strategy will depend on many external factors which they can’t control, such as the economy, the quality of your product and pricing structure, and any restrictions or changes made by the owners of external platforms such as Facebook who apply their own rules along the way.

7. Results can take time.

One of the biggest reasons relationships fail between digital agencies, and their clients is because of the expectation that results happen overnight. Another heads up, they don’t! It takes time to build your brand, reputation, and your authority. While your representative will start putting things into place straight away, it’ll often take time to see results. Results are cumulative, so what they put in place today will pay dividends tomorrow and while your digital agency will give you a rough timeline of what you can expect to see and when, everything they do is laying foundations for the future of your business, so try to be patient.

8. See a portfolio.

The needs of your business are unique. A portfolio won’t give you everything you need, but it will provide you with an idea of websites the digital agency has created, apps they’ve developed, and SEO results  they’ve achieved by companies in a similar niche to you. A reputable agency will always be happy to show you previous results and testimonials that are relevant to you and your goals.

9. Ask questions.

There are many considerations involved in finding a digital agency. Ask questions to make sure you understand exactly what’s involved. There’s nothing worse than finding out halfway through a campaign that you’re missing a vital element which wasn’t included in your initial budget and brief. Your questions need to be specific. While a portfolio is a good way to see examples of previous work, it’s advisable to think of some specific deliverables that you’re hoping for and ask detailed questions relating to them. For example, if you’re discussing your SEO strategy, ask to see rankings of previous websites that the digital agency has worked on both before and after their work.

10. Utilise all their services.

One of the biggest benefits of using a digital agency is that you can use them for an integrated range of services. Even if you only have a short-term marketing plan, you can then turn this into a plan for long term growth and business development. If you want to grow your scope even further and develop better website functionality, or a mobile app the future, they’ll already have a great understanding of you and your brand, key messaging, and your goals. This will save you the valuable time and money it takes to create a new relationship with another supplier.

11. SEO is best done by an expert.

If you have budgetary restraints, it might not be a possibility to pay for all the services a digital agency can provide, so you must often prioritise. Many entrepreneurs think they can implement an SEO strategy themselves with free online resources and by watching a few YouTube videos. Because of the technical nature of SEO, those people will always need the services of a digital agency which offers SEO strategy to fix it up afterwards which will cost them more in the long run. You might think you don’t need SEO if your business has little competition in your niche, or if it’s not an online business. The fact is, if you have a website, you need SEO! Media Shark offers a tailor-made SEO package to help you meet your business goals, and if you want people to see your website, it’s highly advisable that you utilise services of these experts.

Working with a digital agency is a collaborative process, and your input is vital to the success of your results. While it’s understandable that you might want to hand everything over to an expert and save yourself the headache, your input might have an impact on the results. Have an input where you need to, or forever hold your peace!