Hire a Marketing Agency: How to Find a Digital Marketing Agency that Works

on Blog May 23rd, 2018

Hiring a marketing agency can be a game-changer for small businesses. These agencies are like expert navigators in the complex world of digital marketing, excelling in areas like SEO and social media marketing. Marketing partners skillfully make the most of limited budgets and provide a diverse talent pool for small businesses that often face resource constraints.

However, before you hire one, it’s crucial to understand the role of a marketing firm. It’s not a one-sided, magical solution. Collaboration, strategy, and ongoing, integrated effort from both sides are essential for success.

Setting clear expectations is equally vital. Misalignment can lead to frustration. Communicate your goals clearly to the agency to ensure everyone’s on the same page from the start.

By grasping the role, avoiding common misconceptions, and setting clear expectations, you’ll establish a strong foundation for a successful partnership with a marketing company, guiding your marketing efforts in the right direction from the beginning.


What is a Marketing Agency and Why Should Small Businesses Hire One?

When searching for information about hiring a marketing agency, we’re often looking for answers to key questions.

Let’s delve into why hiring a marketing firm is crucial for small businesses and the advantages it brings.

The Role of a Marketing Agency

A marketing agency, sometimes referred to as a digital marketing agency (DMA), plays a vital role in enhancing the online presence and success of businesses. Think of them as expert navigators in the complex world of Internet marketing. They excel in various marketing channels, such as search engine optimization (SEO), email marketing, content marketing, and social media marketing.

Small business owners looking to manage marketing in-house should consider that partnering with a good-name marketing company can provide the expertise and resources needed to grow their business without straining the marketing budget. Many marketing companies offer diverse services, and the marketing management an agency provides can play a key role in overseeing successful marketing campaigns.

Addressing Resource Constraints

Businesses often grapple with limited resources. Marketing agencies offer solutions to overcome these challenges.

Marketing companies excel at making the most of limited budgets, focusing on high-impact strategies for your business.

Small businesses might not have the capacity to hire a full marketing team in-house, including a marketing strategist, marketing director, account manager, etc. This is where marketing partners with expertise in a diverse set of marketing disciplines come in handy.

As your marketing succeeds, your business grows, and subsequently so do your marketing needs. Good marketing firms scale their services to match your business’ growth.

Hiring a marketing agency is a critical step for small businesses seeking to thrive in the digital age.

Additional Reading: What is a Marketing Agency?


Avoiding Two Common Mistakes: Misunderstanding the Role of Marketing Agencies

When it comes to hiring a marketing agency, it’s not uncommon for businesses to stumble into a common pitfall – a lack of understanding what a marketing company actually does. This is a crucial misstep that can set the wrong expectations from the start.

A good marketing partner can guide many business owners to run a successful marketing campaign, even if they have limited resources. Good agencies offer cost-sensitive solutions that fit within the marketing budget.

In our experience, we’ve seen common mistakes here:

  1. Magical Thinking: One of the most prevalent misconceptions is the belief that once you’ve hired a marketing agency, everything will be magically taken care of. It’s as if you can simply sit back and watch the results pour in. Unfortunately, this is not true when working with a digital marketing agency. It requires collaboration, strategy, and ongoing effort from both the business and the agency.
  2. Confusing Marketing with Advertising: Another frequent error is the confusion between marketing and advertising. Some businesses hire traditional advertising firms, thinking they’ve secured a marketing partner. While advertising is a part of marketing, it’s just one piece of the puzzle. A marketing company covers a much broader spectrum of activities, including full marketing strategy, market research, company branding, content creation, online reputation management, and sales system development.


Additional Reading: 10 Reasons Most Digital Marketing Campaigns Fail – Marketing Campaign Checklist

Set Clear Expectations for Yourself and the Agency

Understanding what a marketing firm does is just the beginning. The next crucial step is setting clear expectations. Without a well-defined understanding of your goals and what the agency will do to meet those goals, you risk disappointment and misalignment.

Knowing your business goals and conveying them effectively is crucial for finding the right agency and a harmonious partnership with them.

Setting clear expectations with the right agency partner is essential for avoiding common pitfalls that other businesses encounter and is a key component to the growth of your business.

For instance, if your goal is to increase brand awareness, but you haven’t communicated this clearly to the agency, they might focus on driving sales instead. This misalignment can lead to frustration and wasted funds.

The Benefits of Hiring a Marketing Agency

The benefits of hiring a marketing agency can be a game-changer for your business. It goes beyond just outsourcing tasks; it’s about gaining a strategic partner that can unlock numerous benefits.

First and foremost, when you bring a digital marketing agency on board, you’re essentially freeing up your time as a business owner to focus on the reason you went into business in the first place. Marketing is a complex and ever-evolving field, and trying to handle it all on your own can be overwhelming. With experts at the helm, you can focus on what you do best – running your business – while they take care of the marketing intricacies.

Accessing a team of experts is another significant advantage. These agencies often have specialists in various aspects of marketing, from SEO to social media marketing, graphic design, and more. It’s like having a well-rounded team at your disposal, each member bringing their unique skills to the table.

Moreover, a digital marketing agency offers an unparalleled breadth of experience. We’ve worked across multiple verticals, handled various marketing channels, and honed their skills in diverse areas. From SEO and paid social advertising to inbound marketing tactics and website lead generation, we’ve got it covered. This diverse expertise ensures that your marketing efforts are well-rounded and effective.

Unlike hiring an in-house team, working with an agency has its perks. There’s no need to worry about paid vacation hours, health insurance, or the time and cost associated with recruiting and onboarding employees. The cost of collaborating with an agency often aligns with hiring a full-time employee but comes with a broader skill set and immediate availability.

When it comes to strategy and optimization, digital marketing agencies offer a treasure trove of ideas and opportunities. They bring proven strategies, real client examples, and a track record of results to the table. This means less guesswork and more data-driven decisions for your business.

Scaling your marketing channels becomes more accessible with an agency. Whether it’s growing your presence on platforms like Facebook or exploring new marketing channels, the have the resources and expertise to make it happen. They can adapt to your business’s changing needs and ensure you’re always ahead of the game.

In summary, hiring a digital marketing agency is like gaining a dedicated team of experts who can streamline your marketing efforts, provide valuable insights, and help your business thrive. It’s a strategic move that can save you time, money, and the headache of managing marketing on your own.

To delve deeper into these benefits, explore our comprehensive article on the topic: Why Hire a Marketing Agency: ?##? Benefits

Steps to Select the Right Digital Marketing Agency

When it comes to choosing the perfect digital marketing agency for your business, following a well-defined path can lead you to success. During the search process for an agency, consider whether you want to leverage your internal resources or rely on the expertise of the agency’s in-house team. A full-service agency can cover all your marketing needs. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to make the right choice:

  1. Set Clear Goals: Before you even begin your search, understand your marketing goals. What do you aim to achieve with your digital marketing efforts? Clarify your objectives to ensure you find an agency that aligns with your vision.
  2. Collect References and Assess Expertise: Seek recommendations from peers or colleagues who have experience with digital marketing. Look for agencies with a proven track record in your industry. Their expertise can make a significant difference in your campaigns.
  3. Create a Shortlist: Compile a list of potential marketing agencies that meet your criteria. This list will help you narrow down your options as you delve deeper into your research.
  4. Check Online Reviews: Investigate the online presence of your shortlisted agencies. Read customer reviews and testimonials to gauge their reputation and the quality of their work.
  5. Meet the Top Candidates: Arrange meetings or consultations with the agencies that stand out. These interactions will give you insights into their approach, communication style, and how well you collaborate.
  6. Request Detailed Proposals: Once you’ve identified the agency that resonates with your goals and values, request a comprehensive service agreement proposal. This document should outline the scope of work, deliverables, timelines, and costs.
  7. Sign a Contract and Stay Engaged: After a thorough evaluation, sign a contract with the selected marketing firm. Remember that this partnership is an ongoing commitment. Stay engaged with the agency, assess progress regularly, and be open to exploring new marketing channels as your business grows.

Choosing a digital marketing agency is a pivotal decision that can significantly impact your business’s success. By following these steps, you’ll be better equipped to find the agency that can help your business thrive in the digital landscape.

Key Traits to Seek When Hiring a Marketing Agency

Selecting the right digital marketing agency goes beyond just checking qualifications. To ensure a successful partnership, it’s vital to align the character qualities of the agency with your business values. Here’s why character matters in this relationship…

Matching Values for Success

Your business operates with a unique set of values and principles. These values drive your decision-making, branding, and customer interactions. When you hire a marketing agency, you’re essentially inviting them to embody these values in your online presence.

Not All Agencies Are the Same

Digital marketing companies come in various shapes and sizes, each with its own character and approach. Some may excel in creativity and brand awareness, while others prioritize innovation and data-driven strategies. Some may focus on transparency and communication, while others lean towards a quiet, “done for you” spirit.

Finding the Perfect Fit

To ensure a fruitful partnership, it’s crucial to find an agency whose character qualities align with your business culture. Are you seeking a collaborative partner who values open communication and feedback from the entire team? Or do you prioritize an agency that’s highly adaptable to industry trends and innovations?

Remember, a successful partnership with a marketing agency goes beyond their skills and expertise. An agency that commits to sharing your values, aligning with your preferences, understanding your vision, and achieving your digital marketing goals is what you should look for. By prioritizing the character qualities and traits of the agency, you’ll be well on your way to building a harmonious and productive relationship with the right marketing firm for your business.

Make Sure the Marketing Agency You Hire Has a Research and Discovery Process

Good marketing agencies who are hired to grow small to medium sized business have a Research and Discovery Process to learn key information about your business.

Top agencies have a desire to learn what you may already know about your business.

They will do their own research because, in order to market for you successfully, they need to understand the following:

Marketing Questions: Discovery Questions Marketing Agencies Should Ask You

Industry Trends

If you want to grow 35% this year, but we find your industry is expected to decrease by 5%, this is a challenge we’ll be facing together.

Competitor Analysis

  • What are they good at?
  • What are they not good at?
  • What can we learn from them?
  • What is their core marketing message? We also look at how search engines see their businesses compared to our client’s business.
  • Ideal buyers and buyer personas
  • Ideal buyers are the companies who buy your products or services (if you are B2B).
  • Ideal buyer personas are the people who buy from your business.

SEO Analysis of Your Business’s Website

If you’re marketing without an understanding of how search engines work, make sure and get up to speed… fast!

Resource: SEO’s Cheatsheet for Perfectly Optimized Pages

Top marketing agencies are aware of how search engines are looking at your business as well as competitors.

Usually, agencies start with an on-site SEO analysis.

Want an SEO analysis? Go to our SEO services page and fill out the form!

Core Differentiators

As people look at various options for products or services, they form an immediate impression of the companies they look at.

Do you know how to differentiate your business against its competitors?

Marketing Strategy

How are you going to be positioned in the market – value player, market leader?

What is the plan to find your ideal buyer personas and get their attention at the right time?

Core Marketing Message

This message should speak to your ideal buyer personas immediately.

Ancestry DNA’s Core Marketing Message: Discover what makes you uniquely you.

Tony Lael

I work with entrepreneurs, marketing and sales executives to help them realize the true potential of their business or group - it's about creating a marketing and sales system. Inside of Fannit, I help guide our team to build out our own systems through standard operating procedures and am responsible for revenue growth. I believe it’s important to bring joy and a splash of humor to your work, and always give my top level of attention and effort. Connect with me on LinkedIn >