I grew up in design, freelancing through some of my high school and all of my college years. While I loved design, I hated the interview process with clients. Every bid, consultation meeting, and introductory email referenced a poor experience with a previous designer. Not only was I selling my services, but defending my job title.
Fast forward to today, and I still hear clients echoing these sentiments.
“I didn’t know every change was going to cost me an hour of their time, minimum.”
“I had no idea I wouldn’t own my website outright.”
“I needed my website live in six months, but their process took a year.”
Whether you plan to work with GreenCup Digital or another digital marketing agency, we’ve put together the five most critical questions you should be asking. These questions will help provide valuable information to aid in your decision-making process. One of the beautiful things about digital marketing is you no longer have to work with the one business on Main Street. With a few clicks of a button, you could be working with an agency anywhere in the world.
Now the question is finding the agency that fits your business best!
Critical Questions To Ask Any Digital Marketing Agency
What does your process look like?
Once you know the digital marketing agency offers the service you’re looking for, it’s time to dive into their process. Often, agencies will use jargon like ‘web development,’ ‘web design”, ‘web design and development,’ ‘website support’ – but what does that really include?
Your prospective digital agency should be able to rattle off a clear and straightforward process from start to finish, with an estimated timeline. If they don’t, you should be slightly alarmed.
With experience comes processes, which help projects stay on track, finish on time and ease communication between client and agency. If you’re not sure what this looks like, ask more questions for clarification!
This is also a great time to understand their working relationship with you better. Do they use third-party platforms to help transfer files, send messages, and manage your project? Do they treat you like a partner in the process, asking your input during reviews, schedule regular check-ins, and, better yet, provide access or additional assets. And lastly, do they use lingo you can understand? There’s nothing worse than an agency using marketing jargon to try to impress a client when you’re looking for a partner who will help you understand it.
What reporting do you offer?
Reporting is so important in measuring the success of an agency’s work. It’s one thing to be told it’s working, but your agency should also show you. It’s like if I was bringing you a coffee each morning, telling you the coffee pot was working great but instead was spending an additional $5 of your budget a day to get one around the corner.
When an agency talks about reporting, it should address your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). In client consultations, it’s pretty easy for an agency to recommend KPIs targeting lead generation, conversions, traffic goals, etc. When they address these items, it should offer you some reassurance that 1) they understand your business and 2) they are looking to support your business.
It’s also important to know how often they report to you and what it includes – especially for managed services. For example, our social media management offers a monthly report with a 30-minute meeting, which allows us to review the information with you, making sure you understand it and check-in regarding adjustments. For GreenCup, these reports include what we see and include suggested improvements, clearly communicating how they could potentially impact your KPIs.
We believe education is part of our job, but not every agency agrees. Some may generate reports automatically sent to you without explaining what those numbers and charts mean for your business.
Who will I be working with?
In all my years working in digital marketing, I can count on one hand how many times a client asked this question. I know what you’re thinking, “I looked at the agencies’ about page. I know who the team is and their story”. Agencies come in various sizes, from 2 contractors to 50+ employees, meaning you may work with everyone or just one person.
For example, some agencies provide you a Project Manager, and that’s your only point of contact. At GreenCup, we provide you with a Project Manager, so if you have a question and you’re not sure who to ask, they are your go-to person. However, you also have access to whoever is working on your project. For a lot of our clients, they’re not just using one of our services. They’re doing website work and content writing, or maybe SEO and content marketing. That means you can talk directly to your web developer, SEO strategist, or copywriter, eliminating the dreaded game of telephone.
This question will usually trigger how the agency will work with your team as well. Do they only want one point of contact, or will they be more involved with your internal team? Will they be the agency that completes the task, or will they be the agency that becomes an extension of your marketing department?
Knowing how an agency works with their clients will ensure they work how you like best!
What will you need from me?
If your agency says, “Nothing, we have it covered,” they’re lying. To truly become a partner in your digital marketing effort, there’s a few months worth of time where agencies need to learn your internal processes, design preferences, content voice, etc. While we try to take the brunt of the work off your plate, we still ask for approvals before posting or pushing live.
Often this question will open up a conversation regarding the scope of work. Who will be providing the content, photos, branding guidelines, and so forth? How many review meetings will they schedule, and how many approvals are requested? Falling in line with the process question we asked above, this digs in a little deeper into the project scope making sure the work you’re seeking gets accomplished.
When will I see results?
Again, this seems to be a question overlooked. Most often, you’ll ask the agency to show their track record for businesses similar to yours, which is perfectly acceptable, but how long did it take to get them there? This question is critical when it comes to budget. Three months vs. 24 months is a significantly different price tag if you’re participating in a monthly managed service. For individual projects, the agency’s response should align with the process timeline they mentioned above.
Most digital marketing agencies follow some line of inbound methodology these days, which is infamously known to be a marathon, not a sprint towards results. While this strategy does take time, it’s a more sustainable form of growth. GreenCup Digital’s Managed Services can take 3-6 months for you to see improvement. However, it usually takes 6-8 months for that movement to begin compounding towards growth. In 12-24 months, you’ll start seeing substantial traffic growth and lead acquisition.
When you’re conscious of this timeline, it can help you better understand their reporting and assess if your KPIs align with your business goals.
Hiring The Digital Marketing Agency
When it comes down to signing the dotted line, these questions will help determine the right digital marketing agency for you. You can ask a single question or an exhaustive list of 100s, but at the end of the day, it’s about finding the right team. Not every agency is the same, so find people that understand your business, are enjoyable to work with and support you when you need it most.
One thing is for sure, the time you take to find the right digital marketing agency is well worth the effort when it comes to building a successful business.
Have more questions?
Schedule a free 30 minute consultation with GreenCup Digital today!