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Brand Builders: How to Choose a Reputable Digital Agency

By Lucinda Watrous
Business.com / Marketing Strategy / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Not every agency is a good fit for every business. Everyone has strengths, but everyone also has limitations.

Choosing a digital agency to work with isn’t a decision to be taken lightly.

Though many digital marketing agencies exist, the fact is, not every agency is a good fit for every business.

Everyone has strengths, but everyone also has limitations.

Matthew Craig, Director of MindArc Digital Agency says, “No matter which company you choose to work with, you need to make sure their core values align with yours. It makes the project run smoother, and usually yields higher quality results.”

Doing your homework beforehand may mean the decision takes longer, but once you arrive at the decision and sign that dotted line, you’ll be much better off than if you rush into the first agency you find.

Related Article: Successful Business Leaders Tell All: Top Digital Marketing Trends for 2016

Are You Already With an Agency?

If you’re already working with an agency, schedule a meeting with them. Take time to discuss areas of concern and give the current company a chance to develop a solution that works for both of you.

Let them know you don’t want to hear “yes” for the sake of the answer, you only want to hear it when the agency knows they make it happen.

Many agencies will agree to your requests to simply avoid disappointing you, and that’s not the way to do business.

By letting them know you don’t consider the word “no” a bad one, they’ll be more inclined to remain honest with you when you make a request that’s out of their realm of possibility.

Sometimes, this is all it takes to repair your current relationship. If, however, you’re still left feeling unfulfilled afterward, move onto the next steps to find a replacement.

Consider Your Needs

What are you looking for in a digital agency? If you’ve got a solid content team, make sure your agency will work with them, rather than taking that over for you.

If you’re focused on E-commerce, choose an agency that specializes in it.

If you need a full-service approach, there are plenty of options out there, but sometimes, it’s hard to be good at everything.

Remember this during your evaluations. Start with a basic search.

If you don’t have any companies to investigate in mind, turn to your favorite search engine to get a decent place to start. Ask friends and colleagues for recommendations, as well. 

Take a look at the websites, while paying attention to:

  • Their ranking.
  • Their branding.
  • How well their services match what you’re looking for.
  • Their ability to tell a story.

Then, make note of the ones you are most interested in connecting with, but don’t reach out yet.

Related Article: Email Marketing: 6 Growth Hacks for Building Your Email List in 2016

Go to Social Media

Search for the company on Facebook and Twitter. On Twitter especially, you’ll be able to see some customer feedback, and get a glimpse at how the company handles customer service.

Plus, you’ll be able to get an idea of how they manage their own social accounts.

One thing to keep in mind as you scour Twitter for mentions of the company, is there are rival companies who could be out to slander their competition.

It’s critical to look at the person who tweeted to see if the sole purpose of their account is to speak negatively about others.

If that’s the case, take it with a grain of salt and move on.

Take to online review sites to learn more about the companies you’re most interested in, to see if those match the general opinions you picked up on with other channels.

Weed out any potential companies you’re no longer interested in.

Ask for References and Then Check Them

By now, you should have a decent idea of which companies you’d like to work with. It’s time to contact them and learn a bit more about them.

They’re going to try to sell you of course, it’s their job to wow you enough to become a client.

During your conversation, ask for references from previous clients. Follow up with those references to discover more about the agency’s experience.

Keep notes for each reference so you have them to review as you make your decision.

Comb the list one more time to remove any additional agencies you’re no longer interested in.

Time to Decide

With notes about each agency left on your list in hand, do a side-by-side comparison.

While you should consider price as a deciding factor, it’s important to remember that price isn’t always an indication of quality.

The more expensive agencies may not always provide the best service, and the cheaper agencies may not provide the worst.

Once you’ve a decision, reach out to the company again and let them know you’re interested in signing on as a client.

Follow their on-boarding steps, and you’ve got yourself a digital agency partner to help your business grow.

Related Article: Making It Count: How Much of Your Budget Should Really Go To Marketing?

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