July 13, 2011 · 3 min read
Choosing the right digital agency
Knowing how to choose the right digital agency is the first step to a successful online marketing strategy. Whether it’s a new website, a Facebook app, or improving your SEO tactics, who you work with is just as important as the project itself. We’ve put together a list of tips to help you choose the right digital agency for your business.
1. In-house team: The more work an agency does in-house, the more control it (and ultimately its clients) will have over a project. Once agencies start to outsource their work, communication can hinder or slow down progress, not to mention the problems that could occur if you ever wanted to change anything. Also, in-house agencies tend to offer better services because their teams are more aware of the overall project, rather than separate parts of it.
2. Relevant portfolio: Not only should an agency have a strong sample of work from a variety of clients, but the work also needs to be relevant to your project. Checking portfolios is a great way to see how agency skills match up to your needs. So, for example, if you want to develop a Facebook app , make sure the agency you choose has experience making them.
3. Additional services: A digital agency’s role shouldn’t stop when the project is delivered, so make sure you get the most out of your relationship. Good agencies will often offer training on how to maintain your new venture, follow up with technical support, and provide some sort of warrantee on their project’s code.
4. A reliable contact: Because online marketing can be complicated and long-lasting, choose an agency that assigns you a consistent project manager. This will ensure that you know exactly who to contact and that at least one person knows what is going on with your account at all times. Many agencies will send upper-level managers to give the pitch and eventually hand the project to a junior; ask up front who you will be working with and when you can meet them.
5. The best technology: In order to maintain a competitive advantage and adhere to security standards, choose a digital agency that can offer you the best technology available. There are many solutions to the same project so ask your agency what technology they plan to use and why they have chosen it over others. If they can’t give you a good answer, find an agency that can.
6. Creativity: The digital industry relies heavily on creativity and your online marketing needs to compete on that level. Make sure the agency you choose has a creative flair to its work, whether that involves beautiful design, interesting concepts, or the unique use of technology.
7. A strong track record: In addition to well-developed projects, check on the results a digital agency gets. This includes facts and figures of their previous work, as well as whether or not they have long-term clients. This will give you a better idea of what you can expect when working with them.
8. Understand company briefs: An agency needs to be able to understand your requirements in order to deliver the best service. So although its great if an agency can produce amazing work, it won’t help at all if the final outcome is different from what you actually wanted. Check the agency’s previous work and ask how it fit with their clients’ briefs.
9. Follow the industry’s best practices: There are a lot of companies offering cheap online marketing, unfortunately many of those agencies end up using “black hat” techniques to improve their results (especially in regards to SEO tactics). While this may work for a short time, your project may eventually be penalised by the likes of Google, Yahoo and Facebook, who are constantly weeding out online marketing that doesn’t comply with their best practices policies. Make sure the agency you use doesn’t put your project at risk by taking shortcuts.
10. Partnership: At the end of the day, this is your digital project so find an agency that strives to keep you in the loop throughout. The agency should welcome your input and constantly take in your feedback while guiding you on how these ideas can best be translated online. Agencies that treat clients like partners offer a smoother experience during the development process and a final project that better meets client’s expectations.
With these few tips, you’ll be well on your way to finding the digital agency that is right for you. We like to think we’ve got a shot at being your ideal choice, so give us a call and we’ll tell you more.