7 Steps to Pick the Right Digital Marketing Agency for Your Business

When you’re planning to spend money on a digital marketing agency, you want to know that your money is going to good use. Navigating the world of digital marketing is a daunting task for most business owners whose time is already spread thin. Many need a trustworthy and competent digital partner to manage their online marketing needs.

Investing in a partnership with a digital marketing agency is critical in today’s fast-paced digital world – but wasting money on an inexperienced or ineffective firm does more harm than good. There’s nothing more frustrating than blowing an already-strained budget on an agency that doesn’t give you the results that you want and need.

Choosing the right digital marketing firm is crucial to your bottom line. The wrong one can quickly drain your budget and negatively impact your branding. So, here is my recommended strategy for finding a digital marketing agency that can help your business grow.

Digital Marketing Agency

1- Understand your needs and your budget

The first step in the process is understanding your needs. The better you can describe your business needs in terms of website, search engine optimization (SEO), advertising, social media, and graphic design, the better your conversations will be with prospective digital agencies.

You should also understand your budget and what you are willing to spend. There is no set price — you are not buying a radiator for your car. A good marketer should be able to work with any reasonable budget and set your expectations accordingly. For instance, a restaurant is going to have a large amount of social media work and not much advertising, while a plumbing business typically has a high spend on advertising and low social media needs.

Understanding your needs and budget is the first step in choosing the right digital marketing agency.

2- Make Sure You Define Your Expectations

Before you even set out to work with an agency, identify and clarify your expectations. Miscommunications hinder results. Now, this isn’t all on you. Your digital marketing agency should have a proven process by which they immerse themselves in your business. Be on the lookout to see if they are asking the right questions to learn about your brand and goals.

Marketing Expectation

3- Demand full transparency

Lack of transparency is the most basic and also the most overlooked red flag. Review an agency’s website and, if you don’t see an address, bios and a client list, then this agency is likely not worth your time. If an agency looks like it is hiding something, then it probably is. It’s that simple. For example, there are many offshore agencies making big promises with cheap rates.

Most of our clients come to us immediately after a bad experience, and more often than not, there is little information on the websites of their previous agencies. Full transparency should be the first criterion when choosing the right digital agency for your business. You can ask them if they are going to give you an access to live reporting or real-time marketing dashboard.

Marketing Dashboard

4- Find an agency that doesn’t make you sign contracts you can’t get out of

Good agencies won’t try to lock you into long contracts. They’ll give you control of how long you work with them. Rather than holding you to a contract you can’t get out of if their marketing efforts aren’t working, they’ll instead do their best to deliver great results in order to keep you around.

“Marketing is an investment, It’s an investment in people and time and money that must be nurtured and worked at in order to be optimized.”

5- Consider the client, agency and technical sides

Most marketers talk about the client and agency sides. You are either on one side or the other. But there is a third side that is often overlooked and often the most important: the technical side.

Understanding website development technologies is critical to any marketing strategy. The website is your mothership and must be built and hosted properly. Ask your potential account manager what sides of this triad they have had past working experiences. If their career has taken them to all three, jackpot! They most likely have a well-rounded view of digital marketing.

Account managers that have had experience working on both the client and agency sides have an advantage in developing digital strategies because of their operational experience. Thinking outside the box is very important in digital marketing and innovative ideas often derive from operational experiences.

6- Try to Meet Face to Face

In today’s world it might be difficult to physically meet with people in your digital marketing agency, but thankfully you should be able to video chat. Set up a time to meet in person or virtually with the experts so that you can know, exactly, who you will be working with. It’s helpful to put a face to a name, particularly to your dedicated account manager.

Digital Marketing Proposal

7- Send a Request for a Proposal

You are an expert in your business, and that’s why it’s important to make sure that your request for proposal contains relevant information that a digital marketing agency would need to develop an effective strategy.

Talk about your brand background and how you’re currently positioned. Explain who your target customers or consumers are, and describe your budget and timeline. A lot of your questions about the agency’s approach should be answered with their proposal.

Find The Value, Not The Price!

The cost will obviously be a consideration when it comes down to your final decision, but you shouldn’t go with whoever has the cheapest rate. The least expensive agency will rarely offer you the best value. Ask instead what you get for your money, and form a clear understanding of what’s expected from each of you. This can help you have the confidence that your money isn’t being wasted, rather invested in your company’s future.

3 Website A/B Testing Tools

A/B testing is becoming more and more common as teams realize how important it is for a website’s success.

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The Web is a huge, competitive marketplace with very few (if any) untapped markets, meaning that being successful by offering something unique is rare. Much more common is that you’re competing for the business of your customers with several other websites, so attempting to convert every visitor into a customer or upselling/cross-selling your services better could make all the difference to your bottom line.

Due to this, the market for A/B testing tools and CRO (conversion rate optimization) tools is growing exponentially. But choosing one can be quite a time-consuming challenge, so in this article, I’ll compare the best A/B testing tools to help you decide which is most suitable for you or your team.

A/B testing is about experimenting with visual and content changes to see which results in more conversions.A/B testing often follows usability testing as a means of testing a solution to a flaw in the user experience identified using metrics like bounce rate in an analytics tool like Google Analytics, and thanks to the depth and quality of A/B testing tools available now, A/B testing is accessible to designers as well as marketers and developers.

 

1. Optimizely

Optimizely is one of the leading — if not the leading — A/B testing and CRO tools on the market today. It offers analytics tools to suit users of all levels and a multitude of A/B testing tools. (You could think of it as the Google Analytics of A/B testing, with a much simpler user interface.)

Consider this scenario: You have an eCommerce store built with Magento. You’re aware that in certain cases it may benefit stores to add a one-step checkout solution instead of the standard multi-page checkout, but you’re not sure if your store fits that use case. You need to test both options and compare the results with/without the one-step checkout experience. You know that running two versions of the checkout simultaneously requires changes to the code, which is a complex matter.

With Optimizely, you can send a certain amount of your users to a totally separate checkout experience to collect conversion data. If the experiment yields negative results, you delete the experiment and the original checkout web page still exists and works fine. No harm was done.

With their Web Experimentation tool, which offers an easy-to-use visual editor to create A/B tests without requiring a developer (optional), the ability to target specific user types and segments, and create experiments on any device, Optimizely has all your bases covered.

Although you can run A/B tests without a developer, your variations can be more targeted (for example, your variations can go beyond color, layout and content changes) if you have the skills and/or resources to develop custom experiments with code. By integrating your A/B tests into your code, you can serve different logic and test major changes before pushing them live.

Also, if your product extends beyond the web, Optimizely works with iOS, tvOS and Android apps. Optimizely’s Full Stack integrations make it possible to integrate A/B tests into virtually any codebase, including Python, Java, Ruby, Node, PHP, C#, Swift, and Android.

2. Google Optimize

Google Optimize is a free, easy-to-use tool that integrates directly with your Google Analytics Events and Goals to make A/B testing quick and easy! It’s ideal for traditional A/B testing, focusing on comparing different CTA (call to action) elements, colors, and content.

Developers aren’t required for implementing Google Optimize since it’s as simple as adding a line of JavaScript to your website and then customizing your layout with the visual editor. With this, you can change the content, layout, colors, classes, and HTML of any element within your page.

It’s not as sophisticated as Optimizely, since it doesn’t allow you to create custom experiments with code/developers, but it’s free. It’s great for those starting out with A/B testing. For each Google Optimize experiment, you’ll need to specify which Google Analytics Goals or Events will be the baseline for your A/B tests. For example, if you were A/B testing a product page, you could use an “Add To Basket” event that you’ve defined in Google Analytics to evaluate which of your variations converts the best. The Google Analytics report then gives you a clear indication of which variation converts best. It’s ideal for those on a low budget!

Just don’t get carried away, as Google famously once did, by testing 40 different shades of blue to see which converted best!

3. Unbounce

Unbounce focuses on landing pages and convertible tools. Convertible tools use triggers, scenario-based overlays and sticky bars to A/B test offers and messages to learn when, where and why your visitors convert. An example? If a user tries to leave your site, they’re shown a discount code in a modal or a sticky header, and a test will determine which is more effective.

Landing pages can be an amazing way to validate your ideas, build excitement around a new product, and/or re-engage dormant customers. The problem with them is that they can result in false positives. If you get very few conversions you may feel like your idea is invalidated or demand for the new product doesn’t exist, when in reality users were just unimpressed and/or unconvinced by the landing. Unbounce helps you to determine what your landing is missing.

While you can choose from over 100 responsive templates designed for many markets, goals, and scenarios, and then customize it with your own content using their drag and drop UI, you can also integrate Unbounce with your own design, making a terrific solution for designers and marketers who need to collaborate. Unbounce also works with Zapier and Mailchimp, so data can be transferred across the other apps and tools that marketers use.

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Author: Jamie Murphy
Source: sitepoint.com

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