Hiring an advertising agency is a big step for many businesses. This is especially true when hiring a digital agency. There are many different components to digital advertising, search, social, display, video etc. And, there is the technical side to digital starting with website development.  As you go through the process of considering who will help you with this critical task be aware of these 6 secrets your digital agency isn’t sharing.

Your Project is Being Outsourced

When we hire an agency, we assume that all of the work will be done by that agency. That is not always the case. Is outsourcing bad? Not necessarily. However, you should know who is doing what. When it comes to technical work language and teamwork are less of an issue. But designing a website will require people with different skill sets coordinating the effort. And obviously, language iteself is critical. Being able to speak directly with the people doing the work will help the project move faster and deliver a product you are proud of.

You Don’t Actually Own Your Site

Unfortunately, we meet with prospects who wish to work with a new agency but can’t because they do not own their own site. In some cases, they don’t even own the url. Changing agencies then becomes expensive and time-consuming. Always have a direct relationship with your domain provider and own/pay for your url directly. When contracting to have a website built make sure you own it. And require that the platform used is open-source, like WordPress. Some agencies will use a proprietary system. Even if you “own” it you cannot move it because only the agency who built it knows the code. Understand all of the license agreements for graphics or content used on your site.

SEO Takes Time

Many agencies do not want to acknowledge how long it will take for SEO to show results. There are a number of factors that influence how a search engine ranks a site. And, even if you could improve all of them in a week it will still take the search engine time to index the changes. Many important ranking factors require time to be effective. Putting out 20 blogs in a week will not impress Google. But put them out over 20 weeks and it will have more effect. Same with reviews. The reality is that it takes three to six months to start moving  the needle and often even longer to see significant change. And if the agency is going to “guarantee page 1 of Google” run the other way.

We are Not a Fit

Before hiring an agency, outline your company goals and desired outcomes. Why are you looking for a digital marketing agency in the first place?   Knowing your objectives will aid in selecting the correct agency. No one agency will be great at everything. Some are strong at advertising, others do great creative and still others are super in social etc. Make sure their strengths match up with your goals.

Our Dashboard Is Marked Up

Many agencies are very proud of their custom dashboards. They are certainly useful in gathering information in one place. But beware of the pricing. Only the agency knows the actual cost of the media. Every business is entitled to make a profit. But how much do you think is fair? If you are looking for transparency in reporting, ask the agency what their commission is. If they are willing to let you log into the media dashboard (ex. Google or Facebook) and pay the media directly, you will be assured of paying what you agreed. Then, pay the agency their management fee directly.

Your Metrics are Up, Your KPI’s are Down

Digital reporting can be full of numbers which purport to show how well you are doing. Know the difference between a metric and a KPI. A Key Performing Indicator (KPI) provides objective evidence of progress towards an agreed upon goal. A metric is just a quantifiable number or data point. As an example, you may consider a form-fill on your website a conversion. You can demonstrate that more conversions lead to more sales. Therefore, a form-fill is a KPI. If your website visits increase by 20% but your form-fills decrease by 10% you are not progressing towards your goal of increased sales. KPI’s should be agreed upon by agency and client in advance.

Hiring A Digital Marketing Agency

Hiring an agency is about knowing the questions to ask. Before you begin the process, clarify your business goals and objectives. Know what you are looking for in an agency. The right hire can advance your business substantially. A bad hire can set you back. Remember the 6 secrets your digital agency isn’t sharing. Make sure they don’t happen to you.