Does Internet Marketing Through An Agency Really Work?
You're probably expecting the straight answer "Yes" here – but it can be hard to believe this if you've had bad experiences with an agency in the past. However, all agencies are different, and the best ones are successful for the simple reason that their strategies genuinely work at delivering greater growth and profits for their customers! Working with an agency is both an investment and a relationship. Getting the best results requires some input on both sides and time to really understand each other and work with each other’s strengths. In the same way as it takes a new employee a while to find their feet and achieve full productivity, you should expect a period of ‘onboarding’ and assimilation before you start seeing concrete results from your agency partner.
This being said, there are ways to approach working with an agency to maximise your ROI and get the leads flowing as quickly as possible.
It's not hard to think of potentially negative outcomes from working with an agency. For instance, an agency may try to pressure you into signing up for a package that isn’t best suited for your needs. The agency may not have the experience or the resources to deliver on their promises. Or it may simply be a case of poor value for money, such as paying top rates for services that are simply not what you need. Serious issues – such as dishonesty – are thankfully rare when working with established agencies. However, communication issues, in which an agency misunderstands your requirements or fails to be transparent about the actions they’re undertaking on your behalf, are depressingly common.
Manage Your Expectations
As with most things in business, be suspicious of any agency that promises the world and claims to be able to revolutionise your business's effectiveness and profitability overnight. These things can happen, but they're usually because of a combination of factors, including but not limited to your approach to online marketing – and such wide scale changes rarely happen overnight. Look for agencies that have a realistic view of what they can help you achieve, rather than over-promising – something that risks ending in tears. Perhaps most of all, good digital marketing agencies know the value of communication. They'll keep in touch with you all the way, with regular updates on what they're doing and why, as well as listening to your feedback and queries.
How Can You Choose A Good Agency?
Finding a trustworthy agency with which you can build a strong, enduring relationship can seem daunting with so many options available. But following these key tips should get you off to a great start.
- Do your research – Don't just take an agency's advertising at face value. Ask plenty of questions, especially asking for evidence of their claims and realistic expectations of how your company could benefit. Case studies and third-party reviews are good examples. Be clear on the agency’s process for working with their clients and that it fits with your expectations.
- Be wary of wild claims – If an agency's promotional material insists that it "you'll be a top Google hit in a flash!" then the alarm bells should go off. That sort of claim suggests a lack of realism and professionalism. However, it’s reasonable to expect the agency to provide an approximate timeframe for when results will start coming through, so you can forecast your ROI. Caginess about this could imply a lack of experience.
- Don't be seduced by fame – The biggest names aren't always the best choices for your business. For many SMEs, local knowledge is crucial, and regionally-based agencies like JDR may be stronger here. Ask around and compare the replies you get.
Not all digital marketing agencies are the same. Working with a trusted specialist is likely to be a completely different experience from using a fly-by-night company for the same job. Pick your agency carefully and you greatly increase your chances of a successful partnership.
Image source: Stock Unlimited