In the competitive and increasingly saturated B2B market, it’s never been more important for you to have outstanding marketing strategies. When it comes to implementing digital marketing goals in 2014, 33% of B2B companies said a lack of strategic planning was holding them back. Finding a digital marketing agency that specialises in B2B is a great way to boost results, as long as they are right for your company and sector.
How not to do it…and what to do instead
The most dangerous move you can make is choosing the first digital marketing agency that you come across. It’s tempting to want to get the ball rolling as soon as possible by going with that one recommendation you received from a friend, but why rush when your company’s success is on the line? You might run into future problems and not get the results you hoped for. This in turn could make you end the contract early and incur financial penalties!
There are many digital marketing agencies who claim to manage B2B campaigns, but will have very different approaches to each other. By doing some research, you are much more likely to discover an agency that will be the perfect fit.
So invest some time in finding an agency that will bring long-term rewards to your B2B marketing strategies.
- Do a Google search for B2B digital marketing agencies
- Look at reviews on credible websites
- Ask a number of trustworthy people in your business network
Next, draw up a shortlist of ‘candidates’ to read up on and get in touch with, to learn more about them
What are their ideas?
When you make that initial call to a digital marketing agency, make sure that you explain your business, its B2B needs and goals. Then you can give them an opportunity to share their ideas. A good agency will understand what you have told them and adapt their ideas to maximise chances of success. If they don’t demonstrate creativity, flexibility and evidence-backed proposals, you should look elsewhere. Here are some helpful pointers when discussing ideas with an agency:
- What they can tell you about previous clients in your industry
- How they can back up ideas with facts and figures
- What has worked for similar B2B clients before
- What are the latest innovations in digital marketing
What experience do they have?
A good digital marketing agency will tell you about their experience on their website, particularly under ‘About Us’ and ‘Case Studies’. Look out for how many years the company has been in business, whether they have accreditations or are part of any organisations and networks, and the sorts of clients they have worked with. Testing whether their staff knows the company’s background and history well is another indication of credibility.
What accreditations/qualifications do they have?
Accreditations and qualifications not only demonstrate great experience, but the quality of the agency’s services. For example, B2B digital marketing agencies gain respect in their sector by being a Google Partner. Becoming a Google Partner requires an agency to have a good working relationship with Google, including advanced use of Google Adwords.
Awards act as a form of accreditation, such as Big Chip and The Revolution Awards. They prove that an independent panel of marketing experts have recognised the agency. You should also look at agency websites to find out more about their staff’s qualifications, particularly managers and directors. These don’t have to be academic qualifications; they could be chairs of industry organisations for example. More on the Google Parner accreditation can be found here: JDR Group Achieve Google Partner Status
How will they communicate?
Everyone is different, therefore every digital marketing agency will have a slightly different communication style. However it’s important to choose an agency that will make it clear what you can expect from them from the start. Some of the things to look out for are:
- Regular reports to outline the performance of your B2B marketing strategies
- Regular meetings whether they are online webinars, over the phone or in person
- Following up on issues and replying to all emails promptly
- Sharing relevant B2B digital marketing updates with you that might improve your service
- Making updates to your campaigns and strategies to stay ahead of the competition
- Close communication and collaboration within the agency
All of these demonstrate a high standard of communication within an agency. They show that all of your B2B marketing objectives will be met and that your satisfaction is the main priority.
How will they measure the campaign?
Whether your B2B business is using a Social Media, SEO, branding, web design or Google Adwords (PPC) campaign, your chosen digital marketing agency will have to monitor and measure performance closely. This requires clear, planned and scheduled activity in the campaign, such as:
- Budget and spending checks
- Ad rank checks on various search engines
- Scheduled Social Media posting
- Split testing website landing pages
- Use of reporting programmes such as Google Analytics
Having a solid backing of analytical measurement is essential if you want to keep up with the digital marketing revolution. Last year alone, an average of 27 million pieces of online content was shared every day and Google made over 600 improvements to its algorithms. You will see how your B2B marketing is progressing online by receiving well-organised and thorough data on your campaign.
Asking yourself these questions when investigating your shortlist of agencies is going to make choosing the right one a lot easier. Your B2B digital marketing efforts will be so much more effective and profitable once you find the best-matched agency partner.
Article by Laura Wootton