6 hallmarks of a great digital marketing agency

What to look out for when you source a digital marketing agency

1. They reply to your emails, call back when they say they will and deliver on time.

This could just be balled up into one heading called “ reliability ”.

I have had no end of digital marketing agencies tell me how great they are and yet somehow miss every deadline they’ve ever set themselves. It’s massively frustrating as a client and it really doesn’t bode well at all if they are late delivering their initial project, pitch or are generally tardy in correspondence. If they can’t be bothered before they’ve landed you as a client, trust me, they won’t be any better once you sign on the dotted line.

2. They are open and honest about their capabilities.

Transparency ” is a word which gets thrown around in digital marketing circles. Just how transparent an agency can be when dealing with you is a sign of their trustworthiness. If you ask about PR and they give you a woolly answer around being “able to find something for you maybe…” They probably aren’t the people for you.

If they tell you it isn’t their specialty but they can certainly look into it for you, that’s more appealing to me than a “yeeeeah sure we can do it all, no problem” kind of a sales response.

3. They’re realistic about what they can produce and the timescales they can produce them in.

Again, it comes back to point #1. If they can produce millions in turnover in a very short time, ask yourself why they haven’t retired already!

Big promises usually come back to bite one or the other of you. If it feels too good to be true, it probably i s .

4. They produce plans & update you as to their progress, successes and failures.

Robert Burns once said: “ The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men/Gang aft a-gley, [often go awry]

Agencies tend to get themselves in a tangle when things aren’t going as expected. Excuses like “you don’t spend enough”, “your website isn’t good enough”, or “you didn’t tell us X, Y & Z” are usually brought out when an agency is on the defensive.

Plans are great to know what progress should be made by what timescale. Things do sometimes hinder those plans and your agency should feel empowered to inform you of them, rather than skirting around endless figures to try and make themselves look good.

5. They support your growth plans and don’t force their own agenda.

I’ve worked with a creative agency over the years who were excellent at just that, being creative. They did some spectacular branding but when it came to eCommerce they were slow to deliver, expensive and unreliable. Every problem we encountered was “build a new website” no matter how minute the issue.

Needless to say this relationship didn’t last beyond the new platform project.

6. Personality

If the personality doesn’t feel like the right fit, it probably isn’t.

Do not discount the importance of personality. Does the person in front of you relate to you? Do they see the world in a similar way to you or can they at least understand it? Do you feel comfortable that this person will interpret your vision effectively?

Personality and “fit” is a huge factor. If it doesn’t feel like a good fit… it probably isn’t .

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