Lost in a sea of digital noise? Can’t seem to cut through the clutter to reach your target audience? These are signs that it may be time to bring in experts by contracting with a digital marketing agency. 

These professionals are the mapmakers of the online world, carving the right pathways to amplify your brand, capture your audience, and drive measurable results. But with so many agencies out there, how do you separate the best from the rest? 

Because we know it can be a difficult decision, we’re here to give you the inside scoop on how to hire a digital marketing agency that doesn’t just talk the talk but delivers real success.

We’ll guide you through the process step-by-step here, but for a deeper dive, check out Part 3 of our Finding the Right Client-Agency Fit series. 

1. Define Your Purpose

Why are you seeking a digital marketing agency? Is it to propel your business forward with growth? To streamline your resources and let the experts handle the heavy lifting?

Whatever your driving force, having a clear purpose is an essential starting point. And if you’ve experienced disappointments from past marketing missteps, doing so with laser-sharp clarity is even more vital. 

Think of your purpose as your North Star. It will guide your conversations, set the right intentions, and define your goals from the start. It’s also a solid way to start your collaboration with a digital marketing agency off on the right foot. 

2. Assess Your Needs

Before you get serious about your digital marketing search, take an honest look at your specific needs. For example: 

  • If you need to optimize your resources, list the tasks or strategies you want the agency to handle. 
  • If you lack the technical expertise of paid ads or CRO, take an inventory of your current reality. 
  • If you need content marketing magic to boost your brand, determine (if even a general idea) what you’d like to put out there. 

With a clear understanding of what you need, you’ll be able to discern the agencies that truly “get” your business from the ones that may not be a good fit. 

3. Understand Your Brand Identity and Voice

In many words, your brand’s voice and identity set you apart from the competition. The agency you bring on board should not only understand these traits but should be able to embody them through their strategy. There are a couple of things you can prepare ahead of time to streamline this phase of the vetting process. 

Staying True to Your Brand Guidelines

Share your branding guidelines with prospective partners to ensure they can integrate your brand’s look, feel, and messaging into marketing campaigns. 

Locating and Speaking to Your Target Audience

A large part of this is zeroing in on your target audience—these are the people with whom your campaigns need to resonate on a deeper level. 

Don’t underestimate the importance of these aspects. You’re hiring an agency, of course, but you’re also bringing them behind the curtain of your brand. Your marketing partner absolutely needs a keen grasp on who you’re talking to and how. 

4. Set Clear Goals and Success Metrics

You’d never team up with a business partner and simply hope for the best. The same should go for the marketing agency you hire. 

Define measurable objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs) that tie back to your purpose and paint a vivid picture of what success looks like for your business. Here are a few common KPI categories, but the ones you decide to zone in on depend on your goals: 

  • Site traffic
  • Engagement
  • Lead generation
  • Conversions
  • Email marketing
  • Social media
  • Return on investment (ROI)

It’s a good idea to have some hard numbers and tangible metrics that leave no room for ambiguity, but remember: The agency can help refine these metrics during discussions. They should be able to align them with industry benchmarks and your unique objectives. 

5. Invest Strategically

Let’s be real—stellar digital marketing is definitely an investment, but it’s an investment in your company’s future that can yield significant returns when done right. 

Get a good idea of budget considerations based on your:

  • Industry landscape
  • Competition
  • Current brand standing
  • Unique goals
  • Available resources 

Leverage tools like budget calculators and industry cost resources to align your budget with your objectives. You don’t want to just throw money at a strategy. Instead, invest intentionally in a viable solution. 

It may go without saying, but for good measure, we think it’s important to mention: The cheapest option isn’t always the best. Sometimes, you’ve got to be willing to spend a little more to land an agency that understands your vision enough to deliver results even your CFO can brag about. 

6. Vet Potential Agencies

Knowing how to hire a digital marketing agency requires a good sense of what’s out there. There are plenty to choose from, and even if the very first consultation feels like a perfect fit, it’s best to dig deeper to get to the heart of the agency in question. 

This means asking critical questions during the vetting process to ensure the agency aligns with your goals, values, and expectations. Consider factors like: 

  • Implementation strategies
  • Progress measurement
  • Content quality
  • Brand alignment
  • Team composition
  • Reporting frequency
  • Contract terms
  • AI policies

Approach this process with a leave-no-stone-unturned mindset. Any agency worth hiring will come to the table ready to share any and all of the above with you. 

7. Embrace the Marketing Agency Onboarding Process

Once you’ve green-lit a marketing agency, the onboarding process begins. This is where the groundwork is laid for a solid partnership.  

Expect an initial sync, which will give you the chance to get acquainted with the team and start building rapport. Next comes the kickoff meeting to discuss goals and strategies (where you’ll delve into your business’s wins and challenges), proposal development (the roadmap that will guide your strategy), and contract finalization (the moment that makes things official).

Then, the agency can hit the ground running to put its expertise and vision into action. 

Approach the marketing agency’s onboarding process with open arms and a willingness to collaborate and communicate freely. It’s the foundation on which your relationship is built. 

Learn More About Hiring a Digital Marketing Agency

We know there’s a lot to consider when learning how to hire a digital marketing agency. The comprehensive insights we explore in our Finding the Right Client-Agency Fit series can help you know exactly what to expect as you go through the process. Read the full article here: 

So You’re Ready to Hire and Onboard a Marketing Agency. Now What?

And if you’d like to chat with somebody here at Big Leap directly, don’t hesitate to reach out.