5 Questions to Ask as You Pick Your Digital Marketing Partner
Selecting a digital marketing partner is an important decision, one that can determine whether or not your digital efforts will deliver the best ROI possible. Every potential partner will want your business, but that doesn’t always mean they’re the right fit. You need to approach the decision thoughtfully, and screen your potential partners for deeper information that goes beyond a convincing pitch.
We’ve put together five of the most important questions to ask potential digital marketing partners before you sign on the dotted line. Each of these questions is designed to get to the heart of how a potential partner can best serve your business goals with their expertise. We’ll take a look at not only why each is important, but what kind of answers you should expect to hear from companies that will suit your needs.
5 Questions to Ask Potential Digital Marketing Partners
1. Have You Done This Before?
Hiring an agency is an investment into your company as much as it is an investment into theirs. You need a partner that can provide proven digital results, so be sure to ask questions about previous and current clients, the work they produced, and data about their results. Testimonials are a good start, but case studies are a must. Good case studies will provide insights on their current and previous clients, how those clients’ needs were met, and how satisfied clients were with their work.
For example, at Hubbard Chicago, we have a library of case studies that point directly to positive impacts. Through our partnership with a Chicago auto dealership, look-alike modeling and targeted display advertising directly improved sales after just one month. We’ve provided customize digital solutions for a number of other brands, including Wannemakers Home and Garden (boosted in-store and online traffic with PPC and display ads) and Naperville Park District (boosted fitness center memberships and increased member activity with display advertising).
It may be tempting to try out a new agency that doesn’t have a thorough track record yet, especially if the price is right. Every company has to start somewhere, after all. However, remember that you usually get what you pay for, and inexperience may cost you in ROI. What’s more, if you’re going to take this risk — and it is a risk — be sure the people at the company have personal track records of success. They should be willing to provide you with whatever data they can to prove their value.
2. Do You Know My Audience?
The right digital marketing partners will be experienced in your industry. This directly influences their ability to understand relevant market shifts and trends, anticipate your needs, and correctly identify and reach your audience. They need to be capable of developing campaigns and creative that will speak to your audience’s needs and pain points while leveraging the appropriate digital channels to reach them.
At Hubbard Chicago, we’re proud of our experience in automotive, retail, home improvement, healthcare, and other industries. We are confident in our ability to develop amazing results for partners in these areas, and the agency you choose should have the same confidence, as well as the proof to back it up.
3. What Are Your Digital Capabilities?
Not all digital media agencies offer the same services. For instance, if you partner with a company that offers social media management, PPC, and display advertising, but where you need to start is redesigning your website, establishing landing pages, and SEO, that agency cannot meet your needs. By the same token, if your partner is only capable of website development but you also need social media management and display ads, you’ll need to find another agency to provide additional services.
Be sure the partner you choose isn’t offering generic strategies and waiting to see what sticks. Hubbard Chicago’s in-house, full-service digital marketing agency, 2060 Digital, is capable of delivering customized and integrated solutions.
4. What’s Our First Step?
This question may seem obvious, but it’s actually a critical test of your potential partner’s expertise. There’s only one correct answer to this question: Get to know your company and your goals.
The best tools and technology in the world cannot yield the results you need if they’re not directly addressing your goals. Strategic thinking and comprehensive services are the only way to truly deliver the best ROI possible. At Hubbard Chicago, we start every client relationship — no matter the type of services they’re initially interested in — with a deep dive into their needs, goals, pain points, and past efforts to see where they are and where they need to go.
5. When Will I See Results?
You may think that the answer to this question should be “immediately,” but a promise like that is almost certainly too good to be true. No matter the platform, marketing takes time, especially if you want to see results that are more than just a flash in the pan. In a post from HubSpot, John Bonini touched on how long it can take to see real results from blogging, emphasizing that forecasting results is only as good as the effort and persistence put into creating a volume of valuable content to drive visibility. He achieved significant growth in organic traffic (583%) over the course of a year by consistently publishing content that provided value to his audience (based on ideal personas) on a daily basis. The answer you receive from a potential partner should be one that seems realistic based on strategy.
It’s equally important to ensure the digital agency you’re considering is truly results driven. Their answer to, “When will I see results?” ought to include how they will keep you in the loop and report on progress, as well as a willingness and ability to make adjustments during digital campaigns to maximize your ROI. Be sure to inquire about how they’ll distinguish between vanity metrics and metrics that actually indicate success. Consider this thought experiment: If a PPC campaign has significant CTR and generates high traffic on landing pages, but those pages also see high bounce rates, was the campaign actually effective? The right media partner should be focused on delivering real results that help your business grow.
Partnering with a digital marketing agency is an investment, not an expense. Choose your partner carefully in order to see the best return on that investment — and the best results for your digital campaigns. Use the questions we’ve outlined above to help you gauge the value each potential digital marketing partner can provide.