Choosing the right digital marketing agency for your business can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. We’ve created this list of questions for you to ask yourself so that you can be sure to pick the agency that’s the best fit for the growth of your business.
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How much should I be spending on marketing?
We recommend using this planner to find this answer. Knowing these numbers will put you 10 steps ahead when you start to research and take discovery calls with agencies. A good agency will ask you, “What is your marketing budget?” during the initial consultation. If they don’t ask you this, think twice about working with them.
Should I hire in-house or go with an agency?
Next, you’re probably wondering, “OK, I know what I should be spending on marketing. Should I hire in-house or go with an agency?”
You’re likely going to want one or two in-house team members who work directly with the agency. This works well because the in-house team knows your brand and business inside out. The agency should be there to support them and go super deep on driving results and top-line revenue.
What should my marketing mix be?
This depends on several factors like how long have you been in business? What does your site traffic look like? If you’re a brand new business we would advise you to lean in heavily to Facebook and focus on getting new eyes on your brand. Facebook is best for bringing awareness and creating demand for your product. During the first 6 months to a year of business, you may spend 80% of your variable marketing budget on Paid Social ads for Facebook and Instagram. Working with influencers to increase engagement with your paid ads is also a great way to get the most out of your digital spend. If your product is highly sought after and there isn’t a list of competitors in your space, Google and Google shopping can be a good place to start, but most new brands don’t have that luxury.
If you’re a well-established business, I would recommend spending 50-60% of your budget on Google – branded, non-branded, and shopping ads. If you have extra money YouTube is great for awareness but has low conversion value. I would spend the remaining budget in Paid Social or to support a strong referral and loyalty program. It is much more affordable over the long term to launch a strategic email program encouraging repeat purchases along with a robust friend-to-friend referral program.
What should my ROAS (Return On Ad Spend) be?
If you are a relatively mature business (2-3 years old), ROAS should ultimately be determined by your profit margin. If you have a 30% profit margin you want to strive to get your ad spend to be at least a 4 ROAS so that you know your digital marketing efforts are actually making you money. If you have a 10% profit margin, we would recommend determining ways to bring your costs down before spending money on marketing.
What is a “good” ROAS?
A good ROAS is a return that is making you a profit. We would recommend spending money on Brand Terms with Google to protect your brand and capture the highest intent traffic, and those campaigns will have a higher ROAS. You want to also strive to have non-brand search and shopping campaigns that also run at a positive return – this is where true incremental growth comes from.
What is the pivotal moment in your business: Growth or profitability?
Are you trying to grow like gangbusters or be profitable? Knowing the answer to this will help guide your agency partner in their strategy and approach to meaningfully working with you and driving the results you’re looking for (and then some, if the agency is remarkable!)
How do I hire an agency?
If all of this sounds good to you, what’s next? Do your research. Just because an agency says they “specialize in your vertical” doesn’t mean they drive great results. Ask for proof of real results in the form of ROAS and references of current clients the agency works with.
Push the agency to share how they work so you have an understanding of what to expect before signing on with them. How often do they “touch” your account? What do they use to communicate with clients and how frequent is communication?
The “soft” stuff matters. Are they empathetic and generally “good humans”? This is a wild card and the agency you hire should care deeply about you and your business. Robots are cool for certain things, not for your agency partner.