Three steps to choosing a digital marketing agency

    3 minutes read
    Alice - 11.10.2017

    Not every company wants to work with a digital marketing agency. What’s more, not every company needs to. In fact, we’re in full support of this condition.

    What! I hear you cry. But you ARE a digital marketing agency!

    Well yes, we are. But we’ll be the first to admit that not every business is a potential client. We have a particular set of questions we use to examine our leads and qualify them as potential customers, and we fully expect them to give us the same treatment. It only seems fair, after all.

    So how should a business narrow down the overwhelming choice of agencies out there? We’ve come up with a few quick questions which might help you to form a decent shortlist.

    UPDATE OCT 2017: This blog was originally published in August 2016. Check out the bottom of this blog for some shiny new insight on what clients are looking for in a marketing agency right now.

    As an experienced inbound marketing agency, we’ve worked with brands from all backgrounds to deliver bespoke inbound strategies across a variety of channel. We help clients better identify and attract the people who matter most to their growth ambitions. Want more information? Check out our blog “Lessons from an inbound marketing agency”.

    Can they offer the support you need?

    Picture the scene – you’re in the office, at 8pm on a Tuesday. You have several full inboxes full of unread messages and a to-do list as long as your arm. Both your arms. Maybe your entire body, actually.

    Companies are often reluctant to look to a digital marketing agency for outside help. Naturally, they need to control their outgoings, and an agency retainer can seem like a significant cost.

    However, if your business is about to lose its marketing manager (that’s you) due to exploding head syndrome (ouch) then it might be time to reassess the situation.

    An annual agency retainer may cost more than hiring one more member of staff. We’re not disputing that. However, an agency can effectively provide you with a full range of marketing services from a whole team of expertly trained specialists. A team that you definitely couldn’t afford all by yourself!

    Do they ‘get’ you?

    When faced with a collection of retainer quotes. It can be tempting to plump for the cheapest option. Senior management will be pleased with your cost-cutting initiatives, and might even stretch to installing a proper coffee machine.

    But is this the best way to choose an agency? Will the most affordable option be the most effective at marketing your brand? One simple way to answer this question is by considering - do they know your industry?

    Every sector comes with its own set of industry jargon, regulatory bumf and general background trivia. This takes time to get your head around, and a generalist digital marketing agency may struggle to collaborate with a niche crowdfunded tech startup unicorn.

    Look at an agency’s current client base, previous campaigns and any awards they may have won. By assessing their credentials, you’ll be able to get a clearer picture of whether they understand your business and know how to help you succeed.

    Three steps to choosing a digital marketing agency

    Will they add real value?

    It’s all very well a new agency promising you the world on a stick. Oscar-winning video content, a series of blogs that rival Charles Dickens’ greatest works, graphic design good enough to make a blind man weep with joy…. Sound fantastic, doesn’t it?

    Fantastic, yet somewhat vague. What you really want from your digital marketing agency is a solid growth strategy that takes into account industry standards and realistic results. Some numbers might help, too. This isn’t too much to ask!

    Here at Six & Flow, we use a marketing automation platform called HubSpot to manage most of our client accounts, alongside dozens of nifty tools which help us manage blogging, social messaging, email and web content, HubSpot offers a marketing dashboard and comprehensive reporting tool to show and analyse all kinds of useful data.

    As a result, we can effortlessly display figures such as blog readership, email open rates, landing page views, call-to-action click rates, and much more. Our clients also have access to their HubSpot portal, so they can go and take a look for themselves.

    When it comes to paid channels, too, make sure your agency has strategies in place to manage your marketing budget and report back on where the money’s gone. If senior management are sensitive about annual retainers, we know they’re at least twice as concerned about your advertising costs!

    Six & Flow is well-versed in providing regular cost updates, maintaining spend trackers and tweaking campaigns to perform as best they can. Working to a given budget can be a big challenge, and luckily we’re really competitive.

    What clients want from a digital marketing agency in 2017

    RSW/US just completed its 11th annual New Year Outlook survey, which notes that 2017 is looking to be an interesting year. The survey suggests that marketers are demanding more from their agencies that ever before, and as a result, agencies and clients alike must curate strategic partnerships to stay agile and embrace new ideas and technologies which make good business sense. 

    Here at Six & Flow, we're big believers in rolling with the punches and continually perfecting our marketing strategies. As a young and fast-growing agency, we're far from being stuck in the mud. We know that marketing is a living, breathing industry, which needs an innovative and collaborative approach. In response to this, we work closely with clients to plan, assess, and develop marketing strategies that will produce the best results.

    Meanwhile, R3 recently put the average relationship length between client and marketing agency at 3.2 years. While we're only just over our second birthday celebrations, we do have some clients who have been with us from day one, and when it comes to new clients our focus is always on building strong, long-term relationships. We're not in it for cheap thrills - Six & Flow is ready to settle down with your company for good.

    If you’re looking for a digital marketing agency in Manchester, consider us for your shortlist. We might not be the one for you – we wouldn’t dare be so presumptuous – but if you deal with consumer products for a high net worth audience, why not call us for a chat. If not, happy hunting and may the odds ever be in your favour.

    As an experienced inbound marketing agency, we’ve worked with brands from all backgrounds to deliver bespoke inbound strategies across a variety of channel. We help clients better identify and attract the people who matter most to their growth ambitions. Want more information? Check out our blog “Lessons from an inbound marketing agency”.

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    We’d love to learn more about what’s brought you to the Six & Flow website. If you’re interested in learning more about how we can potentially help you and your organisation, get in touch.