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April 26, 2022

5 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Digital Marketing Agency

By Chantel Hall, Marketing Content Specialist

When you consider outsourcing your digital marketing efforts, it’s essential to evaluate whether an agency will provide the results you’re looking for. You can assess their fit by asking pointed questions that get to the heart of how the agency uses data, how they measure success, and whether their goals align with your own.

Here, we’ll discuss five questions to ask when hiring a digital marketing agency and how each one will help you evaluate whether they're the right fit for you.

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Question #1: How do you incorporate data into your decision-making?

This may be the most important of all the questions to ask when hiring a digital marketing agency. In digital marketing, intelligent data use is foundational to success. Any digital marketing agency that doesn’t put data at the center of planning, executing, and measuring the success of their marketing campaigns will not deliver the results you expect.

Additionally, good data enables your marketing and sales teams to utilize new marketing technology and leverage tools that can improve your buyers’ experience. Marketing automation, for example, needs high-quality data inputs to be successful and valuable for your teams. Mapping your buyer’s journey also requires a data-based understanding of where leads are coming from, how they convert, what messaging is more attractive to them, and which pain points they’re looking to solve.

Data should be at the heart of every decision your digital marketing agency makes.

Question #2: What metrics do you use to measure success?

While you’re discussing the agency’s philosophy on using data, ask them what metrics they use to measure success. Specific campaigns might have unique metrics that measure the success of the strategy behind them. Ultimately any agency you’re considering should be focused on two things: improved conversion rates and revenue growth.

If an agency’s sole focus is on generating leads, increasing website traffic, or improving SEO, their focus won’t be on creating content and marketing assets that are designed to convert your unique buying groups into leads — their focus will be on creating marketing campaigns that bring as many people as possible to your website but who will likely not convert. 

Because B2B target audiences tend to be smaller and more specific, appealing to as many people as possible will end up attracting visitors who won’t convert. The average lead-to-MQL conversion rate for B2B SaaS companies is 44% — if the agency you’re interviewing can’t meet or exceed that benchmark, they might be too focused on quantity and not quality.1

The average lead-to-MQL conversion rate for B2B SaaS companies is 44%.

-First Page Sage

 

The digital marketing agency you decide to work with should tell you that their metrics for success are winning you more customers and creating sustainable revenue growth for your business.

Question #3: Do you require ongoing learning and education for all of your employees?

Digital marketing changes rapidly, and when you’re paying an agency to take on and improve your marketing efforts, you should expect them to be up-to-speed on current developments and changing standards in the industry. While many agencies present themselves as cutting edge, asking them whether they prioritize ongoing learning for all of their employees will give you a deeper look at how they incorporate changes in the industry into their operations.

Opening up this conversation can also give you an idea of how specialized their employees’ skill sets are. In an agency that requires every team member — writers, designers, digital marketers, directors, and sales teams — to stay educated on best practices in their respective areas, those individuals can develop a deep thorough understanding of their specific area. 

On the other hand, an agency that isn’t focused on education and training will inevitably have employees who isn’t utilizing current best practices for their area of expertise.

There are many ways to stay up-to-date with changes in digital marketing and any agency you’re considering should be dedicated to ensuring that all of their employees have the time and resources to improve their skills.

Question #4: What are your market research capabilities?

Smaller, boutique agencies often focus on a single industry or line of business, but if you want to harness the power of a bigger digital agency, you need to ensure they have robust market research capabilities. 

Digital marketing, especially strategies like inbound marketing and account-based marketing, requires a deep understanding of your industry, your buyers, and where there are opportunities for your company to differentiate itself. Inquiring about a digital agency’s market research capabilities and process will help you learn how much value they place on market research and tailor their strategies to your specific needs.

Digital marketing agencies that you partner with should have an established plan for how they will use marketing research to inform the strategy and decisions behind their marketing. Whether it’s through a market research agency or, ideally, having an analyst team in-house, market research needs to be central to their strategy.

Question #5: How do content and design factor into your marketing strategies?

While we wouldn’t usually cite anything from the ’90s when discussing modern digital marketing (or almost anything else), Bill Gates’ declaration that “Content is king,” made in a 1996 essay of the same title, still rings true today in the world of B2B marketing.2 A critical question to ask an agency when evaluating their fit is how they approach content and storytelling.

Content makes up a large part of the foundation of B2B marketing today. Any effective digital marketing agency needs expertise in writing well-informed, engaging content that connects with your buyers and builds trust. Without that library of content, they’ll struggle to engage buyers and demonstrate your company’s knowledge.

Effective design goes hand-in-hand with content creation and ensures that content is not only readable but takes advantage of best practices for encouraging visitors to engage with your content, CTAs, and forms.

Before partnering with a digital marketing agency, ask them about their approach to content and design and look at their website, blogs, and client examples to see how they apply that approach to their work.

How will these questions help you evaluate an agency?

These questions to ask when hiring a digital marketing agency will help you evaluate whether a potential agency is focusing on metrics that lead to success and dedicated to improving their craft. An agency’s answers to these questions will also help you determine whether they’re likely to provide the results you’re looking for or if 

Sources

1First Page Sage, Lead-to-MQL Conversion Rate Benchmarks by Industry & Channel, February 18, 2021

2Medium, “Content is King” — Essay by Bill Gates 1996, January 29, 2017

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