You’ve concluded that now’s the right time to hire an online marketing agency.

Even though you’re excited about pushing forward, you also have some concerns.

Concerns about choosing the wrong agency. Concerns about spending money on a strategy that doesn’t drive results. Concerns about wasting time.

You get the point.

Choosing an online marketing agency sounds easy enough – especially since you have thousands upon thousands of options – but it’s easier said than done.

Online Marketing Agency

Here are five tips that will put you on the right track:

1. Collect Information Upfront

Yes, it’ll take some time to do your legwork upfront, but it’s well worth it in the long run.

Collect the information you need to understand better what the agencies on your shortlist can offer. You can do this fairly quickly. Spend 30 minutes on their website and filling out each agency’s information request form.

2. Ask for Referrals

Do you know anyone who has been working with an online marketing agency for many years? Are they satisfied with their results?

The more people you ask for referrals, the less work you have to do yourself, and referrals are one of the better ways to put your mind at ease.

Tip: don’t just ask for a referral, find out why your contact is so high on the agency. You may find that their goals don’t align with yours, so you’re best to leave them off your list for the time being.

3. Jump on a Quick Phone Call

You don’t have to spend hours on the phone hearing a sales pitch and asking questions. Instead, set aside 15 to 30 minutes to explain what you’re looking for in an online marketing agency.

From there, take notes and compare your findings to the information you gathered upfront. Some agencies will immediately move to the top of your list, while others will start to slip toward the bottom.

4. Review References

Okay, here’s when the fun begins. You now have three to five agencies on your shortlist, and you’re ready to push forward with one of them. Now comes the time to ask for a minimum of three references.

And don’t just ask for references. You should follow through by personally getting in touch with each one. Doing this allows you to speak with someone who has had a one-on-one experience with the agency you’re considering.

Remember this: an online marketing agency isn’t going to share references that won’t present them in a positive light. You need to wear your detective hat when chatting with references.

5. Don’t Jump in Head First

As excited as you may be about getting up and running at full speed, take your time. For example, ask the agency of your choice if you can start with a month-to-month agreement to get your feet wet.

It’s tempting, but don’t make the mistake of signing a three, six, or 12-month contract. Even if it nets you a lower price, you’re better off holding back for the time being. Avoid getting tied into a commitment too early, as it makes it more difficult to breakaway prematurely should you need to do so for any reason.

Answer These Questions

The five tips above will put you on the right track to choosing an online marketing agency. But don’t assume that this is all it takes to make the right decision. You need to be in tune with your company’s requirements, which is why you should answer these questions:

  • What is the primary reason you want to hire an online marketing agency?
  • Do you need an agency to take over your entire online marketing strategy, or to work side by side with your internal team?
  • What is your budget for hiring an agency?
  • What types of services most interest you?
  • What are you hoping to accomplish both in the short and long term?

Choosing an online marketing agency is easier said than done, but it’s far from impossible. The right approach will position you to select an agency that’s able to meet all your needs.

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