Are you looking to hire or contract a digital marketing agency? Hiring the right agency can be challenging, so we listed a few helpful tips to help you avoid unwanted surprises. Not all digital marketing agencies are the same, and just like people, they have strengths and weaknesses. Before you begin your search, bookmark this page and read below:

1. Know What You Need

Understand what your needs are. If you’re looking to get higher organic search rankings, you will want to look for an agency that specializes in SEO (search engine optimization). If you are looking to obtain immediate sales using search advertising, you will be looking for an agency with strengths in PPC, pay-per-click. If your brand needs to increase followers on Facebook, you will want a social media niche agency. Sometimes, we may not know exactly what we need. If this is the case, make sure you hire a well-rounded agency that will help you establish your online goals.

2. Look For Experience

Every good agency has one thing in common… they are all experienced. An experienced agency will know the ropes and help your brand make good investment decisions. Never hire a new agency or an agency with a lot of “young” blood. Although it is good to have young enthusiastic people working on your brand, make sure the agency is well diversified. I will honest, I have had young interns conduct a much better analysis than older folks… but very few have the confidence to take action from their findings. Very few will follow through a fully executed strategy because they still need guidance and reinforcement. Always make sure someone in the room knows what they’re talking about.

3. Do Your Research

If you will be giving your marketing budget for someone to manage, you absolutely have to make sure the agency is legitimate with a verifiable track record of success. Ask for case studies and don’t be afraid to ask for credentials, accolades, awards or recognitions. Review their past work. If you are looking to hire the agency for display advertising, ask them for examples of display campaigns and how they were able to grow the campaigns over time. This is the ultimate question, so make sure they are able to provide you with reference to back up their claims. If in doubt, Google them and make sure to check their LinkedIn profile.

4. Ask Questions

By asking questions you are indirectly telling the agency what your expectations are. Ask as many questions as you want. You need to be absolutely clear about your new working relationship. If they seem hesitant about answering your questions, move on. If they express interest in working with you, they will stick around until you have all your questions answered. Make sure they understand your questions and most importantly, make sure you understand their responses. A good digital agency will cut through the clutter of marketing jargon and get to the point without beating around the bush.

5. Read Scope and Contract

Make sure you read and understand the fine print. Read the scope of work thoroughly before committing to anything. Don’t take the chance of interpreting the details of the contract by yourself. Make sure you take the proposed contract to your preferred attorney. Having complete clarity of scope of work and contract details is an absolute must before entering agreement. After you agreed on scope of work and contract, it will be your responsibility to make sure they kept their word. Hold the agency accountable for all expectations within the SOW, scope of work.

There are a lot of good agencies out there and most of them will fight for your business. Before committing to an agency, always make sure you understand your own expectations, look for the right experience, do your research and ask all the right questions. Most importantly, make sure you understand the scope of work and contract details. Following these 5 simple steps will help you find the right agency.

Good luck on your search!