Most businesses need a solid digital marketing strategy in order to thrive. While an in-house marketing team is often essential, many organizations partner with a digital marketing agency to get a wider breadth of expertise so they can broaden their reach. The right agency will deliver measurable results through a customized combination of SEO (search engine optimization), content marketing, strategic social media, paid media, and other platforms.

Why partner with a pro? A reputable agency will know the ins-and-outs of every platform and manage them with your specific KPIs in mind so you don’t have to.

Partnering with an agency that has created a customized digital strategy for your company can mean big returns

For example:

  • Content Management: Businesses are 13x more likely to see positive ROI with a focused blogging strategy
  • Paid Advertising Management: Businesses make an average of a 200% return in income for every $1 they spend on PPC 
  • Design Management: Product videos can increase purchases by 144% 

Are you ready to team up with a digital marketing agency but not quite sure how to vet one? Doing some preliminary research is vital. If digital media is a new language for you, it can be challenging to navigate the waters. We recommend asking your agency these seven questions before signing a contract.

1. What core services do you offer?

First and foremost, you’ll want to determine whether the partnership will be a good fit. As we mentioned, most digital marketing agencies will offer SEO, content services, paid ads, and social media support. However, core services will vary among marketing firms. For instance, not all agencies have design resources, content developers or support all website platforms. 

2. Does your digital marketing agency customize its services based on a company’s needs?

There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all digital marketing approach. That’s why we suggest asking your agency how they’d go about customizing a strategy that supports the unique goals and values of your business.

3. Have you served other clients in my industry?

For a marketing strategy to be successful, the industry must be taken into account. Some sectors can benefit from a focus on social media, while others may be better off prioritizing paid media. Large businesses might also want to ask if the firm has experience with companies of the same size. Digital marketing agencies should also be able to provide case studies showcasing the results of a marketing plan of a similar scale.

If a digital marketing agency hasn’t served other clients in your industry or organizations of comparable size, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not a match. Bringing new perspectives into your marketing strategy can give you an advantage over your competitors using traditional approaches. That being said, when you ask these questions, they should be able to explain how they’d approach a strategy for your business as well as how they are uniquely suited to carry it out.

4. What licenses and certifications do you have?

A digital marketing agency and its employees should have the education and skill set to help your business succeed. For example, Mad Fish Digital is a Google Certified Premier Partner, a badge awarded to only a small percent of agencies. This means we have access to exclusive beta features, Google team agency support, and more.

Our strategists and other team members have Google AdWords Certifications. Our PPC team is up-to-date on the latest paid advertising best practices, has extensive knowledge of all the features of Google AdWords, are able to test new applications before they are available to the public, and more. 

As Houzz Certified marketing specialists, we are an expert resource for industry professionals and receive the latest product news and market research. Our agency is dedicated to using our business as a force for good, which is why we name a Certified B Corporation. Sustainability and giving back to our community is at the heart of our business. 

5. What do you offer in terms of content?

When it comes to digital marketing, content is king. Optimized content is crucial, and it can involve a number of different formats. We’re talking web page copy, blog posts, Google My Business descriptions, images, infographics, videos, social media content, and newsletters.

Some organizations may benefit from all forms of content, while others might only need support with content creation and implementation on a few platforms. Try to get a thorough idea of what types of content your agency provides and how up-to-date they are on the latest content trends and best practices.

6. How are the results of your services measured?

Generally speaking, digital marketing firms measure the results of their services using a variety of reporting tools. We pride ourselves on the transparent sharing of data. We report on areas of success as well as ways to improve and grow with our clients. Find out how detailed the agency’s reporting capabilities are. Can they report by channel, by location or other methods specific to your needs. Your agency should make getting the data easier for you. 

Some of the most common KPIs include:

  • Conversions
  • Sales
  • Revenue growth
  • ROI (return on investment) 
  • Website traffic
  • Leads
  • Google ranking
  • Click-through rates
  • Impressions
  • New clients
  • Customer loyalty metrics
  • Social media followers

At Mad Fish Digital, we’re dedicated to understanding the KPIs of each of our clients and presenting all data in a clear and easy-to-understand way. 

7. How much involvement will I have with my company’s digital marketing plan?

Client-agency communication is a crucial component of a successful marketing plan. Ask how your digital marketing agency manages client contact. You will want to find out how often they recommend meeting or checking in and where they stand in terms of collaboration. In addition to recurring meetings, our clients have a designated point of contact and are encouraged to provide feedback, ask questions, and make suggestions throughout the process.

Mad Fish Digital works in tandem with its clients and their in-house marketing teams to collaborate on digital strategies. Each client is assigned a client strategist as well as a team member who is an expert in their field. Depending on the scope of work, this could include a content specialist, paid advertising professional, and designer.

8. Do you own the materials created for you?

When you’re working with an agency, ensure that you have full ownership of the collateral that’s being created. Some agencies choose to retain creative ownership over files, strategies, or even websites. Double checking that you’ll be able to keep all of the work you paid for even if you end up taking things in-house is crucial.

Mad Fish Digital is Portland’s digital marketing agency of choice

Selecting a digital marketing firm is a major decision. You’ll want to find one that not only has a substantial amount of experience and a proven track record, but is also pleasant to work with. You should be confident in your agency’s ability to help you achieve your goals.

Mad Fish Digital is a digital marketing agency based in Portland, Oregon. We offer SEO, paid media, content management, social media strategy, and graphic design. Our strategists are seasoned in creating customized digital marketing plans for a wide range of industries — and we present our clients with results every step of the way. In addition to serving clients in Portland and the surrounding areas, Mad Fish Digital works with companies throughout the U.S.Get in touch with us to find out if we’re a fit.