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How to choose a Digital Marketing Agency


What is Digital marketing or Inbound marketing?

Since you’re looking for a Digital marketing agency you probably already know what Inbound is. Just to be clear that we’re on the same page, let’s agree what Inbound marketing actually is. Sometimes people use terms to describe Inbound marketing, such as Digital marketing, online marketing or social media marketing when they really mean Inbound and are still working through the awareness phase. A widely accepted definition from HubSpot is:

“Inbound marketing is about using marketing to bring potential customers to you, rather than having your marketing efforts fight for their attention. Inbound marketing is about creating and sharing content with the world. By creating content specifically designed to appeal to your dream customers, inbound attracts qualified prospects to your business and keeps them coming back for more.”

So, why Digital Marketing or Inbound Marketing?

Since 2006, Inbound marketing has been the most effective marketing method for doing business online. Instead of the old outbound marketing methods of buying ads, buying email lists, and praying for leads, Inbound marketing focuses on creating quality Digital content that pulls people toward your company and product, where they naturally want to be. By aligning the Digital content you publish with your customer’s interests, you naturally attract inbound traffic that you can then convert, close, and delight over time.

How do I get started with Digital Marketing or Inbound Marketing?

Continual advancements in SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) best practices are tough to keep up with. This is because Google continually update their search algorithms and as of this writing Google now rank content based on the searcher’s intent. That’s right, Google is now so advanced that the search engine spiders that crawl the web looking for content actually match what you’re searching for based upon what they perceive your thoughts to be. So how does this relate to your choosing a Digital marketing agency? In our view, Digital marketing is now so technically challenging to master, based upon the complexity of SEO that one needs to be an IT Support provider or a Managed IT Services Provider and follow Growth Driven Design principals for web design to be successful. This is because Inbound marketing requires that your content be found organically. To be found organically we need to know what criteria Google actually uses to build SERP (Search Engine Result Pages). In brief, the following criteria are Google’s top priorities:

  • Performance
  • Mobile
  • SEO
  • Security

Optimising your website's performance is crucial to increasing traffic, improving conversion rates, generating more leads, and increasing revenue. The heavier the site page, the slower the load. For optimal performance, try to keep page size below 3MB. The more HTTP requests your website makes, the slower it becomes. A best practice is to combine files to minimise the number of requests made. Also, best-in-class webpages should load within 3 seconds. Any slower and visitors will abandon your site, reducing conversions and sales. Furthermore, we need to consider browser caching, page redirects, compression, and render blocking. I’m sure by now you get the picture. Before labouring the point and explaining why mobile, SEO and security play such a large part in Inbound Digital Marketing, it’s crucial that whatever Digital marketing agency you choose understands these technical criteria. Otherwise all the creative energy in the world will be lost in the lower SERP rankings and never reach your desired buyer persona’s (audience).

How do I choose a Digital marketing agency?

OK, so hopefully we agree that Information Technology competence and knowledge is a huge decision criterion that needs to be satisfied in equal parts by an IT support or managed IT services provider and Digital marketing agency. This is because Digital marketing is more of a science than an art. Naturally, creative spark and passion are a prerequisite for any Digital marketing agency and when meeting your prospective agency for the first time you should vibe their creativity from the outset. Sometimes a portfolio of previous work will be attempted as a convincer, but perhaps the best way to gain confidence from a prospective agency is to analyse their own website and Digital marketing performance. Do they generate their own visitors? How many? What are their click through ratios and optimisation methods? Also, any Digital agency that tries to lock your business into a retainer with onerous terms to prevent you from simply walking away if they don’t deliver results is probably best avoided. At Strategic Asset we keep things simple – either we perform or you walk. That kind of confidence in our ability tends to motivate clients to try us. And we make that really simple too with a free consultation to kick things off. In fact, any agency worth their salt should be following Growth Driven Design principles which require that a comprehensive Digital marketing strategy be put in place before a mouse is clicked by a web designer. Again, at Strategic Asset we provide a strategy template and playbook for projects that expedite results and ensure that a winning formula exists to quickly deliver customers.

And Digital marketing agency pricing?

At Strategic Asset, each project within a Digital marketing campaign is assigned a fixed point total (e.g. blog post = 3 points) based on value creation rather than hourly estimates. Regardless of how much time is invested to complete each project, the point totals remain constant, thereby ensuring that clients get the full value of every pound spent. Point allocations are defined at the start of every month, and are based on an agreed upon scope. This allows for more efficient and accurate forecasting and planning. Or in other words, you choose your budget, the desired results, and we do the rest. Points can be used for a diverse set of services, including (but not limited to) blog posts, consulting, data analysis, database segmentation, email marketing, lead scoring and nurturing, marketing technology integration, media relations, premium content (e.g. ebooks, webinars, infographics), sales support, social media monitoring, training and support, and strategic planning. Available points are planned monthly and reallocated at need to capitalise on opportunities and improve performance. Points are grouped into projects, and projects are grouped into campaigns.

In summary, we believe that if a Digital marketing agency can satisfy the technical, creative, commercial and performance driven results you require to realise Digital marketing success without locking you into a contract, and can kick things off for free then they’re probably worth a meeting.