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15 Essential Questions To Ask a Digital Marketing Agency

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Axel DeAngelis

Updated on: May 22nd, 2023
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When hiring a digital marketing agency, it’s crucial to ask the right questions to ensure a successful partnership. We’ve gathered 15 insightful questions from founders, CEOs, and marketing professionals to help you make an informed decision. From “Who will work on this project?” to “Do you need anything from our side before we get started?”, these experts share their top questions to ask and why they matter.

Who is Actually Doing the Work?

Always ask the digital marketing agency who performs the actual work. Many times, you will find digital marketing agencies that subcontract all of their work out to inexperienced freelancers. The agency is good at attracting clients but uses others to do the work. You want to make sure you hire the agency for their experience, not for how good they are at hiring freelancers.

Mike Wood, Digital Marketer, Legalmorning

Who Are Your Clients?

Partnering with a new digital marketing agency is a big decision. You should ask the question, “Who are your clients?” or “Who have you worked with?” This way, you can find out whether the digital marketing agency works with businesses similar to yours or not. If yes, then the agency can offer you quality service because it has experience in the same field.

Check the portfolio of the company to find out other things as well. It will help you make the right decision about your project. If the digital marketing agency is familiar with your business type, it increases the chances of fast and effective results. Most importantly, you can know how many businesses the agency serves and what the success rate is.

If there have been any conflicts and issues between the agency and the company, you can understand and decide what you need to take care of before hiring the agency. Also, check the reviews and feedback about the agency.

Sanjay Singh, Founder and CEO, Technource Inc.

Do You Have Experience With Our Industry?

A lot of digital marketing agencies will work with any paying customer in any industry. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing if the agency is staffed with reputable and knowledgeable people. But you can’t beat industry experience. 

This allows the agency to be more efficient and provide great service at a better price. An agency that works primarily in one industry doesn’t need to treat each new client as an experiment. Nobody wants to be a digital marketing agency’s guinea pig.

Temmo Kinoshita, Co-founder, Lindenwood Marketing

How Do You Measure Success?

This is a question potential clients have asked me many times. Why? It is so important, as it will allow you to understand the agency’s approach to measuring the ROI of its services. A good agency should be able to provide you with a clear roadmap of how they plan to track and measure the effectiveness of their campaigns.

For example, at our agency, we use a combination of tools like Google Analytics and conversion tracking to measure the success of our SEO campaigns. We also provide our clients with regular weekly reports that detail the progress we’ve made towards their goals and show how their investment in our services is paying off.

So, when you’re hiring a digital marketing agency, make sure they have a solid plan in place for measuring the success of their campaigns, as true data does not lie. This will not only give you peace of mind but will also help you make informed decisions about the budget you have set aside for marketing.

Maria Harutyunyan, Co-founder, Loopex Digital 

What Will the Process for Work Look Like?

There’s often some confusion between starting with an agency on how things will operate. Many clients want to work in a hands-off approach but realize that the marketing agency still depends on them for certain things throughout their work together. This can cause a backlog of work, not to mention the hassle it will cause you.

Getting an idea of how dependent the agency will be on you each week is important. Some marketing agencies have the fortitude to run with things on their own, while other agencies will work alongside you and require certain input. Companies prefer different things but, mostly, want a hands-off approach. 

So making sure the agency is offering you the type of service you are looking for is an important question to ask before hiring them.

Tim Woda, Founder, White Peak

How Do You Stay Updated with Trends and Technologies?

One question you should ask a digital marketing agency when looking to hire them is how they stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends and technologies. How they stay up-to-date with these things is crucial in gauging how successful their digital marketing campaigns could potentially be.

Of course, you can go deeper and ask about any specific conferences or events they attend, if they push their team to pursue gaining certifications, and if they have ongoing training programs for their staff. Because digital marketing is an ever-changing industry, agencies need to show that they are working to stay on top of the latest trends and technologies. 

This overall, can make or break how well they do against other competitors in the industry.

Bill Lyons, CEO, Griffin Funding

Can We Talk About Past Results?

“What results have you gotten working with a company just like mine?”

This is really the only question that matters. Otherwise, you’re just guessing that they’ll be able to do a good job for you. This gets to the heart of the matter by focusing on real results.

Josh Steimle, Founder, Canvas PR

What Marketing Strategies Do You Use for Your Company?

A key indicator of whether a marketing company believes in the methods it uses is if it uses the same marketing processes itself. A great digital marketing agency leads by example. It employs the same process with its own online presence.

Even if the marketing agency is in a different industry than yours, it will still live by the same principles it promises to embrace with your company.

Samantha Walls, Marketing Consultant, InTouch Marketing

What About Content Creation Resources?

“Do you have an in-house writing team, freelancers you can recommend, or would it be beneficial for us to look for freelancers?”

It’s important to consider aspects of your budget that might lie in and around your content marketing strategy. Often, if you are bringing a marketing agency on retainer, they will provide strategy and analytics, but they may not always have subject matter expertise to provide content.

Julie Ann Howlett, Freelance Writer and Marketer, Julie Ann H Digital

Can You Describe Your Internal Process?

This is my favorite question, and SO many make the mistake of not asking their agency. This is specifically for digital marketing agencies specializing in SEO.

Well, I have a few, but the most important one is to ask how they’ll find bottom-of-the-funnel keywords. Ask them what their process looks like.

9 times out of 10, agencies just use Ahrefs and SEMrush to find topic ideas instead of getting into the nitty-gritty of audience research.

If you want a legitimate agency, question its internal process.

Here are a few other questions you should always ask:

  • What is your biggest deliverable?
  • How do you measure success (some agencies don’t even track conversions)?
  • How important are meta descriptions to you (huge, huge, huge)?
  • When would you go after a meta description (this seems really minor, but trust me, this will distinguish a legitimate agency from a fake one)?

Taylor Scher, SEO Associate, TaylorscherSEO

Does Your Team Have Development Expertise?

When you hire a digital marketing agency, ask about the team that will work on your project. Specifically, it is crucial to inquire about development expertise. 

As a technical director, I have found that having skilled developers on the team is essential for addressing the many technical issues that can arise during a project. When clients come to a marketing agency, they often lack a clear understanding of the technical aspects of their website and simply want to increase their sales. 

By having programmers on the team, the agency can quickly identify and solve any technical issues that may hinder sales. This prevents the need to hire outside contractors for each specific task, which can be time-consuming and costly. Instead, the agency can provide ongoing support and ensure that the client’s website is optimized for success. 

Therefore, it is essential to research a marketing agency’s team, including their development expertise, before deciding to work with them.

Alex Sheplyakov, CTO, Wiserbrand

Is Your Philosophy Demand Creation or Capture?

As a startup founder, investor, and advisor, I’ve collaborated with various digital marketing agencies. While it’s essential to ask for references, case studies, and their grasp of diverse marketing strategies, the real game-changer is understanding their philosophy.

Do they specialize in capturing demand through lead generation, media buying, and optimized marketplace listings? Or do they create demand, playing the long game via content creation and distribution?

These philosophies typically reside in separate camps, with demand creators not necessarily excelling at demand capture, and vice versa. The process and outcomes will differ, and your organization might need one approach over the other.

You don’t have to ask this question outright. Instead, assess their stance based on their responses and identify the approach that best aligns with your current goals.

Rafael Sarim Özdemir, Founder and CEO, Zendog Labs

Can You Share Relevant Successful Campaigns?

When considering hiring a digital marketing agency, it’s crucial to ask for specific examples of successful campaigns they have run for businesses similar to yours. This question allows you to evaluate the agency’s experience and expertise, and determine whether they can meet your business’s specific needs. 

A reputable agency should be able to provide case studies, testimonials, and examples of their past work. By examining these examples, you can better understand their approach, creativity, and ability to deliver results.

It also helps to find an agency that understands your industry or niche and can develop campaigns that resonate with your target audience. With this question, you’re better equipped to make an informed decision about which digital marketing agency to work with.

Harry Morton, Founder, Lower Street

How Do You Measure ROI?

One question you’ve got to ask is, “How do you measure ROI for your clients’ campaigns?”

Let’s face it, if you’re shelling out cash for these campaigns, you want to know if they’re working. A good agency should be able to track your website traffic, leads, and conversions and give you regular reports so you can make informed decisions about your marketing strategy.

Taylor Brody, Founder, Resgato

What Do You Need From Us?

One crucial question that you should ask a digital marketing agency when looking to hire them is: “What do you need from us?” This question may seem simple, but it can reveal a lot about the agency’s approach and its willingness to work with your company’s goals.

For example, when we asked this question to a digital marketing agency we were considering, they responded by asking for our company’s mission statement, target audience, and specific marketing objectives. This showed us that the agency was invested in understanding our company’s needs and tailoring their services to meet those needs. 

On the other hand, we had another agency respond with a generic marketing plan without considering our company’s unique requirements.

Antreas Koutis, Administrative Manager, Financer

About the Author

Axel is the founder of Jumpcoast, a blog and agency that helps people jumpstart the growth of their online businesses. He also founded NameBounce, a popular domain name and business name generator. Previously, he worked as a commercial real estate investments manager.

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