Working With a Digital Marketing Agency – How to Make the Most it

Working with a digital marketing agency is a great way to focus on other areas of your business while taking advantage of dedicated experts in the field. Working with an agency can help you identify new tactics and exponentially grow your business. 

So, how can you make the most of your engagement together? Gather your internal stakeholders, set clear expectations, attend meetings, and keep lines of communication strong to maximize your time together.

Determine your internal stakeholders

On your team, whose work will interact with, impact, and be effected by the digital marketing? And, do they need to be in the room? Encourage your internal stakeholders to attend meetings and read reports to keep work moving forward at a steady pace.

Determine your goals

Whether you’re a small company looking for a leg up with experts, or a large one looking to save on costs of hiring internally, it’s important to determine your digital marketing goals. Figure out what success looks like to you and be able to clearly and succinctly describe that to any agency. Your agency will help identify the trackable metrics connected to your goals. They’ll be working to move the needle on those metrics so you can achive your goals!

Tip: Not sure if your goals are attainable, clear, and trackable? Tap your internal teamshare your vision with them. Refine together!

Interview digital marketing agencies

Finding the right agency is not an easy task. Start by determining what is important to you. Do you want an agency that is local and where you can meet face to face? Do you want an agency that is an expert in your field, one with industry specific case studies and results? Or do you want one that can do it all in-house? Regardless, it’s important to find a group of people who you like working with.

Meet with the agency and be sure to ask at least some basic questions: 

  • Have you worked with organizations like [insert your company]?
  • Do you have any results or case studies to share?
  • Who would my main point of contact be?
  • How frequently do you share reporting? 
  • How often would we meet? 
  • What do your services include and not include?
  • How do you create your service bundle and work plan? 
  • What are your rates?

There are lots of different agencies out there so don’t be afraid to interview a few that look interesting to you.

Meetings

Meetings are the perfect time to share anything that’s new with your company e.g. new products/services, strategy shifts, goals, etc. If you’re changing URLs, adding a subdomain, launching a new campaign, shifting focus on a particular product or service, or something else that seems relevant to the work you’re doing together, communicate with your agency.

 

Every agency has different meeting cadences, but at Intellitonic, we meet with the majority of our clients on a monthly basis to connect and share reporting. Agencies may meet weekly, monthly or quarterly depending on the level of relationship and work plan.  We have found the monthly meeting cadence works well for most clients, creating clear month-over-month and year-over-year performance comparisons. Meetings are also used to inform strategy shifts–after all, a marketing plan is only a plan–so meeting regularly to discuss results and determine upcoming tactics guides our work together.

Reports

An engaged client is a good client. We build reports to include month over month and year over year data so we can track seasonal changes. Whatever marketing agency you work with, keep in mind that taking the time to sift through your data and put the report together will lead to helpful insights that can be used to inform ongoing strategy. Additionally, the reports should speak to the goals you identified initially. It may take a few meeting and reporting cycles to find a sweet spot between the report the agency builds and what you’re looking for to best understand the results.

If you see something that doesn’t look right, is surprising, interesting, etc., say something! It will only make your long-term results better. 

Which leads us to our next bit of advice on how to get the most from your agency…

Ask your account manager questions

This may seem silly, but don’t be afraid to ask questions! You hired the agency for a reason. They can do their work better knowing that you understand what it is they’re doing. Consider emailing your questions in advance of upcoming meetings; this allows you (and your agency) to optimize your time together.

On another note, remember that digital marketing is a tangled web of ever-evolving strategies. Your agency may not have the answer right away, but they should do their best to get to the bottom of it ASAP!

Scope creep and service changes

At some point, you may find yourself asking: I’d really like to be getting more results from ‘X’ platform – can we include that? The answer from most digital marketing agencies: ‘yes and no.‘ 

Agencies offer a wide range of services and your agency can probably do ‘X’. However, keep in mind that if you veer from your original work plan, initial goals and expectations will also need to be reviewed and adjusted accordingly.

Determine communication expectations

Every marketing agency is different, but at our agency we do our best to respond to emails within 24 (business) hours. If we don’t have a solution, we’ll let you know that we’re working on it! If the request represents a large shift in the work plan, the pivot or solution may take longer. If your agency provides a phone number, it may go to a central receptionist or you may have a direct line to your account manager.

At Intellitonic, we have a receptionist who answers calls and forwards the information on to us. That said, the fastest way to get a hold of us is typically email from the start.

New campaigns and work plan changes

Each campaign our agency launches is custom built by our specialists in alignment with best practices. New campaigns and campaign adjustments can take time but it depends on the type of request as different requests have different timelines. For example, some campaign and work plan adjustments can be made within 24 hours, some within 3 – 5 days and SEO work plan changes can take up to a month.

Digital marketing performance expectations

As an agency, we‘ve been watching our client results closely for years and have found that different digital marketing services yield results on timelines uniquely their own. For example:

  • SEO work can take up to three months (and sometimes longer!) to start showing results
  • New pay-per-click campaigns can take two to three months to start performing at their peak as the algorithms are learning and our specialists are making adjustments based on the data we’re receiving

One aspect of pay-per-click advertising is that when you request changes to your campaign, the algorithm needs time to react and relearn. It depends on the platform, but changes like new ad copy, new images, or a new URL can take as long as three to five days for the algorithm to integrate and maximize performance.

Trust your agency!

Yes, it’s important to ask questions and share frequent updates, but it’s also equally important to trust the agency you hired. We certainly encourage brainstorming strategy shifts together as needed, but be sure to allow time for data to come in. This could be anywhere between a few days to a few months, depending on the marketing avenue. 

Interested in interviewing an agency? Contact our team to set up a meeting, and see if we’re a good fit!