1. How are you going to distinguish us from our competitors?
Your digital marketing agency needs to understand what you can give your audience that they don't get from your competitors. Otherwise, they can’t create effective campaigns.
2. How are you going to improve our conversion rate?
Marketing agencies often boast about increasing traffic to your site but in the end they really need to increase conversions and sales so you can recoup your investment and make a profit. This requires insight in user experience but also the will to study your target audience. Ask what tools or processes they use to increase conversions. Commonly used tools are: Google Optimize, Optimizely, Hotjar, and Unbounce.
3. Do you have experience with companies in our industry?
It's great when your agency has other clients in your industry but it's not a deal-breaker if they don’t. Much more important is the question: which actions will they take to become experts in your sector? Are they going to visit your stores? Interview your customers?
4. How will we communicate?
Ask who your standard point of contact (SPOC) is and when you can contact them. Who will carry out the projects? What is their experience and background? How is documentation exchanged? And last but not least: how will they protect time and budget?
5. How will you report our progress?
Will the agency provide a clear report every month? Will this be done by mail or presentation at your office?
6. How do your different teams work together?
Experienced agencies let all their departments work together on the most important goals, without working in silos where information is sometimes lost. How do SEO experts and web developers work together? What about content creators and social media marketers? Efficient agencies have efficient workflows thanks to insight and/or experience.
7. How are you going to improve our search engine rankings?
Have the agency explain their SEO methods. Beware of agencies that use black hat techniques (such as buying links) or promise right off the bat that they will put your page first for keywords that are actually worthless. SEO can be about quick fixes but the main goal should always be long-term growth of organic traffic.
8. Do you use Google Webmaster?
The agency should always follow the official webmaster's advice to help Google find, index and rank your site. These guidelines also help to avoid penalties.
9. How long does it take to see results?
Do not expect an exact date to see results. SEO can be very unpredictable. However, the agency must be able to provide a high-level time estimate to predict a first positive impact on your organic traffic. On average, effective SEO campaigns show results after about 3 - 6 months to a year. However, this strongly depends on your competition.
10. Can you show us some content examples?
Any online agency that offers content marketing should show examples of their writers’ best work. There are a lot of content creators out there but very few actually deliver results.
Firstly, take a look at their work and decide if the quality is good enough for your target group. Do you have a young audience? Then don't hire copywriters who write tutorials as if they’re making a history essay. Rather, choose someone who writes short, snazzy and natural texts.
11. How are your content creators going to immerse themselves in our business?
You need to know clearly whether the online marketing agency intends to do the right amount of research about your company and sector in order to create relevant and qualitative content for your audience. Watch out for agencies that create content right away without getting the necessary input from you.
12. How do you optimize content for our readers and search engines?
Ask about the cooperation between content creators and SEO specialists. What process do they go through to produce reader-friendly texts that are also quickly picked up by Google?
13. What types of content can you deliver?
Find out if the agency has experience with infographics, video, animations, e-mail campaigns, eBooks, whitepapers, etc. in addition to blog content. An effective content strategy contains a mix of different content and media.
14. How much content can you deliver?
Do you want to stay top-of-mind with your audience? Then it's best to post new content on a regular basis. However, quality beats quantity. Two interesting and useful articles or videos per week deliver better results than five meaningless posts per day.
So watch out for a digital agency that promises to create massive amounts of content per week. Ask them how they will deliver and maintain high quality content.
15. Are you going to publish the content yourself?
Find out whether the agency will also publish new content to your site.
If the agency does not publish, you will have to appoint an internal team member to do so.
PPC (paid ads)
16. Do you have a Google Partner Badge?
If the agency has a Google Partner Badge, this means that they have Google Ads certified employees, have access to their own Google Ads Team and stay up to date with the latest Google Ads innovations.
17. How do you report PPC results?
Your online marketing agency needs to deliver clear and transparent reports that show how your paid ads deliver more traffic, conversion and revenue. The return on investment of your advertising spend should always be crystal clear. You might ask for a report example to decide if this is clear enough for you.
18. Do you have experience with paid ads on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn?
The Google search network is a good channel to reach people who are already actively searching for your products or services. But with social media you can also reach people who are in the market for your offer without necessarily looking for it. Unfortunately, the organic reach on social media is getting smaller and smaller. This gives you no choice but to use paid advertisements. That's why you need a marketing agency with the right experience and know-how in Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, Twitter and Pinterest advertising.
19. Which social channels should we focus on?
Usually, you don't have to be present on every social network. It is up to your marketing agency to tell you which are most relevant to your audience and your goals. Watch out for a marketing agency that pitches Instagram campaigns when your target group is over 60 and in the market for a new hip.
20. How do you manage multiple communities across different platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.)?
Does your company have different brands with different target groups? Is your target group very broad? Then it’s best to use different social channels to reach as many people in your audience as possible (if you have the right content). A good social media team has the right tools and processes to:
- keep track of all your social media content and its performance
- communicate consistently and appropriately with your audience across all your social channels
- implement a clear strategy per social media channel
- monitor your competition and their social media efforts
Common tools are Hootsuite, Buffer, Sproutsocial, Agorapulse, Loomly, etc. Does the agency use one of these tools? Good sign! They don’t? Then ask why.
21. How are you going to translate our brand into the right social media content?
Your digital marketing agency should think about social media strategies that are relevant to your brand instead of just using tactics that have worked for other customers. Are you a company that rents out compressors to industrials? Then maybe you don't need Instagram stories right away, but rather Youtube video tutorials aimed at machine buyers and site supervisors.
22. How do you measure the ROI of social media?
Some agencies will measure social likes but this is a worthless metric (also called vanity metric). It's nice to have but it says nothing about the actual ROI of your social media efforts.
That's why a marketing agency should report KPIs like clicks, traffic, conversions and revenue. They need to explain with figures how content and social media help your business grow in terms of brand awareness, customer satisfaction and revenue.