Looking to hire an online / digital marketing agency?

Follow this 7-point checklist for hiring a marketing agency.

So, you’ve decided to grow your business and invest in online marketing. That’s great. Below are the general phases most people go through.

The First Phase: Deciding to find an agency

You’ve done a bit of research and are ready to use an online / digital agency to grow your business online. Now you have to pick one. This is not as easy as it sounds, though. You are picking an agency, generally off of a few meetings (maybe a proposal) and nothing much else.

You are trusting this agency, who let’s face it at this stage you don’t really know anything about, with the future of your business and with valuable time and money.

The Second Phase: Deciding to research agencies

Of course you want to do this properly, I mean it’s important right. So, you do some research on who is out there and what do they offer. Then you see it. There are so many agencies offering similar services with similar promises. During this phase, you’ll notice that they often begin to merge and blend into one giant baffling mess leaving you confused and more unsure than ever.

The Final Phase: They’ll do I guess

It begins to feel at this point that there is no real difference between the agencies, and it doesn’t matter who you choose. Finally, after frustration and growing uncertainty you pull the trigger, almost randomly, at the first one that sounds remotely decent. They have a somewhat convincing salesperson and they are more or less within your price range.

Now I am not saying this is a bad thing, many of these deals go on to produce great results and leave you very happy. However, all too often these types of deals end in one side or another feeling resentment and the relationship falls to pieces.

So how should you go about hiring an online / digital marketing agency

We’ve put together a 7-point checklist for you to use when hiring your online / digital marketing agencies.

  1. Experience and expertise

The first point is the most obvious. Have they been in the game long? Are they certified or partnered with anyone? How do they show off their expertise? These are all face value cues but are important ones. Having experience and expertise that your business can use will be a massive benefit. Look for something like Google Ads Certifications to help you judge if the agency has the necessary skills.

  1. They do more than just SEO or Social Media

It’s very seldom that one service is all you need or could possibly need. Having an agency means you will get expert advice about what different marketing activities will work in your industry.

I’m a big believer in integrated marketing. Your different marketing efforts should be informing one another and delivering the same message. This allows for a more strategic approach in planning and executing your marketing activities. Having all your marketing activities in one agency means that there is no breakdown in communication between the various activities and that you can take a strategic approach.

  1. They try to understand your business and its challenges

This goes along with; They don’t offer one size fits all solutions. Not all businesses are the same and not all businesses have the same goals. What you want to achieve might not be the same as what your biggest competitor is hoping to achieve. Having an agency that has your back, knows what you are trying to achieve and understands your business can be the difference between success and failure.

  1. Check out their website

It’s hard to see what marketing activities your potential agency is engaged in, but what you can check out is their website. If their website is modern and works well on mobile devices, that’s a good sign. However, if it is clunky, non-responsive, and looks like it was designed in the early 90s you might want to look somewhere else. If they don’t care about their online presence, why would they care about yours?

  1. You understand them

Anybody can walk into your business and dazzle you with overused lingo and obscure jargon. Being able to explain complex marketing activities so that anyone on your team can easily understand them is another story. I tend to find most people who know all the buzz words, only know the words and lack the substance. I tend to believe if you can’t explain a concept simply, then you don’t understand it well enough.

  1. Make sure you like them

This may sound like the least important item but is probably the most important. Ideally, you are going to be working with this agency for a long time. Make no mistake, agencies cannot work in isolation and they will need to be regularly interacting with you. Building a lasting relationship is key to ensuring that all parties are producing the best results and enjoy working together. With everyone invested, your business will grow.

  1. Evaluate how they react to you before you are a customer

Are they happy to help? Do they treat you like a nuisance? How long do they take to get back to you? Are you chasing them or are they chasing you? These early telling signs can be a huge indicator of how you and your business will be treated in the future.


I know there are a lot of online / digital marketing agencies out there to choose from, but by doing a little bit of homework and vetting your potential agencies you will have a much better experience. Avoid those horror stories that you have probably heard and ensure a positive online experience. After all, your business, and its future, is worth the effort.

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