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Eight questions you should ask a digital agency before signing up

As an increasing number of businesses set up online presences and more and more of us head to social media platforms to engage with them, it’s essential to choose the right digital agency to suit your business.

How do you know which is the most suitable? It’s all about asking questions. Here are some of the most helpful queries to ask a digital agency before signing on the dotted line.

What prices do you charge for your services?

Photo credit: groop_lab / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Photo credit: groop_lab / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

It might sound like an obvious one, but it’s easy to get caught up in the promise of a fresh digital strategy and its potential for the future success the company – so much so that pricing can often be breezed over. It’s important to stay in the present and stay focused. Be honest with yourself; can you afford the strategy offered? Do you need to look elsewhere for a cheaper provider?

Just be careful if you do decide to move on, or settle on that higher price – cost doesn’t always equal quality. You’ll need to see a portfolio.

May I see some past examples of your work?

This is the best way to get a clear indication of the quality of the work a digital agency undertakes. Look at the designs its team has put together for company websites. Ask to see some examples of successful social media strategies and have a read of the content previously published on client websites. This will give you a good idea of whether or not the quality reflects the kind of image you’d like your business to portray online. However, to know what to look for in a portfolio, it’s important to understand which services the digital agency is able to provide.

What are the services you offer?

Digital marketing strategies today encompass a broad range of avenues that intersect across multiple platforms. You need to know if the agency is able to provide the strategies most suitable for the industry in which your business operates. Strategies can include anything from search engine optimisation and keyword-strong website content that appeals to both search engines and visitors, to the maintenance of profiles on various social networks, including Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

The regular delivery of industry-relevant news content is another element of online strategies that some digital agencies can provide.

In which areas do your current clients operate?

To understand if you’ve approached the right agency or if you should look elsewhere, it can help to get a picture of the types of businesses the agency likes to work with. If one isn’t offered, ask for a list of some examples of previous or existing clients. The presence of recognisable brands on this list could indicate a trustworthy digital agency with an ethical approach.

What has your company done in the past to stay abreast of the latest digital trends?

With daily impact of digital media progressing at an astounding rate, changing as new platforms and technologies become available, this question is particularly important. You need to be sure that the agency you’re considering does what it can to remain fluid and up to date, adapting as the industry develops and being proactive in putting together new strategies and approaches accordingly.

Do you offer discounted packages on your services?

By asking this question, you will be able to decide which elements of a digital strategy you should be opting for and just how affordable it will be. It can be a useful negotiation tactic. Establish whether or not you will be saving money by incorporating a broad range of strategies. It might also be sensible to find out if such discounts will be available at a later date, if you change your mind or if your circumstances change and one approach begins to appear more promising than another.

How fast can I expect to see the results of a digital strategy?

Whether you’re already a successful businesswoman opting for a strategy to open up new avenues and untapped demographics, or if you’re operating a fledgling business looking primarily at building a customer base, it’s important to know just when the benefits of a digital strategy will begin to fall into place. As many marketers will agree, the best organic digital strategies start off slow but set down roots that will benefit the business in the long run. However, there are a number of strategies that can push brand recognition and engage customers on a short term basis, building up leads and conversions in a relatively short space of time. You need to speak to the agency you’re considering and find out what it can do for you over the short and long term.

How would you proceed if one of my competitors tried to hire your services?

This is something that would play on the back of any business’s mind in a meeting with digital specialists. The majority of agencies will be transparent on the matter, so you only have to ask. There will be some who won’t provide their services to your competitors at all, while others may approach you first. It all just depends on the individual agency, as policies will differ.

When approaching a digital agency, it all comes down to one thing: finding what’s right for your business. You need to ask the questions that uncover what a particular agency can do for your company – what it is able to offer above the services of its competitors. Cheapest isn’t always best, but then neither is a high price a guarantee of a top agency. Instead, look at the specifics – namely, what the agency has offered before to other entrepreneurs in your own position. As a last pointer, pay close attention to the way in which the company representatives or project managers engage with you – you are, after all, potentially looking at future partners in the digital aspects of your business.

 

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