Ask the questions below when interviewing a potential new digital agency partner, to determine whether the agency you are considering is a good fit for your business and company goals.
1. Do you outsource any of your services? if so, what and why?
when a digital agency outsources work, it can lead to delays and miscommunication. we would always recommend choosing an agency that offers all its services in-house. the goals and expectations for your project can then be worked on collaboratively, without third-party misinterpretation. furthermore, if an agency is outsourcing work, you will potentially be paying a marked-up price for a white labelled service with the intention of making a profit for your agency, rather than ensuring you get the best possible service.
2. Can you show evidence of where you have provided this service for another client?
an excellent digital agency will be able to show you plenty of case studies on all, if not most, of the services they provide. having case studies will allow you to understand the agency's quality of work and get an idea of the results that you could achieve if you work with them.
3. Who do I call if I have a problem?
a client-focused agency will provide you with an account manager and/or project manager during the initial stages of onboarding you as a client. having that person at your disposal should ensure that you get a swift response should issues arise, and they will be championing your project throughout the process to ensure it launches successfully.
4. What are your company values?
as talented as an agency may be, are you a match when it comes to core values? if not, much like any relationship, it will probably not work out. asking them questions such as why they are doing the job is not just a conversation filler – it is forming a positive understanding that will be necessary when working together.
5. What services do you provide?
your new website is finished and launched, but now it's just sitting there, hidden away in the search engines – you need some SEO experts to help you get noticed and found online… unfortunately, your chosen agency does not offer SEO, but you didn’t find out until your website launched. sound like a nightmare? pick an agency that will talk you through the whole process, including your project's aftercare, and how they can continue to support you in order to make the most of your investment.
6. How long until we see results?
as great as it would be to have amazing and long-lasting results within the first 30 days of launch, this is not realistic nine times out of ten. an agency that promises you over-optimistic results at best lacks experience, but at worst is deliberately misleading you in order to make a sale. it all depends on the service, your business and your audience, but the suggested timescale to see real results online is three to six months.
7. Are you a Google Partner Agency?
having a google partnership should not be a deal-breaker, but the google partnership accreditation is important for digital marketing. if an agency has these certificates, it shows that they have gone out of their way to develop their learning and keep up to date with the latest best practices for advertising online. with google being the most used search engine globally, it is also good to know that you have experts helping you stand out amidst the millions of other websites and advertisements out there.
8. How much will I need to be involved?
the answer to this question depends on what you are looking for; if you want to be involved in the full design process and provide feedback, you don't want a 'we will just send you the bill and end product' type of agency. it's best to find a client-focused team that works collaboratively, and will support you to be involved as much (or as little) as you want.
9. How long has your company been operational?
the amount of time a company has been operational is not necessarily indicative of the quality of work you will get. however, digital agencies are in a highly competitive market, and if an agency has lots of long term repeat clients coupled with over ten years of experience, they must be doing something right!
10. What will you do to get to know my business?
you can tell a digital agency all about your company, your wants, and needs, but a quality agency will delve even deeper. they will investigate your competitors, the current trends within your industry, and how, as a business, you will be able to stand out. this will result in better campaigns, a more effective online presence, and greater overall success.
And there we have it, ten things you should ask in initial meetings with a digital agency. if the agency has answered all your questions confidently and to your liking, it's time to start what we hope will be a successful partnership.