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What to Look for in a Digital Marketing Agency: The Complete Guide

When it comes to digital marketing, most companies don't have much room for error. If you don't market right, you don't sell the product. Then, in a fraction of time, you run out of money and go out of business.

If you're not an expert, you need to hire someone who is. But then, the problem with hiring any type of expert is how easily they can take advantage of your lack of knowledge.

So, the question is, how do you choose a good digital marketing agency without being ripped off? Keep reading, that's how.

The following is your digital marketing agency hiring checklist. Simply follow this guide to know which companies are legit and which and which are trying to scam you.

Before you hire, make sure the agency you're considering meets these criteria.

Their Own Promotions Looks Good

The first thing you should do is to check out the agency's own online presence. Do they have an ugly website? If so, consider this a huge, flashing, red warning light.

A company boasting its digital marketing prowess should have a sleek, modern-looking website. It should be organised, load fast, have a live chat window, etc. In short, it should have the best looking version of all the digital bells and whistles a prospective client might purchase from them.

Next, check their own digital ad campaigns. Do they have a YouTube channel with lots of high-quality content?

Do their ads show up in relevant Google searches? Do their blog posts rank high in Google searches?

If a digital marketing company can't even promote itself, don't expect them to do much for you either.

Their Team Looks Good

Next, click the "About Us" link on their website's menu. If you find there is no "Us" but only a single name claiming to be an all-powerful, one-man-band of digital marketing, don't buy it. (But feel free to laugh.) 

A successful digital marketing campaign requires the collaboration of multiple talented individuals. Only a team of experts can evaluate a company's marketing needs from all angles. This team then forms the solution that works best overall, all perspectives considered.

The agency's About Us page should list names, faces, and areas of expertise of each member on their team.

They List The Services You Require

What do you need your digital marketing agency to do for you? Make a list of services you require. Then, search for an agency that explicitly lists these services on their website.

If a desired service isn't listed, the agency probably doesn't specialise in it.

The Price is Right

While checking their services, check their pricing plan as well. Different agencies have very different methods of calculating cost. 

Be sure to get a complete quote of the total amount of all services you need from the agency. Check and/or ask about any additional fees. Do this for each agency and compare.

Also, beware of bargains. An unheard-of low price almost always signifies a worthless sham of a marketing agency.

Their Metrics Actually Matter

"Our clients receive an average of 300% more likes on their social media posts!" Wow, that's pretty impressive.

Or rather, it would be impressive if likes were dollars. But they're not. How is this going to help your ROI?

Beware of marketing agencies boasting vanity metrics. These are metrics like "traffic" and "likes" that have nothing to do with actual profitability. Make sure that, when the agency says success, what they mean is profitability.

That said, here are some metrics they should brag about. 

Type and Source of Traffic

Increasing traffic to your site means nothing unless it's profitable traffic. What you want is to find out what type of traffic converts most often. 

Where does your high-conversion traffic come from? Are they referred from other sites? Or are they mostly search traffic?

What pages do they like? Which content makes visitors stay longer and which makes them bounce fast?

Metrics like these help the agency know what to work on to increase your bottom line.


Cost-per-click and click-through-rate are two metrics your marketing agency should be concerned with. These tell how well your current pay-per-click ads are working.

Analysing these metrics help an agency determine which aspects of your ads are working and which aren't. From this, they'll know how best to improve upon your ads.

They Have Years of Digital Marketing Experience

How long has this agency been in the digital marketing game? This may seem petty, but it matters. 

For example, imagine there's a certain marketing agency that opened for business 6 months ago. Let's say they're the most successful agency in the business and have been for 3 months.

The trick is, you still have no way of knowing how well they deal with change. A single update to Google's search algorithm may completely overturn whatever it is that's causing them success. If this happens, how quickly would they recover?

Questions like this can only be answered by a long track record. When an agency has many years of success, it's clear that they deal well with change. And you can expect that they will continue in their success.

They Have Experience With Clients Like You

However, that experience doesn't mean much unless it's relevant to your type of business. That is, if the agency has never marketed for your particular type of business before, their experience is meaningless.

Check the agency's portfolio for clients whose business and needs are similar to your own. Ask them about such experience as well. Then, check these references for yourself.

Your Digital Marketing Agency Checklist

Without the proper focus, pricing, and experience, the digital marketing agency you're considering won't be a good fit. And, besides that, some agencies just aren't good, period.

So to make the best choice, and avoid getting bamboozled, keep this checklist handy. Bookmark this page and refer to it when comparing digital marketing companies.

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