What you should consider hiring a digital marketing agency

by | Dec 1, 2020

Finding a Digital Marketing solution shouldn’t be rushed.

Digital marketing is a fast-changing and competitive space. Staying on top of the competition when e-commerce is booming is a massive undertaking. With this in mind, a common question comes up when it’s time to invest in a digital marketing provider. What should you consider when hiring a digital marketing agency? Should a company hire an internal marketing person, entire team, 3rd party consultant, or outsource to a digital agency?

With the ever-increasing number of services to choose from, it is almost impossible to hire a single person who can produce meaningful multi-channel results in addition to meticulous reporting, constant optimization, and eventual scaling.

person holding a candy pack is like searching for digital marketing experts

Digital marketing agencies are many; pick a flavor.

There are a ton of marketing companies out there. There is a great fit both in capability and price, but you have to know what will serve you best to find them.

Whether you decide to hire internally, hire an outside consultant to support your internal team, or outsource it all overseas, you’re still going to want at least some support and objectivity coming from outside of your organization.

If you agree, here is what you should look for in a digital marketing provider. Keep in mind; every industry has a unique set of performance indicators. So, how will you know if a digital marketing agency is a good fit or not? Let’s look at some of the more crucial metrics below!

man wearing white top looking at projector graph screen of digital marketing analytics.

Profit is expected, not guaranteed in Digital marketing.

Switching between digital marketing agencies is often an indication that something is missing from their current marketing strategy in the vertical of interest. Usually, insufficiency can be is identified if there is a negligible difference in profit growth.

Pretty much every marketing strategy can be boiled down to one common goal — helping a company increase its profits. If that’s not happening, then the agency in question isn’t doing a good enough job. Rarely do we see a successful company without any existing marketing plan suddenly start marketing and not see profits increase to some degree.

And in the modern world of digital marketing, everything is data-driven. In turn, performance metrics should be outlined quite clearly. That’s why companies do not offer many second chances to agencies that don’t do a great job the first time around; finding a replacement is rarely difficult.

fossils on rock are the earliest for of marketing

Unlock the Origin of Leads through Digital Marketing Analytics

To increase profits, an agency has to increase the number of sales-qualified leads and direct conversions. While there are many factors to consider when it comes to digital marketing, serious businesses will most of the time expect to be made aware of where their leads originate, the source.

The reason is apparent; they want to know if we’re doing an excellent job with diversifying leads from multiple channels. Digital marketing is a skill set that has to be flexible and nimble. Similar to investments, if you have much success from one channel, we’ll hedge that success in another. If we don’t, there is a chance that our leads that originate from a single source could dry up and put the entire strategy at risk of collapsing, leaving your campaign open to disruptions.

yellow round analog clock is used like a coin to demonstrate digital marketing ROI

Time and Digital Marketing Return On Investment (ROI)

Efficiency is a challenge for internal teams and even small marketing companies. Ensuring we meet goals at a meaningful pace ensures the client can make their own business decisions quicker and with more confidence. Okay, this work does require a dose of creativity to achieve, but that’s why we do it.

If it were easy, digital marketers would get bored and pursue bigger creative challenges. On the flip side, online marketing is a very left-brain kind of job, meaning that every conversion needs to have an origin, and that origin is in the numbers. It’s also no surprise that clients expect results in agreed-upon timeframes to keep us honest, and rightly so.

person looking at digital marketing success charts

Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) in Digital Marketing

While customer retention or reputation management can be a fruitful digital marketing exercise, most businesses prioritize acquiring new customers as their key marketing objective. As a client, you’re fully within your rights to know how much each new consumer’s acquisition would cost. That metric is another way to showcase the cost-effectiveness of a digital marketing agency. It’s a standard prediction method that is repurposed in many different ways.

Marketing ROI is usually calculated across multiple marketing channels but itemized to single out the good from the bad. You divide the funds you’ve used to acquire customers using a particular channel by how many customers you’ve managed to obtain.

We also look at existing metrics like your onsite conversion rate, current traffic costs, and reverse engineer costs per acquisition. That figure will help us suggest a budget meaningful enough to provide some proof of the client’s success target.

laptop computer on glass-top table showing a CRM with digital marketing analytics

Cost Per Lead in Digital Marketing

Apart from acquisition costs, companies shopping for a new digital marketing consultant can ask how much individual leads cost during a campaign. If the conversion rate is subpar and these leads don’t become customers — it’s an entirely different issue. Yet, a competitive cost per lead is something all of the best digital marketing agencies should have.

This cost can vary based on the client company’s industry; it’s not always up to the agency itself and its methods of lead generation.

digital marketer using laptop to show client positive ROI

Converting Online Leads into Sales

The previous highlight among the traits to look for in a digital marketing agency is a neat segway into the big one — lead conversion. How good are the sales and marketing “experts” in their epic quest to generate sales from sales qualified leads? A ton of leads with lower sales would indicate issues in the sales department, and vice versa.

people using mobile devices while waiting in line are being marketed to, online

Digital Marketing Engagement on Social Media

In a world with endless scrolling, social media is a highly sought-after, extremely competitive digital playground. With that in mind, the sophistication level needed to keep a user engaged for more than a few seconds is getting harder and harder every day.

Social Media Marketing is competitive; entire agencies have formed purely for single platform strategies. In less commercially developed social media spaces like Linked In, a secondary market to build personal Social Selling campaigns has emerged to fill gaps that the platform has left open. Marketers have circumvented the impersonal user experience to create a marketing experience that is more personal and not as aggressive as “InMail.”

The value of using these social platforms usually comes from content frequency, quality, and getting in front of the right sets of eyeballs or ears. This goes for both the agency’s content for other clients and their social media accounts.

woman laying on white bed using a brown telephone

Customer Value and Shelf Life

As a company, you don’t want your customers to make just one purchase. The cost to acquire a new customer is much higher than the cost to resell or renew the same customer. With a service like reputation management, the objective is to build a long relationship with your customer base, resulting in mutual benefits for everyone involved.

If you have a product that can be resold many times over, brand advocacy can be a powerful ally. Finding a digital marketing agency that can recognize this activity’s potential for your business can open new doors you didn’t know even existed.

This strategy is especially useful for subscription-based services; you need to know how many subscriptions you lose each month and calculate whether the swing in cost to replace them is more than the cost of retaining them. Any digital marketing company should be able to calculate customer retention costs before you’d need to commit to something long term.

person in red jacket walking up a mountain is like achieving digital marketing goals

Strategize by Setting Digital Marketing Goals

Every business sets predetermined goals — and digital marketing agencies are no different. Some goals are more evident than others. In some cases, like real estate, especially, businesses want to track individual goals for their team.

So before going through the process of hiring a digital agency, think about what matters to you. What is meaningful, and why should it be measured? It is up to the agency to engineer a way to achieve and measure your objectives. In the process, you’ll find out how creative they are.

aerial photography of concrete roads relate to digital marketing channels overlapping

Traffic and lead generation

If your brand has an online presence maintained by a digital marketing agency in the form of a website, try to see if you’re getting your money’s worth out of the traffic on the site. Calculate the ratio between how many people visit your website and the number of leads you get from it.


When you’re working with a new digital marketing agency or consultant it isn’t all about metrics and numbers. The way you communicate and how you work together is hugely important. Often times, we’ve worked with clients who have burned in the past. It happens and we can’t stop it from happening.

Spend time early on to get to know the people who will be involved with your digital marketing project. Building trust allows for more open and honest collaboration which will show up in the campaign results.