Nowadays, with such stiff competition and increasingly sophisticated consumer behavior, it is essential for brands to use various digital marketing channels like search engine optimization (SEO), PPC (pay-per- click) management, graphic design or website design, social media management, etc. Digital marketing agencies that successfully integrate these channels into their overall marketing strategy acquire a competitive advantage over those that fail to do so.
Now here's the million-dollar question, how does one know which Internet marketing agency will help them get the most out of their investment? You begin by knowing the expert tips to help you land the best digital marketing company.
Use These Tips to Find the Best Digital Marketing Services Today
1. Know Your Online Marketing Budget
Budget matters for any business that wants to take advantage of digital marketing solutions. However, it is more important for start-ups whose financial resources are often limited. At this point, you need to be clever about which marketing efforts to focus on.
Should you do Google Ads, SEO marketing, or both? Should you work with a full-service digital marketing agency or a team that specializes in a certain digital marketing strategy only like social media marketing or paid ads?
"What's your budget?" No matter how broad or generic a question sounds, clarity is always appreciated. Be sure to understand your budget thoroughly so as to eliminate the bogus or non-relevant digital marketing agencies fast!
Here are some pointers that will help decide on your budget for digital marketing projects:
A. Decide on Your Website's Online Marketing Objective
Each digital marketing campaign is different from the next, and so are the associated costs. However, it's difficult to determine a budget without thoroughly understanding your website's marketing goal.
Your digital marketing agency should be able to provide you with a list of digital services that they offer if not an exact price. Make sure you have all their plans on a clear list and match them with your needs.
If online presence is the only thing you're looking for, then most likely social media marketing will suffice. But if brand building or lead generation is what you need, then investing in SEO services might be more fruitful.
B. Know What Kind of Digital Marketing Services You Are Looking For
You should know whether you are looking for a specific service, or if the digital marketing agency will provide all services under one roof. Get an estimate of how much each service costs so that you can decide if it's within your budget or not.
For example, digital marketing agencies charge differently for social media marketing and content marketing. This is due to the different skills required for both services. If they do offer similar services at varying prices, then find out why.
C. Work Within Your Budget for Your Digital Marketing Campaigns
Do not get carried away with big numbers presented by digital marketing agencies or consultants that could prove to be unaffordable for you, in the long run. Always work within your budget while understanding the value an agency brings to the table as well as its ROI (return on investment).
Digital Marketing Budget Composition
Now that you know where your key objective lies, with online strategy development or perhaps mobile app development for specific roles, you need to decide how much you want to invest.
The following figure shows the percentage of the digital marketing budget that goes towards different online marketing services:
A big chunk of your budget gets distributed as follows:
A. SEO Services (32%)
B. Content Marketing and Promotion (16%)
It's common to have most of your online marketing efforts directed toward SEO or search engine marketing (SEM). You must optimize your website and its main content for increased visibility across major search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
It is crucial because it ensures a higher ranking on the SERP (search engine results page) leading to better conversions rates. The second biggest allocation of funds goes toward content generation and promotional activities.
C. Social Media Marketing (15%)
Social media is considered one of the most cost-effective digital strategies online out there. A single post on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn can reach thousands of individuals at a fraction of a penny.
It's great for business, but you need to be extremely cautious while posting and must also identify which social channels are right for your brand. Twitter might work well for B2C brands, but B2B companies could find more success with LinkedIn Groups or Facebook Pages.
D. Email Marketing (13%)
Email marketing still has a huge potential in terms of ROI and is an excellent tool for lead generation, but it requires maintenance on a regular basis. You must constantly add fresh content to your newsletter or client magnet, catch people's attention with calls-to-action, and provide something of value in return for their email address. This way, you can attract new leads toward your business while providing them some incentive to sign up.
E. Online Video Production and Promotion (3%)
Some of the best digital marketing companies now integrate video production and promotion due to its amazing ROI, but it still needs some more time before finally taking over text snippets. You need a proper digital strategy in place if you are looking for immediate results, so hire a digital marketing agency based on their proven track record of transforming businesses through online videos.
F. Desktop Banners (2%)
For paid advertising, desktop banner ads such as skyscrapers (728 x 90 pixels) and rectangles (300 x 250 pixels) usually attract a good number of clicks, but you can't expect your brand to gain top rankings across major search engines with this form of promotional activity only. It's usually used in conjunction with other digital marketing techniques to ensure greater visibility and improved user engagement.
How to Budget Wisely for Your Paid Media and Search Engine Optimization Services
SEO is an investment in your business. It's the most cost-effective way to generate leads online, and it costs less than half of what paid search does.
The only problem is that search engine optimization can be overwhelming for marketers who are just getting started. There are so many tactics to choose from that make setting up an SEO campaign confusing, especially if you're working on a small budget or looking for ways to cut costs.
No matter how much time and money you dedicate towards organic ranking factors like link building, writing unique content, and optimizing your site structure, there will always be some degree of uncertainty when it comes to search engine optimization.
To make matters worse, there's no standard method for calculating ROI in digital marketing. The first step to figuring out your budget, therefore, is to determine whether or not SEO is even right for you.
Google's Keyword Planner can help you identify which keywords will drive targeted traffic to your site. If you want to test the waters with SEO before investing in an ongoing campaign, simply enter some of those keywords into Google and see what kind of search volume they get.
If your chosen keywords aren't pulling up any ROI (i.e., people searching for that phrase haven't clicked on an organic result in Google), it's time to move on.
Knowing How Paid Advertising and PPC Management Work
The next step is taking a deeper look at how paid advertising works, so you have something to compare it with when setting up your plans for building links and creating content.
Let's say you're planning to invest in paid search for a new product, which you'll sell online at your e-commerce website. Paid search is designed to appear only when somebody submits an inquiry into an online form or fills out a query directly into Google at the moment they are looking to make that purchase. This costs money upfront, but it drives traffic immediately, and it results in conversions because there's the intent behind each click.
Once you know how much each conversion is worth monetarily (in this case, let's say it's $100), divide that number by the amount of money you put down on paid search ads (if you're spending $10 per day, divide $100 by 10). Once you know how much you're spending per conversion, you can calculate how long it will take to make your money back.
If we divide $100 by $10, we get 10 days. That means you'll start turning a profit after 10 days and see a return on investment by Day 11.
An ROI is the amount of money something brings in above what it costs to produce that product or service. In our example, SEO falls into this category because there's no upfront cost. The only thing you're investing is time and effort as opposed to cash like with paid search ads.
So once you've decided that organic ranking factors such as link building and content creation are right for your business, let's figure out how much you should be spending on SEO.
The first step is to set up your paid search campaign, as outlined above. Do this for at least one month (longer if you can afford it). Most digital marketing agencies recommend that campaigns run for three months because Google displays lower ad positions to users who are brand new to an AdWords account. This means the more familiar a user becomes with your ads and keywords during the course of their research, the higher they will be displayed in search results.
While you're running your paid search campaign, make sure to keep track of how much money you're putting down each day (for example, $10) and how many conversions that brings in ($100 by day 11). This way, when it comes time to calculate ROI on your SEO, you can do so using the same figures.
Let's say you're spending $10 per day on search engine optimization and getting four conversions for this price, which brings in $40 at day's end. Divide $100 (the amount earned through paid search) by $20 (four-day ROI for organic ranking factors like link building and content creation). We get 5 days, meaning it takes five days to make back what you spent on SEO after Day 11 of your paid search campaign.
You'll see that organic ranking factors take longer to produce results than run-of-the-mill PPC ads because users are looking for solutions to more long-tail keywords. They've typically got a lot of research to do before making a purchase.
That means rather than spending a set amount of money per day on SEO, you should focus more on increasing the number of conversions you receive from your organic rankings by diversifying your keyword portfolio and improving content marketing. The more specific keywords you rank for organically, the fewer PPC ads you'll need to run.
That brings us to another important point: organic ranking factors produce higher-quality leads in the long term because prospects are actively looking for brands/products/services when they're ready to make a purchase. Paid search marketing services end up creating an unqualified pool of leads because users who submit paid forms often aren't actually looking to buy anything at that moment in time (they just want information).
2. Match Digital Marketing Agencies with Your USP
A unique selling proposition (USP) is the reason that your digital business exists. It's also known as a competitive advantage or, simply, differentiator.
It's what makes customers choose your brand over everything else in the marketplace. It can be expressed in many different ways. Price, quality, location, design, personnel, and guarantees are all valid USPs when pushed to their limits. Just make sure you can deliver on these promises if they're critical for success in your industry.
Remember that uniqueness is different for each consumer, so make sure the best digital marketing agency uses personalization in helping you build your USP online. Instead of creating several separate USPs (one for coffee, one for food, and one for live music), both of you can make it unique to the individual customer. For example, "We offer the best global coffees at affordable prices."
Your business model should be built around identifying what makes you better than everyone else. Only when this has been established can you really start doing all the important things like customer acquisition and digital marketing.
You will need to create a USP that appeals to your target audience with the right messaging channels to get them to buy into it. If they do, they'll become brand evangelists who promote you without any investment from you. You'll never be short of customers as long as your USP stands out.
Sometimes even the top digital marketing agency fails in online reputation management because clients insist on their wrong ideas about USPs. Remember that your USP is not the same as a slogan.
Do not think of online marketing speak such as "we offer fast and friendly service" or "we use organic," locally grown ingredients. This is something everyone says, so they cannot differentiate themselves in this way.
They might create a buzz for a moment with these words. But without real meaning behind them, they will quickly be forgotten. Industry jargon also does nothing to help clients understand why they should buy into your brand. It just highlights that you're no different than anyone else!
The best way to understand if a digital agency is capable enough of doing justice to your brand is by finding out what makes them unique from their competitors and how it benefits clients like you. Find out if their team possesses years of digital marketing experience directly related to the industry you operate in.
Check what type of certifications they hold. Discover which tools they use and what kind of processes they follow. If you come across agencies that use the same tools as their competitors but boast of better results, then something is definitely amiss.
3. Land the Right Digital Agency by Knowing More about SEO Ranking Factors
Whether your online marketing goal is brand awareness, website traffic increase, or conversion optimization, you need to rank at Google to maximize your digital marketing efforts.
However, Google has so many different ranking signals. It's impossible to know all of them, let alone rank for a specific keyword without getting any of them right.
With search engines playing an increasingly large part in our everyday lives, top digital marketing agencies have had to adapt their strategies to suit the changes that Google regularly makes. They will customize the digital marketing services they offer based on these changes as well as your online marketing goals.
You can leave this crucial task to the best digital marketing team, but online advertising is now a collaboration. This means you also need to have at least basic knowledge of how search engines work.
Common Ranking Factors That Can Impact Online Presence
A. Title Tags
The title tag appears at the top of your browser and is also one of the most important on-page factors for ranking a page. A digital marketing agency will use keywords within this tag but don't stuff it with keywords because Google may penalize your site for keyword stuffing.
B. Description Tags
The meta description appears below a link to your site in Google's search results. This is an opportunity to reinforce the message from the title tag and add more keywords. A smart SEO specialist will be sure to put them in there. But remember, if people click through to see your website, they probably aren't going to stick around long so make sure you have a compelling copy, which will convince them otherwise!
C. Domain Age
It used to be an important signal because it showed that a website was well-established and had positive feedback. These days, Google seems to use this as less of a ranking factor. But it's still used by some for predicting other signals such as trustworthiness or authority. You can check the age of domains using greencheck.ai, an online platform that helps in domain monitoring.
D. Domain Diversity
This is another "authority" signal which basically means that Google will look at the number of different domains linking to yours and this will influence your page rank across the whole site. If you have too many links coming in from just one source, you might find your rankings suffer.
E. Linked Domains
When evaluating whether your link building has value, Google looks at both the website that has linked to you but also on which other sites it links out (i.e., where it places its outgoing links). The general idea here is that more relevant websites are more likely to link to relevant sources.
It's not enough for your homepage to be linked from a relevant site - even if it has a high PageRank - but one of your lower-ranked pages could still rank well if it had an authoritative link pointing toward it.
F. Anchor Text
Using keywords in the actual link text will pass value to the target page and make a difference because more descriptive links can boost trust and relevancy for both parties involved.
G. Backlink Quality
A lot of SEOs talk about "quality links" in terms of high-trust sites linking to you; news outlets, universities, or other reputable websites. But ultimately, what Google wants is relevancy. If it considers your backlinks to be relevant and contextualized within the context of SERPs (i.e., they fit with the theme), then that will rank highly in organic listings. (Want to know your backlink quality? Use greencheck.ai today.)
Other Essential Factors That Can Affect Ranking
A myth still prevails in the industry where people believe ranking high on SERPs is all it takes. As much as higher rankings are important for your brand's success, it shouldn't be the sole parameter used to decide upon a digital marketing agency. So what factors affect rankings other than links?
Here are a few other parameters that should be considered while choosing an SEO partner:
A. Keyword Research
To have a strong keyword strategy, one needs to understand which keywords best represent them. It would be wise for you to find an online marketing agency that has a good understanding of how keywords work and if they have a process in place for you.
B. UX Quality
A great user experience always reflects on your rankings eventually. If the digital marketing company you hire is a usability specialist, then your website is bound to rank higher and attract more prospects!
C. Social Media Presence
With so many different social media channels gaining momentum every day, it's important for brands to have a strong presence over at least 3-4 major outlets. In today's market, where consumers are constantly connected with brands through these platforms, it would be wise for you to find out if a search engine optimization agency understands which ones should be prioritized or not.
D. Mobile Optimization
With mobile and tablet devices becoming a preferred choice for people to access the Internet, it is imperative that you check if your SEO partner has a good understanding of mobile rankings or not. The last thing you need is an agency that ranks high but doesn't understand how to make their client's website mobile-friendly!
E. Competitor Analysis
The best way to always keep yourself ahead of the competition is by knowing what they are up to and, based on that, strategizing your moves accordingly. For this, it would be recommended that you look for digital marketing companies that have various tools in place to monitor and analyze competitors.
4. Look for Evidence of Trustworthiness in Your Digital Marketing Companies
Sometimes, to save costs on online marketing services, startups avoid dealing with a full-service agency or skip vetting their options for digital agencies. They are likely to pick the cheapest among the bunch.
Some get lucky, but most don't. They will later find out that these marketing agencies may not have enough experience in SEO services and other digital marketing services, so the business doesn't hit their targets. Worse, they may be involved in tactics that will create Google penalties, only hurting the company further.
Technical skills such as social media marketing, email marketing, marketing automation, web development, and graphic design definitely play a key role in conversion optimization. But they're not enough.
The best digital marketing agencies should also possess soft skills, on top of which is trustworthiness. Find a credible digital marketing partner with these tips:
A. Remember, Transparency Is the Key
It's only natural that you would want to know how much an agency charges for their digital marketing services, what type of strategies they follow, and how long it will take for them to provide results.
The first thing you should make sure of is whether or not an online marketing agency shares these details with their clients upfront. If the answer isn't in the affirmative, move on to another one immediately!
B. Ask about Their Digital Marketing Portfolio
An assessment of a company's past projects is always a good way to gauge its capabilities and potential future prospects. It wouldn't be recommended for you to base all your questions regarding their experience based on what you see online as most agencies will leave out unsuccessful campaigns from the public domain. So how can you dig deeper? Ask for references!
C. Find Out if They Follow Google's Guidelines
It may be surprising to find out that only 53% of companies consider complying with Google's guidelines as their top priority. That means close to half of them are unaware or don't care about what the "big G" expects from them.
For this very reason, it would be essential for you to ask your prospective digital marketing agency if they follow these common-sense rules and regulations for better results on SERPs. It is also recommended that you check their knowledge bank regarding new algorithm updates and modifications.
D. Check Out Customer Testimonials
If there's one thing we've noticed over the years working with top digital marketing companies, it's that real case studies and customer testimonials matter a lot to them! If they boast of nothing but fancy-looking websites with smooth, bold claims about unbelievable results, then we suggest you look for alternatives.
E. Know Their Agency Culture Processes
Every good digital marketing agency has its own culture ingrained into its structure. Understanding what an agency promises to deliver before beginning work on any project is vital, especially when you are working with a digital marketing company for the first time.
Also, an agency that has processes in place for everything tends to deliver better results! So make sure you ask about it during your initial conversations.
F. Check for Guarantees
When you decide to hire a digital marketing company, make sure they provide guarantees as well as case studies where appropriate! If an agency claims that they can achieve guaranteed rankings or lead conversions from social media posts/tweets, then always ask for proof!
Make sure there are no hidden clauses and conditions before signing agreements and going ahead with them. So try to opt for digital marketing companies that will work with you to build a long-term relationship and not do just one-off projects.
G. Search for Experience
Make sure you find out how long your SEO agency has been working in the industry before trying them out. The more experienced they are, the better it is for your business since they will have learned many lessons about what works and what doesn't over time!
Also, agencies that have dealt with enterprises of similar size to yours can do a much better job at executing effective digital marketing campaigns.
H. Find One with Excellent Communication Skills
Digital marketing agencies play a major role in creating awareness about brands through both traditional marketing as well as digital platforms. Considering this fact, it is necessary that the communication between you and the agency is clear with no room for ambiguity or misinterpretation. Find out which language they prefer and if it matches your requirements so you can keep the communications smooth and maintain a long-lasting business relationship.
Marketing is an integral part of any business. It helps establish brands, gain customer satisfaction, increase sales volume, and boost revenue generation.
The ultimate aim of marketing campaigns executed by top digital agencies is to win over customers by being innovative and creative as well as providing tangible value propositions.
This way, businesses are able to sustain their competitive advantage over other players in the industry, which ultimately increases market share. Now that's something every enterprise strives for!
Building startups is hard. That's why greencheck.ai provides you with the tools you need to make it easier for you - all in one place! Try them for free today.
Are you a startup or a digital marketing agency that needs more ideas and tips? Don't miss out on more related articles here. Bookmark this page.