The world of marketing and advertising is changing, and traditional agencies are struggling to remain relevant.
On one hand, clients are less willing to commit to expensive, long-term advertising campaigns. On the other, the rise of digital disruptors like TikTok and YouTube, as well as the growth of content creators and influencers, has caused value to fluctuate. This makes it more difficult to sell a brand’s message to the right audience.
What’s more, customers can receive most of the content they need from simply having a smartphone app or website bookmark.
Traditional agencies that rely on expensive TV commercials and magazine spreads to drive business are experiencing a significant decline. However, alternative forms of marketing, such as search engine marketing (SEM) and social media marketing (SMM), are still highly effective. In fact, according to HubSpot Blogs research, 61% of consumers search for products online before buying them in stores, while 64% have visited a website or used an app to learn about a product or service.
As a result, companies have adapted to the new digital landscape and formed strategic partnerships between marketing and sales.
What is an Online Marketing Agency (OMA)?
An OMA is a form of marketing agency that exists solely in the digital world. Typically, an OMA is a marketing strategist that focuses on building a brand on social media.
OMA’s are most effective when applied to brands and products that lack an emotional connection to the average consumer. This is because the aim of an OMA is to drive awareness and consideration, not to create emotional attachment. This makes the strategy suitable for marketing products and services that are currently considered boring or routine.
For example, a travel agency may outsource their digital marketing to an OMA, providing them with a steady stream of interest-based content to engage their audience. After all, the goal of a travel agency is to make travel sound exciting and appealing to prospective clients.
With that in mind, here are the top five things to consider if you’re deciding whether or not to partner with an OMA.
1. Does the digital marketer have experience in my industry?
Being able to speak with credibility about your industry is key to forming successful business relationships. However, this cannot be understated; you must also be able to present yourself as a viable business partner. This means being able to provide exceptional value and show that you are an expert in your field. It also requires honesty about your company and what you can do for the client.
If an OMA lacks credibility in your industry, consider finding a reputable agency that does have experience in your space. You should also research the background of the agency’s executives before making any decisions. You wouldn’t want to partner with a junior staff member, would you?
2. Does the agency have a track record of success?
Just because an agency is digital doesn’t mean they all are created equal. Some agencies have a very distinct background and have developed a reputation for themselves. The more experience an agency has, the more value they are likely to provide. In fact, you can use the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to research and learn about an agency’s performance record. (Checking the BBB’s website shows you what types of businesses they have rated and rated highly.)
As a result, if you see that an agency has a relatively high BBB rating, that should pique your interest. Conversely, if you see that an agency has a low BBB rating, it may be a sign that you should look elsewhere.
3. Is the agency’s pricing reasonable?
Pricing is always a key consideration when establishing business relationships. Fortunately, you can use several methods to find out how much an agency charges without having to commit to a long-term contract. (In fact, you should do the opposite: take your time exploring different agency pricing so that you can choose the one that is most suitable for you.)
If you’re searching for an agency online, you’ll come across a wide variety of prices. However, if you contact the agency directly, you may find out that their pricing is fairly standard. (An agency CEO may even be willing to give you a small discount if you contact them directly and provide them with your business’s name and a short description of your project.)
This is why it’s important to do your research before making any decisions. Comparing prices among different agencies is also a good idea, as it allows you to find the best fit for your budget. If you have a limited one, you may opt for a cost-effective option that does not provide the level of service you’re looking for. Ultimately, you must decide what you can afford
4. Does the agency have a good reputation?
Reputation is everything in business, and it’s all about perception. Just because an agency has a good reputation within their industry for providing top-notch service does not mean they will necessarily be able to provide the same for your business. (After all, you’re dealing with a different client here!)
However, it is a good indication that the agency you’re considering is competent, honest, and has a proven track record of success.
You should learn as much as you can about an agency’s reputation in your industry through online review platforms like Yelp and Google reviews. Additionally, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) can be a useful tool to find out about an agency’s performance record. (Checking the BBB’s website shows you what kinds of businesses they have rated and rated highly.)
5. Does the agency have the required staff and capabilities needed for the task at hand?
Just because an agency is digital does not mean they have to be a one-man-show. Different teams within the agency can provide different capabilities and services. For instance, a marketing department may be responsible for creating and implementing marketing plans, while a sales department handles the buying of advertising and sponsorships.
Depending on the project, a marketing agency may require a graphic designer, a strategist, a content creator, and/or an ad-hoc army of social media managers.
As a result of this variety, it’s essential to do your research and find out what is necessary for the project at hand. If you have a clear picture in mind of what you need, the process will be much less complicated. For example, if you’re searching for a travel agency, but you’re not exactly sure what you need, you may end up choosing the wrong option without even knowing it.
On the other hand, if you have a faint idea of what you need, but you’re not sure how important each element is, a one-man-show with a marketing degree may be able to help you successfully navigate the project. (Just remember that one-man shows often undercharge and overdeliver to gain your trust – so, you may end up paying a little more than you would have otherwise but getting exactly what you need.)
Before and After What?
Before you make any decisions about partnering with an agency, it’s important to understand what you’ll need to do in order to effectively operate a marketing campaign. This includes everything from gathering the appropriate information to analyzing the results of your efforts. (e.g., gathering website traffic data, identifying conversion points, and evaluating the effectiveness of your social media campaigns.)
After you complete your homework, choose a reputable agency that has experience in your industry and that charges fair rates. Furthermore, be sure to ask about their turnaround time and the steps involved in the process.
The main takeaway from this article is that not all digital marketing agencies are created equal. Some are simply trying to scam you with lowball offers, while others are providing a good service at a fair price. For that reason, it’s important to do your research and learn about an agency’s background and reputation before making any decisions.