How to rate a digital marketing agency if your goal is lead generation!

If you have hired or are thinking about hiring a digital marketing agency, you should enter into the process with a specific set of questions and criteria. This is not the same as hiring a graphic designer or web development shop.
When you hire a graphic designer, web shop, SEO consultant, etc., you are purchasing a tactic that has a defined cost to execute. It is hard to assess if one graphic element adds more value to your business than another or if a one-time keyword ranking helps achieve long term business results.

When you hire a digital marketing agency to help you deliver an integrated plan for your business mapped to business results, your criteria and assessment of the work needs to be crystal clear.

We’ve identified some elements essential to a successful partnership between a client and its digital marketing agency. Before you sign on the dotted line, use this scorecard to see if your candidate has what it takes to achieve lead generation results for your business.
Remember, digital marketing should not be viewed as a campaign, but as a 12 month, planned and measured exercise integrated into everything you are doing in your sales program. Anything less than this is an isolated tactic that will achieve limited results.
 
For each category, select the appropriate number. If you strongly agree, choose 5. The numbers between 1 and 5 correspond to your level of agreement, neutrality or disagreement. Tally your score when you’re finished and follow the ranking instructions at the end.

Category / Requirements Weak « 1-2-3-4-5» Strong
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How to score your agency:

For each question, rate the agency on a scale of one to five. Tally the subtotals, and then combine them to get the final score. Here’s how to interpret the results:

15 to 25 : Keep looking

This agency is probably not the right fit to develop and implement an integrated program for your business. They won’t have a firm grip on your business, won’t understand lead converting content and will likely treat everything you do as a campaign.

31 to 45 : Consider carefully

The agency could be a contender, but you should probably look at others before making a decision.

46 to 61 : Worth a second look

Look at your sub totals and if the agency falls flat in one or two areas, you might be able to speak with them and ask them specific questions about how they will close the gap.  Be cautious of some of the sub-categories though and your expectations. For example, if you are only evaluating an agency based on price, you have to do your homework and ensure you are comparing apples to apples. This can only be done through extensive discussion with all contenders.

61 to 75 : Sign them up!

If they have experience in your industry and understand an integrated approach to supporting your sales model, then they could be the right digital marketing partner to push your marketing initiatives forward. Make sure you are clear when you start, what the bench mark is for goal setting and how you work together to achieve that.

For Careful Consideration:

Many business owners struggle to understand the investment in digital marketing they should be making versus the results they want to achieve. Part of the problem is that they don’t start with the right set of data. Before you can assess price and value, don’t call anyone until you have this data at your fingertips:.

  1. What have I spent on marketing over the last 3 years as a percentage of overall revenue? Above 10% is generous, and under 10% is unrealistic for an early stage company. You should understand your investment in digital marketing in terms of overall spend and determine first off if you are under or overspending.
  2. What is your current cost per lead to acquire and to nurture? If you don’t have a rough idea of this, you won’t be able to assess an agency in terms of pricing model.
  3. What are your lead generation goals for a 12 month period to achieve your overall revenue target? If you don’t know your numbers, you will be entering into an arrangement not knowing if your results are going up or down. Get a handle on this first.

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