Asking the right questions to evaluate a digital marketing agency before outsourcing your marketing needs is important. The questions below will help to ensure a perfect fit and a successful long-term partnership.
You’ve researched the costs and benefits of outsourcing your digital marketing needs to an agency vs building an in-house marketing team and decided that outsourcing is the more cost-effective option.
Now, you just need to find the right partner.
In this article, we list the essential questions you should ask before outsourcing to find the right agency for your needs and explain why asking these questions is vitally important for the success of your business.
We’ve grouped these questions into the following categories:
Agency Background and Experience
Digital Marketing Services and Approach
Tools, Technologies, and Data Security
Performance Metrics and Reporting
Collaboration and Coordination
Pricing and Timelines
Additional Questions to Gauge Agency Success
Questions To Ask A Digital Marketing Agency Before Outsourcing
Navigating the vast digital marketing landscape can be overwhelming. To ensure your business’s online visibility and growth, it’s important to find the perfect digital marketing agency that can not only provide tailored marketing solutions, but also help you achieve your desired goals through innovative, data-driven strategies.
Asking the right questions is crucial in determining the best fit for your specific marketing needs. To save you countless hours of research and time-wasting, we’ve compiled the list below. It includes all the questions to ask a digital marketing agency before outsourcing your marketing initiatives.
Note: If you’re a digital agency, use the questions below to help you gain a better understanding of your business and to position your services more competitively (go here for details on how to list your agency in our directory).
Agency Background and Experience
The questions below focus on understanding the agency’s overall experience and expertise in digital marketing. Ask these questions to help you determine if the agency has a proven track record of success within your industry or with similar businesses, to ensure they have the knowledge and skills needed to drive results for your business.
1. What is your experience in digital marketing? How long have you been in the industry?
Understanding the agency’s experience and longevity in the industry helps you to evaluate their expertise and stability. This question helps you assess the agency’s expertise and industry knowledge. A digital marketing agency with a proven track record of experience is more likely to have the expertise to handle your marketing needs effectively.
2. What sets your digital marketing agency apart from your competitors?
It’s important to identify the agency’s unique selling proposition, differentiating factors, or innovative approaches that make them stand out. Understanding the agency’s distinctive offerings can help your business make a more informed decision and ensure that you are choosing the right partner to help you achieve your goals.
3. Can you provide examples of digital marketing campaigns or projects you have worked on in the past and their outcomes?
Reviewing the agency’s portfolio and case studies can help you evaluate their past work and outcomes, assess their track record of success, and gauge their creativity, strategy, ability, and effectiveness to achieve results.
4. Do you have experience working with businesses in our industry or similar industries? How do you tailor your digital marketing strategies to different industries?
Businesses with experience in your industry will be better prepared to handle the unique challenges, trends, and audience behavior of your industry and develop targeted and effective marketing strategies and campaigns that cater to these unique needs.
Asking this question will help you find out if the agency has relevant experience and knowledge about the sector and the markets your business operates in.
Digital Marketing Services and Approach
The questions below are designed to gain insights into the agency’s specific digital marketing services and their strategic approach to driving success. This includes their process for developing and implementing digital marketing strategies, as well as their knowledge and experience in specialized areas such as content marketing, SEO, and social media marketing.
5. What digital marketing services do you offer? (e.g. SEO, PPC, social media marketing, content marketing, email marketing, etc.)
Different agencies may have different areas of expertise, like SEO, PPC, or social media. Knowing the agency’s core services will help you to determine if they have the capabilities to meet your digital marketing needs and align with your business goals.
6. How do you approach developing a digital marketing strategy for a business? Can you provide an overview of your process?
A well-defined strategy is essential for successful digital marketing campaigns. This question helps you assess the agency’s strategic thinking and planning process and understand how they create customized marketing strategies and what steps are involved in their process.
7. What is your approach to content creation and content marketing? How do you ensure that the content is aligned with our brand and messaging?
Content is a crucial aspect of digital marketing. Understanding the agency’s approach to content creation, quality, relevance, and alignment with your brand helps to ensure that your content marketing efforts are effective.
8. How do you handle social media marketing? Can you provide examples of social media campaigns you have managed?
Social media is a prominent digital marketing channel. This question helps you assess the agency’s experience and approach to social media marketing, their capabilities and their ability to to create and manage successful social media campaigns that will generate engagement and growth through various platforms.
9. How do you approach search engine optimization (SEO)? Can you provide examples of SEO strategies you have implemented for other clients?
SEO is critical for online visibility. Inquiring about the agency’s approach to SEO and their past strategies and proven successes can help you assess their expertise in optimizing websites for search engines, and evaluate their ability to improve your search engine visibility and drive organic traffic to your site.
10. How do you handle paid advertising campaigns, such as pay-per-click (PPC) or Google Ads? Can you provide examples of successful paid advertising campaigns you have managed?
Paid advertising can be an effective way to boost online visibility. This question helps you evaluate the agency’s expertise and ability to manage paid advertising campaigns effectively and their proficiency to generate desired outcomes a positive return on ad spend.
11. How do you handle email marketing campaigns? Can you provide examples of successful email marketing campaigns you have executed?
Understanding the agency’s approach to email marketing, including their strategy, segmentation, and automation, can help you assess their ability to create and execute effective email campaigns that drive engagement and conversions.
12. What is your approach to website design and development? Do you offer website design and development services or work with external partners?
Your website is a critical digital marketing asset. Knowing the agency’s approach to website design and development helps you assess their expertise in creating websites that are user-friendly, visually appealing, and aligned with your brand.
Tools, Technologies, and Data Security
The questions below are critical for understanding the agency’s technical capabilities and their commitment to data security. Asking these questions will help to elucidate the digital marketing tools and technologies they utilize, any additional costs associated with these tools, and their approaches to ensuring the protection of your business and customer data.
This is important because you will need to trust the agency and provide them with access to everything they need to run your marketing effectively – login details to your site, Google Analytics and social media accounts, etc.
13. What tools and technologies do you use for digital marketing? Are there any additional costs associated with these tools?
Knowing the tools and technologies used by the agency helps you understand their capabilities and efficiency in managing and executing effective digital marketing campaigns, and allows you to assess any additional costs associated with these tools.
14. How do you handle data privacy and security? How do you ensure that our business and customer data are protected?
Protecting your business and customer data is paramount. Data privacy and security are critical concerns, and asking about the agency’s data privacy and security practices ensures that they follow industry standards and will take appropriate measures to safeguard your sensitive information.
Performance Metrics and Reporting
Gauging the success of digital marketing campaigns requires effective tracking and reporting of performance metrics. The questions below address the agency’s process for measuring campaign success, the key performance indicators they track, and their approach to reporting and communicating these metrics to their clients.
15. How do you measure the success of digital marketing campaigns? What metrics do you track, and how do you report on them?
Clear reporting and analysis are crucial for optimizing campaigns and achieving desired results. Understanding the agency’s approach to measuring campaign success and the metrics they track allows you to evaluate their performance and accountability, set up realistic expectations, and evaluate their performance and campaign success over time.
This question will also help you understand if the agency’s performance metrics align with your business goals.
16. How do you handle reporting and communication with clients? How often will we receive reports, and what will be included in them?
Clear and regular communication is essential for a successful partnership. This question helps establish expectations for reporting frequency and content. It’s important to ensure there’s open communication and trust between your business and the agency.
You want clear and consistent communication about the progress of your campaigns in order to make timely adjustments and ensure that the campaign’s messaging and strategy remains aligned with your goals.
Collaboration and Coordination
Partnering with a digital marketing agency often involves extensive collaboration and communication with your internal team. The questions below cover how the agency plans to involve your in-house team, as well as their methods for coordinating with various stakeholders to ensure seamless execution and synergy.
17. How do you handle communication and coordination with our internal marketing team or other stakeholders? How much will you involve the in-house team? Who will be working on our account?
Effective communication, reporting, and coordination with internal teams and stakeholders are key to a successful agency-client relationship and allow for a smooth collaboration between your business and the agency.
If you have an internal marketing team or other stakeholders, coordinating with them is essential for successful digital marketing campaigns.
Asking the agency about their approach to coordinating and collaborating with your internal team or other stakeholders helps you understand how they will work with your team and ensure smooth communication and coordination throughout the campaign.
Knowing the main contact person(s) and the team structure will help to foster a healthy working relationship and keep communication streamlined. Understanding the dynamics of the team that will handle your digital marketing efforts, the agency’s reporting frequency, format, and how communication channels will be maintained helps you ensure that you receive regular updates and insights on your campaigns.
Pricing and Timeline
Understanding the costs associated with digital marketing services is essential for budgeting and decision-making. The questions below focus on the agency’s pricing structure, any additional fees, and their expectations concerning timelines and results. This information will help you plan your marketing efforts more effectively and determine if the agency is a good fit for your financial goals.
18. What is your pricing structure? How do you charge for your services, and are there any additional costs or fees?
It’s important to have a clear understanding of costs associated with outsourcing your digital marketing efforts to the agency. Understanding the agency’s pricing structure, payment terms, and any additional costs associated with their services helps you assess if their services are within your budget and if they provide value for the investment.
It’s important to have clarity on pricing and budget to avoid any surprise costs, hidden fees, or misunderstandings later on.
19. What are your expectations in terms of timelines and results for our digital marketing campaigns?
Setting realistic expectations and understanding the agency’s anticipated timelines and results ensure transparency and optimized goal-setting for both parties.
Additional Questions to Gauge Agency Success
Asking the questions below will provide additional insights into the agency’s overall success and adaptability in the ever-changing digital marketing landscape. Topics covered in this section include staying updated with industry trends, providing references and case studies, internal marketing strategies, expected result timeframes, and the agency’s ability to learn and bounce back from failures.
20. How do you stay updated with the latest trends and changes in technology and the digital marketing landscape?
The digital marketing landscape is constantly changing. It is essential for the agency to stay updated with the latest trends, algorithm changes, and best practices, and be able to adapt their strategies accordingly.
You want to know how flexible and adaptable their strategies are to changes in industry trends and technology to ensure they can adapt to changes in the market, deliver timely, effective and up-to-date marketing efforts, and maintain their relevance and competitiveness.
21. Can you provide references from previous clients or case studies of successful digital marketing campaigns you have executed?
Case studies and client references provide insights into the agency’s credibility, ability to drive results, and client satisfaction. Ask for examples of successful campaigns and whether you can contact existing clients to obtain feedback, verify the agency’s claims, and get insights from their previous clients about their experience, communication, and results achieved.
22. Which strategies do you use for your brand, and what has been working out for you?
This question is important because it helps evaluate the agency’s own digital marketing efforts and identify the strategies that have been successful in promoting their brand. By learning about the approaches they use for themselves, you can better understand their expertise and potential effectiveness in implementing those strategies for your business.
Asking this question also showcases the agency’s ability to adapt and innovate in the digital marketing space, demonstrating their willingness to stay ahead of the curve and continuously test and refine techniques. Furthermore, it shows that they practice what they preach and can be a credible partner for your business.
23. What is the onboarding process for new clients?
Understanding the agency’s onboarding process is crucial to ensuring a smooth and efficient transition into the working relationship. This question helps reveal the agency’s organizational skills, communication strategies, and their commitment to providing a seamless integration for new clients.
The response to this question will offer insights into their process for gathering necessary information, setting expectations and goals, assigning key personnel, and establishing communication channels. Additionally, it allows you to assess the agency’s dedication to understanding your business, objectives, and target audience, which is vital for creating and implementing tailored and effective digital marketing strategies.
A clear and well-defined onboarding process also demonstrates the agency’s professionalism and experience, ensuring that they are well-versed in managing projects and working with different teams. This information helps build trust and confidence that the agency can effectively address your unique digital marketing needs and cultivate a productive partnership.
24. When can I expect to start seeing results?
Setting realistic expectations regarding the timeline for results is crucial for both the client and the agency. This question allows you to gauge the agency’s transparency and the effectiveness of their strategies in delivering quantifiable results. It is essential while forming a suitable partnership, as it prevents potential misunderstandings or disappointments in later stages of the project.
The agency’s response helps you understand the typical timeframes associated with different digital marketing strategies and the time needed to achieve desired outcomes. It also provides an insight into the agency’s ability to deliver on their promises and their overall performance.
25. What are some of your recent failures, and how did you remediate them?
This question is not only about learning from their mistakes but also assessing the agency’s adaptability, transparency, and problem-solving capabilities. The willingness to share and acknowledge their failures demonstrates a proactive learning attitude and a commitment to continuous improvement, which are essential traits for a successful digital marketing agency.
Inquiring about their remediation efforts helps you understand the agency’s resilience when faced with challenges and their ability to bounce back and learn from their mistakes. This insight can inspire confidence in their services and provide a better understanding of their approach to overcoming setbacks and unforeseen obstacles.
Successfully Interviewing Digital Agencies – Additional Tips
It’s important to thoroughly vet and interview digital marketing agencies to ensure they align with your business goals, have the necessary expertise and experience, and can deliver results.
In addition to the questions listed above, the tips below will help you make an informed decision about selecting the right digital marketing agency for your business:
Contract and Terms
Review the agency’s contract and terms of service thoroughly and clarify any doubts before committing to their service. This will help you understand the legal and contractual aspects of the engagement and ensure that you are comfortable with their terms and conditions.
Team Expertise and Qualifications
Ask about the qualifications, certifications, and expertise of the agency’s team members. This will help you assess their skills, knowledge, and experience in digital marketing. A qualified and experienced team is more likely to deliver effective results for your campaigns.
Communication Channels and Response Time
Clear communication channels and timely response are crucial for successful collaboration with a digital marketing agency. Inquire about the agency’s preferred communication channels and their typical response time. This will help you set expectations and ensure smooth communication throughout the engagement.
Flexibility and Adaptability
Digital marketing is dynamic, and strategies may need to be adjusted based on results and changing market conditions. As covered earlier, it’s important to ask the agency about their flexibility and adaptability to changes. This will help you assess their ability to adjust strategies and tactics as needed to optimize results.
Client Retention Rate
Inquire about the agency’s client retention rate. This helps you gauge their ability to retain long-term clients. A high client retention rate is a positive indicator of client satisfaction and successful outcomes.
Ask For a Proposal or Plan
Request a proposal or plan from the agency. This allows you to evaluate their approach, creativity, and strategy in detail. A well-prepared proposal or plan provides insights into their understanding of your business, market, and objectives, and helps you assess their suitability for your digital marketing needs.
Additional Tip: Choose Local
Although we live in a global economy that allows us to do business with anyone, anywhere in the world, keep in mind that international laws can be complicated. Should your relationship with an agency go sour for any reason, you could find yourself in a difficult situation facing complex, challenging, and expensive options for resolution.
For this reason, we recommend hiring an agency within your own country or within the same region your business legally operates in.
Unlock the Full Potential of Your Digital Marketing Strategies with WPMU DEV’s Agency Partner Directory
If you plan to outsource your digital marketing needs to an external agency, it’s important to find the right partner that aligns with your business values, expectations, and objectives.
Asking the essential questions listed above when hiring a digital marketing agency is crucial to assess their expertise, experience, approach, and compatibility with your business goals. It will help you make an informed decision and choose an agency that can effectively meet your digital marketing needs and goals, drive successful outcomes for your business, and provide you with the backing and support you need to run a successful marketing strategy.
WPMU DEV’s Agency Partner directory is an invaluable resource that we have developed to help you find reliable agencies with the expertise and experience to help your business maximize online visibility and growth and ensure that your marketing goals are met and exceeded.
If you are ready to outsource your digital marketing needs, then familiarize yourself with the above questions and search through our directory of digital marketing agencies. You will be sure to find a suitable partner that will perfectly meet your needs.
And if you provide web development or digital marketing services, consider becoming listed on our directory. For more details, go here: Become a Partner.