How long have they been in business?
Not every digital agency is a startup still running on venture capital funds. For example, Xivic has been in business for over 20 years and there are plenty of agencies that have been in business since the 1990s when digital marketing was just forming. It’s a cliche that most SEO or digital firms are just starting out, but you can find a trusted, long-term digital agency if you look (and ask).
There are pros & cons to companies of all levels but agencies with more experience tend to have more proven methods and a longer list of proven case studies to show; on the flip side startup may offer advantages like a more nimble structure or flexible plans.
What’s the average technician age?
There’s nothing worse than being sold by a group of experienced salespeople only to see your campaign be run by a 22-year-old intern. Well, at least that’s the stereotype of your average internet business. But the truth is that your average web developer or digital marketing expert could be a member of Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, Baby Boomer or frankly anything else.
There’s no age limit to expertise but you might want to find an agency with a wide range of experts and staff. Asking about the average age of the technicians actually running your campaigns could help you decide which agency to work with. Perhaps you like the idea of a younger demographic developing a creative campaign, or maybe you’re set on having experienced developers who have been around the block a few times.
Are they tweeting or playing ping pong all day?
Silicon Valley culture certainly gives the impression of recent graduates spending their days on a myriad of apps and social media websites. But the old-school structure of the world wide web, Google and email are still the go-to methods of digital marketing with the highest volumes and engagement.
Social media can drive gobs of traffic but there’s a reason Google still doesn’t include social links heavily in their web algorithm. Most web leads still come from organic sources and if you’re investing in digital marketing you need an agency versed in all levels of the landscape.
Did I really need that native mobile app?
Native apps for iPhone (iOS) and Android (aka Samsung, Google) are one of the major shiny objects that bring companies into the digital marketing sphere -- searching for a way to revolutionize their digital presence and reach a broader audience. But native apps aren’t necessarily the best way to do this.
Standard web applications are not only more accessible by the entire population (since most devices can access the wider web) but easier to maintain and keep up to date. If your digital agency is uncritically pushing a native app with no other solutions or ideas, you might want to double-check your consulting. They can be excellent for the right scenario, but apps aren’t a cure-all for your organization’s digital issues.
What are their specialties?
So your agency claims they’re full-service and do everything, but what have they actually had success with? What case studies can they show? How long have they been delivering these services? If your focus is for example e-commerce, do they have project managers with ecom expertise? Is the agency development focused or marketing focused? Or maybe they successfully do both? Reading reviews and taking a peek at case studies will help you figure out if the agency is the right fit.