5 Tips for Vetting the Best Digital Marketing Agency for Your Business

Insights on taking vetting up a notch.

In light of the rapidly changing digital landscape, most digital marketing efforts will fall short of achieving intended objectives absent the expertise provided by the best digital marketing agency to help drive their digital marketing strategies. That said, how do you go about the business of vetting for the best digital marketing agency for your particular business or industry vertical?

To succeed in business today, it is critical that companies embrace a strong digital marketing strategy. A strong digital marketing strategy leverages your digital assets by 1) applying the very latest in digital marketing, and 2) combining it with cutting edge digital tactics to ensure that your assets gain valuable coverage online. Online coverage of your assets is valuable when they connect with your particular audience in a meaningful way. The best digital marketing agencies are experts at packaging and presenting your digital assets in a manner that drives highest engagement and effectively elicits the desired response.

Digital Assets

There is a huge spectrum of digital assets that a digital marketing agency will consider. Among these are social media (Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram etc.), digital advertising, email marketing, earned online coverage (PR, social media, and reviews), branding assets (logos, fonts), blog posts, and online brochures – just to name a few.

The best digital marketing agencies have experts 1) that can identify digital assets that are most likely to maximize a client's return on investment, 2) strategically develop those assets, and 3) launch them by integrating the latest digital tactics proven most effective to promote that asset.

The best digital marketing agency will identify which combination of digital assets will prove most effective for your business. They will then combine them with cutting edge digital tactics. Digital tactics include, among other things, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), content marketing, inbound marketing, social media marketing, pay-per-click (PPC), affiliate marketing, native advertising, marketing automation, email marketing, reputation management.

It goes without saying that to be recognized as the best digital marketing agency, at the very minimum, an agency must exhibit basic technological competence with relevant developer certifications, strong customer service orientation, and a solid understanding of fundamental marketing principles. In addition, properly vetted, a digital marketing agency should offer up some proof of verified past success in creating, designing, developing, launching and delivering results that are measurable based on key performance indicators (KPIs), among these your return on investment (ROI) and other predetermined parameters. Investing in a digital marketing agency without making the above basic inquiry, is like playing the lotto with valuable marketing dollars. Sure…you might hit the jackpot, but chances are you will end up incredibly frustrated and gravely disappointed.

This is especially true in an age where you can expect to receive offers from digital marketing agencies, from all over the world, with a huge variance in costs for services. Even companies that claim to do their work domestically, and in house, are often misleading. It's too often the case that the only person working domestically on your project, is not the creative visionary behind your digital marketing campaign but your domestic customer service point of contact. This makes the process of vetting for the best digital marketing agency ever more complex.

Stick with a Domestic Digital Marketing Agency

So, why is it important to work with a domestic digital marketing agency? Because marketing is fundamentally about human social interaction. Although it may seem at first glance that hiring an office out of India might not be a bad idea, it really is. At its core, marketing is about human interaction and when you use digital marketing agencies rooted in another culture, language or geographic area, communication with customers suffers. Your overall digital marketing goals may vary, but in order to reach them, your consumers must connect with your brand.

As discussed earlier, successful marketing relies almost entirely on understanding the basic fundamental principles of human behavior and consumer psychology as they relate to your product in your consumers' environment. These are almost entirely influenced by culture and the immediate environment surrounding the connection. Hiring a digital marketing agency with employees working out of an office in Hyderabad is the best idea if you intend to market your products in India. Otherwise, you are wiser to invest in carefully vetting for the best domestic digital marketing agency here in the US.

At its very essence, the best digital marketing agency is one that understands you and your product from a social perspective, within its own social context and can leverage that insight into a successful marketing campaign. In addition, the best campaigns are those that involve your active participation and ongoing collaboration – a partnership. The best agencies will expect to work with you to help you direct, mold and guide your brand to ensure that the branding that results are ones you envisioned.

That said, when presented with widely varying margins even domestically, how do you know you have identified a digital marketing agency that you can trust? A digital marketing agency is trustworthy when it can prove that it has a history of successfully delivering on promises to their clients for many years. Some important considerations to keep in mind are: 1) number of years in business; 2) proof of excellence in service with recognition (awards and related public announcements) within the digital marketing industry; 3) a solid portfolio of projects and case studies available for your review; and 4) long standing client relationships, including client testimonies and endorsements. In addition, 5) you should also consider whether the digital marketing agency you have in mind, has experience digital marketing within your own industry vertical.

1. Number of Years in Business

When you are vetting for the best digital marketing agency, one of the best indicators that you can expect to receive what is promised, is the length of time that the business has been active within the industry. As with most businesses that involve professionals with very limited licensing requirements, where certifying institutions may not be readily verifiable, the only reliable evidence you have as to an agency's ability to deliver, is by determining how long the business has been in operation.

A word of caution, however, just because the business name has been around for years, does not mean the business has a successful history in digital marketing. A business that has been in operation for many years is one that is led consistently by the same team of experts, and also has been operating within the same general geographical area. That is, there should be much more to the history of the on-going business then just a continuation of the business name.

2. Proof of Excellence within the Digital Marketing Industry

The best digital marketing agencies are expected to demonstrate their expertise by doing an excellent job of marketing itself well, first? Right? Not necessarily. In the digital marketing world, be wary of a wolf in sheep's clothing. In digital marketing, self-promotion should not serve as the best evidence of a digital marketing agency's performance or capabilities. Marketing successfully – e.g. appearing on the first page of Google search results, generally involves a huge dedicated SEO campaign and an even larger ad spend. Unfortunately, there is very little correlation with that agency's proven success or even history within the digital marketing industry.

For proof of excellence in the digital marketing industry, begin by looking to the company's history, online publications, awards and honors, regular participation in tradeshows and related affiliations. In the digital marketing space, this means the business has built some authority over time, both in person and online and regularly shares through social media, and related platforms (email marketing, native advertising, press releases, and blogs). In short, the company either already is or is actively building on its presence as an influencer among the best digital marketing agencies.

3. Solid Portfolio of Projects and Verified Case Studies

The integrity of a company must be carefully considered. Meaning, don't expect even the best digital marketing agency to deliver integrity on a silver platter. In a market flooded with solicitations from international developers and unverified claims of expertise, the onus is yours to make certain your marketing dollars are well-invested, and not wasted.

A company you can trust should provide you full access to a comprehensive portfolio of past projects, including the exact type of digital marketing services provided, parameters used for measuring returns on investment (KPI/ ROI) and actual outcomes. They should also be able to direct you to companies they are currently working with or have recently completed projects for, whose sites you are not only welcome to, but encouraged to peruse as part of your vetting process.

4. Long Standing Client Relationships – Endorsements and Testimonies

Include only valuable testimonies of clients provided by digital marketing agencies in your vetting process. A valuable testimony, at minimum, is one that can be directly traced to an identifiable person. Anything less is smoke and mirrors, or as aptly defined, “the obscuring or embellishing of the truth of a situation with misleading or irrelevant information” – in short, meaningless for use as part of a critical examination process.

Although it is expected that most businesses will not eagerly offer up their clients as references, the best digital marketing agencies with a history of success and achievements will find a way to share them with you in other ways. Often you will not only be granted access to examine their past and present work, but encouraged to do so, and customer testimonials will be made available for you to review in some other easy to access format.

5. Experience Marketing within your Industry or Business Vertical

A final consideration is whether or not the digital marketing agency you have in mind has some experience marketing in your particular industry. In that regard, keep in mind that often times digital marketing agencies that have experience in particular industries often do a better job because they intimately understand the social nuances within your niche. This makes sense if you are a niche business to begin with, and of the type that requires more specific in depth segmenting and targeting to produce an effective digital marketing campaign.

In summary, in a market flooded with solicitations from all over the world, the task of doing your due diligence and carefully vetting to determine which is the best digital marketing agency for your business is an arduous task. As with anything else, keep in mind basic truisms as you set off on your search. Here are a few for thought: 1) If it sounds too good to be true, then it likely is, 2) if no one else is willing to put their name behind it, you shouldn't either, 3) the proof is almost always in the pudding.

Ultimately, the best digital marketing agency for you is one that can best promote your brand online. Apply the above guidelines to ensure that your marketing dollars are well invested and arrive at a digital marketing agency you can trust to deliver on its promises.

Founded in 1995, Trinet Internet Solutions is recognized as one of the best full service digital marketing agencies in the US, operating in three different geographical locations, including California, Texas and Washington D.C. For over 22 years Trinet Internet Solutions has driven powerful digital marketing initiatives that are proven effective to increase engagement and result in more conversions. Trinet's objective is to deliver real, measurable value to its clients based on specific targeted parameters defined at the time of contracting, and produce for its client the greatest return on investment, in the shortest amount of time.

The success of Trinet's digital marketing strategies rely on its detailed methodology that begins with the creation of a highly detailed action pathways and rely on years of industry experience, dedicated research, and in-depth project specific A/B testing. These are also used to help you identify, isolate, target, and segment your precise audience according to your particular needs. Trinet's highly effective digital marketing campaigns incorporate strategic segmenting and focused targeting to capture, engage, and retain your audience long term – in short, we deliver marketing initiatives that sustain.

Over the years, Trinet has enjoyed much success in the area of digital marketing with both domestic and international clients, from Fortune 500 companies to smaller more niche businesses, local, state and national government entities, non-profits and ministries. Trinet also has in-depth experience with a diverse clientele – from a wide variety of natural food, snacks, and instant packaged food products, restaurants, fast food chains, large and small machine manufacturers including surgical instruments, public transportation systems, state wide travel gateways, independent and group healthcare practitioners.

Trinet enjoys special recognition for excellence in digital marketing with a huge and steadily growing word of mouth clientele in the area of ministries and paraministries. Trinet's proven success in this segment evidences Trinet's unique ability to transform a person or an organization into a both a mission and a cause – a virtual online sensation through Trinet's reliance on its highly intelligent and strategic combination of the latest, most effective digital marketing tools. Trinet can, through its unique digital marketing methodologies build a viral brand around your ministry and its message that is guaranteed to multiply. No other digital marketing agency has equaled Trinet in its ability to grow ministries and paraministries as Trinet has.

What are you waiting for? Contact Trinet today to discuss your 2017 digital marketing goals. Reach us by phone at 949.442.8900 or by email at contactus@trinetsolutions.com.
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1. https://www.digitaltvresearch.com/products/product?id=127

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