This One’s Just Right: How to choose the right digital marketing company to do your web design (Part 2)

In our previous article, we discussed the first four tips for picking the right digital agency:

  1. Are they interested in the details of your business?
  2. Is the digital marketing company’s website design a good one?
  3. Is your digital agency helpful in educating you about web design services?
  4. Does the web design company have an efficient process in place for completing your work?

Now let’s discuss the rest of your checklist to help you make great choice.

1. Do they offer a broad spectrum of services? At the beginning of your digital marketing journey, you may need only the fundamental tools. But as your company grows, those needs will change and your digital marketing agency should to be able to provide your business with continuing support. Starting over with a new company can be costly as you will likely have to start over with your web design. When you are looking at their website, see if your web designer also can provide SEO services, social media management(SMM), Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Reputation Management, logo design, responsive web design, web app development (enterprise apps), eCommerce website development, and mobile app development (both iPhone apps and Android apps). You may not have a need for any of these skills and services now but in the future, you may want to use these tools to improve and expand your business.

2. Is your digital agency willing to commit to a timeline and a completion date? If they are structured in how they approach their work, then the answer should be yes. They should have project management tools that will map your digital marketing project and keep everyone apprise of deliverable dates. If they are not willing to commit, then keep shopping.

3. Also, does your digital marketing agency offer the option of expedited service? While you will likely pay more for this, you will want it as an option. Your business timelines can change and you want a digital agency that can respond to the changing environment you are facing.

4. Does your digital marketing company provide analytics for your website activity, SEO and SEM services? They should. If you are to see the progress from their efforts, updates on progress should be a service included with your contract. How else will you know that you are reaching your target market?

5. How much money is required from your digital marketing agency to get your project started? Services are usually divided into two types: A one-time effort such as a website design and ongoing services such as SMM that charges a monthly maintenance fee. One time projects usually require a 50% initial deposit whereas monthly maintenance fees should be paid in full at the beginning of the service period. More complex projects such as enterprise app development or mobile app development will require installment payments as project milestones are met. With few exceptions, no project should require that you pay in full prior to your project commencing and it is likely a signal that you need to keep shopping for a digital marketing agency to handle your work.

6. Who is actually doing the programming and design of your custom website? You may think you know because you have visited the digital marketing agency office. But you may have to ask specific questions to learn the truth. Even then, you may not be told the facts which is that most digital agencies use back offices and offshore companies to do the actual website design and digital services. That’s right, your local digital agency is likely to be more of a sales office than a group of programmers. So understanding this structure, you will have to determine what your comfort level is with various work arrangements. Some customers feel more comfortable dealing with a local agency where there is an office structure. That is fine but remember you are paying for that office and the employees who are selling your digital services. And those mark ups can be steep—as much as 40% more than dealing directly with the programming staff. And there is one other hidden risk: What if your digital marketing agency doesn’t pay the back-office staff. If you pay your digital marketer but your digital marketer does not pay the company actually doing the work, you won’t get your website or any other services you paid for. You will have lost your money, your work, and your time. So to stretch your budget and ensure that the people who must deliver your project get paid, you may want to consider working directly with an offshore company.

7. What types of payment options are offered by your digital marketing agency? Look for at least one payment option such as PayPal that offers some customer protections. This may also allay some concerns about working directly with an offshore company.

So as you are deciding who will be your digital marketing partner, consider these tips for selecting the one that is just right.

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