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5 Tips for Choosing the Right Search Agency

Finding the right search marketing agency to support your business is key to success. Choose an agency you’re confident can deliver and who you can see yourself working with for years to come.

There can be many reasons why you’re searching for an agency. Maybe it’s time for a change and you’re looking for a fresh injection of ideas, perhaps you’re dissatisfied with the performance driven by your current agency or you’re suffering from a lack of support. This could even be the first time you’re considering working with an agency to support your business growth. Whatever the reason, this blog will give you some pointers to consider when choosing your digital partner.

1) Look for an agency aligned to your business and goals

Start by finding out who else they’ve worked with. You’ll undoubtedly find a series of logos and case studies featured on each agency’s website but remember these are likely to only be a handful of clients they have experience with. Speak to them to find out more about their experience in relation to your business and hear specific examples – you may be impressed by what you learn.

Are they experienced in your industry and have they worked with similar businesses? Perhaps they’re even specialists in particular sectors. Finding an agency who is trusted by high-profile brands is promising, but also consider their experience with your specific sector too. You want an agency who understands the nuances of your market, your target audience and who is able to create a digital strategy that maximise your online performance too.

Depending upon what you hope to achieve, what channels you’re most interested in and the culture of your business, you will find that some agencies are quite simply a better fit to your needs and preferences. How much of an emphasis do they hold on ROI? Are they heavily focused on attention grabbing creatives or are they commercially minded with a firm grasp on boosting that bottom line? Being clear on what it is you want from your agency and the ‘type’ of agency you want to partner with will help you quickly narrow down your selection.

2) Understand their services, specialism and expertise

Do they specialise in particular areas of digital? Perhaps they’re an SEO agency or maybe they’re paid media experts. Many agencies offer a range of services – they could even position themselves as a full-service agency. Understand the level of expertise they hold in each service, the quality of services they provide, whether they’re highly experienced in certain areas or if a service is relatively new to them.

More than that, find out about their people. Even if you find a service is new, the person leading that venture could hold more experience in the field than any other agency you’re speaking to so be sure to ask the right questions.

Whether it’s SEO, PPC, content, digital PR, paid social, Google Shopping, or the many other digital channels now available, your agency should have the capabilities to grow and manage your account in line with your business objectives.

Digital moves fast and that makes staying on top of the latest developments essential. Check if they hold the relevant certifications and how they tackle training and development in their teams. You want to work with an agency who invests in their employees, supporting them with regular research and development alongside their use of the latest tools and tactics.

A good agency will let you know if they feel your campaigns would benefit more from other channels to help you get the most from your budget. Using their expertise and experience, they should be well equipped to advise you on which channels and strategy will get results.   

3) Look for longevity and stability

When looking for an agency, you will most likely be hoping for a long-term partnership. It may be commonplace to contract an agency for a certain period of time – especially initially – but you should still endeavour to source an agency with whom you can see yourselves working with for the foreseeable.

Look for an agency with a reputation for building successful partnerships. Also consider their financial security and stability – even more important in these uncertain times. You need to be confident they’re not going anywhere despite choppy waters; they should be able to support you long into the future.

The same applies to their teams. While it’s great for an agency to have new talent and growing teams, you also want the assurance of long serving and experienced team members who give that all-important stability to your relationship.

4) Find out about their onboarding process

Do they have an onboarding process?Although this may not be advertised on their website, you can quickly find out how they onboard and work with clients by speaking to the agency. Clear processes should be in place to ensure a smooth onboard with minimal risks. Here are a few pointers to lookout for when speaking to a prospect agency about their onboarding process:

  • Do they give you chance to build rapport? Building a strong relationship between your team and your agency team is important from the get-go. Your agency should introduce you to the different members of your team so you know your point of contact(s) and how your account will be managed on a day to day basis.  
  • Do they provide a set-up period? A set-up meeting is a good opportunity to get your partnership officially started. These meetings are important to set expectations, determine your objectives, define what success looks like and get to know the agency team a little better.
  • Is there an account handover? If you already have some elements of digital marketing underway such as PPC or SEO, an account handover is an extremely important factor. During this stage, it’s also a good time to give your new agency access to any of the necessary channels and platforms they will need. Take this chance to tidy up who has access to your different accounts such as Google Ads or Google Analytics.

Once the onboarding has taken place, it’s important to give your agency time to get up to speed with your account. We recommend factoring this into your timescales.

5) Understand who will look after your account

When you first engage with an agency, it’s unlikely this initial contact you’ve spoken with will be the person you continue working with. Chemistry and building a strong working relationship with your key contacts is the foundation to success so don’t be afraid to ask who’ll be in your team.

Remember, you shouldn’t choose an agency based on their abilities alone. Your agency team should have your long-term success at the core of everything they do so look for an agency who is aligned with your overarching commercial objectives and who understand the bigger picture.

It’s a must to get to know the team behind your digital marketing activity. Ask them questions on how they plan to support you, their everyday management and their reporting processes. We dedicate a management team to each of our clients and find this structure works best. Our teams consist of varying levels of expertise such as a Technical Account Manager, Commercial Account Manager, Junior Technical Account Manager and Analyst. Using this multiple eyes approach, we ensure your account benefits from the know-how of different team members for maximum performance.

Why WMG?

A digital agency with a difference, our focus is on data. 20 years’ experience combined with an analytical approach, data-led creativity and top-notch client services, allows us to deliver campaigns that perform through SEO, paid media, digital PR and content marketing.

Developing in-house tools that complement industry-leading software fuels our ability. As an agency partner to Google, we have a track record for helping leading brands improve their online performance including Card Factory, Hammonds, F.Hinds and we’re proud to be backed by idhl, one of the specialists that form this growing Group. 

If you’re currently exploring your agency options, don’t hesitate to contact our team to find out more about our processes and whether we could be the right fit for you.