Ultimate Guide: How To Hire The Best Digital Marketing and PR Agency

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If you are a business owner, you are certainly aware that with limitless competition in virtually every single niche, getting your company to come out at the top isn’t a simple task, and radio and TV ads might just not be enough.

However, finding such a reliable digital marketing and PR agency can be a daunting task. Between the many professionals available, how do you know if you are hiring those that fit your business best? 

Certain aspects of the work done by your marketing department cannot be measured right after the work is done, so you may learn that the strategies you decided to go with are ineffective long after you spent a significant amount of money.

If you want to hire the best digital marketing and PR agency, you need to be prepared for a long research process

Below, you will find out what you need to take into consideration when looking for a partnership that will help your business thrive, as well as some tips for hiring them. Read on to learn more.

Define your business goals

Digital marketing is not something that you should take lightly. Before you start looking for a marketing agency, you need to define what your goals are, where you want to go, and what you want to achieve with your company.

Ultimate Guide How To Hire The Best Digital Marketing and PR Agency

Think about what forms of digital marketing are likely to be the most effective for your business and what you can do to improve your digital presence.

Of course, you're not expected to know every aspect of it – this is the job for professionals. But having a clear understanding of your goals will help you measure the effectiveness of the agency you pick. 

If you plan for a strong social media presence, you may want to look for a digital marketing agency that specializes in this field. The same goes for SEO, PPC, and other forms of digital marketing.

Prepare for interviews

As you have defined your goals and your expectations from your agency, you can begin preparing for the interview. Nowadays, many marketing and PR companies allow you to book a free consultation by a form on their websites. 

That way, you can get a quick glimpse of what they have to offer and how they work without taking up much of their time. Doing that, you'll most probably have to introduce your company and your goals first, which will allow the agency to determine whether or not they can help you.

This is why you should carefully evaluate your business and goals before you book an appointment. You should consider aspects such as:

  • Your business goals,
  • What your main focus should be,
  • Your budget,
  • Your target audience,
  • Your competition.

After identifying these aspects and forming a clear understanding of them, you're ready to book an appointment. Remember that just as in any form of partnership, transparent communication is key. So, make sure that you are completely honest about your business and your goals. 

Otherwise, you may waste both your and the agency's time and will most probably not be happy about the outcome.

Why the information you gather is important

You may think that as you pay the agency, you're entitled to have every part of the marketing and PR strategies done for you, or in other words, that the agency will gather all the required data themselves. 

Why the information you gather is important

Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. As mentioned above, many companies will ask you for at least some information about your business in advance. There are agencies that try to sell you their one-fits-all solution, but most of the time, the results of implementing such a solution are less than satisfying.

Set aims and objectives

Once you get in touch with the agency, you should make sure that the agency knows what your business needs. This is the number one rule when it comes to hiring a marketing or PR agency: you want the agency to do the work that you need and not what they think you need. 

You will be the one to set the aims and objectives for the marketing campaigns or PR efforts. You will rely on the know-how of the professionals you hire, but you shouldn't let them decide for you what's best for your business.

There are many ways to go about this. You can make a list of what you want to achieve, set certain targets, and divide your goals into smaller parts

For example, if you're launching a new product, you can first set small goals, like getting the product listed on a few e-commerce sites and then move on to bigger things, like getting your product featured in a few magazines. 

Later on, you can aim to get some positive press. The idea here is to keep the objectives clear but not overwhelming.

Decide on the services you need

As you set your aims and objectives, you will realize what kind of services you need from the agency. You may want to hire a company that specializes in a specific field, like SEO, content marketing, or social media marketing, or alternatively, you may want a more general agency. It all depends on what you need and what your goals are. 

The most common marketing services include:

Search engine optimization

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) consists of a set of tactics that are designed to improve your rankings on search engines. SEO is an ongoing process that requires constant attention, with regular monitoring and updating of your site to ensure that your website includes the most relevant and accurate information.

Search engine optimization

However, it also requires regular analysis of your site's performance and the performance of your competitors.

Content marketing

Content marketing is a form of marketing that relies on creating and distributing relevant, valuable content to attract and retain customers. It can take various forms, such as blogs, videos, infographics, e-books, and more. 

Content marketing is quite versatile, as it can be combined with other forms of marketing, such as SEO or PPC, to achieve better results. 

On top of that, content marketing is a great way to increase brand awareness and build trust with your target audience.

Social media marketing

Social Media Marketing or SMM is the use of social media platforms to promote your business. This can be done in various ways, but most commonly, it involves creating and distributing content that will appeal to your target audience. 

That content can take many forms, including videos, blog posts, photos, and much more. As millions of people use social media every day, SMM often incorporates paid ads to reach even more people.

Web design

Web design is not something that you would normally think of as a form of marketing, but it is an important part of your company's digital presence. After all, the Internet is one of the primary ways that people find and interact with businesses, so you want to make sure that your website is well-designed and easy to use

A web design agency can help you achieve that by creating a website that reflects your brand and your company's values.

Inbound marketing

Inbound marketing is a form of marketing that is centered around creating a positive and consistent experience for your clients. It involves collecting information about users through various means, such as surveys and polls, and then offering them relevant content that will help them solve their problems. 

Inbound marketing relies on the idea that people will recommend your business to others if they have a positive experience.

Set a marketing budget

Regardless of the type of an agency you choose, one thing will remain the same: if you want your business to succeed, you need to be prepared to invest some money into it.

Set a marketing budget

Hiring a marketing agency can cost you anywhere between a few hundred dollars and tens of thousands of dollars per month, depending on the services you decide to hire them for.

However, just as there are many elements of digital marketing, there are many ways to finance it that allow for greater flexibility and control. You can choose to hire an agency on a per-project basis, meaning that you pay them only for the work they do. You can also consider paying them on a monthly basis, which is a more common way.

Percentage of revenue

This budgeting strategy is among the most common ones. It involves paying a percentage of your company's revenue for the services provided by your agency. This has proven to be an effective model for both companies and agencies, as it makes both parties more motivated to achieve results. 

Think about it this way: if you pay your agency a percentage of your revenue, an increase in the profit of your business means increased profit for the agency.

Flat fee

Another budgeting strategy that is popular among businesses is the flat fee model. While the monthly payment model may seem more familiar, it requires continuous monitoring of the agency's work and accounting. When you pay a flat fee, you pay for the services your agency provides, regardless of the actions they take

This allows for greater financial stability for the agency, as you know how much you will pay them upfront, so if you are looking for a more budget-friendly option, this is a good one.

Per-project basis

The per-project basis is another approach to budgeting. The payments are made on the basis of the effort made by the agency towards achieving the set goals. It gives more control over the process to the company, but at the same time, it is calculated according to the estimated costs of implementing certain strategies

This model is recommended to businesses that pick custom-made marketing strategies or cooperate with multiple agencies at once.

Research your options

Once you've decided on hiring an agency, you need to do a little market research. As you are looking for a digital agency, probably the best way to do this is to go online. You will find a lot of agencies on the internet, so you should try to narrow down your search by looking for agencies that specialize in your niche

Research your options

This, however, may not give you a full insight into their capabilities, so you should be prepared to contact at least a few of them.

Before doing so, you can also try networking. When you're making business connections, you can ask around for references, talk to companies that have used their services, or read reviews left by other clients.

Services like LinkedIn give you a lot of possibilities, too; there, you can look for companies that have already worked with the agencies you are looking at and find out what they have to say about them.

Vet your candidates

The next step is to examine the agencies that you'd like to contact. When you do this, you need to pay attention to a number of things, such as:

  • Whether the strategies are implemented in-house or whether they are outsourced to other companies,
  • What kind of experience the agency has,
  • What kind of clients they've worked with, and what were the results,
  • Who is the primary point of contact,
  • What forms of digital marketing do they specialize in,
  • Does the agency's website reflect a professional image, etc.

Note that each of those questions can pose a potential red flag. You want to make sure that the company you are hiring is a trustworthy one and that they have the capabilities to deliver on your needs. 

If anything catches your attention, for example, if the website lacks information, or if you can't get in touch with them easily, you should look into it further and consider the possibility of passing that company by.

To sum up: how to hire the best digital marketing and PR agency

Hiring a digital marketing and PR agency can be a daunting task, but it's one that is worth it. It will help you achieve better results, get your name out there, and allow you to focus more on the core aspects of your business.

In the end, all of the research and preparation will be worth it when you see your business grow with the help of your marketing agency.

To find the best one, you first have to define your business goals and prepare for interviews. Then, you need to decide on the services you need, set your budget, and research your options. Finally, you have to vet the companies that interest you and choose the one that's right for you. 

Just make sure that you don't rush into a decision; it's better to take your time and find a company that will become an extension of your business.

About the author 

Peter Keszegh

Most people write this part in the third person but I won't. You're at the right place if you want to start or grow your online business. When I'm not busy scaling up my own or other people' businesses, you'll find me trying out new things and discovering new places. Connect with me on Facebook, just let me know how I can help.

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