4 Signs You’re Wasting Money with the Wrong Digital Agency

October 31, 2018

Tony Zipparro

Working with a digital agency is (normally) a good sign.

When you hire an agency, there’s a good chance your business is growing, you have enough cash flow to invest in your company, and you hired an agency to provide additional marketing firepower.

An agency who will…

  • Build you a new website.
  • Increase your leads.
  • Clarify your brand identity.
  • Expand your reach.

But, after your initial conversations, you have a gut feeling that something isn’t right.

When your instincts tell you something is wrong, it can be challenging to put your finger on exactly what you’re feeling. You may be too close to the problem, or you don’t have the experience or knowledge to ask the right questions.

To help you take a step back from your situation to figure out what’s wrong, here are four telltale signs you’re wasting your money with the wrong digital agency. Take your time to work your way through these indicators. Working with the wrong digital agency can slow down your progress.  

#1. Lack of unique strategy

Your business has unique needs.

You may offer similar services or products as many other businesses in your area, but this doesn’t mean you should use the same digital tactics.

There are a variety of factors that will influence your digital marketing strategy, including…

  • Is your business a start-up or are you in the middle of a growth phase?
  • Are you targeting Baby Boomers or Millennials?
  • Do you run a brick-and-mortar business or is your business exclusively online?
  • Is your product or service relatively inexpensive or high-end?
  • Do you sell products to consumers or businesses?

Knowing your business is unique, is the digital agency you’re working with a one-trick pony who’s pushing one service as the solution to all of your problems? Or is the digital agency taking the time to assess your situation, listen to your feedback, and provide a unique strategy to accomplish your business goals?

Your digital marketing strategy is built on three pillars. If one of these pillars is missing from your strategy, then you’re digital marketing is missing the mark.

Let me explain:

Your digital marketing strategy MUST take into consideration the type of business you run, the products and services you sell, and your target market.

For example, if you run a local heating and cooling business, you need a digital marketing strategy that will attract local customers in your immediate area. In this situation, your digital marketing plan should reflect your type of business (service), the services you provide (HVAC), and your target market (local community).

As you think about this, ask yourself this question:

Do the strategy and tactics my digital agency recommends reflect the needs of my business?

If your answer to this question is no, then you’re wasting money with the wrong agency and a plan that will not help your business reach its goals, which leads me to my next point.

#2. Lack of results… and goals

“What goal do you want to accomplish with your digital marketing strategy?”

If you don’t know the answer to this question, then there’s a good chance the digital agency you’re working with doesn’t know either, which isn’t a good thing for the both of you.

As a business owner or marketing strategist for a large company, you don’t have to base your marketing on hope alone.  

Today, you can…

  • Easily keep track of your progress.
  • Identify who is (and who is not) responding to your digital marketing campaigns.
  • Make adjustments on the fly.
  • Know if your marketing expenses are giving you a return on your investment.

To do this—right—you and your digital agency need to agree upon your goals from the beginning. Making your goals clear will lead your digital agency to focus their efforts and let you know if their work is producing results.

Setting your goals is something your digital agency shouldn’t do alone.

To accomplish the goals you’re trying to reach, you need to work with an agency who is willing to roll up their sleeves, get to know you and your business, and partner with you to accomplish your goals.

Not sure exactly what to look for in a partnership with an agency.

Well, look no further.

I’ve got you covered.

#3. Lack of a partnership

When you hire a digital agency, you’re hiring someone to serve as an extension of your business. A team of experts who are invested in the success of your company.

You might be wondering:

Why should an agency be concerned about my company? Shouldn’t they just worry about doing the work I hired them for?

The answer to this is “both and” not “either or.”

On the one hand, yes, the agency you hired should focus on the work you’re paying them to do.  That’s what they’re paid for, right? In general, if they crush the goals you agreed upon, then your business will benefit.

Now, on the other hand, the agency you hired should also feel like a partnership. A partner who…

Is trustworthy.

Is knowledgeable.

Is dependable.

Is committed to the success of your company.

These qualities are essential in any digital agency you hire.

You see, at the end of the day, the agency you work with is partnering together to accomplish your business goals. Together, you will—or will not—succeed.

If the agency you hired works like a lone wolf who’s more interested in their bottom line, isn’t dependable, and tends not to provide you with updates, then it’s probably time to find a different digital agency.

#4. Lack of access to people, progress, and data

Here’s one sound you don’t want to hear from your digital agency: crickets.

Many times, agencies will go to great lengths to win your business. But, after you sign on the dotted line, some agencies have a bad rap for ignoring their clients afterward.

When you hire a digital agency, you’ll need access to three essential things:

  1. People
  2. Progress
  3. Data

Regarding people, there’ll be times when you have questions in between your weekly or monthly updates.

Is your account manager accessible?

Are your questions answered in a timely manner?

Or do you feel like you’re constantly being ignored?

If you’re not getting the service you’d like from your digital agency, it might be time to move on.

As for progress, you’ll need to make sure that progress is being made toward your agreed upon goals.

Is there a deadline you need to hit with your new website?

Are you running a short-term promotion to boost sales during a specific time period?

In either one of these scenarios, your digital agency should provide you with regular updates on the progress they’re making.

Finally, you should have access to data.

Regardless if your digital agency is running social media ads, Google AdWords, or optimizing your website for search engines (SEO), you should have the ability to access this data because it’s yours.

Looking for the right digital agency?

The relationship with your digital agency is like sitting on a chair—there are four equally important legs, including:

  1. Creation of a unique strategy
  2. Clarification of goals
  3. Partnership in the truest sense
  4. Access to people, progress, and data

If just one of these legs is missing, it will only be a matter of time until your relationship topples over, and you’re stuck with a bill and nothing to show for. It’s like going out to dinner and getting stiffed with the bill.

There’s nothing mystical about working with a digital agency. When you invest your money, you should expect a return on your investment (ROI).

Instead of potentially wasting your money and time with the wrong digital agency, be on the lookout for these telltale signs. They’re helpful indicators to know whether or not you’re working with the right agency.

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