Don’t Settle for Fluff: How To Be Confident of Your Agency’s Digital Marketing Strategy

Here's how to know if the digital marketing agency you're about to hire is the right one for your business.

In today’s modern landscape, there’s no question that a big part of any company’s marketing strategy is digital. 

After all, consumers and businesses alike are always online – and one of the best ways to reach potential customers is by observing their digital behaviors and approaching them at the right time and place.

But executing a strong digital marketing campaign is a big job, and many companies often turn to a digital marketing agency for help.

So, how do you know if you’ve made the right hire? What if you’ve made the wrong choice?

That’s where we come in to help. 

We want to bring clarity to this ever-changing digital landscape. In fact, education is something that we’re deeply passionate about, so much so that we’ve made it part of our manifesto.

Without further ado, let’s dig in and help you gain more confidence for your agency’s digital marketing strategy.

What is a digital marketing strategy?

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let’s first outline exactly what a digital marketing strategy is.

Every digital marketing strategy needs a business goal. 

If you don’t already have one, take a step back and analyze what is it that your business really needs, before jumping on the digital marketing bandwagon.

Spending on digital marketing without clear goals, or for the sake of “just trying”, is pretty much equivalent to pouring money down the drain.

Once you have your goals in mind, digital marketing campaigns are simply the building blocks or actions taken to help you move towards that goal.

Assuming you’ve your goals ready, here are the things you should look out for to ensure that your digital marketing agency is up to scratch.

Does your digital marketing agency understand your marketing goals?

So, you’ve spent some time thinking about your business goals. Next, you need to communicate these goals to your agency.

For instance, if you’re looking to increase sales leads that come in through your website by 20%, your agency should:

  1. Understand how much traffic your website is currently getting and analyze how much more traffic is needed
  2. Propose ways to send targeted, relevant traffic to your website through e.g. SEO or online advertising
  3. Understand your current conversion rate 
  4. Advise on how can website can improve its user experience and performance e.g. through page speed optimizations or web design best practices 

Of course, if you don’t already have your website analytics configured correctly, it’ll be hard for your digital marketing agency to know your current statistics (as stated in 1 and 3).

In such cases, your agency should include website analytics set-up as part of their proposal. For instance, our go-to tool is Google Analytics, which we’ve helped many clients configure.

In essence, whatever your marketing goals are, your agency should be aware of them – so it can plan a marketing strategy to meet them.

Does your digital marketing agency understand your target audience?

Next thing – any digital marketing strategy requires a clear understanding of target audience.

To put things into perspective, here are examples of bad audience targeting:

  • Anyone who owns a home
  • Anyone who consumes snacks
  • All parents

To properly define your target audience, your agency will need your support. After all, no one knows your business better than you do.

There are two types of information to care about:

Quantitative information

There are various types of quantitative data you can collect to better understand your customers.

Demography, or socio-economic data, would fall under quantitative information. Attributes can include location, age, gender, marital status, or education level.

Besides gathering data to detect potential trends from your customer base (which is typically what your company should be doing), your digital marketing agency can also utilize analytics tools to determine your online target audience.

For instance, to discover the location where most of your website traffic is coming from, we use Google Analytics once again.

Social media analytics tools are also straightforward ways to tell your audience make-up in terms of age and gender 

Of course, sharing of access rights are required for your agency to view such data.

Having quantitative information then makes ad targeting a lot more efficient for your agency, because of how robust targeting options are nowadays.

Just take a look at the types of audience we can target here!

Qualitative information

It’s also a good idea to understand your target audience on a deeper level, rather than just by data.

What are the goals they’re hoping to achieve? What are their challenges? Can your product or service assist? 

While you may already feel like you have a decent understanding of your customers, it’s best to confirm your opinions by speaking directly to them. 

It’s also useful to have an idea of their hobbies and interests to achieve a more well-rounded idea of your buyer personas. If you’re a beauty brand, for example, it’s valuable to know that many of your customers may also be interested in health and wellbeing.

Now, your digital marketing agency is limited in the amount of information it can gather without direct contact with your customers.

However, if you’ve built up a strong social media following, part of its analysis should include the comments and reviews that customers are leaving for your business. 

What happens if you have trouble understanding your target audience?

There are always a variety of methods to get the target audience information you need, and a good digital marketing agency should be able to help you out.

For instance, your agency could propose a way to garner feedback from your customers – be it via email marketing or a social media campaign.

At Appiloque, we’ve ran a few email survey campaigns – these worked really well when our clients offered an incentive for respondents. We’ve also utilized Instagram Stories as a casual method for B2C companies to obtain feedback via polls, which is a great way to keep things personal.

Now that you’ve got marketing goals and target audience covered, it’s time to explore your agency’s understanding of the 3 main types of media: Owned, earned, and paid.

Is your digital marketing agency analyzing your owned media?

Owned media refers to the digital assets that a brand owns – anything that an organization has control over.

Often taking the form of content, every message that your brand releases can be classified as content in a general sense – whether it’s your website, social media posts, blog posts.

Content plays a part in increasing awareness, building credibility, and generating leads. And this means that there’s always a need to utilize owned content as part of a company’s digital marketing strategy. 

So whatever your business goal is, your digital marketing agency should analyze your current owned media to better understand your digital health.

Finally, it should help plan the next steps of your strategy – by identifying gaps or opportunities based on your target audience, then generating a content creation plan that includes promotion channels and content formats.

Let’s move on to earned media.

Is your digital marketing agency analyzing your earned media?

Earned media refers to the exposure a brand has earned.

In this digital age, things posted by the public play a big part in your company’s visibility and reputation – and your agency should be proposing how to get more of the good and less of the bad.

Earned media is particularly important when it comes to SEO and social media marketing. At Appiloque, some of the ways we’ve incorporated earned media into our digital strategy for clients include:

  • Online Reputation Management: This is particularly useful when businesses receive negative press mentions and need to rebuild their reputation. We won’t lie – there is a lot of legwork to be done, but improving your reputation is possible.
  • Community Management: Proactive two-way communication on social media, ensuring that both positive and negative comments are addressed.
  • User-generated Content (UGC) campaigns: Planning social media strategies that encourage fans to create or share posts about a brand.

Finally, let’s talk about paid media.

Is your digital marketing agency analyzing your paid media?

As the name suggests, paid media refers to any exposure your brand receives by paying for it.

There is a need to share access for your agency to analyze your company’s paid media efforts. After all, your agency wouldn’t be able to tell the paid media campaigns you’re running, just by taking a cursory look at your various online channels

Access sharing for paid media would apply primarily for your Facebook / Google ads account and your Google Analytics account. 

Don’t worry, because there are different levels of access.

For instance, the “Analyst” level access for a Facebook ad account only allows your agency to view ads and access reports. 

Likewise, the “Read-only” access for a Google Ads account works in a similar way.

This might be a bit complicated if you’ve been running paid media campaigns with an incumbent digital marketing agency and have recently engaged a new one. 

But if you’ve been spending a lot of money on paid media but aren’t seeing the results you hope for, it’s time to refine your approach and either scrap certain channels or focus on another platform. 

Getting data right from the source (i.e. ad account) is always the best approach, but sharing your previous agency’s reports might help your new agency gain further insight too.

Connecting the dots for a cohesive digital marketing strategy

Every business requires a marketing strategy that’s individual and unique, which is why it’s so important for an agency to fully understand a brand and its needs. 

There’s certainly no one-size-fits-all digital marketing strategy – and it’s a collaborative effort between the agency and the company engaging the agency, to do the groundwork for a solid strategy.

Ideally, the strategy should be planned for a longer-term period – and 12 months is typically a good starting point. After all, different online channels and tactics might come into play at different times of the year.

Plus, results need time, and time required is dependent on the type of digital marketing vehicle.

For instance, if you’re expecting results from an SEO investment to be visible within a month, you’ll end up being disappointed – but you will be able to see results from Facebook or Google ads within a month.

Alright! 

Hopefully you’ve managed to learn more about what needs to be done, so that you can be confident of your selection of agency.

If you’re still looking for one to understand your business and tailor a digital marketing strategy for your business, drop us a message! It’s something that we enjoy doing tremendously 🙂

Lisa Tan

Lisa Tan

Lisa wears multiple hats at Appiloque - digital strategy, agency operations, and content marketing. To keep herself sane, her favourite form of entertainment is free and involves reframing reality, changing it up to something ridiculous and playing out imaginative scenarios. No, she's not mad. Yet.

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