How Do I Know if I'm Choosing the Right Agency?
For those who aren’t so tech savvy—and really, even for those who are—choosing a web, design, or digital marketing agency can be a daunting task. It’s hard enough to make a decision about something you’re knowledgeable about, let alone something that is so far out of many people’s comfort zone.
You might be afraid that an agency is going to pull the wool over your eyes without you even realizing it—convincing you that you need services that you really don’t, charging you high prices for a cookie-cutter website that doesn’t fit your brand, or building something that will require you to come back to them again and again for maintenance and updates.
To avoid these traps and many more, here’s what you should look for when hiring a web or digital agency:
Is the agency well-established?
A simple click to an agency’s “About” page should tell you everything that you need to know for this particular point. Check to see how many years that the agency has been in business. If you can’t find it on their website, just search for their listing on the Better Business Bureau’s website and look to see when the business started.
Agencies don’t stay in business without being successful, so knowing that an agency has been around for 10 years or more is a good indicator that they know what they’re doing and have been successful at doing it for over a decade.
Does the agency work with reputable clients?
Most all agencies will post examples of their work (aka their portfolio) on their website and/or social media. Spend some time digging around and see if you recognize any of the names that you see. Bigger organizations have more resources to put towards an agency search, so if they have done their research and chosen a particular agency then it’s a good indicator that maybe you should, too.
Is there any evidence of repeat customers?
Do you see multiple projects listed for the same organization or do an agency’s testimonials hint at the fact that they have an ongoing relationship with their clients rather than just all one-and-done projects?
Repeat business is one of the most telling signs of a good agency. Businesses will only continue in a relationship with an agency if they have been pleased with their work on past projects. Companies who keep coming back to the same agency have found an agency that they know they can trust to deliver a positive end result.
Do the services offered match your needs and budget?
If you are a start-up company with 3 employees your needs from a digital agency are going to be different than a multi-million dollar organization that employs thousands. It’s important to take this into consideration during your agency search.
Do the agencies that you are considering offer the full line of services that your organization needs? Finding an agency that can handle all of your web, design, social, and app needs in one location will streamline your marketing efforts and help ensure that you have consistency in your brand image. On the other hand, if you are a smaller business just getting started, you may find some cost efficiencies with agencies who don’t offer a full lineup of services but that still have enough to meet your needs.
What are other people saying about the agency?
I know what you’re thinking: “Testimonials on websites can’t be trusted.” I get it—website testimonials can seem like cheesy, canned responses from clients who feel obligated to respond to an agency’s request for a testimonial. To get past the surface level, look for testimonials that give specific positives about an agency. Knowing that a client was happy with their product is ok, but reading that an agency worked after hours to meet a client’s request, provided extra features beyond what was quoted, or delivered on an extremely tight timetable shows that the agency is willing to go above and beyond for their clients.
You can also take it a step further by calling some of the clients listed on an agency’s website. Talking with another business about their experience with a particular agency is much more valuable than reading a one line testimonial on the agency’s website or online reviews. You’re more likely to get the full picture through a conversation—both the good and the not-so-good. Knowing all the facts will help you more accurately weigh your options.
So did your agency pass the test?
If you’ve run your agency past all of these questions and you’re still feeling good about your decision, go for it! You can move forward confidently knowing that you’ve done your research and sought the advice of others to make the most informed decision. Choosing a web design company or digital agency is a big deal, and we hope that these tips help you to make the best possible decision for you and your organization.