What To Look For in a Digital Marketing Agency in 2023

Sep 2023

In 2023, many businesses are looking to partner with a digital marketing agency to save time, money, and resources compared to bringing on a full in-house marketing team, and to maximize the results they get from their digital marketing strategy. With thousands of agencies across the country to choose from, we understand that it can be difficult to determine what to look for and how to thoroughly vet your options before signing the dotted line.

Over the past 13 years, KWSM has helped hundreds of businesses across the country drive leads, sales, and other valuable results from their digital marketing channels. As a Senior Digital Marketing Strategist, I’ve worked with many of our clients who have shared the horror stories of trusting the wrong agencies, causing them to lose years of progress before finding their way to us.

When you’re looking to partner with a digital marketing agency in 2023, I’ve seen that the most important questions to ask center around:

  • Strategy Process
  • Track Record of Success
  • Size and Availability
  • Tenure
  • Team Culture

I’ll explain why each of these is important.

Strategy Process: Can You Trust Them To Lead?

Before the start of your partnership, a solid agency should be able to create a cohesive, comprehensive digital marketing strategy that outlines how all tactics will work together to achieve your business goals in the next 6-12 months. 

A strategy serves as a roadmap – outlining who your target audiences are, which approach is recommended, which platforms to utilize, which KPIs (key performance indicators) will be measured, what the timeline looks like for rolling out different services, etc.

At KWSM, we create this type of strategy for clients as the first step of our work together to set up a solid foundation. I’ve worked with our Strategy team on these roadmaps for clients, and we see time after time how this process leads to successful partnerships built on trust, excitement, mutual respect, and security.

Track Record: Does the Digital Marketing Agency Have Client Success Stories To Share With You?

One of the most important qualifications to look for in a trusted agency partner is a track record of success with clients spanning across industries. In fact, in a 2022 study, 73% of the most successful marketers used case studies to showcase their work and build trust with potential clients.

That’s why at KWSM, we have client stories and case studies featured on all of our service pages – prospects are easily able to find examples of our client results for all of the capabilities we offer.

Case Study: The Medal of Honor Foundation wanted to grow their social media audience to build a wider base of potential donors. However, they lacked a comprehensive marketing strategy to effectively attract and grow a highly engaged audience. While the Foundation received consistent donations from their larger supporters, they had not been successful in raising funds from their online fan base. 

The Foundation was missing a key element in their marketing efforts: content that shared the stories of communities that were being impacted by the organization’s work. These stories were necessary to show donors how their money was put to work and why donations were important. 

After intensive research and analysis, KWSM developed a tailored strategy and several targeted messaging campaigns to grow the Foundation’s online audience, increase engagement with their fan base, establish the organization’s credibility as a nationally recognized nonprofit, and spread awareness of their mission and programs.

This involved pulling together several digital marketing tactics for a comprehensive funnel approach: a new website, SEO strategy and maintenance, social media management, consistent blogging, email marketing, and a series of timely digital campaigns.

After eight months of consistent implementation, actively telling the Foundations’ story, and engaging with their audience through social media, the website, and email marketing, we were able to achieve follower growth increases of:

  • 950% on LinkedIn
  • 148% on Facebook
  • 188% on Instagram
  • 7% on Twitter

These numbers don’t just represent growth in the Foundation’s following, but also growth in their potential donor pool. We saw website traffic significantly increase during those eight months.

Team Size & Availability: Is This Team One You Can Reach & Rely On?

As a business owner, you don’t have time to waste tracking down an unresponsive and unreliable marketing group for answers. Many digital agencies outsource their work to freelance team members, work remotely, or operate on a part-time basis. In an industry where what it takes to get results can change on a dime, that doesn’t provide stability for clients.

When KWSM President & CEO Katie Wagner founded our agency over 13 years ago, she knew she wanted to offer clients a full-time, in-office team that would be on the clock when they were. That way, businesses could trust that we would answer the phone when they needed us and be ready to pivot at a moment’s notice.

One of the strengths of having 4 offices that span across the country is that you have access to a 40+ person team of professionals in multiple time zones. That means we are on the clock  for 13 hours out of each day.

When looking for an agency partner, ask what kind of consistency the team can provide – will they pick up when you call? Do they provide a collaborative team approach to make sure there’s always someone ready to jump in and help when needed?

Tenure: Is the Agency Secure Enough for You To Invest In?

The phrase, “age is just a number” should not apply when looking at the tenure of an agency partner. 

Since the average lifespan of digital marketing agencies is about two years, you’ll want to invest your time and resources into a partner with years of experience under their belt and the financial security to last through the ups and downs.

“When working with an agency with significant tenure in the marketplace, you’re offered the security that the team you have in place will be with you for the long haul. Too often we hear from clients that engaged with an agency, only to have the agency close their doors – effectively losing all of the progress that was made. We’ve worked with many of our clients for years (some of them for 12+ years!) and have seen the benefits of those long-term relationships – both in the results we’ve been able to bring them and the relationships we’ve made along the way.” 

Taylor David, Director of Accounts, KWSM

Team Culture: Would You Enjoy Working With This Team Every Day?

Last but certainly not least, you need to consider the fact that a digital marketing agency will need to work closely as part of your team in order to drive the best results. They will need to spend enough time with you to learn your unique story, industry verbiage, goals, brand personality, opinions, vision, etc. 

To put it simply, a good marketing agency acts as an extension of your business – if you don’t like and trust the people who work there, that’s going to make for a challenging and unpleasant experience, which can quickly affect results.

What are the agency’s core values? Do they show high integrity? Do they seem to enjoy each other and collaborate well on calls? Do you believe their personalities would be a good fit with your team?

Looking for a Nationwide Digital Marketing Agency that Checks All The Boxes?

The KWSM Team has successfully served businesses across the country for over 13 years with a full suite of digital marketing services catered to meet their specific needs. Every company has a story to tell – our job is to tell it.

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