Home Online Marketing How To Work With A Digital Marketing Agency (Effectively)

How To Work With A Digital Marketing Agency (Effectively)

Daniel Reeves - June 2, 2023
How To Work With A Digital Marketing Agency (Effectively) 2

Hiring a digital marketing agency can be a pretty daunting task. We get it.

You need to feel you can trust these people with your own business, and ultimately feel like you can work with them. At the same time, you need to work with your digital marketing agency effectively in order to get the most out of them.

The agency-client relationship is a big one. And you need to get it right, working like a well-oiled machine, but that can only happen if both sides are working together. 

Before setting up Dandy I worked in-house, or client side, with agencies – so likely in the same position you find yourself in now. During this time, I saw agencies come and go, with both good and bad experiences.

So I know, based on my experience, a few key things that can help effectively work with a digital marketing agency.

On the flip side, I now run a digital marketing agency, and I know what makes a good client, and what makes a bad one in the agency world. (Yes there are bad clients…)

So below I’ll split out what you, the client, need to be doing in order to support your agency, and what that agency should be doing to make the relationship work as well. Looking at this from both sides should then allow you to see what needs to happen to make this relationship work.

There will be some overlap but both sides will need to bring different things to the party.

How to work with a digital marketing agency effectively (Client side/in-house)

So these are the key things the client (you), or the in-house team (your team or marketing department) should be doing to help support client/agency relationships.

1. Attend regular meetings

Regular meetings are a must. 

Depending on how much work and what your budget is this may just be a regular monthly meeting, or it could also be a bi-weekly work-in-progress meeting. 

I would suggest a monthly meeting as the minimum, depending on how much you are spending with the agency and how much activity they are handling bi-weekly may be needed.

For example, I’ve worked with an agency that was handling £50K a month in total spend, and bi-weekly meetings were needed, we also handle clients who spend £650 per month and a monthly meeting is perfect.

Either way, get a regular slot in to go through performance and see where things are at with any digital marketing strategies we are working on.

2. Provide business context & updates

As part of those regular meetings make sure you let your digital marketer know of any important updates. Most importantly they will want to know about any leads or changes in business performance. They will have access to data, but it is always good to hear it from the client.

Let your agency know if you’re planning anything new, launching offers, a new product range, or just any ideas you had that they can look into and help validate. 

3. Communicate expectations 

Be clear, but realistic, with your expectations. 

What do you want them to achieve? 

You can set KPIs and targets for them. This can help focus an agency, and give a key point of reference on those catch-up meetings and in reporting.

This will be a key part of working together that you’ll need to be aligned on. Whilst it may be tempting to say “I want to rank position 1 for “mens t-shirts”. That’s not going to happen.

Have a clear idea of what you want to achieve for the key parts of your business and let them know. Again this can help the agency focus and help steer the strategy. 

This can be X amount of revenue, a total traffic target, more traffic to a specific section of your website, etc. 

4. Have a key point of contact

I find things always work best when an agency partner has a key point of contact.

I’ve been that person in two in-house roles and loved it. Whether that’s going to be you, or a team member, let them know about day-to-day things, approving ideas, etc, this is the go-to person to get stuff done. This might be you or another member of the in-house marketing team.

This helps build the relationship, after all, you’re dealing with people, potentially on a daily basis, and you want to be able to get on with them. Having a key point of contact can do that, for me this has eventually led to me classing some clients as friends.

5. Be responsive

Linked to above, if you are the key point of contact try to be as responsive as you can. Whether this is replying to emails, approving content marketing campaigns, reviewing campaign setups, etc, or whatever it is, try not to be a blocker. 

From SEO to social media channels, the quicker you get things implemented the quicker you should hopefully see positive results.

6. Be open to experiments

If you’ve set goals and expectations your digital marketing agency should go away and think of the best ways to achieve that. That may include some new ideas you haven’t thought of before, and you may not be sure on. My advice here would be open to experimenting and trying new things and different digital marketing tactics.

Whether it’s a different tone of messaging, a new ad format/design, or simply just creating a new page on your website based on expert keyword research. These ideas will be backed by the experience and expertise that made you hire a digital marketing agency, so be open to implementing their ideas. 

Of course, if something is a flat-out no, just tell them that and the reasons why. 

7. Be honest

Being honest isn’t always easy, but as the saying goes it’s normally the best policy. The same goes when dealing with an agency.

If you’re not happy let them know, I’ve had to do it working in-house a few times and it’s always had a positive outcome. If they are slacking, if support has dropped off, and if results aren’t where they need to be, let them know.

What digital agencies should be providing (Agency side)

These are the key things your agency should be doing in whatever digital marketing package you have with them. These are based on my experience as a digital agency owner, and supporting a number of different clients. Any successful agency should have these nailed down and more.

1. Clear deliverables

Your agency should be 100% clear on what they will be doing and delivering each month. Whether it’s updating Google Ads copy or 5 SEO-optimised blogs per month, you should know exactly what to expect, and potentially when.

This may be part of the original agreement of services and should have been laid out in what the package or marketing strategy was and what your budget would include. I.e is it search engine optimization and handling digital marketing campaigns? Will they manage your social media platforms?

The main part, delivering the deliverables. Keep note that they deliver what they said they would. There may be some delays here and there, but this is where clear communication comes in. What they have worked on should also be covered in a monthly report.

2. Clear communication

This is an integral part of any relationship, if you don’t hear from our agency regularly you will start to worry. 

With Dandy, we always communicate well and keep our clients informed of where things are at. If there are any delays, or if the client is holding something up, we regularly chase and try to push things forward.

3. A key point Of contact

Vice versa, you should have a key point of contact at the agency as your go-to person to raise things with or approve things to. They will likely be introduced as your account manager.

This could be for specific services, so they are providing SEO management you may have an SEO contact, and likewise for PPC.

This is the person you can raise issues with, send ideas, ask for updates, etc, and should be the person you try to get along with the most.  If you’re able to pair two digital marketers together on either side and collaboratively work together, it’s going to be good!

4. Regular meetings

From an agency side, meetings should be important. But the truth is meetings take up time, and time is essentially what you are the agency paying for. 

If you have a relatively small budget with the agency vs their other clients, you may not need a meeting. For example, spending £200 per month on PPC, a report may answer all the questions you have. 

But spending, £10K across different channels with the agency, you’re going to need a call. 

So if the agency doesn’t push for a meeting or automatically schedule one in, question if it’s included in your package. They may say no, or suggest it isn’t needed. That said, we always try and put in a 30 min monthly catch-up meeting with all of our clients.

5. Expectation management

Whilst you can have big expectations, your digital marketing agency should hopefully be brave enough to rein those in if needed and make them more realistic. If you have an agency for example that is guaranteeing page 1 rankings in 2 months, I’d have that as a potential red flag. 

This can also apply to social media marketing, web development, email marketing campaigns and even advertising agencies. Simply put: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

6. Proactiveness 

This is a big one, and it’s something I really valued when I was working in-house. One of the best emails you can get is from your agency with something along the lines of “We were looking into X, and have found XY as potential opportunities to improve things”

If your agency goes above and beyond key deliverables, I’d say you were on to a good one.

A good digital marketing agency will look into ways to grow your business without being pushed to, they should be on top of key metrics and performance. If things are bad, ideally you shouldn’t have to raise it first. 

7. Results reporting 

Regular reporting should be expected, this is normally monthly. A digital marketing agency should keep you up to date with everything that’s happening, and what’s working, and be brave enough to tell you what’s not.

Below is a snapshot from our of our monthly reports looking at historic organic search traffic over time. I like to include this in reports as it allows both us (the agency) and the client (you) to take a step back and review (hopefully) how far we have come. 

From my side, if something is not working for a client, we will tell them, and we will tell them what we are going to do about it. If you’re not getting reports, again I would consider that as a potential red flag. 

Final thoughts

Hiring a digital marketing agency can be a pretty daunting task. But it doesn’t have to be. I hope the above will help you get a better understanding of how to work with a digital marketing agency.

Working with a digital marketing agency could be the best decision you ever make. As the cliche goes, good digital marketing agencies really do become an extension of your marketing team

Picking the right one is the challenge, and not letting any bad experience deter you from trying a new digital marketing agency.

There are plenty of digital marketing agencies out there to choose from. If you haven’t hired an agency yet, the below guides may be useful for you.

Ready to work with a digital agency? 

At Dandy, we’re a to-the-point digital marketing agency providing specialist SEO packages, PPC management and digital marketing consultancy services.

Granted, I don’t have a crystal ball to tell you exactly what will happen with your campaigns – but I can ensure that our team has the knowledge, experience and enthusiasm to keep up with industry developments, understand the data, and use it to drive your digital performance.

As for the agency-side actions we mentioned above, I’m proud to say that we provide all of these. We’re always on the lookout for ways to proactively improve your campaigns, we hold regular meetings to ensure everything’s on track, are up-front about expectations – and always keep you up to date with results reports.

So, if you’re ready to take your digital marketing efforts to the next level, get in touch with us today. We’re a friendly bunch that’s always happy to chat!

Grab a free SEO audit to get started.

How to work with digital marketing agencies: FAQs

How do I work with digital marketing agencies?

Working with a digital marketing agency is no different than working with any other type of agency. You should be sure to define the scope of work, determine your goals and budget, and communicate regularly with the team about progress and results.

You should also aim to trust your digital marketing agency, and if they recommend changes, strategies, or other digital marketing activities that could benefit your business, be sure to consider them.

Is it good to work with a digital marketing agency?

Yes, it can be extremely beneficial to work with a digital marketing agency. Digital marketing agencies tend to have much more experience and expertise in the field than many businesses do, with digital marketing specialists that can provide valuable insights that could help you grow your business and reach new customers.

Additionally, working with a digital advertising agency ensures that your campaigns are managed professionally and efficiently, allowing you to focus on other areas of your business.

What do I need to know before hiring a digital marketing agency?

Before hiring a digital marketing agency, you should know your goals and budget for the project. Additionally, it is important to do your research and find an experienced and reputable agency that specializes in the type of services you need.

Be sure to read reviews and check out their portfolio before making a commitment.
It is also helpful to understand what types of campaigns they excel in, and what their particular strengths are, so you can be sure to pick the right team for your project and target audience.