4 red flags to look out for when choosing a Digital Marketing Agency

Written by Emily Petherick

If you’ve been on Twitter over the last two weeks you will have noticed that your timeline has been flooded with hundreds of red flags emojis. The trend started with users tweeting the traits they consider as ‘red flags’ when dating. Essentially, what makes you go ‘ew, no thanks.’ It didn’t take long for the trend to take off and global brands, from Netflix to McDonald’s, took to Twitter to say their piece, managing to weave in some sneaky marketing tactics. Here are a few of our favourites.

And of course;

That brings us nicely onto the topic of our blog today, ‘Red Flags to Look Out for When Choosing a Digital Marketing Agency.’ What things are agencies saying on their websites, socials and in person that make us cringe a little bit, and why you should be avoiding working with them.

Let’s continue with the Twitter theme for a minute and elaborate on our Tweet from the other day.

1. “We Promise We’ll Get You First Position on Google”

This statement relates to SEO Services and is something that agencies might try and promise you when talking about what they can achieve for your business.

Whilst it is, of course, essential that you have goals for your marketing efforts, it is impossible for an agency to guarantee a result in a given amount of time and is, in fact, warned against by search engines.

This is especially true for SEO, a service that requires continuous input and monitoring. Google are well-known for their regular algorithm updates, and every now and again these can include quite significant changes. These updates are unpredictable in their nature and can cause rankings to significantly fluctuate, something that is sometimes difficult to recover from. As we know, Google pretty much runs the world, and so not even the best SEO agencies are able to keep their clients’ sites 100% safe from these changes.

2. “This is the Way We’ve Always Done It”

The next point follows on quite nicely from the previous one, looking at how agencies are keeping up to date with the latest trends and updates in the digital world.

Imagine you go into a clothing store and it’s still full of trends from 2012, I’m thinking t-shirts with moustaches on and galaxy print leggings. Although you would instantly turn around and walk back out, you’d have enough time to realise that they’re stuck in the past and instantly lose all trust in the brand. The same goes for digital marketing agencies. Whilst it’s not essential to keep up with every new trend, it is important that they have a grasp of the latest technologies and how these can integrate with and help grow your business. Not changing a process or method because ‘that’s the way they’ve always done it,’ is a poor excuse and a major red flag.

3. “Microsoft has had an update with IIS on AWS that has affected the flow of the project creating a waterfall effect causing latitude in the dot-net compilation times.”

Mind = blown. If agencies are trying to cram every technical term they can into one sentence, run.

Whilst it might be slightly reassuring to see that they obviously know what they’re talking about, a major part of an agency’s job is to communicate clearly with their clients. It’s important that you are able to understand the work your agency is doing for you without having to follow along with the ‘just trust us’ spiel. The ability to translate a whole lot of technical jargon into terms that us non-techies can understand, is something that should be at the top of your list when looking for an agency.

Check out the agency’s website and socials and see how they are communicating their services. Are you able to follow along and get a good understanding of what they do and how they work?

4. “It Doesn’t Matter About the Numbers, Just Trust Us.”

I think we’ve realised ‘just trust us’ is a phrase we don’t want to be hearing when choosing an agency. This is particularly true when it comes to reporting and sharing data.

PPC is an exciting form of marketing because it is so data driven. You can watch where the revenue you’re generating is coming from and link it directly to the ad campaigns you’re running. Not only is this exciting to watch, but it also gives a great insight into what’s working and what isn’t so you can tailor your future campaigns.

So, an agency has to be great with data, but how are they making sure you also become familiar with the data surrounding your business. Find out how an agency is going to handle their reporting, if you’re going to get regular updates and what their general communication strategy is like. What tools have they put in place to make this a smooth process for you?

Choosing the right agency to handle your digital marketing is just as important as writing great copy and producing engaging visuals for your ads. Asking the right questions will reveal exactly what you need to know, and you can go into your partnership feeling confident that you all have the same goal in mind.