See Through The Digital Marketing Smoke & Mirrors
So far, we’ve shared ten questions to ask a digital marketing agency, covering everything from Process and Background, Tactics and Strategy, and Results and Reporting. The final two questions we’ve labeled as trick questions because they are designed to weed out agencies that over-promise or use a client’s lack of experience and understanding to take advantage of them.
A reputable agency will take these questions in stride and give you reasonable answers, while a less reputable agency may tell you what you want to hear to get you to sign. Use these two questions to test the agencies you are vetting to better understand how truthful they’ll be.
Can you guarantee that I’ll be on the first page of Google?
While it is possible to rank on the first page of Google, and it is likely that you already rank on the first page for some of your target keywords, any agency that promises first page rankings, especially in a brief period, is suspicious.
It takes time to create and optimize content and build the proper authority for Google to recognize that your content is valuable and reputable. Agencies that promote first page results in incredibly short timeframes often use poor or disreputable techniques to increase your ranking artificially. However, Google discovers and penalizes those who attempt to circumvent the ranking algorithm.
A reputable agency will explain that while a first-page ranking is not guaranteed, there are ways to improve your site’s ranking and make it more likely that your pages will rank higher. The most important takeaway is that if something sounds too good to be true, it is!
How soon until we see results?
While this is an important question to ask any agency, we’ve put it in the trick questions section because it seems simple, but the way agencies answer can tell you a lot about how trustworthy the agency is. Reputable agencies will set appropriate timelines based on your project’s details and goals. In contrast, others may give you an unrealistic timeline and move the goalposts as time goes on.
For reference, paid advertising generally has the quickest turnaround between the beginning of a campaign and results beginning to flow. Organic social media campaigns tend to fall in the middle timeframe, as they take some time to grow, but they will continue to grow as time goes on. Content marketing, blogging, and organic SEO tend to take the longest to generate results. However, they continue to produce results for a long time.
Similarly to guaranteeing first-page results, if an agency ensures that you’ll start seeing consistent results for organic campaigns within days, it’s a good idea to be skeptical.
Congratulations! You’ve made it through our four-part series on the 12 Questions to Ask a Digital Marketing Agency. Armed with these questions, you can feel secure knowing that you’ll have the info you need to make a confident decision when you interview an agency. If you’re still looking for more, check out our 8 Questions Marketing Directors Should Ask When Interviewing Agencies.