How To Choose a Digital Marketing Agency


Digital marketing services will be the most important services you get for your business whether you’re just starting or have been in business for decades. As the popular saying goes, “Everyone is online.” All your competitors/customers or clients spend most of their time online providing/searching for services related to yours. You have to be there too.

Are you looking for the best digital marketing agency? Before you go online to type in “digital marketing agency near me”, let’s first define what a digital marketing agency is and how it can help your business grow. 

What is a Digital Marketing Agency?

A digital marketing agency is an organization that specializes in online marketing to help businesses achieve success using digital marketing strategies that drive leads, sales, and revenue.

Now, there’s a terrible mistake that digital marketers make. “The one size fits all” mentality. Even some top digital marketing agencies do it. Just because a strategy worked for one company doesn’t mean it will produce the same results for another. The goal is to ensure that every marketing campaign is trimmed to fit each company. Below are some of the things a digital marketing agency will do.

To do all these things, a digital marketing agency will run a creative and strategic study of your business and audience. What stage is your company at right now? Are you running an eCommerce website? Then you may not need so much content marketing as much as you would need SEO and SEM. An affiliate marketing site will require something different. The digital marketer has to help you achieve that.

To illustrate, take a look at this B2B2C company based in Cleveland, Ohio, who wanted to establish its online presence and engage its potential market on the web. We provided some of the digital marketing solutions mentioned above as needed which led to results like increased conversions and customer awareness among many. 

The bottom line is to ensure that the digital marketing services are tailored to your business and needs.

What’s the difference between a digital marketing agency and a freelance digital marketer?

It is important to note that a digital marketing agency can also be referred to as a digital marketing company. Just like any company, there is a team or group of specialized and creative experts. Each expert works in a specific department or on a specific project, giving his best and nothing but that, helping businesses achieve their goals and objectives.

A digital marketing agency offers full-service digital marketing, which means that they’re not limited in any way. Digital marketing is very broad and no matter how intelligent or smart a person is, they can’t master every aspect of it. Every digital marketer has to stick to one or two digital marketing services and become masters in them.

Digital marketing agencies have experts taking charge of specific digital marketing services. This means that they can cover every aspect of digital marketing with the help of eight (8) or more experts.

However, a freelance digital marketer is just one person who may have to focus on only SEO, PPC advertising, or social media marketing. They have an idea about website development, content marketing, brand development, and others but cannot produce the same excellent results if given the project.

Freelance digital marketing service providers will help you achieve your goals if you are already aware of the exact kind of business services you need.

You’ve probably now realized that finding the best digital marketing agency doesn’t just involve searching agencies up on Google. Your search has to consider what will make a particular agency a great find. So to help you with your search, here are four factors you can consider.

Digital Marketing Agency Services

Another determinant for success is the set of services a digital marketing agency offers. You must note that just because a digital marketing agency offers a service doesn’t mean it’s what your business needs. For example, social media marketing may not be a priority for an eCommerce business that doesn’t even have a website yet. Building the website and ensuring that it gets visitors should be the first step.

Also, your land-based store may not need the pay-per-click service if you don’t already have, at least, a Google My Business (GMB) in place. The idea is to ensure that the services the digital marketing agency offers are what your business needs at that point in time. Take a look at the level of growth we brought to this kitchen and bath showroom to fully understand.

Before you hire a digital marketing agency you need to ask yourself, “Do the agency’s services match what’s needed for my business? Will it help meet my goals? Does this agency have a track record of success with positive reviews and testimonials?” You can determine this by reading about the agency’s services or by scheduling a strategic call to better understand how they can help you.

Here’s a quick list of services digital marketing agencies should offer:

  • eCommerce Website Development
  • Web Design and development
  • Content marketing (video production, blog writing, copywriting)
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Search Engine Marketing
  • Digital Performance Reporting
  • Email Marketing
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • PPC (pay-per-click) advertising

We will take a more in-depth look at the services mentioned above to give you a clearer picture of what services you are entitled to when you hire a digital marketing agency. Remember that you don’t need all the services; only the ones that are relevant to you and an experienced digital marketer should be able to clarify that to you.

1. eCommerce web development

An eCommerce website is totally different from a regular website or blog. It is created for one reason only, which is to help customers purchase what they want directly on the site without having to visit the store. A reliable eCommerce website should have the following:

  • A shopping cart, customer login, and search bar
  • Attractive business logo
  • Calls to action (lots and lots of them)
  • Product news
  • Links and icons
  • Product information with pictures
  • Contact information
  • Deals, promos, special offers, and more.

2. Website design and development

One of the biggest mistakes small businesses make these days is believe that a website is not necessary for them. The truth is both small businesses and industry-leading firms need a website. A custom web design project will suffice here as the features of every website cannot be the same given the differences in services and audience.

After website design is completed, what usually follows is the development of the site. This is the part where most web design experts fail. Your website needs some features to make it look presentable and run smoothly. Everything should be geared towards search engine optimization. A slow website will never rank.

3. Content marketing

There would be nothing like online marketing without content marketing. Content is what breathes life into any form of digital advertising. Content can be in several forms, including visuals, audio, and texts. For example, video production will mean something more important to a YouTuber than to a blog owner.

With that said, the best content marketing strategy has to be the one that focuses on what resonates with your audience. This type of marketing strategy is referred to as inbound marketing. Inbound marketing creates a connection between businesses and clients, ensuring that every content that is published meets what the clients are looking for and helps them solve the problem.

All the biggest companies in the world use content marketing. It is one of the most creative ways your company can get organic traffic without the PPC (pay-per-click) strategy. Instead of selling directly to their clients, they first attract them to their business with written, audio, or visual content that helps them solve a problem. After that, they tell the clients that they can do it for them effortlessly.

4. Social media marketing

Simply put, social media marketing means using social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and many more to connect with your audience/clients and promote your business. It uses an integrated marketing strategy to get to your clients or potential clients where they are. Any reliable digital marketing company should be able to offer this service.

Social media marketing may look very simple on the surface but it will take an expert with solid social media marketing strategies to really get organic followership for your business. What’s even better? Social media marketing can help you increase organic traffic to your website, which in turn boosts your SEO.

5. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Every digital marketing company will push search engine optimization forward. It’s an important service/strategy in digital marketing. SEO is very complex, yet it is the one aspect of online marketing that you don’t want to ignore if you want to achieve an online presence. As a matter of fact, you cannot achieve success online without an online presence.

Even though the process is complex, the idea of search engine optimization (SEO) is simple. Search engine optimization simply entails that a website is well optimized to help it rank around the first page of search engines. When your clients or customers search for your services on Google, they can easily find you if you’re ranking on the first page.

A lot goes into search engine optimization (SEO) and it includes almost everything already mentioned above, including content marketing, social media marketing, SEM (paid search), email marketing, and lots more.

The list continues when it comes to digital marketing solutions and services. However, the one choice you should never forget to make is to ensure that you go with a digital marketing agency in that helps businesses reach their online marketing goals, hitting their sales targets, month in month out.

Qualities of a reliable digital marketing agency

You’ve probably now realized that finding the best digital marketing agency doesn’t end at searching agencies up on Google. Finding the best digital marketing agency is the same thing as finding one anywhere else. Before you begin your search, you should know that there are factors to consider that go beyond the company’s success stories.

1. Communication

Communication is key to the success of any company. In our years of being one of the biggest Cleveland digital marketing agencies, we have come to realize that communication doesn’t only help us succeed, but also helps us help clients succeed. A good digital marketing agency will focus on your pain point as a business. The best way to do that is to listen to you and respond promptly and accurately.

2. Transparency with campaign results

No doubts what you want to see is results/sales/leads. You don’t care about the numbers that don’t really matter to you. It doesn’t matter if millions of people like your social media posts. Are they buying your products? Are the leads converting to sales? If they’re not, then the strategy is useless. Businesses want results and they should get them.

3. Tailor-made strategies

As mentioned earlier, a one-size-fits-all strategy is the most dangerous strategy to ever use. Just because a marketing strategy worked fine for a real estate company doesn’t mean that it will produce the same results for an eCommerce service site.

4. Big results, fair pricing

While this can be relative, owing to several factors, including the type of service required and the cost of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. For example, a new eCommerce business will need to spend more on web design/web development, search engine optimization, social media marketing, and even email marketing.

5. High-efficiency research

Research is key to understanding your audience, the service, and the project. An in-depth analysis will of your market will always suffice. All clients need to have separate research systems that focus on what helps their business grow.

Partnering with a digital marketing agency that practices these key factors will increase your chances of success

How do I find the best digital marketing agencies?

Each digital marketing solution an agency uses has metrics that can be measured to gauge its success. And the success of these metrics are backed up by key factors such as the following:

Strategy – the game plan that shows how your business’ marketing goals will be met.

Expertise – the capability that supports the proposed strategy, assuring you that the agency has the knowledge and ability to see the plan through.

Solutions – the specific means that will effectively execute the strategy

Relationship skills – the skills needed to establish trust and clarity between you and the agency.

Tips on Hiring a Digital Marketing Agency

SEMrush, a search engine optimization thought leader, interviewed digital marketing industry leaders such as CEOs, founders, and SEO veterans on how to hire digital marketing experts. The recommendations their conversation rounded up involve the following tips:

  • Partner with a digital marketing company that shares the same values as you do when it comes to business.
  • Look for case studies that support their expertise.
  • Ask how their proposed strategy will help contribute to the success of your company.
  • Ask what Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) they plan on tracking.
  • Gauge their services by working on a small project together.

How to Evaluate a Digital Marketing Agency?

Evaluation is all about results and your experience as a customer. Here are questions whose answers will help you evaluate a digital marketing agency:

  • Did the marketing campaign, website redesign, and the likes deliver the results your company needs?  
  • How did the agency resolve a challenge when things weren’t working? 
  • What innovative solutions are they working on to help your business maximize new opportunities?
  • Have they been pleasant to work with throughout the whole project?
  • Or if you’re a new client, what do previous customers’ experiences say about the agency? 

Concluding the Search

Finally partnering with an agency may take some time as you consider agencies, their services, and most of all, your business goals and needs. So we hope this short guide on finding the best digital marketing agency will help you choose not just the best but the right one as well.

Know that we’re here for you and we look forward to seeing your digital marketing success. Milia Marketing is a Cleveland, OH digital marketing team. We aim to see you succeed and we do that with a good level of expertise and authority. We have a group of creative digital marketers with areas of specialization to help every client achieve specific goals.

Place a quick call to speak with us today. We’re responsive and always ready to respond to your messages.

Picture of Anthony Milia

Anthony Milia

Anthony Milia is an author of Marketing Magnifier, marketing consultant, and owner of Milia Marketing, an award-winning Marketing firm located in Cleveland, OH. Anthony helps Small and Medium-sized businesses get the best ROI for their marketing dollars by shedding light on their sales and marketing challenges.