How to Choose a Digital Marketing Agency for Your E-Commerce Brand
Online shopping is the norm in today’s society. Over 218.8 million American consumers will shop online in 2023 giving e-commerce brands a massive advantage over brick-and-mortar companies.
But competition is fierce. There are between 12-24 million e-commerce companies in the world, making it more difficult for your business to gain sales. That’s why all online stores need to invest in digital marketing – ideally, from an expert e-commerce marketing agency.
Finding the best one can be difficult, so this guide will walk you through how to choose a digital marketing agency for your e-commerce brand.
First, Define Your Needs
Selecting the best digital marketing agency involves knowing what you need and want. The core factors you’ll want to identify before anything else are your goals and the services that will help you reach your desired results.
There are several common business goals that e-commerce brands have, and a digital marketing agency can help you reach your target audience with these KPIs. Here are a few examples:
- Increase website traffic: Digital marketing agencies can help e-commerce brands increase their website traffic through various tactics such as search engine optimization (SEO), paid advertising, content marketing, social media marketing and email marketing.
- Boost online sales: Marketing agencies can help e-commerce stores drive online sales by optimizing product pages, creating effective ad campaigns, implementing upsell and cross-sell strategies, and using email marketing to encourage repeat purchases.
- Enhance brand awareness: Agencies can help stores increase their online presence and recognition through social media marketing, influencer marketing, and content creation.
- Improve customer engagement: With the help of social media management, email marketing, and chatbots, e-commerce brands can improve engagement with their customers.
- Increase customer retention: E-commerce brands can improve customer retention by creating loyalty programs, personalized marketing campaigns, and email marketing that keep customers coming back for more.
- Analyze and optimize campaigns: Digital marketing agencies can help online stores track and analyze their campaigns’ performance, allowing them to identify areas for improvement and optimize their marketing strategies accordingly.
In a nutshell, marketing agencies can help e-commerce brands achieve their business objectives by providing strategic guidance, creative solutions and measurable results.
Communicate these goals during your consultation with a digital marketing company before you sign any contracts. The best agency will create a strategy tailored to your marketing goals, so you’ll experience the growth you desire.
Services and Specializations
Some digital marketing companies are full-service agencies, which means they offer a wide range of services from separate teams with professional certifications in that niche:
Others are more specialized and focus on only a few core services.
As an e-commerce owner, ask yourself if you think you need a jack-of-all-trades company or a master of one or two marketing techniques. Full-service agencies benefit e-commerce companies that want to use a variety of services, such as PPC, CRO, SEO and content marketing. But if you don’t need all these additional services, a specialized agency may be a good choice.
It is also beneficial to understand the basic operations of the company. Many marketing companies will offer different services but contract these jobs out instead of handling them internally. Consider whether you want the convenience of an all-in-one package or a marketing agency that is dedicated personally to your marketing work.
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Next, Research and Compare Potential Agencies
There are numerous digital marketing agencies out there, but not all of them will accomplish your goals and increase your sales. The best way to identify the right agency for your specific business needs is by comparing different options.
Start this process by asking for recommendations, getting familiar with the company’s experience, and asking questions.
Ask for Recommendations
A good first step when looking for a digital marketing company is to ask other similar businesses for recommendations. There are a couple reasons why this can be helpful in your search:
- You’re more likely to find a reliable digital marketing company when you trust a referral from a colleague, as they have first-hand experience.
- If your colleagues are also e-commerce business owners, you can be confident that the marketing agency has experience working in your industry.
- Some companies offer perks when you go through a referral, such as discounts or “finder’s fees.” This could reward both you and the person offering the referral.
But don’t make your decision solely on the opinions of others. While receiving a referral from a trusted colleague is a good way to find a reliable digital marketing firm, you should still do the research to better understand the agency’s experience, as well as check out sever other agencies.
Whether you’re seeking a full-service agency or a specialized firm, always look at the agency’s website for their experience and previous performance. This can provide valuable insight into whether they are the right fit for you.
Prioritize agencies that have experience in e-commerce, preferably in your particular industry. An agency with a good understanding of the challenges and opportunities of e-commerce can better tailor their strategies to your business needs.
Look for an agency with experienced and qualified professionals, including certified Google Ads specialists, social media experts, and content marketing professionals.
Any reliable digital marketing firms will have a portfolio of previous e-commerce clients displayed on their website:
When considering a potential digital marketing agency for your e-commerce store, it’s important to ask them the following questions:
- What specific digital marketing services do you offer?
- Can you provide examples of successful e-commerce campaigns you’ve run in the past?
- Do you have experience working with e-commerce stores in my industry or niche?
- How will you measure the success of my campaigns?
- How do you stay up to date with the latest digital marketing trends and best practices?
- What is your process for developing a customized digital marketing strategy for my e-commerce store?
- How will you communicate campaign performance and progress with me?
- Can you provide references or case studies from previous clients?
- How do you ensure that your campaigns comply with legal and ethical standards?
- What is your pricing structure, and what kind of results can I expect for my investment?
- Who will be our point of contact?
- How frequently will we meet?
Asking these questions can help you evaluate the agency’s experience, expertise and approach to digital marketing. By doing so, you can make an informed decision about which agency is the best fit for your e-commerce store.
Then, Check Their Track Record
When researching a marketing agency, looking for specific performance indicators will separate a decent agency from a great one. That’s why you should consider a marketing company’s case studies and past testimonials.
Case studies are the framework analysis and evaluation of a company or strategy. This will offer a more detailed look into the agency and how they have achieved results for other clients.
When reviewing an agency’s case studies, look for their track record of delivering results and a positive ROI for their clients. If you don’t find them on their website, ask them if they have any they can share with you.
Client Testimonials and Online Reviews
If a digital marketing company doesn’t provide any case studies, reading testimonials and reviews about them is another great way to get insight into their work.
Where can you find these? Many digital marketing agencies will include testimonials on their website, but you should also search elsewhere for reviews. Google, social media platforms (particularly LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook), and different review sites like Clutch and G2 will also offer a place for users to leave reviews:
A couple of so-so reviews about a company is generally nothing to be concerned about. But you’ll want the agency to have an overall good rating. This will give you an idea of their level of expertise, professionalism and the results they’ve achieved for other e-commerce stores.
Every digital marketing business offers different pricing requirements. Knowing this information upfront will allow you to ensure that their pricing fits your budget.
Look for an agency that offers transparent pricing and delivers value for your investment. Avoid agencies that offer unrealistically low prices or promise quick results without a solid strategy.
You shouldn’t devote more funds than you have to a digital marketing company. Before signing anything, make sure that you know everything that is covered by the quoted budget and the longevity of your contract.
The pricing for a digital marketing agency can vary greatly depending on several factors, such as the agency’s size, location, expertise and the services they offer.
Here’s a rough range of pricing for some common digital marketing services:
- Search engine optimization: Monthly pricing for SEO can range from $500 to $5,000 or more, depending on the level of service and the size of the e-commerce store.
- Pay-per-click advertising: Agency fees for PPC advertising management can range from $500 to $3,000 per month, plus the cost of ad spend.
- Social media marketing: Social media management can range from $500 to $3,000 per month, depending on the number of social media platforms managed and the level of service.
- Content marketing: Monthly pricing for content marketing can range from $1,000 to $10,000 or more, depending on the level of service and the amount of content produced.
- Email marketing: Monthly pricing for email marketing services can range from $500 to $2,500 or more, depending on the size of the e-commerce store’s email list and the level of service.
Your marketing ROI is one of the top metrics to follow since it puts a dollar amount on your success. You’ll want your marketing efforts to result in more profits for your business, not losses.
An ROI of 5:1 is considered good in the marketing world, but the average return on investment will vary depending on the marketing channels you use:
How do you gauge a marketing company’s ability to produce a positive ROI? A skilled digital marketing firm will only focus on the tactics that benefit you, your customers and your goals. Using the data they have gathered, they will spend your budget in a way that will create the highest quality marketing campaign and increase lead generation and sales.
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Communication and Collaboration
No partnership will succeed without communication, but there’s a lot to consider when connecting with a digital marketing agency. Understanding how the agency communicates and collaborates will bring you closer to finding a successful firm.
Every marketing agency has a different communication process. Some companies will assign you a dedicated account manager, while others will connect you personally to those working on your campaign. Some firms offer regular updates, and others prefer weekly meetings. During your consultation, ask the company about their communication process. Decide which format works best for you.
Channels of Communication
In our technological world, there are more communication channels than ever before. Each communication option has benefits and challenges to consider.
Your chosen marketing firm may have a specific mode of communication, such as phone or email. Others may have a dedicated project management platform where you can track your campaign’s success and have the option to chat or leave feedback.
Ensure that the company you choose has a communication style and schedule that will fit your needs. Some companies may be more flexible in working with your preferences.
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Last Word on Choosing the Right Digital Marketing Agency
Since more people are shopping online, making your e-commerce company stand out from the rest is integral. If you don’t have the bandwidth for an in-house marketing team, partnering with a top digital marketing company can help you build your brand presence and recognition.
As an e-commerce company, you will probably want to prioritize digital marketing agencies that offer:
- A clear marketing strategy
- Customized solutions
- Experience in your particular industry/niche
- Strong track record of successful campaigns
- Services that align with your budget
- Excellent communication
A good marketing firm should do more than operate in the background. They will be your partner in growth, educating you during every stage of your campaign. A skilled digital marketing firm will only recommend the services your business needs and that align with your goals. Once you find this company, you will sign the contract and begin your marketing campaign.