9 Must-Have Features In the Best Digital Marketing Company
With the incredible popularity of digital marketing, you have more options than ever before to get customers online. But there are a few problems with that — digital marketing strategies take time to understand, accomplish, and succeed.
And even if you try to get an outside agency to do digital marketing for you, every single one of them claims to be the best!
So, how do you evaluate the best digital marketing company for your needs? We recommend doing a little homework up front and creating a seed list of digital marketing agencies that might work for your needs.
These can be agencies you find online, or through a recommendation. While it’s usually best to stick to a list of three to five agencies at a time, you can certainly pursue more or less.
With that in mind, this is how you can find the best digital marketing company on your list. You can also call 888-601-5359 or contact us online today to speak with one of our experts directly!
Whether you're a local that needs our digital marketing services, or you need digital marketing services in Tampa, WebFX is here for you.
Video: The 5 qualities of the best digital marketing companies
9 features to look for in the best online marketing company
Explore the top nine features that the best online marketing company for your business should have, from numerous reviews to strong internal growth to complete transparency.
Keep reading to get started!
1. Online reviews
Online reviews are the fastest and most effective way to find out if a digital marketing company is worth its salt.
Google and Yelp are the two most trusted outlets for online reviews. We highly recommend looking up a website marketing company in those outlets to see what their past clients have said about them.
It's smart to start with Google first. Search for a digital marketing company's brand name and see what comes up in the results.
Most of the time, you should see a full page of results from the company's own website. But you should also see social media accounts, local Google results, and even some reviews.
This is important because it tells you a few things about the company right off the bat.
First, it shows that the digital marketing company is savvy enough to list themselves in local SEO results, which you'll see in the breakout box next to Google's regular search results.
This should show you pictures of the company, its contact information, and a link to its homepage.
Second, Google shows you actual reviews of the company right in search results. They're done according to a star rating, which you can find quickly in the local results breakout box.
Google may also pull star ratings from Yelp, Facebook, or any other review site that lists the digital marketing company.
If multiple review sites list the company, you'll probably only see ratings from Google users.
Regardless, this is an essential first step in evaluating any digital marketing company.
If they can do what they say they do, they should have reviews from others that say so.
But Google is just one outlet. If you want to get a full picture of a digital marketing company's reputation, you should also look them up on other review sites — namely Yelp.
Yelp is the Internet's premier online review site. Starting back in 2004, Yelp has become a consumer powerhouse of honest, trustworthy feedback.
The idea is that no one has a reason to lie on Yelp. Consumers only have to share the stories of their experiences, whether those stories are positive or negative.
Yelp doesn't reward reviewers, and it doesn't reward companies that get reviews either. It's an objective place for any kind of feedback.
Obviously, the biggest red flag you can find is a bunch of negative reviews. If you see too many — or if the company's average is below 4 — it's probably best to look at another digital marketing company.
The next-biggest quality indicator is whether the company's involved in their Yelp reviews.
This reflects the desire of a digital marketing company to get involved with the online review process and mitigate any negativity it sees.
Any digital marketing company should know that they can neutralize most negative reviews by apologizing, asking for clarifications, and offering help to a complainant.
If you see that a digital marketing agency does so, they're demonstrating a high level of maturity, accountability, and responsibility for the reviewer's complaint — whether it's justified or not!
If you find a lot of reviews about a digital marketing company but no interaction on their part, it's probably best to scratch that company off your list.
Testimonials are positive reviews that a digital marketing company's clients have told them directly.
Most digital marketing companies will host testimonials somewhere on their site, and they may even have testimonials templated into the header or footer of their pages.
Testimonials differ from reviews because these are honest moments of gratitude on the part of the company's clients. The digital marketing company could have just solved a major problem for their client, and the client responds with praise so noteworthy that the company wants to use it on their site.
With that in mind, a top Internet marketing company should have a lot of testimonials.
Lots of testimonials — preferably hundreds of them — reflect consistency, drive, motivation, and deliverability on the part of the digital marketing company.
If they only have one or two testimonials, it's possible the company got them from friends and relatives, which isn't always a reflection of their services.
But if the company has 300 (like WebFX does), then you can be sure they've impressed a lot of their clients.
Even better, they can probably impress you!
3. Leading by example
A company of digital marketers should be so good at promoting its clients that it can also promote itself.
Finding digital marketing companies via search engines is a crucial part of the research process. After all, if a company can't show up in search results for a phrase like "SEO pricing," can they really help you rank for the keywords important to your business?
These are important questions because the best digital marketing company should be able to lead by example.
If you're looking for someone to redesign your website, they should have their own cutting-edge site with all of the details of their redesign process.
If you want someone who works primarily in PPC, they should have compelling, effective ads on important keywords.
If you find that a digital marketing company isn't up to the standards you've set for them, scratch that company off your list.
It's better to eliminate a digital marketing company that might fit your needs than to sign a contract with them, just to have them let you down.
4. Internal leadership
A digital marketing company can only ever be as strong as its leader.
If that leader is a disconnected, buy-it-and-leave-it serial entrepreneur, the digital marketing company itself probably doesn't have the mentality required to get results for clients.
On the other hand, if the company's leader shows a dedication to the practice of digital marketing, growing the company, and providing the best service possible, then you can feel more comfortable in the hands of one of the company's employees.
Because the leader is paving the way for the rest of the company.
Leadership at a glance
Leadership is contagious for the best or worst. When a company leader exhibits positive characteristics, the company will take on those characteristics as well.
Hard work, dedication, continued learning, customer service — these are all the qualities of excellent leaders and even better companies.
The best of these leaders will understand that their company can grow to be so much more than they can themselves.
While the leader is one person, he or she understands that their company is a collection of like-minded, industrial individuals who want the company to carry on.
In general, this is true for almost all businesses. But when it comes to the best digital marketing companies, it goes double.
Look for a company that lets you meet one-on-one with the company president — or at least see if you can get them on the phone.
It may not work. Company leaders are busy people, after all.
But if you can get the personal ear of the company's leadership, you know they're a personable company that'll make time for you.
After all, their leader did it.
5. Internal culture
Internal culture refers to how a company conducts its daily operations and communicates with its team.
Culture is surprisingly important in a digital marketing company because it boils down to how the company treats its employees.
The rule of thumb for company culture is:
Happy employees produce better results
This is especially important at a digital marketing company because they're constantly busy. Every hour of every day, digital marketing teams are all-hands-on-deck to provide results for their clients.
Naturally, this amount of work can weigh on a person after a while. That's why it's so crucial for every digital marketing company to have a positive, supportive culture.
Most companies these days have that kind of culture, which encourages employee retention and participation in the company's growth.
But creating that culture takes time, effort, and funding — three things some digital marketing companies just aren't willing to spend on non-tangible results.
You may find marketing companies out there that rely on a "do your job" kind of mentality where they expect results from each individual, but don't provide the support structure that provides career satisfaction.
Worse yet, you could find digital marketing companies that "crack the whip" and create a negative culture. These companies don't keep employees for very long, and that negativity often carries over to their clients as well.
In a nutshell, positivity — including positive growth for clients — starts with a digital marketing company itself.
By creating a strong culture, a company ensures its team is happy, which yields positive results and happy clients.
You can get a sense for a digital marketing company's culture by critically looking at their site. The best will share photos of their team, events they've conducted, and the perks of working there.
The worst will provide barebones information with few images and vague information. Some can't even show pictures of their team because of such high turnover, which is the biggest red flag you can encounter with a digital marketing company.
So if you want to work with a good marketing partner, look for one that shows its team smiling. It's not easy to provide a happy workplace for an entire team — but if the agency does, the results will show many times over.
6. Internal growth
Internal growth is the measurement of a company's success over time.
This breaks down to one question: Is the company growing or shrinking?
Growing companies denote good work, reliability, and trustworthiness. After all, digital marketing companies can't turn a profit unless they turn a profit for their clients.
Growth also shows that a company can retain clients over time. The industry average for digital marketing hovers around 50% retention year-over-year, and some places (like WebFX) have achieved 90% or higher.
That retention rate contributes directly to the company's overall growth. So if they talk about the new people they're hiring or the new strategies they're launching, you know a digital marketing company probably does good work for their clients.
On the other hand, a shrinking company is a red flag when searching for the best online marketing company.
This doesn't refer to isolated incidents of termination or quitting — sometimes a hire just isn't a good fit for a company.
Instead, it refers to a trend of negativity, quitting, firing, or random changes in company direction.
For example, if a company's representative mentions that they've lost four people in a week, you're right to be suspicious.
Similarly, a string of layoffs, long-term company restructuring, and other red flags could signal that a digital marketing company isn't just reorganizing itself — it's struggling to stay afloat.
This could be for any number of reasons, ranging from poor client results to negative company culture.
But no matter the reason, it's an indicator of things to come if you contract with that company.
That's why we recommend discussing a digital marketing agency's internal issues with a representative. They should be able to speak openly, honestly, and conversationally about their team.
If they take time to think before responding, they could be spinning their response to make a situation sound less severe than it actually is.
But if your representative is quick, open, and honest, you'll be able to hear it in their voice.
Transparency is the process of a digital marketing company discussing its inner-workings to help potential clients feel more comfortable.
Transparency can take a lot of forms, but the two most helpful are pricing and social media.
Pricing transparency is important because it tells you (and other potential clients) exactly what you can expect to pay for a digital marketing company's services.
While most digital marketing companies don't discuss their pricing online, the select few that do are dedicated to the success of their clients. They are also some of the best digital marketing companies.
The big reason is because it's mutually beneficial for a possible client to know how much money they'd need to work with a digital agency.
That lets the prospective client — you in this case — determine if they can afford to partner with a marketing company before ever contacting them.
That saves time, work hours, and money all at once.
It's also true that lots of digital marketing companies offer custom pricing packages. But even when that's true, it's still important for them to share pricing information so you can get a general feel for how much it'd cost to partner up.
Still, a lot of companies don't share their digital marketing pricing information. That's not to say they have something to hide — but you will have to actively get in touch with them to figure out if you can move forward.
That wastes time, and time is money in the business world.
In the digital marketing world, social media has a whole range of different applications.
Some agencies use it to promote content, others use it to build a dedicated following, and still others use it for customer service.
Digital marketing companies often use social media for all three purposes (plus a few more).
As a result, digital marketing companies tend to be highly transparent on their social accounts. They'll address criticisms, thank people for praise, answer questions, and more.
If they're responsive to customer questions online, you know they're committed to customer service.
If they promote lots of content, then you know they're an active presence online. They're probably also looking to help potential customers by answering common questions on new site pages as well.
But if they don't do anything — especially if they created an account for themselves and never posted to it — you know they're not completely engaged with their clients.
That could be for any number of reasons, but the reasons aren't important.
What's important is the fact that a digital marketing company has social media accounts that it doesn't use.
If they're that disconnected from the Internet, then they're probably won't connect with you either.
Another great distinction of a good digital marketing company is ambition.
In the context of marketing, ambition means the company propels itself forward in the pursuit of new ways to promote themselves and their clients.
The most ambitious digital marketing companies will use an internal marketing team to invent new processes and refine old ones, ensuring there's a consistent stream of ideas and processes that help their clients succeed.
The best companies will also test these ideas out on themselves, making themselves the guinea pig for any successes or failures they experience.
By testing new ideas on themselves, the digital marketing company can then refine their new strategy and use it exclusively with their clients.
That keeps the company at the cutting-edge of digital marketing as an industry, and they pass those advantages on to you!
Naturally, that means paying for the services.
But paying for these new strategies frequently pays off. And in the off chance it doesn't, a digital marketing company will probably offer full refunds for your trouble.
Still, the point of ambition is to show that the company is a worthwhile presence in their industry.
They don't just take second-hand information from a handful of industry influencers.
Instead, they are the influencers, and they hand that information off to others as they like.
It's important to draw the line between ambition and vagueness though.
Ambitious digital marketing companies may give some insight into how they identify new strategies and develop new processes. At the very least, they may tell you how you can get involved in their newer strategies.
Vague companies will frequently refer to their "secret" strategies without offering any details at all. If they can't talk about anything — especially when it comes to promoting your business on Google — you have cause for concern.
The final quality of a great digital marketing company is performance. It's also the simplest metric you can use to evaluate a marketing agency.
At the end of the day, does the digital marketing company perform the way they say they will?
Do they go above and beyond for their clients?
Do they get results?
Most importantly, do they earn revenue for their clients?
If the answer to any of these questions is "no," then you can be sure you're dealing with a sub-par digital marketing company.
Digital marketing always has an impact on revenue, whether directly or indirectly. Digital marketing companies know this better than any other business.
That means they should all deliver on their promises.
Testimonials, online reviews, social media usage — all of these are excellent indicators of performance.
If you see too much negativity about a digital marketing company online, scratch it off your list and look for another.
You'll thank yourself when you see your revenue grow.
FAQs when looking for the best online marketing company
Do you still have some questions about looking for the best online marketing company? Use our FAQ!
What does a digital marketing agency do?
A digital marketing agency, also known as an Internet, web, or online marketing agency, oversees the development, management, and implementation of your online marketing strategy. This strategy can include paid and unpaid tactics, like pay-per-click ads or blog posts.
Overall, a digital marketing agency aims to help your company grow through online marketing and advertising channels. The best online marketing company should also aim to achieve your goals, whether you want to increase the quality of your leads or improve the sales numbers of your site.
How much do online marketing agencies cost?
The cost of hiring an online marketing agency, especially the best Internet marketing agency, will depend on a few factors. The agency’s experience, as well as your company’s standards, will influence service costs. Additional factors include your strategy’s complexity and number of services.
On average, most businesses spend $2500 to $12,000 per month on digital marketing services.
What kinds of services do digital marketing agencies offer?
Digital marketing agencies can offer a range of services. The best online marketing companies will often operate as full-service digital marketing agencies, which means they offer a turnkey solution to marketing and advertising online.
WebFX is an example of a full-service digital marketing company.
A few examples of services that the best web marketing agencies should offer include:
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
- Content marketing
- Web design and web development
- Social media marketing
- Social media advertising
Before you partner with an agency, make sure they offer the services you need. Don’t settle for an agency that only offers some of the services, forcing you to hire another separate agency. The best digital marketing company will offer a turnkey solution.
See how the best digital marketing company for SMBs can help
WebFX knows what it takes to be the best digital marketing company because we've been working in the industry for more than 20 years.
At WebFX, we've worked hard to make sure our clients get the deliverables they're promised so they can turn a profit on their marketing investment.
We work on their behalf because we understand that their success is also our success.
If we can't help our clients thrive, we know we can't thrive ourselves.
That's why we're so dedicated to every client that comes our way. We put our award-winning team of web designers, Internet marketers, social media experts, and more at your disposal.
When you want results, we deliver them.
Contact us today to start a digital marketing plan for your business!