Vancouver is a creative city with a thriving community of digital agencies. With so many great options, how do you know which Vancouver digital agency is right for you?
Approach finding an agency the same way you would approach hiring a new staff member. You need to have a clear idea of what you need them to do, the skills you’re looking for and what you’re willing to pay. Remember that the digital agency you choose will craft the message your future customers will hear from you. Be sure their staff members are professional and strike the right tone to really reach your target demographic.
An informed approach to digital marketing might include:
- Generating qualified leads
- Increasing conversion rates and return visits
- Improving engagement with clients and prospects
- Increasing branding and awareness
- Integrating with business goals and offline marketing
When digital marketing strategies are tailored to your brand, you should see improvements in ROI overall. Ideally you’ll generate sales while you cultivate relationships with new clients and encourage existing clients to engage more often.
What to look for
Different industries and businesses have different marketing needs, so how do you find a local Vancouver agency that’s the perfect fit for you? There are six things to consider:
The first thing you need to know before you hire a marketing agency in Vancouver is what kind of services they offer. Full service agencies can cover everything from TV, radio, print and online advertising, to social media and online reputation management, while smaller or specialized agencies focus on specific services or industries.
Each agency will have their own approach to the creation of your campaign and will use a different digital marketing toolset. Submitting an RFP (Request for Proposal) is a helpful way to find out how an agency would handle your project although not all agencies will reply to generic RFP’s.
If you’re not sure what kind of services you’re looking for, a full service agency can be a good place to start. They can help you craft a strategic digital marketing plan and map out which services and advertising options are the best fit for your business. Sometimes a full service agency will be weak in some service areas. Small agencies have the advantage of being able to specialize. Their deep expertise in specific areas can lead to better results.
Technology has made it easy to work with agencies from all over the world but there are some advantages to choosing a firm closer to home. Hiring a local agency often means that it’s easier to book meetings, and you don’t have to deal with time zones or currency conversions. Some people may feel more comfortable being able to meet their project manager face-to-face and sign contract documents in person. If your business is location-dependent, hiring an agency familiar with your area can be an asset.
Get to know the agency’s reputation. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the agency needs to be famous — there are smaller, boutique agencies that get excellent results — but it’s helpful to get a sense of how people view the agency. Take a look at their social media presence. Have they been mentioned in any publications? Are they quoted as experts? Have they won any awards? All of these can be helpful ways to get to know a little more about the company.
No matter how flashy a marketing campaign is, in the end it all comes down to results. When choosing an agency you’ll want to ask about the kinds of results they have achieved for clients in the past and what you can expect for your own business. Be wary of agencies that make promises that are hard to keep. For example, it’s common for agencies to promise increases — in brand awareness, leads, sales, social following, search engine rankings or website traffic — but if the agency tries to guarantee how big that increase will be, be careful. While there are exceptions, in many campaigns there are far too many variables to be able to guarantee specific results.
One of the best indicators of how an agency functions is to see work they’ve done before. Case studies and testimonials will give you a good picture. Asking to speak to a current or former client is even better. As you’re looking through the agency’s case studies and portfolio there are several things to watch for:
- Do they tend to work with large or small clients, or both?
- Do they have experience within your industry?
- Do they have clients that have stayed with them for multiple campaigns?
- Do they have experience with the type of advertising you want to pursue?
It helps to have an idea of your budget before you start looking to hire an agency. Prices will vary by the size and scope of the work, but it’s common to spend anywhere from $1000 a month to $10,000 a month on online marketing alone. Often there are additional set-up fees at the beginning of a campaign and then lower monthly fees as the campaign progresses. Remember that getting the lowest price is not necessarily the best option. An agency might charge more because their team has more experience, or because they offer more advanced services. Be sure to ask what is included in the price.
Be savvy with your selection
Comparing different digital agencies in BC can be tricky, especially if you’re not entirely sure what your business really needs. First, take time to explore what your goals are and how much of your marketing budget you’re willing to invest in an agency. Then, spend time exploring your options and investigating what each company offers. Be thorough, ask good questions, check references, and discuss costs and deliverables.
Stir is a Vancouver digital agency with a track record of providing personalized service and generating excellent results for businesses both large and small. We specialize in social media, inbound marketing and digital advertising. Read our case studies to learn more and contact our digital marketing experts for a free consultation or project proposal.