If you’re in the process of setting up a new business, you’ve probably begun to think about who your target market is and how you will attract customers. Today’s success depends on an online presence and an effective digital marketing strategy. Without the time or know-how, you will need a good agency to help you succeed online. In this post, we explain everything you need to know before hiring an agency.

define your needs

First, define your needs

Before you even speak to an agency, it’s important to have clear objectives. This will help you find the best fit for your business, assist them in creating an effective strategy and provide metrics for reviewing progress.

As a new business, you’ll have different goals than a well-established or larger company. This alone should help to narrow down your options. For example, instead of looking at large glossy marketing firms with big-name clients, you may instead want to search for local companies offering website and social media management for small businesses.

When defining your needs, consider what exactly it is that you want to achieve with your digital marketing strategy. Different agencies specialise in different areas, so knowing what you want can help you find the right agency to meet your needs. As a new business, you will likely have some or all of the following goals:

  • Generating brand awareness
  • Building a loyal customer following
  • Gaining online visibility through an SEO strategy
  • Building a website
  • Creating social pages
  • Generating leads or sales

If you are yet to launch your business, you may even be at the stage where you don’t yet have a logo or any kind of online presence. If this is the case, you will want to source an agency that is experienced in helping new businesses to create an online presence.

In addition to the services you require, you should get clear about the type of agency you’re looking for. Do you want someone local who understands the area and economy you’re operating in? Do you have a limited budget and need a low-cost option, such as a freelance agency? Do you want an agency that specialises in, for example, small businesses, SEO or social media marketing? Once you know what you need and want, you can narrow down your search for the perfect agency.  

researching competitors

Then, do your research

Once you have defined your objectives, it’s time to do some research. Use Google to search for agencies specialising in what you require. Use the following suggested search phrases as a guide to help you narrow down your search:

Have a look at the websites of different agencies to determine the services they offer, how they operate and what the pricing is like. Compare the options and create a shortlist of agencies you think might be the right fit for you.

social media

Create a shortlist and check out their websites and social media

Once you have done some agency research, you should have been able to narrow down your options to a few agencies that meet all or most of your requirements. At this point, it’s a good idea to do a deeper dive into their own digital marketing practices. You want to choose an agency that practices what they preach. If they say they’re good at social media management, for example, you’ll want to see that their own social pages look good and demonstrate quality content posted regularly, with a good level of engagement. Similarly, a company that claims to specialise in SEO should be ranking well on Google for relevant search terms.


Have a thorough look around the websites and social media pages of your shortlisted agencies. When doing so, consider the following questions:

  • What do you think of the appearance of their website and any other visual aspects such as logos, banners and graphics?
  • How do you rate the usability and navigation of their sites?
  • What do you think of the quality and relevance of the content they are posting?
  • Are they posting regularly?
  • Is their branding consistent across all platforms?
  • Do you feel they are utilising all relevant platforms well?

If you’re not impressed with an agency’s own digital marketing efforts, they probably can’t be trusted with yours. This process will help you further narrow down your options.

contact shortlisted agencies

Contact your shortlisted agencies and have a conversation

Once you have narrowed down your options as much as possible, it’s time to start reaching out to them. With your clear list of objectives at hand, go and have a conversation with several different agencies. This will help you determine who is best placed to help you achieve your goals.

When talking to an agency, pay attention to how they are communicating with you – do you feel that this is someone you can trust and build a long-term working relationship with?

Clearly explain what you want to achieve and listen carefully to what they say. Do you feel like they understand your business and what you want, or does it seem like they are just giving you a sales pitch? The best agency for you will be the one that understands your goals and is committed to helping you reach them.  


Compare your shortlisted agencies and choose the best fit

Once you have had conversations with multiple agencies, you should have a good feel for the one you like best. If you’re torn between several agencies, weigh each of them up against a set of criteria to see which one meets more of your needs. Consider the following:


    • Which agency offers the best value for money?
    • Which agency has the most experience with businesses like yours?
    • Which agency has the best customer service?
    • Can the agency offer a bespoke package to meet your individual needs?
    • Which agency seems to understand you and your business the best?
    • Which agency offers the best contract terms?
    • Does the agency offer a trial period so you can terminate the contract early if desired?
    • Which agency has the best customer reviews or testimonies?
    • Which agency has the best reporting process?
    • Which agency uses the best tools?

    These questions should help you decide which agency is the best fit for you and your new business. At this point, you should be ready to make a decision. If you’re still unsure, either go back to each agency with some questions or, if you don’t feel they’re the best fit for you, go back to Google to find another option.

    review progress

    Review progress regularly

    Now you have chosen an agency for your digital marketing; you can focus on building a good working relationship with them. The more you communicate, the better they can help you. It’s important to communicate regularly with your agency and ensure that progress is reviewed against your goals as you go along.

    A good digital marketing agency should provide you with regular progress reports. This demonstrates that what they are doing is effective at achieving your desired results.

    The more information you can provide to your agency, the better. Essentially, you need to help them to help you, so ensure you are keeping them updated about your business as well as any news, products, services or offers you are running. This will help them create relevant content and generate interest from your target audience. If you’re not sure about anything or don’t like something they’ve done, be sure to tell them so they can make changes.

    Aim to have regular progress meetings with your agency to discuss how things are going and what can be done next to help you meet your goals. Communication is key to a successful relationship.  


    Following these tips will help you find the right agency to grow your online presence and succeed in the digital age.