An Uncle’s Perspective
My niece graduated with honors, and two degrees, from the University of Virginia last month. She accomplished this feat in four short years which places her in a very select group. Not only did she graduate on time, but started working full time at a consulting firm in Washington D. C. two weeks after graduation. She accepted the job offer after interning as a Blogger last summer. Thomas Jefferson would be as proud as Uncle Mark.
My niece, let’s call her Jessica, is smart and technical by nature. Here are a few examples:
- She was one of the first kids I know who was issued a laptop as a freshmen entering High School.
- She got an ‘A’ in all her computer classes.
- She was on Myspace before Facebook came along.
- She actually knows how to use all the functions on her smart phone.
- She is the person her Dad goes to when user error locks up his computer.
I boast of my Niece’s accomplishments so you understand her skill set, but more importantly her limitations. As impressive as her accomplishments are in the modern world of digital communications, I would never hire her to design, develop, and optimize my company’s web site. And neither should you!
It’s not that she wouldn’t be up for the challenge, or take what she would consider easy money. She simply isn’t qualified by today’s standards. Your company’s website is a critical lifeline to today’s consumers. Nowhere on her resume does it list the type of skills and experience necessary to meet the challenge of connecting to them.
It is often said the two most important people in your business are your attorney and CPA. It’s time to add a digital marketing agency to the list. Here is a look at the positions, type of skills, and experience you can expect to find at a full-service digital marketing firm.
- Web Developers
- Creative Designers
- Analytics Specialists
- Content Specialists
- Copy Writers/Editors
- Local Search Specialists
- SEO Specialists and more
Full service agencies should have all of these folks on staff. They can bring their ‘A’ game to your campaign because they draw from extensive experience and are able utilize the full scope of the agency’s tools and resources. As a client, you benefit from their expertise and they can play an important role in making you a better educated consumer. Don’t shy away from engaging them because they often speak a language you may not understand.
What to look for When Hiring a Digital Marketing Agency
It’s important to understand the expertise needed to accomplish the task at hand.
- The Agency’s web site – Do you like it? Is it creative, robust, current, fully functional? The same folks who designed theirs will be designing yours.
- Staff – The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
- Client List – Their work; there’s no substitute for experience.
- Awards – Why wouldn’t you want to be associated with an award-winning agency?
- Strategic Planning – A critical early step in the campaign involving you and your agency’s management team.
- Competition – Are they ready, willing, and able to earn your business?
Our teams of experts are just as smart as Jessica, but more importantly, dedicated to their chosen profession. They continually keep abreast of all the technical changes, updates, and Pandas in the closet in order to keep our clients in front of their prospects 24/7.
The Family Factor
Many of our small business clients come to us after giving their Jessica a shot at designing and managing their company’s website. At this point I can quit picking on Jessica and you can substitute her for the person in your life that you handed the keys of your internet marketing to. Has this thought ever crossed your mind? “What the heck, they live in their parent’s basement and don’t have any overhead”. You always get what you pay for, and this is no exception.
This is my Advice to you: if you’re feeling a bit guilty at this point, and if you want to give your niece, or nephew, or sister-in-law a gift, do what I did and slip a check in a card and give them a hug. Your business is too important to risk hiring them as your digital marketing agency. Consider your options carefully before you learn this lesson the hard way.