In reality, not all agencies can walk the talk. Often times we’ve been deceived that they can deliver what was promised. From the previous blog post, we understand the importance of marketing agencies in helping our content marketing strategies. However, the question is how do we select the most fitting digital marketing agency, video production company or design studio for our business? As more companies in Hong Kong (and Asia) require creative services for their businesses, local agencies in Hong Kong are blooming rapidly. This makes hiring the best digital agency even harder. To avoid history from repeating itself, we have compiled a checklist (and a set of questions) to guide you when hiring the right company for your business.
Define your goals
Most businesses skip through this process and dive right into hiring an company to figure out how to get more bang out of their bucks. Well, that’s the biggest mistake. Before all else, list down your business goals and objectives. Essentially, specifying these requirements to align your goals and direction, helps the agency to plan the best strategy for your business or project goals.
What is the ultimate outcome you wish to achieve?
For example, you wish to rank your products on the first search engine result pages (SERPs) for the Hong Kong audiences that are searching for web development companies, communicate this goal to the digital marketing agencies that are experts in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Identifying this goal helps the advertising agency to target the Hong Kong market with specific keywords relating to website development such as website design, web development, and responsive web design.
Have you attempted to hire a jack-of-all-trades agency since they appear to be versatile in handling most aspects of a project? On the contrary, you should look for agencies with specific expertise which allows them to focus on producing high-quality outcomes. You may not be able to differentiate between SEO, Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Pay-Per-Click (PPC), but hiring agencies who specialise in niche services assures the quality of their work. A professional digital marketing agency specialising in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), PPC or content marketing does not always excel in web development. Thus, narrow your search for an agency with specific expertise.
To do so, you will have to identify your goals to know exactly which service you require from the digital agencies. Searching for any agency without knowing the purpose of hiring will not help in improving your business. It might do more harm instead since you have no clear direction.
What are the services that you require from the digital agency?
Relate it back to your goals. For example, if your aim is to boost brand awareness through video production, you might need a corporate video for your website or tv commercials. To hire the right marketing, you need to search for agencies who provide specific service related to your business objectives.
After refining your requirements, here comes the exciting part! Tens of thousands of eligible digital agencies out there, who should you hire? Which one is the best digital agency for your project? Before you pull your hair out trying to figure which is the best prospect to hire out of so many options, consider the following criteria:
While most ignore to take the time to understand the company’s background and focus on their performances instead, we believe an agency’s profile makes a huge difference. During the hiring process, get to know more about the company. One of your biggest concern regarding the agency is their office location. If you are based in Hong Kong, it is best to look for agencies who are based in the same location. Being in a close proximity helps in your communication. And not forgetting, the size of the company matters. Small agencies can achieve more with the same budget allocated by the bigger agencies but on the downside, it might take up more time.
Besides, an agency’s culture which is similar to yours, enables you to have a smoother working process. Another point to note is making sure who exactly in the agency is handling your project. Most of the time, companies are frustrated as to why they are not getting the results that they are paying for. In certain cases, agencies will assign junior staffs in their team to work on projects. Hence, ask them directly about the team that is handling yours.
Who will be handling my project?
This is important as you can identify how many team members will be working on your project. If you have a big project, you will need at least 10 in a team to handle it, in order for the project to finish within your designated time. Take into account the experience level of those who are working on your project. They should be of experienced employees to ensure quality works.
How many years have you been in this industry?
Those who are in the industry for many years will have more experiences than a startup. They might have worked with other businesses in your industry. Thus, they are able to anticipate what is to come and reduce common mistakes.
Other questions to ask:
Where are you based in?
What is your area of expertise?
What is your company size?
Quality is one of the ultimate criteria to consider. Your projects represent your brand. Therefore, it is vital to ensure your projects are of high-quality. To be sure that the online agencies, production house or design studio can produce a top-notch outcome, assess their portfolios. Their past performances should be able to provide you with their overall quality of work. Select not only agencies with experience but to have experience in your industry.
Even though portfolios with big and recognisable organisations is admirable, they might come with a high price. Agencies with such portfolio, might cost you more and require a longer time for project completion since they might have other clients as well. Therefore, if you have a smaller budget, it is recommended to hire a smaller agency who can deliver similar results within the time frame.
Additionally, you should consider the technical skills of the company. Question them regarding the technical aspects which will be involved in your projects. You are able to gauge how knowledgeable the agency is based on their explanation.
Who are your past clients?
Evaluate if they have worked with other businesses in the same industry as yours. Working with such agencies is a plus point. Agencies with these experiences will perform better as they will know how to tackle the future obstacles and avoid repeating mistakes that they have encountered with other similar businesses. For example, if you are looking for a marketing campaign using Virtual Reality (VR) technology, you will need to look for marketing agencies who have such experiences.
Alternatively, you can browse their portfolio on 2Easy to survey for the best agency who has experience in your upcoming project.
Another factor not to overlook is matching agencies to your allocated budget. Before asking for a quote, research the market rate. This way, you will know what to expect from the agencies. Doing a market research can help to reduce disappointment when you find out companies are quoting high prices for your project. It is important to compare costs between the agencies and negotiate with the pricier ones. If the agency is able to achieve better results with prices slightly above your budget, negotiate with them to adjust their cost in order to meet your budget. Agencies in Hong Kong typical quote higher prices due to the higher associated costs. If your budget does not permit, you may consider overseas agencies. You can take a look at 2Easy and browse the best digital agencies from Hong Kong and other countries to compare quotes.
What is the project cost?
Find agencies that are able to meet your budget. If you have a budget of HKD500,000, the agency should allocate the budget wisely to achieve your business objectives. Also, the results should be achieved within the time frame. This is to say that the agency should utilise your budget efficiently by allocating a bigger team to achieve your goals. A small team of 5 may not achieve results within the limited time if your project budget is high.
For any questions that you have, the agency should be able to answer as soon as possible. It should raise some red flags if the agencies hardly respond to your inquiries. A good agency often researches about your project before accepting or promise to deliver results. After careful research and consideration, they might suggest better ideas to improve your project. At times, they might even challenge or turn down any unrealistic requests. Never engage the services of an agency who over-promises because eventually, they might not deliver what was initially promised.
How frequent can we meet or communicate?
In order to meet regularly for discussion or a smooth communication between the agency and you, we suggest searching for agencies at a close proximity to you. It might be harder to communicate through calls if they are overseas. However, if agencies around you are quoting at high prices and you are looking for a lower cost, choosing an overseas agency is always a viable option.
All things considered, it ultimately goes down to your preference. If a few agencies fulfilled the aforementioned criteria, hire the agency that can represent your brand the best. The best place to look for your agency is at 2Easy. Through a strict verification process, only the qualified agencies are listed on 2Easy. We will select the top few companies that are the most suitable for your project. It’s time-saving and hassle-free! Psst! It’s free to browse through the list of agencies and their portfolio. Why don’t you try it out?
Thinking about the best digital agency for your next project? Get introduced to the best at 2Easy. It’s Free!