10 Questions to Ask Your Digital Marketer

Joshua Erdman

Your business’s digital marketing strategy is one of the most powerful ways to grow your business and should be treated as such. Therefore, the hands you put your business in, your trust, and your hard-earned money in this area  are crucial.

There are plenty of honest, hard-working marketing agencies (like Torchlight Marketing) that work diligently to provide transparent and effective results to clients, but there are also lots of marketing agencies that hide in the murky waters of marketing with the intention of deceiving people.

At Torchlight Marketing, we pride ourselves on our work that helps clear the fog that used to be the “norm” between client and marketer.

One of the best ways to know if you can trust your prospective marketing agency is being well-informed on who they are and what you can expect from them. The first step is asking lots of questions – any great marketing agency will not only be more than happy to answer, but excited that you’re interested in knowing more about what they do.

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If you’re struggling with what to ask, take a look at our list of 10 questions to ask you marketer:

1. What industries and market types do you work most with?

This is a great question to ask to learn more about the marketer’s experience. If they typically work in B2B marketing, yet your business is in a B2C industry, they might not have exactly the experience you’re looking for to make your digital marketing reach its potential. The strategies, copy, and advertising tactics differ between these types of marketing, and knowing which industry your marketer has the greatest expertise in is essential information to learn.

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2. What advertising platforms do you work with?

There are tons of advertising platforms out there– Google Ads, Bing Ads, Facebook Ads– the list is endless. When deciding on the marketer or marketing agency you want to go with, finding out what platforms they have experience with is important.

If you find that your target demographic can be found through Facebook and Instagram, but your marketer only has experience with Google Ads, that might create a hurdle that you didn’t anticipate.

3. What budgets do you typically work with?

You want to be sure that your marketing agency is versatile in the budgets that they have handled before. Ensuring that they have experience in a budget similar to yours will help assess that they are a right match for your business. For example, if your company has a fairly large budget and your marketer has only dealt with a budget on the smaller end of the spectrum, they might not have the knowledge of how to handle the extra budget (where to put it, how to utilize it efficiently, etc.). On the other hand, if your marketing agency only deals with extremely hefty budgets and your company is on the smaller end, they might not know the steps in utilizing a smaller budget effectively.

4. How do you measure performance?

This is an important question to ask to know if your marketer is trying to put in real work or trying to trick you with old marketing tactics. If your marketer says they measure your performance solely based on clicks and impressions – meaning the amount of people who click on your ads– and nothing else…run! Clicks are wonderful and dandy, but clicks don’t automatically equal business, and therefore, shouldn’t be measured like they do. Your marketer should be measuring performance based on substantial data: phone calls, scheduled consultations, direct purchases, etc. If they aren’t measuring these, you and your marketer are wasting your money.

5. How frequently do you provide reports? Can you send a sample?

This is a great question to set and maintain your expectations. Some marketing agencies send out performance reports once a quarter, others once a month, some not at all. Find out how you will be able to track your process and how often. Asking for a sample will help see if you understand all of the graphs and vernacular used; and if not, give you the chance to learn what they all mean. In a perfect world, you would trust your marketer wholeheartedly right off the bat. In reality, you might need to build that trust over time– and sample reports are a great place to start.

6. Do you use Bid Optimization tools?

At first thought, bid optimization tools might seem like a good thing– a tool used so your digital marketer doesn’t need to be constantly tracking your Ad Spend. However, in reality, these tools are more often than not red flags. The thing is, you want your marketer to be tracking your Ad Spend (that’s what you’re paying them for!). Automation tools tend to be an indicator that your marketer is running on “autopilot” or a “set it and forget it” type of worker. They also tend to be very expensive and sometimes are well behind any new changes that an actual person tracking your Ad Spend would take note of.

7. Are you a Google Premier Partner?

When it comes to marketing, SEO, and PPC advertising, this is some pretty technical stuff. In 2020, Google made more than 4,500 changes to search. Because of this, you want to know who is working for you. More specifically, what makes them qualified to be working for you. Knowing if your marketer or marketing agency has Google Premier Partner status lets you know right away just how knowledgeable and successful they are. This status is only given to the top 3% of Google partners that meet the Premier requirements (Torchlight Marketing being one of them!). And in case we didn’t make it clear enough, this is not so easy to obtain. They must meet certain criteria regarding performance, certification, client retention and growth, and product diversification. This just might be the greenest flag you can find when searching for a marketing agency!

8. What is your fee structure?

Fee structure is important not just because you want to know how much your marketing agency is charging, but specifically how their rates are affected on an hourly basis. How much time is incorporated in your contract per month? What is their hourly rate if you exceed your monthly contracted hours? In regards to PPC advertising, are you charged a fixed rate or a percentage of your Ad Spend? When being charged a fixed rate, your marketer’s recommendations can be seen for what they are (their pay is not being affected by your Ad Spend budget). Whereas, with a percentage of your Ad Spend, a suggestion of increasing your budget by 15% for example, may come across as a “self-serving” interest on your marketer’s behalf even if their suggestions are honest.

9. Are there contracts?

Contracts are essential to know, not only to have a record of what your marketer will provide but also in regards to timeline. Similar to a gym membership, do you have a minimum amount of months contracted with this company or is it month-to-month? What is the fee if you were to break the contract early? Be sure to read your contract thoroughly before signing to ensure you understand and are well equipped with the knowledge to set your expectations. At Torchlight Marketing, our contacts are month-to-month, encouraging our clients to not feel trapped, give more flexibility and allow for more control.

10. What can I expect within the first month? Within the next 3 months?

Similar to reports, you want to manage your expectations when hiring a marketing agency. Knowing what to expect within the first month and thereafter will not only help you know what is coming, but help keep your marketer on track. What results should you be seeing in the first month? The first three months? How often should you hear from the marketing agency? How often do you meet to go over strategy and results? When it comes to marketing, some of these things can take some time to see ROI, so don’t get worried right away! If you’ve made it this far, you should have a trustworthy marketing team on your hands that will be able to answer any questions.

Well, there you have it folks! While we are not recommending only asking your potential marketer just 10 questions, the questions we provided today are a great place to start. Handing the reins to your digital marketing strategy is a big move and should be handled with care. You want to know that whoever is going to be taking over is trustworthy, knows what they’re doing, and treats it as if it was their own company.

Speaking of, if you’re in need of some digital marketing services, contact us on our website or give us a call at (805) 481-0118.