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How to choose a digital agency

How to choose a digital agency

By Jim Thompson

I have to say that I’m glad I’m not you and I don’t have to go through the process of finding a digital agency or web developer.

In a lot of ways the industry is its own worst enemy in the way it poorly markets itself, ironically when that’s exactly what you’re engaging them to do for you.

There are no entry qualifications or regulatory controls on who can and can’t do this stuff so therefore anyone can claim to be an expert or a guru and they do – so who do you trust and how on earth can website development range from $500 to $50,000 and beyond for what appears to be the same thing?

How can you compare apples with apples?

My first piece of advice is to have a look at their websites and be wary of the following;

  • Over the top creative and a focus on portfolio

Is their primary goal to help you or are they after their next folio piece?

Do they have strategic business knowledge behind the designers?

  • Claims of expertise with nothing to support it

If they don’t have a voice move on because that probably means they have nothing useful to say or the confidence to it say and / or they don’t understand or believe in content marketing.

If they do have a voice or blog read a few articles. Is it generic lightweight waffle that you already know about or is there some depth there – did you learn something?

  • Other unsubstantiated claims like – we’re passionate, we’re experienced, we live and breathe digital, we understand, we value relationships.

So what, who doesn’t?

These are purely entry qualifications for any firm and do you really want them to market you the way they do themselves?

  • Look at the staff profiles

Too many young people – There should be a good mix of ages but don’t get sucked in to thinking this is just a young persons game. This is serious business and they are spending your money.

Lack of numbers – are they a 1 or 2 man band, can they support you, how can they know everything and do they offshore their development work?

Personal bios about how cool they are and what they do on weekends – do I need to say anymore?

  • How did you find them?

Did they find you through their own digital lead generation work, if not how well can they help you in the same space?

  • Are they lead generation focussed?

This is what matters, you want more business from your online presence right, is there any mention of it?

  • Do they practice what they preach

Why would you do something they tell you to do if they don’t or can’t do it themselves?

  • Do they have knowledge in your sector

A website in their portfolio in your sector doesn’t constitute knowledge.

  • Do they clearly articulate what they do and why they are different?

If they don’t what sort of job will they do for you?

  • An over emphasis on social media

This is just one piece of the pie and may not even work for you, remember to a man with a hammer everything looks like a nail.

To assist further download and use this checklist to assess a current or prospective provider


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