Marketing, especially digital marketing is constantly changing and updating. Unless it’s something you are solely dedicated to, it can be impossible to keep up with. Because of that complexities associated with this landscape, especially for B2B’s, it’s becoming more common (and recommended) for businesses to outsource these efforts to free up time for other pressing business operations.

Before you even start looking at potential vendors, it’s important to define what the goals and objectives are for partnering with another digital marketing agency. Whether it’s related to your website, your overall website presence, brand awareness, lead generation or revenue, it’s important to make sure these goals and objectives are specific, realistic and clearly written out so that the agency you decide to partner with is able to provide a customized, actionable and measurable strategy that allows you to attain those goals.

  1. The vendor’s website & overall web presence. If you are putting your trust in this agency to do your digital marketing right, their marketing efforts should imitate what you’re expecting. Is their website up to date? Is it easy to navigate and find the information your looking for quickly? Is it responsive and accessible through various devices? What about social media? Is it updated often? If not, there’s a good chance yours won’t be either.
  1. The vendor’s industry experience. There are a lot of self-proclaimed “experts” and “gurus” who will try to convince you they know anything and everything about the marketing industry. While some claims may be true, if a digital agency has only been around for a few years, they might be selling you on something they can’t really offer or will use black hat tactics that will end up costing you not only your time and money but also, your online reputation.
  1. The vendor’s experience in your industry. Has this digital marketing agency worked with others in your industry? Do they understand what your business does and the clients you serve? Even more importantly, do they know and understand what your clients are looking for, the terms they use and the ways they go about finding your business?
  1. Their portfolio of work. The proof is in the pudding right? Similar to their website, a vendor’s portfolio should be an up-to-date and complete showcase of the type of work they do and their creative capabilities. It could also be beneficial to check out what type of work they’ve done for clients outside of your industry to see if they understand those scopes of industries as well.
  1. Previous references and recommendations. A creditable and trusted digital marketing agency has a team of supporters to back them up. If an agency isn’t willing to provide a few references to speak with, the relationship is probably inexistent.
  1. The vendor’s expectations, suggestions and recommendations for your project. While this usually comes once you actually speak to the potential vendor, there are a few signs you can look out for that you want to stay away from. If they are making unrealistic claims that seem too good to be true, it most likely is. Digital marketing is an evolving industry. The right digital marketing agency not only understands and acknowledges that, but also makes it clear that achieving realistic goals takes time. [Read more on a realistic website redesign timeline here]
  1. Supplemental content. Check out any white papers, case studies, blog posts, webinars, etc. that they offer. This is where digital marketing agencies are able to showcase their expertise and thought leadership. Remember to actually look through some of it to see the tone and language they use. It’s more than just having it to say they have it.

One final consideration: In this day in age, your web presence is simply too important to risk not doing it right. Go with your gut. Choose an agency that knows your business, has a proven track record, and is passionate about digital marketing.