Choosing an agency can be a difficult task, when you do a Google search for ‘Digital Agency’ it throws up about 350,000,000 results, similarly, when searching for ‘website design agency’ there are thousands of options to choose from. So, what should you look for in your quest to find the right agency for you?
Here are 10 things we recommend you look out for when choosing a digital or design agency to partner with:
1. Meet two or three agencies
We always recommend that you meet at least two agencies, ideally three if you have the time. This allows you to develop a comparison and to decide which company feels right. It gives you an opportunity to ask questions and to learn how well you feel you could work with the people and develop an ongoing business relationship.
This is also a good opportunity for you to visit their premises to discover as much as possible about their set up and how they work. Do they make a good brew?… it all counts!
You need to choose a digital agency that has plenty of experience, and is able to confidently demonstrate some good examples of work and more importantly results they have achieved for their existing clients.
As part of the initial stages, it’s important that you feel confident that the agency has the capability of achieving your goals. For example if you are looking for an agency to partner with to improve your web presence, how are they currently doing this for other companies and how has that impacted on their businesses.
This is your chance to ask as many questions as you need and the time to have any awkward conversations, such as who will have ownership over the work should you want to move away from the agency further down the line.
Yes, we know this should go without saying when choosing a creative agency, but you would be surprised! Have a good look at the work they have produced. Ask yourself the questions… Are they versatile? Has the agency proved that they are capable of working within brand guidelines and with very different types of clients?
You probably want to avoid using an agency that has ‘an agency style’ and all work they produce looks very similar, the designs / creativity needs to be right for you and your brand. All companies are different and should be marketing in different ways.
5. The team / who you will be working with
At Entyce we don’t employ sales people, so from the outset you will meet the digital experts with whom you will be working with. However if you do meet a sales person in your initial meetings then it’s important that you ask to meet some of the team that you will be working with, or at least the project manager that will be assigned to your account. After all, people buy into people so you want to make sure you feel at ease with the digital team and the account managers.
Many agencies outsource work, often overseas, so again if this would be an issue to you ask the question before you make a decision on your chosen agency. The more you know about the team and set up of the business from the outset the more it will enable you to make the right decision on which agency is right for you.
Admittedly a lot of communication can be conducted over the phone and by email, so location may not be a deciding factor when choosing an agency, but don’t underestimate the advantage of regular face to face contact. If your preferred agency is not the most local agency then ask how they would accommodate regular meetings to keep the flow and momentum of the project alive.
Don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations, ideally a phone number for a handful of clients, so you can quiz them first hand as to just what the agency is really like to work with. If there are areas that concern you then challenge their clients, you are more likely to get an honest opinion that way.
Timescales need to be realistic and this often means understanding how the workload will impact on your own time, from the outset the agency will require a lot of information from you. Ask to see a breakdown of time allocation and the stages of work involved so both parties are working to a clear agreed plan of action.
It’s important that you are honest with the agencies about your budget, so they can work to this and let you know what is achievable. Although budgets can often be preferred to be not discussed until the agency has provided a quotation, being honest and upfront about your budget can save you a lot of time going forward.
10. The proposal
A proposal speaks volumes about the agency, firstly it should be a document that they are proud to present, and of course well designed and clear to read and follow.
The proposal will form your agreement with the agency, so this is an opportunity for you to discover exactly what is included and what is not and amend this as required. The payment terms should be displayed within the proposal, so again this is your chance to see which agency operates in a way that best suits your organisation.
The main thing to bear in mind is that, as with any industry, there are a lot of digital agencies out there from which you can choose from but it’s important that you choose the right one for you.
All agencies have similarities but once you know more about what makes them tick and what they are all about you will be better informed on making a decision which will hopefully lead to a long and rewarding relationship for both parties.