Hiring an online digital marketing agency to help with your online presence is a big commitment. Once you hire a digital marketing agency, you give them a considerable amount of time to get results and fix your online. Plus all the access to a lot of personal company information and time commitment from your end as the restorer. If things don't go as planned, you as the restoration contractor can be completely turned off working with any digital marketing agency. Which can hurt you in the long run if you decide to neglect your online presence because of a poor experience with a previous agency. On the flip side, when you work with a really good digital marketing agency who understands the restoration industry, you quickly see the benefits, the return on investment and big boost for your sales.

To help make the decision of hiring a digital marketing agency easier, we have 11 simple questions to ask before hiring an agency to fix your online presence and generate restoration leads.  

1. What services do you specialize in?

It's best to work with someone who understands the entire digital marketing landscape, but everyone has their specialty. For example, if you are happy with your branding, but just need more of an online presence, then an agency who helps companies rebrand and build new websites might not be the best fit. You need someone who can come in, use what you have in place and produce leads. On the flip side, if you are talking to a PPC guru, but you really need to update your website first, then there might be a better fit elsewhere.  

2. Can you handle all my marketing needs?

In addition to the first question, while you don’t want someone who is a one trick pony to be selling you something you don’t need, you do want to make sure the digital marketing agency you are speaking with can handle all your marketing services.  

The other major reason is, if an agency can only offer one or two marketing services, you have to ask yourself, is that solving the problem? Marketing is like a wheel with a bunch of spokes, and if you aren't doing most or all the digital marketing services, are you getting the best results or just overpaying?  

For example, when setting up a Google AdWords PPC Campaign, one of the main categories you are trying to optimize for is a metric called 'Quality Score' based on each keyword. This has a great impact on your price per click. In the quality score metric, there are factors that are out of the control for someone if they are only managing your AdWords account. Such as your on page score and bounce rate. So if you have a company assisting you in getting water damage leads and is only managing a PPC campaign, are you overpaying them because they are also not optimizing your web pages for best possible results? A question you definitely need to ask yourself with all the pay per phone call lead marketing companies out there.

3. How are you going to improve organic search results?

A lot of digital marketing agencies will sell you a generic package like 'SEO'. You want to make sure you ask the agency to specifically list all the tasks they will be completing for you on a regular basis to increase your organic rank.

4. How will you track leads?

As a restorer, you want transparency on what's working and what's not and exactly what are the results. Make sure you get a clear description of how the leads will be tracked and what kind of reports you will receive.

5. Will you manage my site and what are the costs associated with each change?

This is important because you want to make sure your site is updated and relevant with new fresh content. Every agency charges differently; maybe small changes on a page where you find a spelling error is updated for free, or everything is billed at a minimum per task. Depends on the agency. You want to make sure you understand how you are going to be billed when it comes to small website management tasks. Typically there are a lot of minor changes needed on a website and you don't want to be stuck with a large bill you weren't expecting.

6. Do I have control over paid Ad Spend - Can I see what Google charges?

A lot of times agencies will want to charge you on what they deem is a good monthly Ad Spend. That could include overpaying for keywords just to make sure the ad is coming up without truly evaluating what is getting the best return at what price. As the restorer, you should be able to set your own monthly budget (within reason) and also expect to see what Google and other search engines are charging for the ads, so you aren't paying an additional price to the agency on top of Google. Ideally, you want to pay a one time set up fee and a set monthly management fee, never pay a percentage of Ad Spend. Also, you never want to pay by impressions from Google for remarketing and search ads. This is a great way for agencies to charge on a per thousand rate without getting charged by Google because Google only charges on a pay per click basis.

7. How many posts per week can I expect on Social Media?

Here is a big stumbling block for a lot of digital marketing companies trying to do work in the restoration field. Generating new photos and content can be time-consuming, thus costly for you, but it shouldn't be. You should be expecting a minimum of four posts per week on multiple platforms and if the agency can't deliver that at a low rate, move on. Who knows what else they could be overcharging for?

8. Do I have input design on a new website?

If you need a new website then you should most certainly have input on the website design, layout, branding, etc. Even if the website is a template format, there should be no reason you can't have full control of the website design process.

9. Do you white label your services to other organizations/freelancers or is it all in-house expertise?

A common theme within agencies (as noted earlier) is that they do a couple things really well (specialize) and the rest of the services they sell are actually completed by a third party.

Another term commonly used is white labeled services. The reason this is important is that you are most likely going to be charged additional fees for these services, instead of just using the company the digital marketing company is using to actually complete the services. The other reason this can be an issue is the digital marketing agency you are considering on hiring, that doesn't do all their services in-house, won't be able to speak with you on that topic with a high level of expertise. There is a very good chance you could be getting a better service from the true expert, versus someone repackaging someone else's services.

10. How well do you know the restoration industry?

A lot of digital marketing agencies claim to work with the restoration industry, and they do. However, they also work with about 10 other industries as well and claim the same thing. You are the restorer and you know the industry. Ask them very specific questions about the industry until you are satisfied they understand it and will be able to apply that knowledge to help you with your online presence.

11. How often will we communicate and who do I communicate with?

This is a very underestimated question that does not get asked enough. Most companies are built to have an internal marketing specialist manage the daily marketing task, and an account manager to handle the sales portion with the client. One issue that arises consistently with this model that you should be aware of, is that you are continuously speaking with someone (sales) that won’t know the ins and outs of digital marketing. They have an internal team that relays answers to them, then they communicate those answers to you. Any questions you have for the account manager has to be then relayed to the internal marketing specialist for clarification. When this is the process, it is easy to have a communication breakdown, over promising from the account manager and so on. Ideally, it would be best if your direct line of communication is a marketing specialist. Even if you don't understand everything they are saying, the communication and expectation will be more clear and you will have a lesser chance of being sold something you don't need. Also, when you pick up the phone for an answer to a question, you can get an immediate answer as opposed to waiting for the digital marketing internal communications to happen.