How to choose the right digital marketing agency for your construction business
Ten steps to choosing the proper construction digital marketing agency
Thanks to advances in technology and digital marketing, the construction industry has boomed. You don’t want to be one of the businesses left behind.
If you’re a building material supplier or someone working in the construction industry, you need digital solutions. They are critical to any successful business.
When it comes to picking a digital marketing agency to help support your business, it can be tricky to know where to start.
Maintaining digital marketing tools and knowledge in-house can often be complex. Digital marketing moves at pace; algorithm updates are a daily occurrence. Platforms change, and keeping on top of it takes a lot of time, money, and effort. With all this in mind, it’s understandable that construction companies and construction marketers look for agency support to plan and deliver their marketing strategy.
However, choosing the right agency isn’t as simple as it may seem. You’re going to want to ensure it’s the best agency for you, and with so many out there, it can be hard to find the best one. This guide gives you ten steps to choosing the right digital marketing agency for your construction business.
What do you need from your construction marketing?
The first question you need to ask yourself is “what it is it that you’d like to achieve” and “what level of investment are you able to make.” Then, ensure you don’t waste your time talking to agencies who either don’t offer the services you’re looking for or will be out of your budget. If you can provide a written brief, as detailed as possible, that would be ideal.
However, if that’s not possible, then at the very least, make a clear list of the services and tasks you think you’d like the agency to perform. Then, your marketing team must decide which activities can remain in-house. Again, outsourcing comes in handy here.
It would help if you also considered how the two teams would coordinate. For example, if you decide to keep content marketing in-house and outsource the SEO.
Along with this list, you also need to be very clear about the objective of the marketing activity that you want to outsource. And please, don’t confuse outputs for outcomes.
An example of ‘output’ would be writing and sending two newsletters per month. The ‘outcome’ would be the impact sending those newsletters has on your business. For example, how many sales came up as a result? How has the newsletter changed public perception of your company?
Example objectives include measurables like:
- Voucher downloads
You should also understand your budget. What can you afford or are you willing to spend? A good agency should be able to work with any reasonable budget and clearly explain how they will use the time to help you to get towards your goals.
Understanding your organization’s needs and budget allows you to focus your search on a narrower group and will save you valuable time.
Questions to ask:
- What is your average-sized client?
- How much do your services cost?
- Do you have experience working with similar businesses?
Do they walk the walk?
Once you’ve got a couple of agencies in mind, check out their websites.
Their website should feature a well-populated blog, case studies, straightforward design, navigation, and suitable calls to action. Remember you’re looking for an agency that can market themselves well, as you want them to market your business also.
You’re looking for an agency that is good at digital marketing – so do a Google search for a digital marketing agency or for the service you’re looking for and their geographical area. For example, “Paid Media Agency” or “SEO Agency Northampton.”
Similarly, if you’re planning on using them for your content marketing, then take a look at their site. Is there a blog, is their onsite copy engaging, and does it entice you to read on? What other types of content do they showcase? For example, are there whitepapers or videos; this will show whether they understand different formats and how they can work best in different situations.
If not, then again, question whether they’d be able to provide you with what you need.
Questions to ask:
- What construction clients have you worked with previously?
- What types of content marketing are you comfortable using?
- Whom do you view as your competitors?
How long have they been in business?
Once you’ve got a couple of agencies in mind, check out how long they have been in business. Digital Marketing agencies pop up seemingly overnight, and you want to be sure you will be working with a credible, well-established outfit.
When you review their sites, ensure they feature an address, a client list, and case studies. If this information isn’t featured, then walk away.
Many overseas agencies have cropped up in recent years, and they all seem to make huge promises and have meagre rates. Sounds perfect, but we have heard clients talk about how they’ve been stung by these ‘digital cowboys’ and would hate for it to happen to anyone else. As the adage goes, if it looks too good to be true, then it probably is.
Likewise, many businesses profess to be digital experts when they have little experience in reality. Having perhaps focussed on general business consultancy or traditional PR for many years, they seize the opportunity to market themselves as a digital agency. But unfortunately, many of these consultancies lack the skills to be able to support you fully.
A legitimate agency will have no problem supplying you with information on some of their past clients, and you can often find reviews on the agency’s own Google My Business Pages – so check those out too.
A digital marketing brand that’s been around for over 15 years will have gained an awful lot of experience and is doing an excellent job, as otherwise, they wouldn’t still be in business. Try finding a company with longevity and good reviews that will happily supply testimonials or links to case studies.
Questions to ask:
- When were you established?
- Do you have any case studies we can see?
- Can you supply us with some testimonials from existing or past clients?
Do you feel like they’re everywhere?
An excellent digital agency will have put into place marketing strategies to ensure they’re reaching their perfect target audience. If this means you regularly see their blog posts, their name pops up on your LinkedIn, you receive their email marketing or get served paid ads from them, then the chances are they’re the right folk for you.
Agencies will have researched who their target audience is, developed customer personas, and created a digital marketing strategy to target those individuals specifically with messages they feel might resonate.
If they are using these tactics to reach you, you are most likely a good fit with them. It is also a strong indication that they know how to use the cross-channel marketing mix well, which will be something you want them to do for you too.
Questions to ask:
- How do you market yourself?
- What do you find the most effective route?
- Why would you like to work with us?
What’s their experience?
Delve further into the agency’s specific experience related to your particular circumstances.
Look at the agency’s case studies. Ideally, they should have these on their website, but if not, ask to see some.
- Have they got experience in your field and gained good results in the areas you’re looking to invest in?
- What size of client do they work with?
- Do they speak your language?
All of these things are important. But, ideally, you want to know that they will be familiar with your challenges and be experienced in dealing with them successfully.
Having worked with other brands in a similar industry sector or an equivalent type of business (e.g., franchises or multi-location businesses) means they will have discovered some of the issues unique to your industry and will be able to keep an eye out for these with your business. Likewise, they’ll also have ideas on what has worked well previously and be able to implement ‘quick wins’ more readily.
However, it shouldn’t necessarily be a deal-breaker if an agency has little or no experience in your sector. Having less knowledge of a particular industry can often allow for a fresh pair of eyes and produce new ideas, so it’s not always bad, but you should ask what steps they would take to become an expert in time?
When the agency pitches to you, check to see if the presentation is tailored specifically for you and your company’s requirements or is it just a generic pitch template.
Any agency that rolls out a generic pitch and hasn’t spent time trying to get under your business’s skin and unique issues are not worth working with. If they won’t make an effort to win your business, will they bother you once you’ve signed on the dotted line?
Questions to ask:
- What successes have you had in our market?
- Can you let me know some other brands you’ve worked with within our industry?
- If you have little experience in our sector, can you let us know how you would plan to become an expert?
An excellent digital marketing agency will consist of a team of experts with various skills, and they’ll be proud to showcase them.
The agency should have a team full of individual specialists in Paid Media, SEO, Content Marketing, Strategy, and Digital PR.
Check out their team page – a good agency will be too happy to showcase the leading team players.
Ask them who would be likely to be on your team, and then pay special attention to their biographies. For example, what experience do they have, and what skills and qualifications have they earned?
Does the agency bring along the team, or at least some of them, if it gets to the pitch stage? Do they reference who will be on the account if won successfully within the presentation?
All these signals indicate a multi-talented and robust team, which is, after all, what you need.
Questions to ask:
- Who will be your main point of contact?
- Who will be working on your account?
- What experience and qualifications do the team working on your account have?
An excellent digital marketing agency should have access to several tools to help them get the job done correctly. But they should also have the knowledge to use these effectively. So asking questions about what they use to track website performance and SEO, analytics, Etc is vital.
But, it’s not just the tools that are important. Many devices can limit results, and a good agency will know when best to think beyond the means; to reap a greater reward.
Digital marketing campaigns require a variety of tools from beginning to end. You might need analytics tools like Google Analytics, communications tools like Teams, specific channel tools like Ahrefs or SEMRush, and many more. These tools can often require significant investment in monetary outlay and training time.
An agency that has invested in a potent mix of tools and training will be able to complete tasks efficiently and save you time and money.
Questions to ask:
- What project management software do you use?
- How do you track performance?
- Do any of the tools you use have limitations? How do you deal with this?
As outlined at the top of this blog, digital marketing moves at pace. Nothing stands still for very long. There’s always a new technique, tool, or algorithm update; keeping up with it can be a full-time job.
It would be best to ask any agency you’re speaking to about how much they invest in training and upskilling the team.
- Do they attend the leading digital conferences?
- Do they get in external trainers, run internal workshops for their team, Etc?
- In short, you want to know how they ensure their team is always at the forefront of digital marketing.
Is there anything on their website to illustrate this? Have a poke around and see if you can find blogs they’ve written on conferences or speakers or even details of trainers they’ve used and are recommending to others.
It’s essential that any agency you work with invests in their team’s personal development; it means you’ll have the best and most awesome people on your team.
Questions to ask:
- How do you keep on top of the changes in digital marketing?
- How much time do you devote to training your team?
- What was the last conference or training any of the group attended?
All agencies have to sell is their time and expertise. Therefore, the majority of agencies work on a time-based model. So put. This means you’ll pay for the time they spend on your business. Usually worked out as a certain number of days per month.
Based on your available budget, the agency will establish what it’s possible to get done within the time, and their recommendations for when who should take these steps to help you reach your stated goals.
This should be clearly outlined in a strategic roadmap. You should be able to see and understand what tasks are being planned and when.
That said, a good agency should also be agile, being able to adapt the roadmap to the changing industry landscape and [many] Google algorithm updates.
It is relatively easy to wheedle out low-quality agencies through their pricing. If an agency charges a low price compared to the market, their results will be low-quality.
If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Lower prices mean lower margins, so they’ll be less likely to put in any extra effort, and there will be less investment in tools, training, and the team they employ. All are negative factors from your point of view.
Agencies whose prices are average or slightly higher can afford to treat their clients with more generosity. You get what you pay for.
The agency’s contract should also outline what is included in the standard monthly retainer. This should be as transparent as possible. For example, it is usual for agencies to charge for any time spent on a client account, from meetings and reporting to travel and phone calls and the digital marketing work itself. Any reputable agency will make this clear. If this isn’t featured, then ask. No agency will give free time away, as time is money. So, you can rest assured who will charge it somehow. It depends on whether they’re honest about it or hide the cost.
Questions to ask:
- How will you be reporting?
- How often will there be meetings or calls?
- Do you use any collaboration tools that will help us save time?
The right fit and time to commit
You’ve got to remember that you will be working closely with your chosen agency. So, choose wisely.
You need to ensure that you have the resource to liaise with the agency and give timely feedback.
No matter how good, any agency will need to rely on you to provide insight into the business and industry you know so well. The agency needs feedback on how well its efforts align with the nuances that define its team and brand. They can never have the knowledge and insight that you do, so you need to give them feedback.
All of that means being willing to commit to working together and figuring it out when you’re not entirely aligned. Of course, no business partnership is ever perfect, but perseverance is about the will to fight for something that has potential, something built on understanding and mutual respect. The best partner is someone who makes you the best version of yourself, and a good agency can do that for you.
The final thing to consider is whether they look like they’re having fun and enjoy their work?
If they do, then the chances are that they work well together and will, therefore, work well together with you.
Make sure that as an agency, their culture is a good fit with yours. Ideally, you want to find an agency with similar values and ethos.
Questions to ask:
- Can you explain your ethos?
- What makes your agency’ tick’?
- [one to ask yourself] Would you go for a beer with them?
What does this mean for you?
We’re hoping the ten tips we’ve included will guide your decision-making process, but if you’re still unsure or have questions, drop us a line.
Seriously, ask the Koozai team.
We’re very keen to work with businesses and brands that we feel we can help, but we will let you know if that’s not you.
And not only that, but we’ll also suggest whom we think would be a better option. Sometimes, freelancers who have worked for us in the past and have set up on their own – as this often means you get a good return on your investment. Or a specialist agency that may focus on one particular area better than we do, for example, website development and design. We’re sincere (but polite with it) and happy to help.
If you want a downloadable guide version of this blog to keep to hand, then please click here
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