10 steps to choosing the right construction digital marketing agency
Thanks to advances in technology and digital marketing the construction industry has seen a boom. You don’t want to be one of the businesses that get left behind.
If you’re a building material supplier or someone working in the construction industry, you need digital solutions. They are key 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 difficult. Digital marketing moves at pace; algorithm updates are a daily occurrence, platforms change and to keep on top of it all 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 first 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. In this guide, we give you 10 steps to choosing the right digital marketing agency for your construction business.
1. What do you really need from your construction marketing?
The very 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.” This will 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.
The more information you can give the agency about your business needs, the better. If you can provide a written brief, as detailed as possible, that would be the 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. Your marketing team needs to decide which activities can remain in-house and what needs to be outsourced.
You also need to consider how the two teams will coordinate with each other. 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 ‘output’ would be to write and send two newsletters per month. Whereas the ‘outcome’ would be the impact sending those newsletters has on your business. For example, how many sales were made 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 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 organisation’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?
2. Do they walk the walk?
Once you’ve got a couple of agencies in mind, then check out their websites.
Their website should feature a well-populated blog, case studies, clear design, and navigation, as well as 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 ‘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 own site. Do they have a blog, is their onsite copy engaging and does it entice you to read on? What other types of content do they showcase? Are there whitepapers or videos for example; 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 really 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 with?
- Whom do you view as your competitors?
3. 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’re going to be working with a credible, well-established outfit.
When you review their sites, make sure 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 very low rates. This 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 old adage goes, if it looks too good to be true, then it probably is.
Likewise, many businesses profess to be digital experts when in reality they have little experience. Having perhaps focussed on general business consultancy or traditional PR for many years they seize on the opportunity to market themselves as a digital agency. Many of these consultancies unfortunately lack the skills to be able to support you fully.
A legitimate agency will have no problem in 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 clearly doing a good job as otherwise, they wouldn’t still be in business. Try and find a business that has longevity, good reviews and 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?
4. Do you feel like they’re everywhere?
A good 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 whole digital marketing strategy in order to target those individuals specifically with messages they feel might resonate.
If they are using these tactics in order to reach you, then 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 is going to 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?
5. What’s their experience?
Delve further into the agency’s experience. Specifically, as related to your particular circumstances.
Look at the agency’s case studies. They should ideally have these on their website, but if not, then ask to see some.
- Have they got experience in your field and gained good results in the areas you’re looking to invest?
- What size of client do they work with?
- Do they speak your language?
All of these things are important. 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 a similar 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.
It shouldn’t, however, 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 a bad thing, but you should ask what steps they would take to become an expert in time?
As and 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 the skin of your business and your unique issues is not worth working with. If they won’t make the effort in order to win your business, will they really bother 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?
6. Team credentials
A good digital marketing agency will consist of a team of experts with a variety of skills and they’ll be proud to showcase them.
The agency should have a team full of individual specialists in subjects such as Paid Media, SEO, Content Marketing, Strategy, and Digital PR.
Check out their team page – a good agency will be only too happy to showcase the main team players.
Ask them who would be likely to be on your team and then pay special attention to their biographies. What experience do they have, what skills and qualifications have they earned?
And, if it gets to pitch stage, does the agency bring along the team, or at least some of them? Do they reference who will be on the account if won successfully within the presentation?
All these signals indicate a strong and multi-talented 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?
A good digital marketing agency should have access to a number of tools to help them get the job done properly. But they should also have the knowledge to be able to use these effectively. Asking questions around what they use to track website performance and SEO, analytics, etc is vital.
But, it’s not just the tools that are important. Many tools can limit results and a good agency will know when it’s best to think beyond the tools; 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, many more. These tools can often require significant investment both in terms of the monetary outlay but also training time.
An agency that has invested in a strong 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, new tool, or new algorithm update to be aware of; keeping up with it all can be a full-time job.
You should be asking any agency you’re speaking to about how much they invest in training and upskilling the team.
- Do they attend the main 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 important 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 team attended?
9. What’s included?
All agencies have to sell is their time and expertise. Therefore, the majority of agencies work to a time-based model. Put simply, this means you’ll pay for the time they spend on your business. Usually worked out as a certain number of days per month.
The agency will establish, based on your available budget, what it’s possible to get done within the time and their recommendations for when these steps should be taken, in order 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, chances are their results will be low-quality too.
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, 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 contract the agency supplies 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, as well as 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 it will be charged somehow, it just 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?
10. The right fit and time to commit
You’ve got to remember that you’re going to 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 to give timely feedback.
Any agency, no matter how good, 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 their efforts are aligning with the nuances that define your team and your brand. They can never have the knowledge and insight that you do and so you need to invest time in giving them feedback.
All of that means being willing to commit to working together and figuring it out when you’re not completely aligned. No business partnership is ever perfect, but perseverance is about the will to fight for something that has potential. Something that is 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 this means for you.
We’re hoping the 10 tips we’ve included will guide your decision-making process but, if you’re still unsure or have questions, then drop us a line.
Seriously…just ask the Koozai team.
We’re very keen to work with businesses and brands that we feel we can help, but if that’s not you, then we will let you know.
And not only that, but we’ll also suggest who we think would be a better option. This can sometimes be freelancers who have worked for us in the past and have now set up on their own – as this often means you get a good return on your investment. Or, a specialist agency that may just focus on one particular area better than we do, for example, website development and design. We’re very honest (but polite with it) and more than happy to help.
If you want a downloadable guide version of this blog to keep to hand then please click here