Ask the Expert. How to choose the best digital marketing agency for your business

21 March 2022

With 8.5 billion searches per day on Google and 4.2bn active users on Facebook and Instagram, it’s vital to your business success that you are active and easily found online. In today’s digital world, the relationship between your business and your digital marketing agency could be one of the most important relationships you will have. Club member and founder of Disturb Digital, Rick Parmar explains how to pick the right digital marketing agency for you, and for your business.


FXC: Why is digital marketing so important for businesses?

In a nutshell, digital marketing is considerably cheaper and arguably more effective than traditional methods of marketing. Every penny is measurable online and you can reach thousands of people across the world for less than a tenner. And if your digital marketing is executed correctly, for every pound spent, you can expect to achieve at least 5-10 x return.


FXC: Can this be done in-house? Why should I use a third party agency over an in house person?

You could employ a person to do this work in-house, but it is quite rare for any individual to be a master at every single online and advertising platform. The best way to do this in-house would be to hire persons per ad platform type, though this can easily add up to £150k upwards in annual salary.  More often than not, it will be more cost effective to employ an agency who typically specialise in more than one online advertising platform. Of course, if the relationship and results are not working out with the agency, it will be fairly easy to hand in notice to cancel.


FXC: How can one identify the best agencies for a business? What should I look for?

It is a wild wild west out there. I would look at agencies:


  • Who are in the same city as you (or at least country).
  • Who you have a good connection with as you’ll need to work closely with them going forward
  • Who have strong agency reviews from actual business owners.
  • Who have a good, long trading history, backed up with the same trading history on Companies House.
  • Who can show case studies closely related to your product or service that delivered results similar to what you’re looking for.
  • Who are prompt replying to emails and phone calls, turning up to meetings on time when initially dealing with them.
  • Who may challenge your existing set up to help you reach your goals.
  • And steer clear from those guaranteeing results if they haven’t got a track record or any case studies of working on projects in a similar space to your business.


FXC: It can sound like gobbledygook. What should the agencies be saying to me? Anything I should be looking out for?

They should initially ask you what your overall goal is from advertising – which products or services are the most popular and most profitable for you, your typical average order value, and typical average lifetime value per customer. Once confirmed, they should also ask you what the maximum you could spend to acquire a new customer. This is usually termed as your CPA (cost per acquisition) which is the most common (and arguably most important) metric used between business owners and digital marketing activity being undertaken.


There is a lot of software out there. No real secret software will turn fortunes overnight. However, the biggest deal breaker I would look out for would be any agency using the words ‘boosting posts’, ‘promoting posts’, ‘engagement advertising’ and those using ‘google smart/express advertising’. These are tell-tale signs the agency is not fully equipped to deliver tangible results for you at maximum impact. More often than not, those using these methods will waste your money. Lastly, it’s helpful if the agency is a Facebook or Google Agency Partner, but not a deal breaker.


FXC: What is the process? How do I choose?

Step 1

Carefully pick out a handful of agencies you feel could deliver for you based on their case studies and checking items mentioned earlier in this article.


Step 2

Set up a call to have a chat with the agency to discuss your business and goals going forward.


Step 3

Invite the agency to provide you a proposal on how they would approach the project to help you deliver the business goal(s) you’re looking for.


Step 4

Consider the agency that provides you the clearest (and most honest) route to your goals, without any hefty-long running contracts. Typically three months initial trial period would be a good measure to start with, and fair for all parties.


FXC: Once chosen, how do you incentivise performance?

Initially I would suggest paying a flat rate rather than operate on a commission model. If the relationship and results blossoms after the initial period of working together, there is an opportunity for the agency and your business to work much closer together where the agency would have a more vested interest in reaching your business goals – where the likes of commission could come into play.

Photo by Charles Deluvio