You know that quality matters. But how can you differentiate the highest quality eCommerce marketing agency from the lowest?
Finding the right agency can put your marketing on another level. With a team that understands your goals and the brand's personality, you'll unlock some unbelievable results. They could increase your brand awareness, overall traffic, and conversions. And all it takes is knowing what look for when you hire.
So, if you want to find the best eCommerce marketing agency to meet your brand's specific needs, make it a point to seek out these traits. They'll make your search significantly more worthwhile.
6 Traits to Look For in Your eCommerce Marketing Agency
You could argue a lot of traits are important to an eCommerce marketing agency. But at the end of the day, what sets the top-tier agencies apart from the rest? How can you tell if an agency is actually worth investing in?
These six traits are the critical pieces for an agency to thrive. Though there may be other beneficial attributes, without these, a team will be unable to provide clients with the total package. This could produce disastrous results for your brand.
1. Relevant Experience
The first thing you want to ensure an agency has is the relevant experience. This goes further than just knowing they've had previous clients. It means they've produced results in the specific areas you're looking to hire them for.
That specialization is key. For example, we at SmartMail focus on behavior-based eCommerce emails. This means we're exceptionally skilled at acquiring customers, engaging them, and retaining them, all through automated systems. Emails are sent when the user triggers an action. These triggers send the right message at the right time to the right person, multiplying the effects of your email marketing. Many agencies can blast emails. Few can set up and optimize specialized behavior-based campaigns.
You should be skeptical with any agency that claims to do everything. Depending on its size, it could be possible, but the odds are that its ROI is average. Without taking a deep dive in a specific focus, a team can't develop the critical experience for creating amazing campaigns in the industry.
Additionally, a marketing agency must understand your industry. eCommerce is managed differently than consulting, which is different than service-based businesses. A company focused on your industry will know the ins and outs, leading to better results.
When it comes to tools, you want to ensure the agency has experience with the platform you're going to use. Whether it's a native platform used by the team or a different marketing service, if your hired agency doesn't know how to use it to its full potential, you're wasting money.
Finally, take a look at their portfolio to get an idea of what clients they work with. This will serve as initial proof to whether the agency can provide you the services you need.
A high priority is that the marketing agency is results-driven. Email marketing can see incredible ROIs, but an agency which focuses on making pretty graphics and witty emails that don't convert has its head in the wrong place.
Case studies are one of the best ways to determine previous results. These should show experience, but also how the agency's team attacked the target. You want to see that it can achieve the planned ROI and will push hard, thinking critically on the best ways to reach it.
Another piece to look at is whether the agency sets goals for its clients. Many clients don't know what a marketing agency is capable of, so they set low goals. If your agency doesn't share the industry average or where it thinks it can get you, it's not focused on the results enough, and just wants you to feel satisfied. The latter method is lazy and is cause for hesitation. The agency that aims high but misses will still produce better results than one that aims low or doesn't aim at all.
While the numbers are important, it's also necessary to see how fast these results are produced. SmartMail can get a client's campaigns up and running in two to three weeks. By holding ourselves to this timeline, we can start producing massive results faster, like we were able to do for Daily Steals.
Confidence is hard to determine with a marketing agency, but one way to tell is the length of their contract. Many agencies will lock you into long-term contracts. It's often argued that this is for everyone's benefit.
Some agencies will even argue that it needs a set amount of time before it can produce results. This concept is flawed, however, as it means the agency isn't being transparent (more on this in a bit).
At SmartMail, we offer monthly agreements. The idea is that if we can't deliver results quickly, you have every right to take your business elsewhere. We'll provide accurate estimates on results based on where your business is in its growth, and then we'll focus on delivering those results.
We recommend any agency you work with follows a similar approach. If you're being locked into a lengthy contract, there's a chance it's because the agency is worried they can't deliver on the promises outlined in the proposal.
Everyone should want a marketing agency that tells them when things are going right and wrong. Not only will a good agency bring problems to your attention, but it will also come up with a plan to fix it, so you're presented a possible solution from the get-go.
A lot of agencies will tell you what they think you want to hear from the start. It's a tactic to get you into a contract and can cause problems down the road.
If an agency is transparent, they'll give you candid thoughts and advice from the outset. This includes skepticism on whether your campaigns can reach certain ROIs or whether you'll be able to grow your email list without needing to revamp your current assets.
When you're going through the terms of the contract, ensure you take a hard look at the fine print. Many agencies aren't transparent with their pricing, tacking on additional fees for work that was assumed to be included. Any notes on other costs should be an immediate red flag. It's also another reason why shorter contracts provide less risk for business owners.
If an agency can't communicate clearly, you're going to run into major issues. From the contract to the campaign execution, if you're not on the same page, it means worse marketing results and wasted money.
An agency should be providing updates whenever necessary. This means not overburdening you with information, but presenting the critical information that affects your campaigns and, therefore, your company. These updates should be presented during planned meetings where an agenda is clearly established, so there's no confusion on the way ahead.
If your agency is doing all these things, you'll have a service that hears your concerns and provides expertise in a way that's understandable. And that should be the communication goal for any marketing relationship.
A flexible agency is critical with the speed of modern marketing. If a campaign is producing unintended or poor results, a flexible agency can adjust on the fly to ensure you're achieving the results you're after.
Some agencies will become extremely rigid in the strategy and lose sight of the overall picture. This is most common in younger agencies that don't have experience on their side. The team spends so long crafting what it thinks is the best campaign, that when the results aren't coming, the agency believes more time is all that's needed. When in reality, that additional time is wasted, along with your money.
The ability to flex when necessary can be a lifesaving skill for your company, and an agency that can't pivot when necessary doesn't deserve your business.
Finding the eCommerce Marketing Agency Your Brand Needs
Now that you have a better understanding of what to look for in an eCommerce marketing agency, it’s time to take the next step by considering what a top-performing team can do for your brand.
Our proposals for a six-month strategy include specific campaign recommendations, email template examples, and a clear breakdown of how our pricing schedule works. And since we won't lock you into a long-term contract, talking with us may be the best decision you make.