Looking for an agency but don’t know where to start? The first thing you may try is googling “best digital agencies in (your location here).” Odds are that you’ll be overwhelmed with results. But, how can you tell which agency is right for you? Don’t worry, we’re here to help.
First things first, look through their online presence.
Review the agency's client list
If they have a vast client list, this reflects on how much experience they have. If they have reputable brands, this shows the quality and caliber of work they can achieve (and likely the quality of work you are going to receive). If there is a client you recognize, or perhaps admire, take it as a step in the right direction. An agency with a recognizable client list will likely be more expensive, but will also likely provide top-tier work. An agency with little to no clients may be cheaper, but may not have the work experience to accomplish your project goals.
Take a look at their portfolio
When you go through the agency’s portfolio, take note of what you’re seeing. Do you like the work? Do they get the client(s) message across? Does the quality of the creative stand out? Don’t worry if there isn’t a sample that’s in your industry, sometimes a fresh perspective is exactly what you need. Focus on the quality of the work in general, and if it appears effective.
Creating something visually appealing is just one piece of the puzzle—making sure the content is effective and has a good return on investment (ROI) is crucial. Agencies that provide metrics on how the content performed can give you key insights into analytics. And customer testimonials will give you insight into how the project was managed.
View the agency's social media
Getting a sense of the personality of the agency and the team members that do the work is important. Often, agencies will post behind-the-scenes (BTS) content on their social media channels giving you a good gauge of who they are and what to expect when you work together. Does their culture seem inviting? Does it seem similar to yours? Do you think you would enjoy working with this team? If so, keep reading!
Contact the agency to start the conversation
If you like what you see, don’t be intimidated. Send a quick email introduction so you can learn more about who they are, what they do, and the process. Some great starter questions are:
“I don’t know where to begin! Can you help me figure it out?”
“I’m looking for a video that does X. Can you help me?"
“How does the content creation process work?”
“Do you have any work related to the industry I’m in?”
At Lure, we also get asked how much a video will cost. All of these questions are valid, and some require more conversation than others. The digital agency in question will respond to give you even more insight into their company. Keep note of how fast they respond and their tone. Why?
The agency should be engaged (and engaging)
This is indicative of how the rest of the relationship will progress. If they’re quick to respond, the correspondence should be swift throughout the process. Meanwhile, a slow response may indicate a lapse in communication. In some cases, it can also mean they are too busy to take on another client, even if they suggest otherwise.
Engagement is not only limited to response rate, however. Is the agency listening to your needs? Do they ask follow-up questions to learn more about your goals, or are they just trying to add you to their client list?
They should be transparent
Make sure the digital agency is upfront with you about all aspects of production. This goes for budgeting, contracts, payment terms, timelines, and any other metric of note. A good agency will be transparent and upfront in its negotiations.
For example, suppose you have a budget range for a project that you must adhere to (we assume that you do). When you receive the bid for the project, is it clear how the funds are being used to achieve your goals? Can the agency articulate why a budget is being allocated a certain way? If the project bid is too high, do they work with you on solutions that will still give you a quality product?
An example of Lure's standard timeline for a client and how items typically break down into each category. We pride ourselves on transparency.
Overall, a digital agency should ensure you understand the process. For mutual success, you also need to be assertive with your project timeline and budget requirements. Feel confident that the agency can meet these benchmarks, and you’ll be sure not to encounter any surprises along the way.
It should feel like a collaboration
Another important thing to note is how you work as a team. Collaboration requires both parties to work toward a common goal. In your initial conversation with the agency, you should be asking questions, feeling out your initial reactions to the creative, and feeling supported that the project come to life. When it comes to the creative presentation of your project (a deck, script, storyboard, etc), have they taken your ideas to a new level? Make sure that you feel heard, and that they are contributing to the elevation of the project.
Finally, there are two key questions to ask yourself.
Is there good communication?
Communication is the single most important element of the client-agency relationship. If the agency showcases all of the communicative qualities above, then you should feel confident that they will:
Elevate your project creatively
Meet your project benchmarks
Deliver on time
Deliver on budget
Give you a solid ROI
And the final question:
Do you want to hang out with them?
Yes, “the beer test.” It’s important to work with someone you vibe with. Communication, collaboration, and transparency all equate to good energy—something you’ll want throughout the process (and especially if you’re going to be on set).
This is a BTS still from our video series production with Repair Smith, where our client relationship was integral to completing the series from concept to final delivery.
We understand it can be very daunting to invest in a big project. Choosing a company to work with is a huge commitment. It’s important to not only understand the capabilities of an agency but also how you can work together to make your concept a reality. If you follow the guidelines above, you’ll be able to find a digital agency that works for (and with) you.
Interested in learning how Lure Digital works with you to connect people to your brand? Don’t hesitate to contact us by calling 323.596.0606 or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.