Checklist: Key agency criteria when looking to outsource SME digital marketing 

Whether you’re just trying to take care of your digital marketing or have a small team, operating and growing your business is not easy. Either way, you might have considered outsourcing your digital marketing to an agency but you have no idea where to start or you’ve outsourced in the past, and it hasn’t delivered the results you were expecting. But maybe you should reconsider it…

Whether you’re just trying to take care of your digital marketing or have a small team, operating and growing your business is not easy. Either way, you might have considered outsourcing your digital marketing to an agency but you have no idea where to start or you’ve outsourced in the past, and it hasn’t delivered the results you were expecting. 

But maybe you should reconsider it…

Outsourcing allows you to hand over digital marketing tasks to people who are specialists and help to build brand awareness and an online presence for your business. The key benefit of doing this is it provides you with the time and energy you need to focus on what you’re good at. 

When you outsource your digital marketing strategy to a good agency, it’s like adding an entire team to your workforce. 

So, let’s take a look at the key criteria you need to consider when outsourcing SME digital marketing. 

What is outsourced SME digital marketing?

Let’s start by taking a closer look at what it means to outsource SME digital marketing. 

In short, you’re handing over the responsibility of part of or all of your digital marketing strategy. This can include:  

There are a number of reasons why so many companies decide to outsource their digital marketing, but one of the most common reasons is to save on costs. If you find the right digital marketing agency, outsourcing can be an extremely cost-effective way to get the work done without having to invest in resources internally. 

Most importantly, handing these tasks over to someone else will free your time to focus on growing your business.  

If you’d like to know more about the benefits of outsourcing digital marketing for your business, read our blog: Top 7 benefits of outsourcing your digital marketing

Top criteria to consider when outsourcing SME digital marketing 

If you’re thinking about outsourcing your digital marketing to an agency, there are a few key considerations you need to have in mind to make sure you choose the best agency for your business. 

1. Define your goals 

We’ve said this before, but before you even contact an agency, you need to know your marketing goals. 

What do you want to achieve, and what activities do you need the agency to take over? 

Once you know this, you can start to look for an agency that specialises in the activities you need to help you reach your goals. Not only this, you can give the agency clear guidelines on exactly what you need them to do for you so that you can get the most from your marketing budget and drive the right results for your business. 

2. Do your due diligence 

When you start looking for an agency, always do your due diligence. 

This means researching agencies that provide the services you need, looking at their websites, gathering information, and looking at customer testimonials and results they’ve driven before. If they don’t provide this information on their websites, always ask as part of your due diligence. If they can’t provide any, this is a sign that they might not be the right agency for you. 

An agency’s ability to perform the tasks you need will be clear through the testimonials they provide and the case studies in their portfolio. Before you contact them, you should be able to get a pretty clear idea of whether they will be able to help you. 

We also recommend asking for recommendations from other people you know who have outsourced digital marketing before and research those companies. Don’t fall into the trap of seeing a glossy website and assuming that they are the best agency. 

3. Make sure the services and fees are clearly outlined 

Digital marketing agencies will differ in their specialities and the services they offer. These services should usually be made clear on their website so, by the time you get in touch with them, you should know vaguely if they offer the service you need and whether it will help you reach your goals. 

On the other hand, pricing information may not be as clear because it will all be dependent on what you need. And a good agency will tailor their strategy and services to help you meet your goals! Once you meet with an agency and they’ve done some preparation work, they should be able to give you the figures you need to work to and you can decide whether or not they fit your budget. 

4. Meet the agency face to face 

Wherever you can, you need to meet the agency you want to work with face to face before you sign a contract. Most agencies will work as an extension of your business so it’s important that you feel you can work well with them. 

Try to speak to the people who will be looking after your marketing strategy. This might be an account manager or an executive. This face to face interaction is essential. An agency willing to visit your premises to learn more about you and your business is more likely to invest more time getting to know you than an agency that doesn’t want to meet with you face to face. 

5. Find out more about the agency’s expertise 

The expertise of the agency and the team you’re hiring is an essential factor when you’re looking for an agency. You ideally want an agency with experience with working with other businesses in your industry and a proven track record of delivering successful campaigns for their clients. 

Not only will this reassure you that they know what they’re doing, you’ll also know that they understand your target audience and knows how to reach them effectively. Have a look for an agency that specialises in digital marketing for small businesses too. How does a strategy for a small business and a large business differ and does your agency understand this? 

However, they should still spend time with you to learn more about your business's ins and outs and understand your customers on a deeper level. 

6. Learn more about the strategy they will follow 

A good digital marketing agency should have clear and effective methods for helping you achieve your marketing goals and reach your target audience. 

From the outset, make sure the agency you choose understands your business objectives, your business and your customers so that they can implement the right plan to help you achieve them. 

Does the agency take a holistic approach to your digital marketing campaign with tactics such as SEO, PPC, social media and content marketing rather than focusing on just one channel? Looking at the most effective digital channels for your business and running campaigns simultaneously will ensure you get the best results for your business. 

7. Think about the cultural fit with your business 

As your agency is going to be working closely with you and your team, it’s important to think about how the agency you choose will fit with your values and the way you work internally. You want it to be a productive and long-term relationship so it’s essential to get a feel for their team, their personalities and how they prefer to work. 

You need the agency to get on well with your team so think about this when you’re making your decision. 

8. How does the agency communicate progress and results? 

This point follows on from the above but the communication between you and your digital marketing agency is critical for success. Always take some time to find out more about how the agency will communicate with you when you work with them and how often you’re likely to be updated on the progress of your campaigns. 

Part of this will be finding out their internal processes and how they prefer to work with their clients. We always recommend giving the agency control of your campaigns and being led by their suggestions for your campaigns and inputting where needed to guide their strategy. But communication should be regular so that you can be kept in the loop for what’s going on. 

Find out whether the agency has a dedicated account manager who will work with you and communicate with you. You’ll also need to establish how much input the agency will need from you and your team and make sure you’re available so that they can drive the best results for you. 

A good agency should be prepared to reassure you that they will be communicating with you regularly and how often they’ll be able to provide you with progress reports. 

9. Get a proposal 

Once you have a shortlist of agencies, contact each one and ask them to put a proposal together for your business. This might require multiple meetings so the agency can understand what you want to achieve before providing you with a strategy and costs. 

The proposal should show you exactly what the agency thinks will work best for your business and drive the best return on investment. We recommend getting proposal from a number of agencies before you make your final decision. Always choose the one that you think will work best for your business and provide the best quality work - remember that the cheapest is not always best! 

10. Don’t always choose the cheapest option 

Finally, it can be tempting but the biggest thing to remember is not to choose the cheapest price, 

Be cautious and understand that you’ll get exactly what you pay for. Paying less can result in poorer service which means poorer results for your business. Digital marketing is an investment so you need to choose the agency that’s going to drive the best results for you. 

Key takeaways 

If you’ve decided to outsource your digital marketing efforts, it can be nerve-wracking, but it’s also one of the best ways to grow your business and push it to the next level. Planning, executing and measuring a digital marketing strategy can take time, so outsourcing is often the best option for many businesses.

Choosing the right agency for your business is key to driving the results you need and want, so carefully considering these 10 key criteria will help you to make the right choice and drive results for your business. 

If you’d like to know more about Logica Digital and how we can help you drive results for your business, please contact us at

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Blog written by

Amy Ward