I can tell from my first call with a potential client if they’ve been burned. Maybe they’ve worked with an industry “guru” who took their money and ran. Maybe they’ve paid for webinars that led to ebooks that led to consulting calls that led to…zero results.

The first, most obvious indicator to evaluate your agency is simple- are they achieving results? Are you earning leads, selling products, or getting event attendance? Please don’t read me wrong- results take time and testing and there is no such thing as an instant, evergreen success story in this business. The first three months with a new digital marketing agency will likely include some successes, and a lot of challenges. But it’s important to regularly step back and evaluate your relationship with your digital marketing agency- and these 5 tells will help you do it accurately.

They provide consistent, transparent reporting.

Our reports include key campaign metrics and an explanation of what they mean, screenshots of ad creative, and bullet points indicating learnings. We explain what we’ve tested, what works, and what hasn’t. We generally provide reports on a monthly cadence unless something different is requested by the client. For clients with larger ad spend, we also offer live-access to a reporting dashboard so they can monitor the results anytime they like. One of the biggest red flags we hear from clients who’ve been burned in the past is that they didn’t know the specifics of how their agency was spending their money, what they were testing, or any clear metrics.

They’re available to answer your questions, and they give thorough explanations

Depending on the specifics of your agreement and the scope of your relationship, you should feel like your agency is available to answer your questions. If you shoot them a quick email asking how many visitors a blog page earned, or what the cost per click is on your latest campaign, do they answer in a timely way? Do you generally feel their explanation is comprehensive?

They’re not content with the status quo.

The only thing consistent in digital marketing tech is that it’s always changing. Your agency should be on the cutting edge, and frequently proposing new ideas for platforms, ad creative, strategies, etc. to you. If the new options aren’t included in your existing scope of work, they may propose an additional cost, and you may say no, but it’s still important to note your agency is keeping up with the industry, and actively thinking about ways to bring your brand into the space in new and better ways.

Your personal digital literacy is increasing.

Each time you leave a conversation with your agency, do you feel like you know a little bit more? Or do you feel confused by their jargon-laden ramblings? As time passes, your understanding of platforms and strategies should get deeper. Even if your agency works solely on a management model that doesn’t include any consulting, you should still feel they’re giving you some understanding of the “how” behind what they do.

They don’t make false promises.

You should be wary of any digital marketer who promises you instant success, first page Google rankings, or a specific ROI right out the gate. While those claims are enticing, they indicate an amateur understanding of how these platforms work. There are no guarantees in this business. There are tried and true strategies and best practices, but an experienced marketer will tell you that every new client requires a unique approach, and the platforms evolve extremely quickly. Digital marketing is both an art and a science, and your agency should acknowledge both.

With these five tips, you should be able to clearly and honestly evaluate your relationship with your current digital marketing agency. And if that evaluation unveils significant shortcomings? Just give us a call.