~by Dixie Somers~
If you’re the owner of a small business or start-up, you’ve probably read or heard about working with a design and development company at least once. Their praises are sung across the web and within local communities, but what makes them so great? Are they really an essential asset to your company, or can you go without one for a while and only turn to them when you need to strongly market yourself or solidify your brand?
What Does a Digital agency Do?
Digital agencies wear many hats; while some may choose to focus their services toward graphic and web design, many offer full-service packages that include everything from designing logos to building websites and coming up with social media management strategies. If you’re trying to build an online reputation and establish a strong presence through a website and on social media, a digital agency can either help you build from the ground up or improve existing profiles and sites.
Know What You Want Beforehand
Before you even reach out to a digital agency, assess your business’s current online situation. Do you have a website? If so, are you happy with its design and layout? If not, what would you like to change? Do you have social media profiles set up and connected to your site? Do you publish content at all, or are you working with a static page?
Ask yourself what you want before reaching out to an agency. Don’t worry if you aren’t familiar with industry lingo. Experts are able to translate “I want my website to stand out more” and “My social media isn’t gaining any followers”, and turn it into a successful design or strategy.
Be Open to New Ideas
One major frustration for designers and social media strategists at digital agencies is hesitancy or downright refusal to implement strategies from clients. Even if you aren’t sure how a strategy works, be willing to give it a shot and learn along the way. A good digital agency won’t just throw you into the lion’s den either; they’ll work with you step by step and teach you how to properly maintain the success their strategy brings about.
The back-and-forth of the revision process can take literally months, and it wastes resources and time for everyone involved. Before you work with a digital agency, bring examples of sites and social media accounts you aspire to have for yourself. These examples should point to specific elements you like such as a layout, color scheme or the type of content that a company creates for their followers. Be as concrete as possible in what you like so the team you’re working with can craft a strategy or design that’s as accurate and “you” as possible.
Do Some Studying
You don’t have to be a professional to grow your social media. Some quick research and basic knowledge will allow you to enhance your online presence and build your reputation on your own. For starters, check out Hubspot and Moz, two digital agencies with phenomenal blogs that offer information and tutorials on all things social media, and familiarize yourself with Google’s SEO Guide.
Not only will implementing some strategies before you work with an agency help you cut to the chase, but an understanding of social media terminology and the basic science behind online branding will allow you to communicate more effectively and analyze any suggestions from the agency on a more critical level.
Cut Costs by Doing Half the Work
If you or someone you know can code or design things, then you could save money by paying the digital agency for their strategies and advice and then doing some of the actual work yourself. They can advise you on how to build a social media profile, but if you want to save money in the long run and do it on your own, learn the ins and outs of Facebook, Twitter and WordPress management to save money and grow your business on your own.
Testing the Waters
Many digital agencies offer free consultations, and you can get a strong feel for their energy and the types of services they specialize in just by browsing through sites. Take your time to look up digital agencies in your area, but don’t hesitate to send an inquiry. Most of the time, you’ll be able to get information about what the agency could do for you with no obligation, and this form of comparison shopping will help match you with the right agency early on.
Dixie Somers is a freelance writer who loves writing for business, finance, and those with an entrepreneurial spirit. She lives in Arizona with her husband and three beautiful daughters.