Level Up Your Marketing: A Guide for Midsized Businesses Seeking a Digital Marketing Agency

When you decide on a digital marketing agency for your business, you have to make sure the agency aligns with your business goals, budget, and marketing needs. Here are some of the main considerations to keep in mind.

Understand Your Goals and Needs:

Before searching for an agency, be clear about your digital marketing goals and what services you need. Those might be SEO, pay per click (PPC), social media, programmatic media, content marketing, email marketing, and/or web design. This clarity will help you find an agency that specializes in what you need.

Experience and Expertise:

Look for agencies with proven experience in your industry or with businesses similar in size or scope to yours. Their knowledge of handling challenges similar to yours can be a game-changer.

Agency’s Reputation and Track Record:

Research the agency’s reputation, case studies, testimonials, and reviews to understand their success stories and any potential red flags. An agency capable of delivering real results should have a strong track record of delivering results.

Portfolio and Case Studies:

The agency’s portfolio and case studies can give you insights into their creativity, strategy, and results they’ve achieved for clients. This can also help you gauge if their style matches your brand’s identity.


A chart showing Digital Marketing Agency services


Services and Offerings:

Ensure the agency offers a comprehensive range of services that will meet your marketing needs. Some businesses may benefit from a full-service agency, while others might only need specific skill sets.

Communication and Reporting:

Effective communication is crucial in any partnership. Discuss how the agency plans to communicate with you, the frequency of updates and reports you can expect, and how they measure and report on performance and ROI.

Cultural Fit:

The agency should be a good cultural fit with your business. Their team should share similar values and work ethics to ensure a smooth working relationship.

Budget and Pricing Structure:

Understand the agency’s pricing structure and ensure it fits within your budget. Be wary of agencies with very low prices, as this may reflect on the quality of their work. Similarly, ensure you’re getting value for your investment with any high-priced services.


Members of a digital marketing agency working in a meeting



Consider whether the agency can scale its services to meet your growing needs. As your business expands, your digital marketing needs may evolve. Having an agency that can grow with you is beneficial.

Legal and Contractual Terms:

Review any contracts or agreements thoroughly before signing. Pay attention to the terms of service, cancellation policies, and any long-term commitments required.

Innovation and Trends:

The digital marketing landscape is constantly changing. It’s beneficial to partner with an agency that stays up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies. They should apply innovative strategies to keep you ahead of competitors.

Taking the time to carefully evaluate potential digital marketing agencies is worth the effort. It will help you find a partner that can effectively contribute to the growth and success of your business. It’s also useful to have discussions with multiple agencies to compare their approaches, strategies, and pricing before making a decision.


A digital marketing employee working for a midsized business client


Navigating Challenges

Hiring the right digital marketing agency for a small to medium-sized business (SMB) comes with its own set of challenges and potential pitfalls. Identifying and understanding these potential issues can help you make a more informed decision and avoid common mistakes. Here are some of the biggest potential issues or landmines to watch out for.

Mismatched Expectations:

A big potential issue is the mismatch between the business’s expectations and what the agency can deliver. The mismatch can relate to outcomes, timelines, or the scope of work. Upfront communication and detailed agreements will help avoid these discrepancies.

Lack of Industry Experience:

An agency without experience in your vertical or industry may be less effective in helping you reach your goals. They might not understand your target market or be familiar with the specific industry challenges you’re facing.

Overpromising Results:

Some agencies may overpromise to win your business, offering guarantees on outcomes that are not realistic. Be wary of agencies that promise the moon. Digital marketing results can vary greatly and depend on many factors.


A business owner shaking hands with a digital marketing employee


Generic Strategies:

Using a one-size-fits-all approach can lead to subpar results. Ensure your agency takes the time to learn your business and understand your goals. They should craft a customized strategy tailored to your business’s unique needs, goals, and data.

Long-Term Contracts with Little Flexibility:

Being locked into a long-term contract without satisfactory performance or with high cancellation fees can be problematic. Look for agencies that offer flexibility and are confident in retaining your business based on performance.

Poor Communication and Reporting:

Ineffective communication and lack of regular, transparent reporting on campaign performance can leave you in the dark. Consistent reporting and clear communication is key to a successful partnership and the ability to adapt and optimize.

Hidden Costs and Fees:

Some agencies may have hidden fees that are not disclosed upfront. Ensure all costs are transparent and understood before signing a contract.

Not Owning Your Data:

Some agencies may retain control of your accounts (e.g., Google Ads, social media) and data. It’s important to make sure you have access/ownership to and own all your marketing data and accounts.


A marketing employee working on paid search advertising


Inadequate Focus on ROI:

Focusing on vanity metrics (like impressions or clicks) rather than actual return on investment (ROI) or conversions can be misleading. Ensure the agency prioritizes metrics that align with your business goals to see real results.

Lack of Proactivity and Innovation:

An agency that is not proactive in suggesting new strategies can cause your business to fall behind competitors. Look for an agency that constantly seeks to improve and adapt and keeps up with digital marketing trends

Cultural Misalignment:

If the agency’s culture and working style clash with yours, it can lead to frustration and ineffective collaboration. A good cultural fit is essential for a productive partnership.

Dependency on the Agency:

Becoming too dependent on the agency for all aspects of your digital marketing can be risky. It’s beneficial to maintain some level of in-house expertise or oversight.

To avoid these issues, conduct thorough due diligence, ask for references, and review case studies. Have open discussions about expectations, strategies, reporting, and costs. A well-chosen digital marketing agency is a valuable partner in achieving your business’s growth objectives.


Get in touch to learn more about how Scale Marketing uses insights to drive growth and business results for companies like yours.

Contact Us

More insights you might enjoy

How Local Brands Can Leverage Podcast Advertising

How Local Brands Can Leverage Podcast Advertising

Podcasting is one of the fastest-growing mediums in advertising, especially within the audio category. There are more listeners than ever, more content available, high engagement, and flexible ad formats out there. As a business owner, you have to understand how your...

How to Prepare for a Cookieless Future

How to Prepare for a Cookieless Future

In early January 2024, Google began their initial phaseout of cookies. They implemented what they are calling “tracking protection” to 1% of Chrome users (around 30 million users) globally. The plan is to fully remove cookies starting in the third quarter of 2024. The...

Contact Us

Interested in learning more?