Hiring a digital marketing agency or consultant in Nairobi, Kenya can be a daunting task. It’s not easy because there are so many agencies that are dishonest and do anything to get any business. They take the jobs and end up losing their client’s money.
It is also difficult to get a good agency because bad ones use morally questionable techniques to promote products on the internet. This will give the client’s business a bad name and could cause permanent harm to it. For example, Google could severely penalize a site if it’s found to be in contravention to its rules.
As a business, it is important to make the right decisions and getting the right partners to move the needle to areas of great prosperity. Here are a couple of questions the business owners should ask before hiring a digital agency:
- What are your qualifications?
- What experience they have?
- What is your specialty?
- How will communication be handled?
- What is the process involved?
- What metrics will be involved in tracking results?
- What makes you special?
- How much would all this cost?
Right of the bat, the first question that is posed to the digital agency in Nairobi is what is its qualifications. Do they have individuals in the company who have had some form of education in the fields of digital marketing?
As they will be handling a good portion of the marketing budget, it should be known if they have the proper certifications. When it comes to online marketing the important certifications are:
The agency should be having a few individuals who hold these certifications to give the business owners the peace of mind that they have the necessary knowledge to handle the work that is needed to be done.
In addition to these certifications, there are other benefits that the business owners can look for, for example, data scientists, and psychologists. These two professions make a big difference in that they are able to work with large amounts of data and influence decision making.
The follow-up question is what experience the digital agency in Kenya has in the client’s business. It is a huge plus if online marketing company has had some experience in the field and can show various case studies. These case studies show that the agency knows the industry and can avoid known pitfalls.
Agencies that have been in the business have an obvious advantage but can turn to a disadvantage especially if they provide information that could be “risky” to the new business.
There are times bringing on an agency new to the field can be a challenge because there is a longer learning period and the results don’t come out as quick as they should be. On the flip side having a new agency being involved in the said industry can be a plus side because they can come up with new ways to solve current problems.
Digital marketing in Kenya is a small market there is a bigger chance that the agencies haven’t worked with many industries.
Many agencies when asked they say they can do a variety of tasks from email marketing to search engine optimization (SEO). They do this to try to make the most of their fees. The problems come when the client would require a certain kind of tasks to be done and then find out it can’t be done.
Digital marketing is broad in that there is email marketing, Search engine optimization, Pay Per Click, Content Creation, Social media marketing. It would be a tall order to find a company is able to address all these fields. At best there would be an individual who knows one thing really well like for example Google Ads but has a general knowledge of content marketing.
Agencies that know what they are good at and stick to it are the best to work with. They are able to channel all their energy in doing one thing right without spreading themselves thin. With the work they can’t do they can outsource to other credible agencies.
Unless the agency is big enough where they can provide all the service adequately inhouse.
The main advantage of digital marketing, as opposed to traditional marketing, is the ability to properly track marketing campaigns. The question the digital agency should be asked is what metrics are included in standard reports.
The metrics that some agencies send to their clients are Cost Per Click, Click Through Rate, Conversion Rate, and Revenue. These metrics report on the general campaign and they help to inform the business owner as well as the agency at how well things are going.
The marketing campaign defines what is being tracked. For example for an e-commerce site, it is easier to use revenue and the total cost to see how profitable the campaigns are. While for nonprofits which would be more into branding campaigns, measures like click-through-rates and time on site matter more.
When dealing with metrics, another question that is asked is when will the business see results from the marketing? If there is a proper reporting that is followed the agency can easily inform or predict when results can be gotten.
Whichever metrics that are chosen for the business they would be used to determine the Key performing indicators of success or failure.
The next question to be asked is how communication will be done. An agency should inform the client on how they communicate. This can be either through emails, calls, or face to face meetings. There should also be a schedule for how often it is done, either once a week, every two weeks or monthly.
What should be discussed is the strategy, key performing indices, progress that has been made so far and any challenges the agency is facing. With proper communication, many problems are avoided and the business will have peace of mind knowing that everything is ok.
The point of contact from the agency should be made available. S/he will be the one who will update the client and will have in-depth knowledge of what is going. S/he will have the required skill set that is asked for and can deliver what is being looked for. For example, if a client needs help with SEO, the agency individual should have a background in SEO. The point of contact should always be available for the client.
It is not uncommon for agencies to outsource some of the work that they do. For example, some agency may farm out content writing, backlinking and any other mundane task that they might not have the time do. In such scenarios, the agencies should advise the clients on what has been given away and they should assure that the quality of work being done has to remain the same.
This is a crucial question to ask. What is your process? This question informs the client how the digital marketing agency will work and communicate with the business. Letting the client know how they will tackle the actual problems. The client will want to know how blogging will be done, email marketing, SEO and Google Ads.
Many digital agencies have been around for a while and they have a streamlined process where they will easily communicate in a step by step process how best to help the client’s business.
The client having this information will help them decide if they are a good fit or not. Also asking further probing questions will show whether the agency is truly capable of becoming a useful partner.
The agency should inform of how many hours per week they will dedicate to the project, who will work on it and how flexible they are when it comes to changes in routine.
Unique Selling Point
Most digital marketing companies know the value of positioning and they communicate their value over others. When an agency is pitching to a new client they should be able to tell them how they will do the work and why they are the best suited to do it.
For example, the digital agency could say that they are the best when it comes to Google Ads in Kenya. The first question should be can you show us proof of your work. If the agency is honest, they will have a step by step example of how they worked with another client in the past and they made money for him or her.
Another unique selling point for an agency is past industry experience. This means they can start the marketing campaign and run quickly with it. They can also show past results in the field. An example would be if the client is selling FCMG then they would want marketers who are used to selling the same products.
More experienced agencies pose a lot of questions to the client to find out what is needed. When they are presenting their proposal they are able to come up with a unique solution that is tailored to the client’s needs.
In Kenya, many digital marketing agencies offer three kinds of payment options:
- Fixed project fees
- Monthly retainer fees
- Commission based fees
With this information, the client should clarify what cost will be involved in digital marketing campaigns.
Clients should be clear and should also have it in writing the agency will or won’t provide. For example, it could be assumed that a Google Ads agency is also good at SEO but that is far from the truth. This because they are a totally different skill set.
If they are able to provide additional services e.g. social media marketing, the client needs to know if these will be extra charges.
Digital marketing agencies in Kenya can make or break a company. It is important that a business that is going to hire one should properly vet it. As business partners, the business relationship could last years and get on the right foot that leads to mutual parties making money is critical.