How to Choose the Right Digital Agency

how to choose right digital agency

Starting a business in today’s climate means there are a lot of hats to wear. You’re the CEO, the CFO, the COO, the product manager, the head of HR, the marketing manager… so it makes sense to outsource the digital side of your operation to an agency, and focus your time on growing your business.

Deciding to outsource is one thing. But when you type ‘digital agency Melbourne’ into Google? Choosing the right fit from a seemingly endless list is a huge ask, and one where the wrong partnership can end up tanking your idea before you’ve even got it off the ground. 

Don’t get caught up in all the marketing jargon and too-good-to-be-true intro offers (spoiler alert – they are definitely too good to be true). Here’s a few key criteria to keep in mind when reviewing agencies, to make sure you end up with one that’s the right fit. 

Clarify who you are and what you want

It seems backwards, we know, but stick with us – to find the right agency, you first need to sort out things on your end. 

Approaching agencies without a clear outcome or goal in mind is setting yourself up for failure, no matter who you end up going with. 

You should, at the very least, have a wishlist of what services/functionality you’re looking for; a budget; a timeframe; and some key performance indicators in mind. 

A digital agency should be digitally proficient

This one should be a no-brainer – you want to partner with an agency who can walk the walk when it comes to tech stacks, platforms and domains. 

Doing your research up-front will help here – look for case studies or testimonials on your prospective agency’s website, and keep an eye out for mention of specific solutions. 

A handy example we prepared earlier – on our site, we specifically outline the eCommerce platforms that we build with, along with examples of bespoke developments for clients who needed extra technical capability. This way, anyone reaching out to us already has an idea if we’re the right fit and can go and look at our handiwork out on the web. 

Beware the agency who pushes a platform on you before taking the time to understand your business, or the agency who insists you migrate from a current stack without giving clear benefits for the change. 

The right digital agency will fit their services to your business, not the other way around. 

And remember, a bigger agency doesn’t necessarily translate to a more experienced team working on your business. In fact, opting for a smaller agency often means you’ll have the senior leadership weighing in, or running point on your account. Look for the experience of the direct team you’ll be working with to make sure you’ve got the right proficiency driving you forward. 

Our team at The Natives is small and director-led, meaning I’ve got complete control over the quality of work that we deliver on every project. That also means I’ve got accountability, so your comms aren’t being passed back and forth through someone else to get to the team.

Look for a relationship, not a transaction

This one’s harder to quantify, but the best digital agency in Melbourne is the one who feels like an extension of your own team (and if you don’t have a team just yet… it’ll feel like you do). 

Outsourcing to a digital agency should be a relief, not something that contributes more stress to your day-to-day. If it takes you weeks to get a response to a simple email, or you notice your ideas are shut down without much explanation? Those are bad vibes, my friend, and they’re certainly not going to get better once you sign a retainer. The last thing you want is to be chasing your agency, or to be overcome with dread every time you see *that* person calling you.

On the flip side, you don’t want an agency who says yes to everything, either. It might sound counterintuitive, but the yes-men are the ones who don’t think strategically; who will take on anything and everything if it means an extra buck. You want an agency whose expertise means that if something’s not right for your business? They’ll tell you upfront, and outline exactly why they think that way. 

If they’ve ticked all your other boxes? This call is probably one you’ll make with your gut. ‘Liking’ someone might not be the most technical or strategically-driven tools for decision making, but this is someone or a team that you’ll be working with pretty closely. Make sure you could have a beer with them, yeah?

The takeaways: How to choose the right digital agency in Melbourne

• Have a clear idea of the services you want to outsource 

• Do your homework to make sure your agency’s technically capable 

• Research the team who’ll work on your account 

• Look for transparent, timely communication

Think that we might be the right fit for your business? The Natives is a digital agency specialising in brands and eCommerce experiences for tomorrow’s digital native. Contact us today.