/ Mar 3, 2016 /

6 Tips to Guide your Decision when Hiring a Digital Marketing Firm

Our own foray into digital search started when the university we worked for hired a digital marketing firm. At first, it sounded pretty good: they would develop digital ads to promote a specific academic program and we would select the target audience.

Promises, Promises!

All sorts of promises were made: More than 1,000,000 impressions! Analytics with insights! Unlimited revisions! Niche targeting!

But it didn’t work. For all the promises (and cost), the campaign did not yield enrolled students. Wanting to know why, we looked deeper. Here’s what we learned:

6 Tips to Guide your Decision when Hiring a Digital Marketing Firm

  1. Don’t be impressed by impressions: What’s the ultimate goal of the campaign? Enrolled students. An impression will help in general brand awareness (much like driving by a sign on a crowded road), but it cannot be the qualifier for a successful digital campaign. Look for clicks and conversions — these are the prospects that matter as you move prospects into your admissions funnel
  2. Landing pages are critical: Where is the ad taking users? Connecting a digital ad to an institutional home page is a wasted opportunity. Every campaign needs a specifically crafted landing page — one that focuses on engagement and converts users into applicants; one that allows you to track results.
  3. Content & design matter: Weak copy and bland photos get you nowhere. Every ad must be uniquely written and designed. How does the firm develop copy? Does it reflect your academic programs and/or culture? Or is it so general it can be applied to any college? What image are they using and what story does it tell?
  4. Research is essential: For all you’re paying them, insist they conduct (and share) research that is specific to your institution and the programs you are marketing. Ask for a research report.
  5. Show us the keywords and target audiences: Why? To ensure they are specific to your campaign and institution; to ensure that low-performing keywords and targets are adjusted.
  6. Monitor & revise constantly: Insist on monthly reports to track your ad performance. Non- or low-performing ads need to be revised. Ask for data on mobile vs. desktops ads, too.

We Can’t Be Experts in Everything, but We Can Demand Expertise

You don’t have to be an expert in digital marketing to get the most out of a digital marketing firm. Like any other form of marketing you outsource, insist on excellence. Use our 6 tips to ensure your campaign receives appropriate time and attention, resulting in maximum results.

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