5 Customer Criteria for Hiring a Digital Agency

SEO consultant

The online marketing market is huge.

And it’s growing bigger every year.

According to this 2012 Digital Marketing Association study, it was worth $62bn in the US back then. A year later PwC predicted it to grow globally to a staggering $185.4bn by 2017. And that search will make up 41% of the market by then.

It comes as no surprise then that there are new digital agencies opening almost every day. After all, who wouldn’t like a slice of that pie, right?

But with a saturation of the market and rising competition, how do you ensure that clients will hire you and not someone else?

Here are few suggestions as to what they might be looking for in an online agency.

Trust Marks

Lack of trust is a serious issue when buying services.

75% of people believe that companies lie in advertising and only 14% trust advertising while 27% trust experts (source).

You need to overcome this with trust marks that will convince customers to your claims:

Customer success stories and testimonials

Your potential customers are sceptical about you. And they certainly don’t believe that you are good only because you claim so.

But they are eager to believe those who have worked with you – your past and current clients. In fact, 79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

And, it makes sense:

Success stories and testimonials increase conversions. Marketing Experiments conducted a research into an effect testimonials have on conversions and found that they can increase them by up to 25%.

They create a sense of authenticity. Real testimonials from real people build a sense of genuineness in your business and skills.

They also reduce anxiety that kicks in when we have to part with our money. Prospects risk a lot when hiring you, not just the money:

  • Their reputation
  • Success of their projects
  • And even their business

It’s no surprise then that they have objections and reservations to hire you. Testimonials and client stories help to overcome those and alleviate the prospect’s anxiety.

SEO case study

Dejan SEO feature a dedicated case studies page to show how they have helped clients in various industries.

Years of SEO Experience

These days anyone can set up an agency and call themselves an SEO. But with so many intricacies of the profession, it takes more than a title to deliver good quality work and this comes from experience.

years in seo

Link Fish Media brilliantly highlight their industry experience on their home page.

Professional Accreditations

Professional accreditations add a level of authority and credibility to a business. They are a proof of a professional conduct, knowledge, expertise and, recognition in industry circles.

There are two problems with that however:

Therefore, before you decide to work towards gaining specific accreditation, consider if your customers would recognise those.

SEO accreditations

Screaming Frog showcases their accreditations with Google, Bing and Softpedia.

Thought Leadership

Daniel Rasmus calls thought leadership “an entry point to a relationship”.

He further ads:

Thought leadership should intrigue, challenge, and inspire even people already familiar with a company. It should help start a relationship where none exists, and it should enhance existing relationships.”

In other words, gaining thought leadership, which in my view equals becoming an authority for your audience should be one of the key ways to differentiate yourself from competition.

But apart from gaining that status, you should also reiterate it.

Zazzle thought leadership

Zazzle highlights all authoritative places they have been featured on.

Link fish media

Link Fish Media showcase publications they wrote for and conferences they spoke at.

Past and Present Clients

Clients you have worked with are another factor that can confirm your expert status and overcome buying objections. The fact that someone else had hired you before reduces the perceived risk of doing the same.

A reputable company should have no problem sharing who they have worked in the past and even how successful that relationship has been.

Tinderpoint client story

Tinderpoint not only lists their clients but also results of their work for them.

Processes You Work By

Each agency works in a different way. This goes for every aspect of their work – from project setup, planning, delivery to reporting and communication.

But all this could affect how successful cooperation with a client will be.

Clients seek agency that best suit their needs. To help customers decide if you are the one for them, highlight on your site how you work.

Dejan SEO process

DejanSEO features a very long explanation of the entire process.

Experience in Their Industry

Lastly, showcase what industries you have worked in to help your client find out quickly enough if you have the experience they are looking for.


Branded3 lists industries they worked in and lets visitors view particular clients by industry.

Key Takeaway

Online marketing market might be huge and growing. But so is the number of competitors you have to battle against. Help prospects pick you by presenting the information they look for to make a hiring decision.

Creative commons image by Chase Elliot Clark / Flickr

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