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5 common mistakes hiring a digital marketing agency (how to avoid them)

Hiring a digital marketing agency is a significant step in boosting your business’s online presence. However, this journey comes with its own set of challenges.

In this guide, we’ll explore five common problems that businesses often encounter during the hiring process.

More importantly, we’ll provide insights and solutions to help you make informed decisions and ensure a great partnership with the right digital marketing agency.

Let’s get started.

Lack of Clear Goals and Expectations

One of the primary challenges businesses face when hiring a digital marketing agency is not having clear goals. It’s like setting sail without a destination. To avoid this, start by defining specific and measurable objectives. Whether it’s increasing website traffic, generating leads, or improving brand awareness, having a well-defined roadmap will guide the agency in creating a tailored strategy for your business.

Another common pitfall is a misalignment of expectations between the business and the digital marketing agency. It’s crucial to be on the same page regarding timelines, deliverables, and key performance indicators (KPIs). Clear communication from the outset will prevent misunderstandings and ensure that both parties are working towards shared objectives.

Just as you wouldn’t hire an employee without checking references, the same applies to a digital marketing agency. Take the time to research and contact the agency’s past clients. This step provides valuable insights into their work ethic, communication style, and the results they’ve achieved for similar businesses. Learning from others’ experiences can help you make an informed decision.


Digital marketing is not one-size-fits-all. Each industry has its unique challenges and audience. Hiring an agency with experience in your specific niche can make a significant difference.

An agency familiar with the intricacies of your industry is better equipped to craft strategies that resonate with your target audience and outperform competitors. Ensure that the agency has a track record of success within your sector before making a commitment.

Not Researching an Agency’s Credentials

Insufficiently checking an agency’s expertise may result in a misalignment of skills and expectations. It’s essential to ensure that the agency’s skills match your marketing needs.

Before making a decision, carefully examine case studies, client success stories, and the agency’s portfolio to gauge their proficiency in navigating the digital marketing landscape.

Moreover, don’t overlook the agency’s adaptability and commitment to ongoing learning. In the rapidly evolving field of digital marketing, agencies must stay current with trends and technologies to provide effective services.

Taking the time to thoroughly assess these aspects can help you make an informed choice and avoid potential challenges down the road.


When choosing a digital marketing agency, do your homework. Check their previous work and see what clients say. Look for good reviews and industry awards.

Make sure the agency understands your business. Have a conversation with them to see if you click. Lastly, ensure they stay updated with the latest trends. It’s like making sure they have a good track record and understand your needs.

Not Communicating Properly

Neglecting the importance of communication can lead to misunderstandings and hinder the success of your collaboration with a digital marketing agency.

Effective communication is the compass that guides your marketing efforts in the right direction. Failing to establish transparent communication channels can result in mismanaged expectations, delayed timelines, and an overall breakdown in the working relationship.


To avoid this, prioritize agencies that emphasize open and frequent communication.

Regular check-ins, progress updates, and a clear understanding of roles and responsibilities ensure that everyone is on the same page.

By fostering a culture of communication from the start, you pave the way for a smoother and more successful partnership.

Unrealistic Expectations

If you or your agency is setting unrealistic expectations, there is a good chance that the actual results will fall short.

If you anticipate rapid, overnight success, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment. Digital marketing is a gradual process involving strategic planning, consistent effort, and ongoing optimization.

Failure to recognize this reality can lead to frustration and unmet expectations.


To avoid this, work closely with your chosen agency to establish realistic goals and timelines. Discuss what can be achieved in the short term versus the long term.

By aligning your expectations with the realities of digital marketing, you create a foundation for a more sustainable and positive partnership.

Successful outcomes in the digital realm often require patience, persistence, and a well-thought-out strategy.

Overlooking the Importance of a Well-Defined Contract

If the agency you are working with requires a contract, make sure it goes through a thorough review. If it is not reviewed in detail at first, i t leaves both parties susceptible to misunderstandings and potential conflicts down the road.

To ensure a smooth collaboration, insist on a well-defined contract that outlines the scope of work, deliverables, timelines, and payment terms. This document serves as the roadmap for your digital marketing venture, preventing ambiguity and setting clear expectations.


Carefully review the contract before signing, seeking clarification on any points that may seem unclear. A detailed and transparent contract is a fundamental component of a successful partnership, providing a framework for both parties to navigate the complexities of digital marketing collaboratively. Remember, a well-defined contract is your safeguard against uncertainties and is crucial for establishing a trusting and professional relationship with your chosen agency.


Hiring a digital marketing agency requires careful consideration and a proactive approach.

By avoiding common pitfalls such as insufficient research, communication lapses, unrealistic expectations, and overlooking contractual details, you can set the course for a more successful partnership.

Remember, communication is key—clarify expectations, ask questions, and ensure that both parties are on the same page. Thoroughly research the agency’s credentials, client testimonials, and past work to gauge their expertise. Additionally, be realistic about the results you can achieve and establish a clear, well-defined contract to avoid any potential misunderstandings.

Jon Fournier

Jon is the director of Marketing at 43north.