Searching for a good digital marketing agency in South Africa? You are not alone.

According to a report released in 2014 by the MasterCard Digital Index, South Africa has the most developed digital economy in Africa, and is one of the fastest growing digital economies in the world. Companies of all sizes, across industries of all natures are turning to the web to increase sales, manage reputation, grow social presence and reach new audiences.

If you have started considering searching for an agency who can help you get ahead on the web, it can be daunting to know what to look for – especially if you are new to the world of online marketing. Many companies have had to learn the hard way, which can lead to mistakes that can be costly and devastating. To help you get started on the right track, we have put together a list of some of the biggest mistakes that should be avoided when seeking out a digital agency in South Africa.

Don't hand your digital marketing footprint over to the wrong agency.
Don’t hand your digital marketing footprint over to the wrong agency.

What Not to Do When Searching for a Digital Agency in South Africa

While there are many excellent agencies out there, sadly, there are a few fly by night operators who do not follow best practices or even ethical procedures. Companies who are new to the digital marketing process are lured with big promises and quick fixes, only to realise that the agency that they have chosen is less than stellar. Make sure that you learn from their mistakes by finding out what NOT to do when choosing a digital agency in South Africa. Some of the most commonly made mistakes include the following:

  • Mistake #1: Choosing an agency that promises instant, unrealistic results.

Be wary of agencies that promise you first place rankings in search engines within a short time frame. SEO and other digital strategies can deliver big results, but this never happens overnight. Search engines such as Google take time to index websites and search results. And, as the basis of a good campaign will involve slow and steady growth through content, onsite and offsite link building, website optimisation, social media and many other strategies, no agency can promise you instant success without being dishonest.

  • Mistake #2: Choosing an agency that uses shady practices to get results.

Keyword stuffing (adding multiple keywords into website pages to try and boost rankings), hidden links and text, questionable linking schemes, paid links, paid followers and other dodgy practices are not only a waste of your digital budget – they can get your website blacklisted, too. As search engines get smarter, they are quickly learning to spot the websites that are trying to sneak their way into to the results pages. Penalties can be mild, or they can lead to your website losing ranking drastically. Once a website has received penalties and is on Google’s watch list, it becomes nearly impossible to rank even for your company name. It will then take years to regain lost rankings, giving your competitors plenty of time to take your place online.

  • Mistake #3: Not asking for case studies and references.

Failing to ask for case studies and references can lead to disappointment (and lost costs) down the line if the agency you choose is not able to deliver. Case studies are especially useful if you want to see what the agency did for a company in your specific industry or a similar industry. References and testimonials are also essential. This will give you a better idea of how previous and current clients view the agency. Doing a bit of homework by researching potential agencies online will help you too – when you are meeting the agency however, don’t be shy to ask for references.

  • Mistake #4: Assuming that the largest agencies are the best agencies.

Another mistake that is often made is the assumption that huge agencies must be the best. Remember that there are many agencies found around the world, ranging from large scale companies to smaller firms. Many of the very large agencies have a small team of top marketers on board, with a large pool of junior marketers who actually deal with clients. This means that unless you are a big enough client to warrant assistance from the senior marketers, you will often end up being delegated to a junior exec who may not have a lot of experience. In a smaller agency, there are often fewer clients and a more consistent team of mid to senior level specialists who have the capacity to deal with each client rather than handing over to a junior.

  • Mistake #5: Going for the cheapest option.

That super cheap digital marketing agency in South Africa may seem like a good bet at first, but more often than not, they are going to provide you with cheap results, too. If you find a good agency and they happen to be the most affordable, then that is a win all round. But do not only consider costs when choosing your preferred digital partner. Ideally, what you want is someone who has a solid understanding of best practice strategies, experience in what they do, a good track record, sound ethics in the way that they operate and a commitment to quality. That will end up being the most cost-effective option in the long run, while also giving you the best chance of real results.

Now that you know what to avoid, let us show you what an experienced, highly capable digital marketing agency in South Africa can do for your website results! Follow us on Facebook to keep up to date with all our latest info.