Marketing has evolved over the years. There are many ways to market your business in this digital age: SEO, Social Media, PPC, Content marketing… and the list just keeps growing.
Digital Marketing agencies in Malaysia can help solve online marketing challenges for you. You can easily focus on the work you do the best and leave the marketing tasks to agencies. But, how to choose the right digital marketing agency that can help you grow your business?
Do you know there are literally thousands of digital marketing agencies in Malaysia?
So, as a business owner how would you decide which one to work with?
I will answer all the questions you have in your mind with this article.
Why You Should Work With A Digital Marketing Agency?
The audience you target will differ depending on business nature. The marketing efforts need to be tailored according to your target audience.
For example, if you’re targeting Generation Z, Instagram and Snapchat are the best places to carry out your marketing efforts. If you want to reach business executives, you want to appear on LinkedIn for sure.
There are new digital marketing strategies popping up every day. It is extremely tough and time consuming for business owners and entrepreneurs to stay updated with the latest marketing trends and to master every aspect of digital marketing.
That’s where a digital marketing agency can help you grow your businesses by keeping up with the latest trends.
In this article, we will look into evaluating digital marketing agencies in Malaysia by asking the right questions to identify the best ones.
What Services Offered By Digital Marketing Agencies in Malaysia?
Digital marketing agencies help businesses to get more sales by utilizing different marketing tactics and strategies to attract the right customers. They will also focus on improving the online presence of businesses.
Some agencies might offer various digital marketing services, but most of them will mainly offer these services:
Market Research & Analysis
Before diving deep into the right digital marketing channels to use for your business, it is extremely important to understand your target market. You don’t want to market your products and services to the wrong market and waste your time and money. The right digital marketing agency in Malaysia can easily identify the best target audience for your business offerings. If an agency hesitates to talk about this, you know what to do!
Did you know 93% of online experiences begin with search engines?
If your business is not appearing on search engines, people will assume that you’re not serious about your business.
Most digital agencies talk about ranking higher on search engines. But it’s not about ranking or getting more visitors to your site. It is how you flow your customers through the marketing funnel and provide the best solution to their problems. If the digital agency only focused on building links and getting your homepage ranking high on search engines, stay away from that agency. SEO is a game of patience while putting months of hard work. It’s not an overnight miracle!
Search engines are more concerned about informational pages because that’s what users are looking for. Although there are agencies specifically providing SEO services, 90% of digital marketing companies in Malaysia offers this service.
One of the best ways to appear in front of your potential clients and let them decide whether they want to click on your ads. After all, you will only pay when people click on your ads. Rather than showing ads to a bigger crowd, Google Ads only shows up to the people searching for solutions to particular problems through search queries
Google Ads can be highly profitable only when it’s done right.
How many of you clicked on the paid ads and end up on irrelevant landing pages? It happens most of the time. The right digital agencies will develop converting landing pages for your business which aligns with the user intent of searchers.
Facebook and Instagram Advertising
The majority of the digital agencies in Malaysia focused on offering Facebook and Instagram Advertising services. There is where businesses are spending most of their marketing budget today. With the ability to reach a targeted audience with Facebook’s comprehensive targeting features, it offers great brand exposure and a healthy ROI.
You can easily develop a buyer persona for your business and include them in your Facebook targeting where you can choose locations, gender. education level, income, and many more.
Did you know fortune 500 companies spend millions of dollars in content marketing? Most companies have a misconception over content marketing. They often assume that developing content and getting them published on their site is content marketing.
If you want to generate sales through content marketing, it’s totally a different ball game. There are very few digital agencies in Malaysia offer effective content marketing services because it requires in-depth research and needs to go hand in hand with SEO strategy. Content marketing is not restricted to blog posting alone but also include infographics, videos, podcasts, and whitepapers.
People using mobile for search has exceeded desktop search. It is relatively easier for users to perform searches for their next purchase using their mobile devices. According to recent research by Acquisio, 75% of local-intent mobile searches result in an offline store visit within 24 hours, and nearly 30% results in a purchase.
There are various mobile marketing services offered by agencies in Malaysia. Mobile YouTube Ads, Waze Ads, In-App Advertising are some of the top mobile marketing services offered by digital agencies.
Email still the best digital marketing channel in terms of ROI. With all-new social media channels popping up over the last 10 years, email marketing still positioned top in generating the highest return for the marketers.
According to Campaign Monitor, email marketing generates $38 in return for every $1 spent. This is a huge return. There are very few digital agencies in Malaysia offering email marketing services as it requires in-depth research in building engaging contents for the email list.
You can use any digital marketing channels to drive traffic. But the most important factor is whether you’re getting sales or not.
Do your visitors take action that you want them to take like sign up for the newsletter, free trial, or other amazing offers? Your website conversion should be your ultimate focus. Driving traffic is just half the work. Converting those traffic into paying customers is the other half which will make you more money.
Most digital agencies in Malaysia focus on traffic generation alone and miss out on the conversion part. I have to agree there are agencies that focus on improving the UX of their client sites and focus on the conversion optimization part.
I don’t blame the agencies here. They want to offer what they are good at. But the problem here is that there are thousands of digital agencies in Malaysia offering exact same services. Only a few agencies focused on specialized services like conversion rate optimization (CRO).
At the end of the day, it depends on what you’re looking to achieve by hiring a digital marketing agency.
Before you shortlist and pick the right digital marketing agency in Malaysia who provides the services you’re looking for, you need to some important questions not only to the potential agencies but also to yourself.
The Right Questions To Ask When Hiring Digital Marketing Agencies
What are your organization’s marketing requirements?
Before coming up with questions to ask potential digital marketing agencies, you need to identify the marketing requirements for your business.
What kind of digital services you’re looking for? SEO? Social Media Marketing? Web Design?
If you’re having your very own in-house marketing team, find out what kind of marketing activities they are carrying out and what they are lacking in.
Following are the types of questions you should be asking your in-house marketing team.
- What are the marketing strategies are being implemented for your business?
- What are the marketing strategies you want to apply but lack of resources?
These questions will shed some light on what type of marketing activities you should outsource to digital agencies to get better results.
How the digital agency is performing in their industry?
If a digital agency can generate results for their own business, they’ll be able to generate the same to other businesses.
Let’s say you want to hire an agency to handle your content marketing efforts, you need to know how they are running they’re own content marketing work.
If you want to hire them Search Engine Optimization (SEO), check on how they are ranking for the keywords and phrases of their industry.
At Navenpillai.com, I’m providing SEO services. I’m not ranking for the term “SEO Malaysia” and that’s not something I’m looking to rank for though most business owners are searching for such keywords.
As I’m focused on the expertise I have, I rank for the following keywords
- Technical SEO Malaysia
- SEO Checklist For Small Businesses
- SEO Audit Malaysia
- Digital Marketing Agencies
- And many more
Business owners in Malaysia might not search for the above keywords because they don’t have the knowledge about SEO.
I don’t target new businesses looking to dive into SEO. I want to work with businesses which already implemented SEO and looking to leverage on their SEO efforts.
You can verify the keyword ranking details by searching those terms in Google. I’m ranking almost at the top of the 1st page 🙂
If an agency is unable to practice what they preach for their own business, it is hard to believe in their capability in delivering results for the services they are offering.
I would suggest not to come to a conclusion early without looking at other aspects of the digital agencies.
What KPIs do they measure?
I still find it funny when business owners still believe in getting more social media likes. Most businesses believe in vanity metrics as a success factor to their digital marketing efforts. Trust me these metrics has nothing to do with the revenue generated for your business.
For example, you share an informational post on your Facebook page. You get an enormous amount of “likes”. But does those likes make you any money? Vanity metrics doesn’t bring in sales.
I had experience working with a client on improving their brand awareness on social media channels. Before I start working with any clients I will audit social profiles to identify fake likes and followings. This is because if a social media page is bombarded with fake followings there is no use of social media postings.
Business owners are always tempted by the number of likes they have for their social media accounts. They end up purchasing “fake likes” to glorify their social accounts.
If your potential agency is going to charge you to increase likes for your page, avoid them. Ask the potential agencies how they measure digital marketing results.
These are some of the metrics in digital marketing that I track for my clients:
- Complete website traffic – The ultimate goal of any digital marketing service is to drive traffic to your site regardless of what marketing goals you’re looking to achieve.
- Website Traffic by Source – It is important to know where the traffic is coming from to determine the best sources to spend more money on and the sources to minimize your expenses.
- Average sessions – The average session by users depends on your website function. Moreover, it allows you to know whether your site is performing well from a user experience (UX) perspective.
- Bounce rate – How many visitors leave your site after visiting one page? This metric will allow you to identify technical problems like loading speed, 404 errors.
- Conversion Rate – One of the most important metrics for any website. You want to know whether the visitors are being converted. It is not only for sales. It depends on what you’re looking to achieve with your digital marketing campaigns. As long the visitors do something you want them to do, it’s a conversion. For example, sales, subscribe to an email list, lead entry and many more.
- Cost Per Click (CPC) – The amount being spent on paid marketing campaigns when someone clicks on the ad.
- Click-Through Rate (CTR) – It’s a measurement of the number of clicks vs the number of impressions (number of times people see your site on the search results page). It allows you to improve on your ad copies for paid ads and improve title and meta description for organic results.
There are more to these metrics depending on what digital marketing activities your potential digital marketing agencies will be carrying out.
So be sure to ask them the metrics they will be tracking for your digital marketing campaigns to determine the right digital agency for your business.
What results do they offer?
Marketing is a clumsy industry. Everyone claims to be a digital marketing expert. It happens all the time. These people making claims of being an expert does nothing. Some of them don’t really have an idea of what they are talking about.
There are plenty of digital marketing agencies in Malaysia that promise unrealistic results just to close the deal and end up delaying the results due to lack of resources.
There is this “funny” scenario happens in the SEO industry. The right SEO agencies know that it takes time to generate organic search results for clients as it depends on the client’s industry nature. The unethical ones leverage on this factor and keep giving an “excuse” that it takes time to see organic traffic results and getting monthly retainers months after months keeping the clients in dilemma.
If the potential digital agency is offering guarantees in results, stay away from them. The digital world is constantly changing. What’s working today might not work tomorrow. It’s hard to provide any guarantee.
You can filter the low-quality and unethical digital agencies by asking them for their ” secret strategy”. What makes them different than other agencies? What are their strategies in generating results for your business?
As an SEO consultant, even before the potential client can ask me any questions, I will list them the deliverables from the SEO campaign.
I try to be as transparent as possible in providing them with the entire list of deliverables. I can’t be sharing the strategies I’ll be implementing as I had bad experience previously where the client took my strategies and implement them with their in-house marketing team.
These are the deliverable of my SEO service:
- Initial site analysis
- Website Quality Audit
- Competitor Analysis
- Google Search Console and Google Analytics Audit
- Keyword Research
- Identify On-Page Errors and Fixing Them
- Link Building Strategy
- Technical SEO Audit
- Content Audit
- Schema audit (if required)
- Content Marketing Strategy
- Content Ideation
- Content Development and Optimization
- Progress Report
- GMB Audit (for local businesses)
I provide an in-depth explanation for each of these deliverables once the client decides to hire me to take care of their SEO efforts.
You can easily identify whether the digital agency is providing the right services for your business by asking them for their deliverables. If they can list down the deliverables appropriately, you can stay assured that they will generate results.
Be careful with digital agencies that outsource their work to others. Most likely they are outsourcing the work for cheaper rates. You might be tempted to get digital marketing deals at cheap price. But, in reality, you will get results for what you’ve paid for.
Sometimes it’s hard to determine the right digital agency in Malaysia as there are almost 6,600 digital agencies in Malaysia. You just need to ask more and more questions to identify the right one for you.
What is their pricing structure?
Pricing will help you filter out low-quality digital agencies. The competition in Malaysia is pretty high when it comes to digital marketing services. Even a website design agency started off with digital marketing. Some agencies can go low on pricing as long as they manage to close the client.
I’ve never come across digital agencies that charge low to produce outstanding results. Let’s be realistic here. I’ll breakdown the cost for the SEO service I’m providing.
I’m charging RM3,000 as the basic monthly retainer for SEO.
For this RM3,000 I’ll be doing the following work
- Website analysis & Optimization
- 3 x 2,000+ words monthly content
- 1 Guest Post on high authority site relevant to client niche
- Outreach and content promotion to earn links to the contents
This is the cost involved
- Use of Ahrefs tool for keyword research, rank tracking, and other SEO activities – $179 – RM 700.00 (shared for all clients)
- Development of 1 x 2,000+ words content. Sometimes I outsource content development to the best writers on client’s niche. Each content cost around $100 – $150 – RM400 to RM600. So 3 contents will cost around RM1,200 – RM1,800
- 1 Guest Post depends on the sites requirement and the content development will cost RM 200- RM300
- I perform both website analysis & optimization and content promotion activity which utilizes my time.
So let’s remove the Ahrefs cost.
The total minimum cost will be:
RM1,200 + RM200 = RM1,400
The total maximum cost will be:
RM1,800 + RM300 = RM 2,100
Let’s say I ignore the cost of my SEO activities.
With the minimum cost of RM1,400, I’ll be making RM1,600 = 53% profit margin. Please be reminded I pay myself from this profit margin as well.
With the maximum cost of RM2,100, I’ll be making RM900 = 30% profit margin. This is excluding my wages.
As you can see even when I charge RM3,000 for my clients, this is the profit I’ll be making. Sometimes there will be plus and minus depending on the client’s niche. If I can write the content myself, the content development cost will be reduced.
Imagine if someone is charging less than RM2,000 monthly retainer for SEO service. How much profit they can actually make?
You can easily determine the quality of work with their pricing. No businesses are done without profit and the same goes for digital marketing services.
Most agencies in Malaysia go for quantity than quality. To what extent the digital marketing agency will work on your digital marketing activities if their price is low.
If a digital marketing agency is charging the right price for the services they offer, they will be extra focused on your marketing activities and will produce the best results for your business.
Don’t cut corners in terms of pricing if you want to hire the best digital agency for your company.
Always remember you will get what you paid for. Don’t complain about getting poor results when you want cheap digital marketing services.
Is it better to have In-House or Hire a Digital Marketing Agency?
As a business owner, you have can make your own choice whether to hire a digital marketing agency or build an in-house digital marketing team.
This question often asked by small and medium business owners. If you want to run a successful digital marketing campaign you should consider some of the important factors. Here’s a list of factors that will influence your digital marketing success.
Understanding your target audience
Before planning and launching a digital marketing campaign, you need to identify your target audience and understand their pain points. A lot of businesses end up targeting the mass audience with generic marketing messages. With limited time and resources, most companies fail to truly understand their target audience and cater the right solutions to their problems.
Growing a business requires documented strategies, processes, workflows and systems. Even if you’re focusing on a single digital marketing strategy like social media marketing, you still need an action plan that will keep you align with the marketing goals you’re looking to achieve.
I’ve seen a lot of businesses leverage on free marketing tools. Little they know those tools have limitations and unable to provide full functionality like paid tools. For example, you can use Google Keyword Planner and other free keyword research tools to perform keywords research. The right tools are developed to help you accomplish marketing campaigns efficiently.
Consistency Is the Key To Success
Digital marketing is about being consistent with your efforts. Most digital marketing channels take several months to generate noticeable results. I’ve seen organizations working consistently for years as they know they will get results for the efforts they are putting in.
On the other hand, I’ve also seen companies giving up on digital marketing after a few months as their effort for a few months did not generate any results. How do you expect to compete with your competitors who have been working on their digital marketing efforts for years?
Quality of Work
It always comes down to quality vs quantity. When you work on content marketing, it’s relatively easy to write blog posts without any direction. Having your target audience and the problems they face in mind, you can come up with quality content that is 100x better than the random ones. Quality work is what separates the best from the rest.
Experience in Digital Marketing
Do you have experience in planning and running digital marketing campaigns?
Even if you’re not an expert, you should knowledge of how digital marketing campaigns work and how it can help you generate more sales for your business.
Having your employees to work on all the important criteria of digital marketing requires time and resources. It’s not easy to run an SEO campaign and generate organic traffic without documented strategies. Hiring a digital agency can help you reduce your cost and speed up your time in achieving results.
As a business owner, your responsibility is in providing the best products and services for your business. You should focus on taking care of the operation part of your business if you run small or medium business. If you’re a big corporate company with a number of great talents, it’s extremely cost-effective to have your own in-house digital marketing team.
If you hire a digital agency, you have a group of experts working on generating leads (potential customers) for your business. You don’t have to crack your head in pushing your team.
But hiring digital marketing agencies have downsides too. If you end up hiring the wrong ones, you might end up paying a huge amount of money with no results as you won’t monitor their work on a daily basis. The lack of transparency from agencies is what leads to bad business relationships.
This is why it’s important to hire the right agency that can accelerate your business growth while maintaining a good long-term relationship.
I had an unpleasant experience working with some clients. I understand entrepreneurs want to have control over everything related to their business. Sometimes you just need to let the person-in-charge to handle the marketing task for you.
If you think hiring a digital agency is expensive, trust me hiring and training a team of in-house marketers can cost you more. In Malaysia, if you want to hire the best SEO Manager, it will cost you at least RM6,000 to RM10,000. If someone if going lower than this rate, either the person is desperate for work or does not have sufficient working knowledge of SEO. I’m talking about just SEO here. Imagine if you want to hire quality content writers, graphic designers, and social media marketers. You need to fork out at least RM20k to RM30k for the whole team.
Lastly, I want to share some of the top resources you can read to gain more knowledge about hiring the right digital marketing agency for your business.
Choosing a Digital Marketing Agency For Small Businesses – By Gary Vaynerchuck
The Best (and Worst) Questions to Ask When Choosing a Digital Marketing Agency – By John Breneman
5 Important Questions to Ask When Choosing A Digital Marketing Agency – By Gustavo Fidel Uy on Techinasia
8 Things Best Digital Marketing Companies Do To Grow Your Business – By Puneet Sharma
Whether you want to hire a digital marketing agency or build an in-house marketing team, you need to have a clear understanding of how digital marketing works and what is required for successful digital campaigns.
These are some of the things you should do:
- Have an in-depth understanding of your target audience. Build a buyer persona
- Identify tools and software that will minimize your time in getting tasks accomplished.
- Always be consistent with what you’re working on especially your marketing efforts.
- Develop information-rich content that your audience finds beneficial.
- Improve your knowledge of digital marketing. You don’t have to be a “GURU”.
If you understand the complexity of digital marketing and decide on hiring an agency, just go for it. The right digital agencies will definitely produce results you’re expecting and most of the time these agencies deliver more than you’ve expected.
When you’re hunting for the right agency, there are certain things to keep in mind:
- Determine what you’re looking for. Are you looking for an agency to improve your online presence or generate more sales through digital platforms? You need to be certain with your marketing goals
- Be careful hiring digital agencies that outsource 90% of their work. Trust me none of them will admit. Ask the right questions to figure it out. If they don’t have hands-on experience with digital marketing tasks, their answers will be inappropriate.
- Never go for the agencies that make promises and guarantees. There are no guarantees with digital marketing efforts.
- Don’t go for cheap services. You will get what you paid for. If you go low, you might end up getting poor service.
Be extra careful when you hire agencies in Malaysia. There are some good ones but they focus more on corporate clients. Most agencies are focused on getting clients with small businesses.
Just use this article as a reference when you’re hiring your potential digital marketing agency in Malaysia. I think it can be pretty helpful.
Have you ever had any bad experience in hiring digital marketing agencies?
Are there any good digital marketing agencies in Malaysia you would like to suggest?
Please share your thoughts and opinions by commenting below.