Which are the best digital marketing companies for startups and Small Businesses in India? If you ask this question on Quora or on your social media account, you will be spammed with a lot of “Choose Me” responses. Yes, Digital Marketing space is really crowded with self-claimed “Best” agencies.
It is not an easy task to identify which digital agency is best in India, and moreover, the definition of “best” depends upon what kind of budget you have for digital marketing. For big MNCs, it is not difficult to find a good agency because money is not a problem for them, so they mostly go for the companies which have proven past record, not only in India but also in other countries. But for startups, it is a mammoth task to find a good agency which can justify the bucks spent on marketing and build your brand even on a shoestring budget.
So, before we go to the list of some good marketing agencies, let’s find out how can you find them yourself as per your requirements and budget.
How to find a good digital marketing company
So, before I go ahead and provide you a list of top 10 digital marketing agencies for startups in India, I would like to tell how you can spot a good digital marketing agency yourself and within your budget. So, here are some steps to do so,
#1. First, define what exactly you want from a digital agency
This is a very important step, if you are looking for a single agency to outsource all your digital marketing tasks, it is not going to happen. And that’s because no agency is good in every task. Some companies are good in social media marketing and some are in good in building your brand image. Some are good in running email campaigns and others are good in SEO. So, first define what exactly you want from a digital marketing agency.
From my personal experience I have seen that most of the time, creative digital agencies are not good with SEO, so I will suggest you have a digital marketing agency for social media marketing, PPC marketing, and brand building. And go for a separate agency for SEO, which specializes only in SEO.
Same is the case for PR, will suggest going for a separate PR agency which can outreach and find opportunities to get you coverage in online and offline media.
#2. Explore your network and seek the recommendation
So, this is the best way to start with. Explore your network and ask people about the best digital marketing agency they know about. Don’t hesitate, you can ask this even from your clients, friends, and people who are deep in digital space. I am sure that you will definitely get few names. So this is how you can start.
#3. Check their websites and social handles
Now, when you have few names with you, you should go and check their websites and social media handles. Check how they are promoting themselves, what services they provide, their clients, their past work etc. Make sure that they are not working with any of your direct competitors. And a word of caution, if you find that they are not promoting their own business well on social media, don’t get the impression that they are not good in social media marketing. Many of the good digital marketing agencies don’t promote themselves too much, they believe in referral marketing, which is the best way of getting new business if you are good at something.
#4. Check Glassdoor
While finalizing the agency, you should also check their company at Glassdoor to understand their work culture and employee satisfaction. If they don’t have good work culture or not paying their employee up to the industry standard, it is difficult to get good results from that Agency. Digital marketing is a creative work and it is best done when the people working on it are skilled and passionate about their work. So, if the people working on your campaigns are not happy, so can’t expect best of the service.
#5. Ask for their past work
Ask those companies to provide their company deck, case studies and proof of their past work. Some companies have specialization in some particular industries, so make sure that they have worked with similar companies as yours. So, if you an e-commerce startup, they should have experience of working with e-commerce companies of similar scale and must have produced results.
#6. Ask, what they are best at
This is the best hack. As I have said earlier, none of the company is good in everything. When you ask this question, they will probably answer “we provide a full bouquet of digital marketing services”. Then you should ask specific question “how good you are in SEO?”, and most probably they will stall, and if they don’t sound very confident while answering this question or say that “We will present some SEO case studies to you in our next meeting”, don’t give them SEO work. Usually, you can easily identify from their presentation that what they are good at, they will mainly present only the work they are proud of, and in most of the cases, it will be social media campaigns and branding.
#7. Discuss commercial arrangements
So, there are two types of commercial arrangements with digital marketing agencies. The most popular arrangement is fixed monthly retainer plus some percentage of your digital spend. Most of these companies prefer to go for this model. However, I will suggest going only for a fixed retainer fee and if required performance-based monthly incentive. The performance matrix can be different for different businesses. It can be number of leads, number of conversions, traffic, engagement etc.
#8. Negotiate minimum tenure of engagement
Most of the digital companies prefer to have min 1-year engagement. But there is no hard and fast rule for this, you can even go for monthly renewal without any long-term commitment. But the truth is that it requires time to get some results from your digital strategy. The agency needs some time to think about campaigns, brand strategy and execute that and if one thing does not work, they need to experiment with other. So, even if you have a monthly arrangement, give them at least 3 months to do experiments and fine-tune the campaign.
#9. Ask for a sample campaign and brand strategy
Before you sign the agreement, ask them to come up with a presentation for sample campaign to start with. If you like that campaign and feel that their team is creative and thoughtful, you can go ahead.
Traits of a good digital marketing company
When it comes to identifying a good digital marketing agency, there are few traits you should look for.
- They would study your brand, its online presence, reputation, founding team, USP, products and competitors and come prepared in the first meeting.
- Even if they know, they will still ask about your target audiences, USP and how you are different from your competitors.
- They will ask about your digital strategy (if you have one), the outcomes you expect from them.
- They will be proud to showcase their past work and case studies.
- They will talk the language of numbers and will show statistics to prove that.
- They would make digital marketing strategy based on your target audiences, user behaviour, your competitors and your USP.
- They will spend your budget very carefully by spending it on the right channel and will try to give you best ROI.
- They will argue with you on many points and will provide proper justification for their argument. E.g If you feel that the display ads will work for you, they might say that they will not go for display ads till 3 months, before that they will prefer to tap social media. And if they are good at their work, they will provide you proper reasoning and will even convince you.
- They will never run short of campaign ideas.
- They will provide you a long-term roadmap to achieve the target.
- A good service provider will also study your website, products, offerings and customer feedback and provide your regular feedback on improving the same. They will constantly emphasize on the importance on quality products and great customer service together with digital marketing.
- They will keep watch on your competitor activities and provide you regular updates about that.
- They will be consistent with their approach and will respect the calendar.
- They will regularly provide you reports and dashboard and will constantly seek feedback from you.
- They will not only highlight the achievements of a campaign, they will also present findings they can use in their next campaign.
- And last but not the least, they will be excellent in graphics designing
When it comes to SEO, there are no shortcuts. You can’t improve it faster by spending more money. Here are some traits for SEO Agency/Freelancer.
And before you go and hire an SEO agency, there are few things you have to take care of yourself. Here is my another post where you can read about it.
- A good SEO agency/freelancer will never offer you an SEO package with the limited number of links every month.
- He will not promise you quick results and even you should not expect that.
- He will not promise you guaranteed first-page ranking because ranking depends upon many factors and it takes genuine efforts and time to improve your ranking.
- He will not disclose his clients because it is a confidential information when it comes to SEO
- He will not limit himself to limited keywords, he will focus more on PA/DA of overall website and results in terms of traffic and conversion generated from organic search.
- He will not hide his techniques and talk about black hat SEO techniques.
- He will not ask you to stuff your website with keywords.
- He will not focus only on link building, he will be equally focused on on-page optimization.
- He will be well aware of all new trends and techniques in SEO world and the Google algorithm changes.
- He will emphasize on content marketing.
- He will clearly tell you about the importance of PR with SEO.
- He will start with website audit first and will study your business, niche, products and target audiences.
So, let’s cut it short and come to the list of some good marketing and creative agencies in India
Disclaimer: I have no personal interest in these companies and I even don’t work (As full-time employee or freelancer) for any of these companies at the time of writing this post.
Top 10 Best Digital Marketing Companies for Startups and SMEs
Here is the list of best Digital marketing companies in India for Startups and small businesses. This list is made without following any particle order and I have not included some big digital marketing agencies on this list because most of the startups can’t really afford them.
IProspect India of the Dentsu Aegis Network (DAN) group, is one of the top Digital Marketing agency in India. This Digital Marketing Company assists businesses in staying ahead and helps brands in grabbing an edge over the whole thing. This organization creates the whole comprehensive strategies for your brand and runs it for you. Apart from this, it is also a top creative agency which gives services on creating video, text and other forms of creative communications.
Clientele: Cleartrip, CRY, Koovs, Pepperfry, Shop Clues
Tonic Media is a small name with its big work projects in the digital arena and is doing remarkably well for its clients.
Clientele: Paypal, Nutralite, Everyuth, Play Station, Abbott, Skechers
Her is one of their campaigns,
A Bangalore based marketing company focused on creating a competitive edge for our clients by leveraging Digital Media & Social Media Analytics through creativity, engagement and actionable insights. They are good at brand building, social media marketing, and performance marketing.
Clientele: Zapty, cleartrip, Ezetap, Instavans, Portea, Sulekha, vvolve
Founded in 2010, Mumbai based Fruibowl Digital providesa variety of digital marketing services, be it social media marketing, SEO or PPC marketing, they provide it all and have a good clientele too.
Clientele: Box8, Della Adventure, Dot Shot, Fab India, Falafel’s, Pepperfry, Taskbob, Big Rock, Randstand, Musafir, Ted
Here is one of their video work for Indofarm
Schbang Digital Solutions is a Mumbai-headquartered integrated solutions agency founded in 2015 is quite a creative company providing services such as social media marketing, branding strategies, video production etc.
Clientele: Housing, firstcry, Indear, Mr. Homecare, Paypal, Nature’s Basket, Nirav Modi
Founded in a Bangalore based marketing agency founded in June 2014, it is a one of its kind, girls-first digital media agency and they proudly call themselves as “The Rebels”. Their services include Digital marketing, brand strategy, programmatic ads and designing.
Clientele: Flipkart, Red Chilies, Interview Fox, Fundooda, Fomokart, Silmo, Wynk, Dogsee, Suitltd, Maad
They call themselves ‘Marketing Mafias’ and describe their marketing approach in three words – unconventional, unafraid, and unabashed. They are quite a creative and provide a bouquet of services including, social media marketing, SEO, Email marketing and branding.
Clientele: Snapdeal, Indiamart, Furlenco, Decathlon, Quikr Homes, Scripbox, Digital Vidya, Lending Kart
It is a global digital engagement agency operating from Mumbai. They specialize in brand design and digital integrated campaigns. Other services they provide are digital campaigns, social media marketing, affiliate marketing, brand strategy, TVs, Videos and OOH.
Clientele: Biba, Superdry, Indiaroots, Jabong, Myntra, Yatra, Housing,
Langoor is a Bangalore based digital marketing agency and the work in online advertising, email marketing, social media and SEO areas.
Clientele: Travel Guru, Intuit, Fab India, Close the Gap, HP, Accenture
In their own words, they are a full service digital agency that teams up with companies to build their brand equity by leveraging the digital landscape to create conversations, increase word of mouth, provide ROI driven results and build lasting relationships. They are a full service company providing digital marketing, video production, SEO and media buying services.
Clientele: Hypercityfresh, FBB, Upgrad, Coupon Dunia, Citruspay, Buffalo, Living Foodz, Vistaprint, Della Adventures,
Here are some more name you might be interested in,
So, this is the list of top 10 plus digital marketing agencies for startups and small businesses in India. Let me know your view on the same and help me add some more names to this list.