You know you need to hire a marketing agency, but how do you choose the right one? The more research you do about marketing automation software, brand positioning, and metrics, the more you’re aware of one thing: you need help. Attempting to find the right marketing team to partner with your business can be incredibly difficult, there are so many options and it’s difficult to know how to narrow them down (especially when you’re not an expert in this area). Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of questions that you should ask when hiring a marketing agency.
Ask yourself: What do you need?
Before you go about the process of finding the right marketing agency for you, first ask yourself what it is you need. If you don’t have a clear idea of what you’re looking for, it can lead to misaligned expectations between both parties. Do you need a full-service team or an agency with one specific and proven specialty? Are you focusing on high-quality leads within a niche market or on pure lead volume? What is your marketing services budget? Do you need help with marketing automation and analytics?
Ask yourself these questions, do your research, and make sure you have a clear understanding of your business’s needs prior to your first meeting with a marketing agency. This way you’ll be able to make sure you’re covering all of your bases and asking all the necessary questions you’ll need to make your decision. Additionally, this will ensure that you get the most out of your experience with the agency you choose.
What is the cost of your services?
We’d recommend asking this question early in your communications with marketing agencies as it will prevent you from wasting time later. At this point you’ve already decided what you’re able to pay for your marketing budget (with maybe a little bit of wiggle room) so the sooner you narrow down your options based on price, the less likely it is that you will get far into your communications only to realize that a partnership isn’t possible.
May I see some statistics or case studies proving your effectiveness?
Numbers and case studies are an excellent way to view a company’s effectiveness when it comes to its marketing strategies. You ideally want to work with a company that has a proven track record of success and this is the easiest way to view that clearly. A company’s willingness to provide you with this information will first display that they are good with transparency, which is important in a business partnership. Additionally, the information itself will allow you to see what areas of marketing in which the agency has had successes and compare it with that of your business needs.
Do you have any references?
Another step in the direction of transparency, an agency that will provide you with references shows that they have a continued positive relationship with their clients. And, when you speak with their references, it will give you the opportunity to ask about how the process works, what struggles they’ve faced, etc. from a person or company who was (at one point) in a similar position to yourself.
How do you measure success?
Every agency measures its success differently and asking this question will allow you to see the differences and to gauge how you’d prefer it to be measured. This starts with goals or what a marketing budget and effort should be spent in order to accomplish. So a for-profit company may say the goal is sales, but when a for-profit company has a long sales cycle, sales leads or seminar registrations may be the goal instead. And for non-profit organizations, the goal could be about building brand awareness and exposure.
Goals are measured through metrics or data that is collected and tracked. Ask about an agency’s analytics and reporting, what metrics they use to track their successes, which metrics they think are the most important when defining success, and why. Additionally, ask them what software tools they typically use and why it works best for their clients. A team that doesn’t have its software and analytics programs optimized can’t work at its full potential.
How do you typically communicate with clients?
Asking a potential agency this question will allow you to get an idea of what you should expect if you decide to work with them. How often do they communicate with their clients and how? Who will be your direct point of contact with the company? Will you have direct contact with the account manager? Ask an agency about their communication methods and see if it aligns with your preferred methods of communication.
Can you talk me through the process of completing my project? What timeline do you foresee in terms of achieving my company’s goals?
If you’re looking for an ongoing agency relationship, you can still ask about the anticipated timeline of a specific goal or project. The agency should be able to talk you step-by-step through their plan to complete your goals and how they plan to accomplish them, this gives them the chance to do so. It also allows you to compare responses, paying attention to plans that are particularly specific and transparent. These questions will also allow you to get an idea of what your interactions will be like with the company day-to-day and when you can expect certain goals to be accomplished.
What are your team’s values?
When you work with a marketing team, you’re entering into a partnership. Asking this question will give you the ability to see if their company values would align with that of your own. It can, additionally, allow you to gauge different miscellaneous things such as their general marketing philosophy, company culture, and what they’re most passionate about such as customer service satisfaction, sales, a business’s mission, etc.
If all of these considerations align well with your business’s goals and values, that’s when you know you’ve found the right agency.