It may be clear you need help promoting your company, but how do you know if a marketing agency is a good fit for your business? Choosing which firm to trust is a big decision. You want to pick an agency that will help you effectively reach your marketing goals, be easy to work with, fit your budget and more. What should you specifically look for?
Here are 10 questions to ask when choosing a marketing agency.
What is the vision?
Begin by establishing marketing goals. A great way to create a strategic vision is to use SMART goals. Here are the basics to take into consideration:
- Specific. Define exactly what you are looking to accomplish.
- Measurable. Are you able to track the progress of your goals?
- Attainable. Is it realistic? Choose a goal that can be easily reached.
- Relevant. How does your goal directly relate to your marketing needs?
- Timely. Make sure you set a timeline for achieving your goals, and that you give yourself enough time to produce quality work.
As you evaluate your marketing goals, put them through the method above. For example, “more website visitors” isn’t a SMART goal. A goal of a 10% increase in website traffic by next year is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely.
After setting your SMART goals, you can search for a marketing agency that can help you reach them.
Not all marketing firms are the same, so share your goals with the agency and ask how they’d achieve them. Does their vision align with yours? While it’s important to be flexible and keep an open mind, you should end the meeting with a general idea of the time and energy that would be spent on your account to achieve your goals.
If your visions do align, confirm your timelines do too. Some agencies are balancing a large pool of clients, and you want to make sure they can get started on and maintain your account in a reasonable time. If you have a specific marketing goal or campaign that needs to be started or completed by a specific date, choose a company that can confidently meet those deadlines.
How involved is the marketing agency in your brand?
It’s important to hire a marketing firm that represents your company in a way that aligns with your brand.
While some businesses don’t mind making it known they hired an outside marketing agency, others prefer to keep their content and sources as internal as possible. Determine your needs and ask if the company can provide the right amount of involvement in your brand you desire. For example, would you be comfortable being a featured client on their website and other materials?
What type of content will the marketing agency produce?
Have a clear understanding of what kind of materials you can expect from the marketing agency you partner with. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation settling for less than you expected. In fact, we always recommend everything be detailed in writing so both parties fully understand expectations.
When asking about the types of services you are paying for, make sure you are getting the most out of your investment.
Will the content reflect your businesses’ personality and values?
Find out how personalized your content will be!
You want to confirm that the materials being created or shared are not also being used by other businesses. If a marketing agency does use cross-content, you need to be clear about your expectations for content that is exclusive to your branding needs as well.
The way you engage with your audience on one network does not necessarily guarantee it will resonate with your audience on another. If you don’t have custom content for different situations, it will lack personality and be difficult to connect to. Having variety and diversity in content are important in highlighting different aspects of your business and maximizing your return on investment.
Hiring a marketing agency can elevate your marketing assets, but you also want to confirm who ultimately owns the content that is created. This is an important clarifying question to ask as well, so you can be sure what they create for your brand isn’t turned around and used for another client down the road.
How are updates, images and other content developed for my brand?
You want to make sure you are hiring a marketing agency with the proper skill set to efficiently create and carry out your marketing materials.
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Marketing agencies should be up to date on the latest industry trends and technologies as well as the evolving concepts in the field as well. It is important to ask how social media updates, images, and other content are produced for your brand and if they keep up with the latest in the industry to ensure your content is relevant.
The point of hiring a marketing agency is to maximize your return while minimizing the amount of time it takes you. While you may need to be at least a little bit involved, you also don’t want to be stressed out from a lot of additional work. Find out what kind of content you personally need to produce or provide and which the marketing agency will take care of. Ask them how much time you should expect to put into reviewing content and what your responsibilities would be during your working relationship. Marketing campaigns should promote your business as much as possible, but you also want to make sure you have the time and resources to provide support for a smooth working relationship.
How is a typical strategy developed?
Running head-first into something without a plan is a recipe for disaster. The clearer your strategy is from the beginning, the more successful you’ll be. Having a strategy written down is also crucial to tracking long-term data and results. By being able to refer to consistent plans you can directly compare metrics with ease.
Ask if there will be a strategy in place and how it will be developed. This will give you an idea of how knowledgeable you’ll be about the content your marketing agency is creating and keeps you informed on how it is being used across different platforms. A well-defined strategy is critical for organizational purposes. Having a clear, easy to understand plan saves you time by making it easier to refer to ideas and content later.
How will the marketing agency keep you informed about the content being produced?
You want to be aware of what is going on with your account, without spending a lot of time following up with your marketing agency. Confirm how often you will receive materials for approval, how long the approval process is, and how edits and revisions can be made. Don’t be caught off guard with a misdirected message – be well informed about everything!
With ongoing or long-term projects, it is important to confirm how often you will receive updates. Confirm that you will not only regularly receive content for review, but that you are also being updated about the status of projects. This not only gives adequate time for editing and scheduling but also helps keep you up to date on the status of work that affects and represents your business.
What expectations should I have?
While you want to be realistic about growth and exposure when setting your goals, you want a marketing agency that helps you reach those targets. Being regularly updated on progress is important, but you also want a clear idea of when you can start seeing results.
Ask them how long it will take to get set up, start developing content and see results from their activities. Depending on the tactics, don’t be surprised if it takes as long as 12-18 months to start seeing a positive return on your investment.
Who will be managing my account?
Ask who will oversee your materials and platforms. Who will be involved in your account at the marketing agency? How often will you hear from them? If you have questions, comments or concerns about materials you want to be able to know that you have a reliable contact to reach.
You also want it to be clear who is managing what. For example, if your marketing agency is managing your social media pages, you want to make sure you have someone that is monitoring your account to quickly respond to, help or redirect a customer. Is that something that falls to you or your account manager?
Are you able to follow up on the marketing agency’s experience?
Does the marketing agency have the evidence to back up their experience? Ask for some examples of their work, the results of some of the other campaigns they’ve worked on, and references that you can call and check.
Navigating who to trust with your business needs can be difficult. Make the process easier by considering these 10 vital questions on your search for the perfect marketing agency for you. Take your brand to the next level and be assured your marketing agency has your back the whole way.