If you’re looking to grow your business especially quickly, then you don’t have time to recruit a team of marketers, which might or might not work out for you. In this situation, you need to consider hiring a marketing agency – experts who are already operating as a team, delivering visibility and lead acquisition value to other companies like yours.
To make the most of your investment, however, you shouldn’t just hire the first one you come in contact with. Instead, you should research and interview multiple agencies to ensure you can form a solid working relationship.
Though it takes time and effort, it can save money in the long run, and ensure you get real results faster.
Before you begin your search, determine what you want to achieve by working with an agency. Determine your available budget, and the team of people who will be involved in making the final hiring decision. This will simplify the process and help it move it along faster.
Here are some of the most important things you must consider when choosing the choosing the marketing partners you work with.
Learn About All the Available Services
Many agencies offer a variety of services, and not all agencies offer the kind of services you may need to achieve your goals. Looking for ad funnels? Thought leadership PR? Automated email drips? Organic search rankings? Different providers do different combinations of things.
When you find an agency you’re interested in, be sure to ask them to elaborate on all the services they provide.
Is the firm a one-stop shop to cover all your needs, or do they specialize in only one or two services? Depending on your needs or goals, either model could work.
Many marketing firms narrow their scope and choose to specialize in one or two niches. This makes good sense, because audiences in different verticals interact with brands in very different ways and on very different channels.
If you’re in the online retail space, for instance, you are likely to be better served by avoiding a generalized agency and option to work with an ecommerce marketing agency. These agencies know details and understand the nuances of the ecommerce space that you wouldn’t necessarily find in a general agency willing to work with clients in any industry.
If your company is a finance consultancy, for example, then make sure not to hire a firm that specializes in nonprofits. They won’t be the right fit.
Case Studies with Results
You want a marketing agency that delivers on their promises, of course, otherwise it’s a wasted investment of time and money. Ask the company to provide case studies that indicate the results they were able to achieve with their previous clients.
If possible, get case studies from clients in an industry similar to yours, and with a marketing strategy that resembles what you’re after.
Alternatively, ask the company to provide referrals to their past customers so you can reach out them to directly to ask about their experience with the agency. You might want to do this regardless, because reading a case study is hardly the same as proper “due diligence.”
Education and Support
The marketing agency you hire needs to be able to provide you with the appropriate level of education and support.
If you’re relatively familiar with marketing and have a plan you developed, you won’t need as much education, but you still may want plenty of support from the company – both in regards to updates about how the campaigns are going and in regards to things your team should be doing to help the agency drive more impact.
But all the more so in cases where you’re not at all familiar with any of the process – you’ll want to look for an agency that provides a great deal of education and support throughout the engagement. When you’re interviewing potential agencies to work with, make sure to ask about the support and transparency mechanisms you can expect to interact with during the process.
Pricing You Can Manage
For small businesses on a budget, it can be tempting to hire the cheapest agency you find. And while price needs to be part of the decision, it should not be the only thing you base your decision on. If you automatically go with the least expensive agency, you may find the results aren’t what you were hoping for, or what you needed in order to get a decent return on your investment.
At the same time, that doesn’t mean you should go with the most expensive option you can find, because the price is not always an indication of quality. You could find yourself spending too much money on your marketing efforts and unable to manage the necessary levels of working capital required to maintain business operations. If that’s the case, you won’t be able to serve the new clients your marketing efforts brings in.
You’ll need to sit down in advance and figure out the budget you have available to handle your marketing efforts with an agency. It may mean starting with a smaller package that will result in slower gains in the beginning, until you get the results you know you need to justify more spending. The good news is, many marketing agencies provide various service tiers and payment terms. Just be sure to pay close attention to those details and expectations in the contract before you sign it.
Marketing Will Grow Your Business
Partnering with the right marketing agency will grow your business in ways you didn’t even think were possible. That’s why it’s critical to narrow down your choices to a few agencies you feel would be the best option for your company.
Don’t expect to be able to hire an agency overnight, and if you do, don’t expect to be able to triple your client base or sales quickly. The more effort you put into research and selection of the agency, the better off you’ll be in the long run. The aim should be sustainable growth you can handle and scale appropriately.
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