Choosing an agency to assist you with your digital marketing efforts is no small feat. You’re looking for long term support, someone who can become an extension of your existing marketing team.
It can be an overwhelming process as you look to find an agency that can give you the support you need. Without proper research and due diligence, you could make the wrong decision and be left with a chunk of your marketing budget gone, a failed marketing campaign and no leads generated.
In order to make an informed decision in choosing the right marketing agency, we’ve got 5 tips to help you get started. They are:
- Define and set expectations
- Look for specialisms and/or sector experience
- Read case studies (do your research)
- Sit down with a sales rep
- Start small
Let’s look at each of those in more detail.
1. Define and set expectations
Before you go any further, and more importantly, before you even speak to a marketing agency, it’s important to set out your expectations for this future relationship.
What services do you need? Do you need training on marketing strategies to point you in the right direction, or simply to get your marketing done? Knowing exactly what your requirements are helps you narrow down your options, but also helps any prospective agency determine the best products for you.
Don’t worry though, this step isn’t all on you. Many marketing agencies will have their speculative process to help them immerse themselves into your business, and find out what your needs are. For example, we have a diagnostic that website visitors fill out before we speak to them to help them and us assess their situation and marketing efforts so far.
2. Look for specialisms and/or sector experience
Agencies will each have their own specialisms: Web design, social media, inbound marketing, and so on. You can evaluate this against your own needs to see if there’s a fit.
Not only that, but it’s also important to look for sector experience. For example, if you’re an eCommerce business, you may want to look for an agency specialising in eCommerce marketing, as they’ll be fully versed in what works and doesn’t work for your business.
As you research into an agency’s specialisms, you’ll naturally begin to understand the size of the agency. Big agencies will likely have multiple team members working with you, for instance an Account Manager who acts as your go-to contact, with other team members working behind the scenes to deliver the work.
Smaller agencies might wear many hats instead, but focus heavily on a particular specialism, such as web design.
3. Read case studies
Any agency can have claims to their name, and claim to be the best at what they do. But a claim isn’t as valuable to you as case studies.
We strongly recommend reading any and all case studies an agency has before you get in touch. Look for ones that show measurable results, statistics and legitimate customer testimonials that substantiate the work they do. Bonus points if they have case studies relating to your own industry as well!
4. Sit down with a sales rep
Once you’ve narrowed down your options and your close to making a decision, it’s always a great idea to meet a sales person, ideally face-to-face.
Most agencies will offer a free consultation, and this is your chance to talk through your requirements and expectations, ask questions but also determine if the agency is a fit for your needs. Having a call or chat with someone can also help you identify if they’re going to be a cultural fit for you and your business, and make sure they’re onboard with your goals and aspirations.
At this stage, you also have the opportunity to request a proposal, so you have the relevant information needed on what support they can offer and how they can make a difference.
5. Start small
When working an agency, 9 times out of 10 you’re committing to a long-term relationship. You could be signing a contract for a 12 or 18-month retainer, which is a big step.
Because of this, an option you have is to start small with a one-off project, such as a website or SEO audit. This gives the agency a small assignment before the commit to a long-term engagement. Not only that, it helps you test the waters and identify if this really is the agency you want to work with going forward.
What steps do you take for choosing the right marketing agency?
We hope these 5 tips prove useful when choosing the right marketing agency. The last thing you want to do is make the wrong decision.
We’d love to hear what steps you’ve taken in your research of marketing agencies, and if you’ve landed here and need some marketing support from MM:Growth, head over to the marketing diagnostic to start the ball rolling!