If you’re here, you’ve probably read Why Hire a Marketing Agency and now want to know just how to choose a marketing agency. Perhaps you’ve realised you’re a little out of your depth when it comes to marketing, or your sales are slipping, or you’re just too busy.
Whatever the reason, here you are, and that’s great. In How To Choose a Marketing Agency we’re going to explain a few differences between agencies and what they offer, and advise you on what you should think about when choosing one that fits not only with your business, but also your way of doing business.
What do you need from a marketing agency?
Perhaps you just need help with a logo, or you need your website designed. But you seldom need just one thing, and one thing is usually inextricably connected to another thing or things. When looking at how to choose a marketing agency, don’t just look at satisfying your immediate problem, consider the potential ongoing requirements for when your business really starts humming.
Will you be selling your product online? Can it be marketed on Facebook? Do you know your way around social media marketing, SEO, design, coding, printing – and are you a good writer? Might you need to produce videos? Do you really know what your customer looks like and where they “hang out”? What about your competitors? Study them. As Don Corleone said in The Godfather, “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.” And do you understand the importance of producing exceptional content for your website?
How many years’ experience do the principals and staff have? Have they or any of their clients won marketing awards? Do they belong to any industry associations? Check their credentials. You want to make sure they have all the capabilities you need, such as social media, content marketing and search engine optimization. Do they keep up with technology and market trends?
Content is a critical element of effective marketing and the agency you choose should be able to demonstrate their expertise in this area. They should be able to tell your brand story in an appealing and memorable way to your target audience and understand how it works within different channels and through the sales funnel.
Data and analytics back up your initiatives and campaign creative and strategy. Tracking and reporting on the effectiveness of each campaign helps you progress toward reaching your objectives. Leankit’s Continuous Cycle of Improvement – Identify, Plan, Execute, Review and repeat is a great technique that helps streamline workflow.
“By observing continuous improvement best practices, companies can figure out ways to continue business as usual while analyzing improvement opportunities along the way.”– LeanKit
Budget and payment options
Is the price right? If their rate seems low, it might be because they suck. If it’s too high, you’re going to need to keep an eye on their hours. Some agencies’ are worth the arm and a leg they charge, but just as many aren’t. Do they offer a per hour rate, a monthly retainer option, or a per project option? Does it fit within your budget and will they provide estimates to sign off?
Ask to see testimonials and case studies
Ask to see work they have done for other clients, and not just in industries similar to yours. Look at their work over a range of sectors, to get a feel for how well they research, write and understand the market. Learn about the clients’ problems and how the agency worked to resolve it and what the results were.
What is their own brand like?
Does their name and logo convey what they do well, and does it inspire confidence? Does their own website look good and work well? A marketing agency’s website should impress in design, structure, imagery and content. Its messaging should be clear, it should be easy to navigate and have obvious calls to action.
Too big, and you might feel inadequate and unimportant. You want to be made to feel that you’re as important as their biggest client – because you are! A good size team these days is around 10 people. Whatever the size though, every person working on your business should be across every aspect of your project, and be collaborating together to achieve the best results. Sometimes in larger agencies, internal comms can take longer, as well as getting lost in translation along the way.
Look for a partner, not a supplier
When you meet face to face, do they make you feel comfortable in a genuine way? Do you feel bombarded and confused by their own marketing jargon? They should make you feel confident by their correct use of your industry terminology. Are they confident, creative, highly motivated and strategic? Do they understand your customer’s pain points and offer solutions? When thinking about how to choose a marketing agency, consider it a partnership.
During the enquiry process, have they communicated concisely, answered your questions satisfactorily, and your emails quickly?
Do you get a good feel for the people who will be working on your business? Can you collaborate together?
A great agency will think beyond marketing and understand that the absolute goal of any marketing initiative is to drive business growth, customer engagement and return on investment. Its people will be passionate, creative and strategic individuals driven to prioritizing your customers’ needs and desires, and making your business succeed.