Welcome to the latest installment of the Day One Strategy series. This is a weekly blog series that will address how to start from scratch. Each week we’ll discuss a new topic and offers tips for the business that is taking their very first step. Last week’s topic was Social Media.
Today’s Topic = Signing a Marketing Agency
There are a number of reasons that companies hire an agency to handle some or all of their marketing – their experience, it may be easier than hiring staff, etc. But hiring a marketing agency is not as straight forward as many business owners think. That’s because you need to find the right marketing agency, as not all agencies are created equal.
Here’s how to get started.
Define Your Goals
It is important to know first why you need an agency. What are your objectives? Don’t leave that up to the agency you hire. At the end of the day you are responsible for your business, not them. When you come with pre-defined goals you will know what kind of agency you’re looking for and you will have more effective introductory conversations.
Do Your Research
Once you know why you need an agency and what you want them to do, it’s time to find them. A list on a spreadsheet will allow you to check off boxes and compare one to all the others. You want an agency with experience doing what you want them to do, preferably for clients in your industry or with similar business models. Location may be important as well, since face to face time can help, especially at the beginning of a relationship.
Use Google, ask colleagues and friends, and find out what agencies your competitors are using. There are thousands of agencies out there that do what you need. So keep looking until you are satisfied with what you’ve found.
After doing your research, it’s time to start the interview process. Just like you would for an internal hire, you want to use the interviews to narrow down your pool of potential partners. Remember that they will be working for you, so it’s critical they can answer your questions and explain in detail how they plan to help your business.
Follow Up with References
Just like you would with an internal hire, you want to ask for and follow up with references. These will be other clients that they have done work for in the past. Get feedback on how well they met their goals, how they handled the relationship, overall trustworthiness and response time. You want to verify that after you sign a contract, you will get the kind of attention and care you are being promised.
Do the Planning
Before you sign a contract, a good agency will help you put together some projections. When you put numbers on paper, everyone knows what they are going to be held accountable for. The agency should be able to tell you in detail how the process will work, what activities will get done along what timeline, and how soon you should expect to see results. If they won’t do this until after you sign a contract, they are not worth your time.
After the deal is done, your work is not over. Like I said up top, your business is your responsibility. You have to hold the agency accountable if they veer off course or don’t live up to their promises. At the beginning of a relationship, it is important to show them that you are involved and there to make sure things go as planned.
And if they don’t, it’s time to start the process over and find a replacement.
Stay tuned next week for another installment. If you have a topic you would like to see covered in the Day One Strategy blog series, use the comments below or contact us today.