Finding the right marketing agency to help your business build a loyal customer base, acquire leads and grow sales can be a challenge. Working with a marketing agency isn’t a short-term relationship, you want one that can demonstrate the level of dedication and attention that you’re looking for.
But marketers are good at positioning themselves. They will often have glossy collateral that seems to cover all your bases. Working your way through this is a major challenge for small business owners that are already stretched running their business.
However, you don’t need to know a lot to be able to filter out the hype from reality. It comes down to knowing what questions to ask.
Before you start asking potential providers questions, there are two key questions you need to work out for your business:
Once you’ve worked out these basic parameters you’ll be able to better assess your options. When looking for help there are 4 areas to assess:
Provide a selection of potential marketing agencies with a short introduction to your company and share your business plan. Highlight your needs and goals so they can work out the right marketing strategy for your business.
From their proposed plan you’ll be able to gauge if they have the right experience in your industry to be effective. For instance, if they’ve only dealt with larger businesses they’ll be focusing on brand building activities. If they’re used to dealing with smaller clients, they’ll be more focused on providing direct returns on their marketing activities.
Find out as much as possible about what the marketing agency achieved for other clients. If they’re proud of their work and results, they’ll have case studies and feedback from existing and previous clients available.
Did they exceed the expectations of their clients or give them exactly what they asked for?
If you don’t have a detailed knowledge of marketing, you’re unlikely to know all the options with marketing. You want people who can give you more than you think is possible.
Understanding what your business will mean to them is a way to assess how they will view you as a client. Do they want to find out all the details of your business and give it the best returns? Or are they more interested chasing awards or publicity?
You can work this out by listening to how they talk about other clients. Do they focus on the return on investment they delivered? Or about how great the imagery was or how clever an ad campaign was?
While referrals or recommendations are a good sign of a proficient and respected marketer, it isn’t enough. It’s also important that they have been able to generate new business through their own marketing activities. If they can’t generate new customers for their own business, how will they do that for yours?
Even though finding the right marketing agency can be a lengthy process, it’s important to get someone who understands what you need and where you’re coming from. Getting the right marketing help is a key ingredient in making better use of your limited resources, and setting up your business for future growth.
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