You might be wondering, "What can an inbound marketing agency do for my company," or "How will I know I've hired the right inbound agency," and these are valid concerns. Whether you’re looking to get your inbound marketing strategy off the ground or looking to improve on the plan you’ve already got in place, partnering with an inbound marketing agency can offer many advantages.
But there is no shortage of digital marketing agencies in this day and age, so how do you go about choosing the best fit for you?
Every agency has a different background. Some started online, and others started traditionally and have adapted over time. Different agencies specialize in different industries with different sizes of clients they help.
Even worse, some agencies truly focus only on sales and revenue growth. But even more hide behind vague open-ended promises of increased awareness and positive engagement.
In this post, we will address the five most important questions you need to ask when evaluating an agency’s strengths and weaknesses. When choosing an agency, the communication and collaboration processes are key (and they only become more important after you sign on!).
1. Who will manage my account and execute the work?
When considering hiring an agency, this is the first question you should ask. Some agencies have in-house teams that handle all client work, some outsource client work to contract and offshore workers, and some use any combination of the two.
It is important that you feel confident in the level of experience and expertise of the people you’re putting in charge of your marketing success. There has to be a level of TRUST in that department.
2. What planning and strategy will be required up front?
When you’re developing a working relationship with an agency, you’ll have to take some time to get to know them. It won’t just happen on its own.
As a client, you need to know the agency’s EXPECTATIONS, how work will be managed and the entire approval process. Most importantly, you both need to be on the same page when it comes to expectations, timelines and deliverables.
Experienced agencies will already have a process in place for getting their team and your team up to speed in a timely fashion. Be sure to ask how they handle client onboarding.
3. How will communication and collaboration be handled?
Communication and collaboration processes are essential. They can make or break the entire partnership. It may feel like some of your questions are nit-picky or you don’t need to worry about the small stuff. It’s appropriate to verbalize such thoughts.
As a client, you want your budgeted hours going to actual productive work time that will provide a return on your investment – not hours going toward project management. And although some hours will inevitably go into project and client management, so how efficient that work is will make a big difference.
Agencies that have proper processes for client communication, collaboration, and project management waste much less time managing client relationships. Make sure that you feel confident in the agency’s PROCESSES for setting timelines, performing work, and obtaining feedback.
4. What makes a good client?
All these questions revolve around what makes a good agency, except for this one.
And why? Because clients need to realize they play a major part of the process. There are good clients and bad clients. Good clients allow agency’s to do their best work. Ask an agency what makes their best clients great to work with and what it is that makes them hate working with the bad ones.
Interviewing a potential agency is very similar to questioning a new hire – there needs to be trust and a cultural FIT for collaboration to run smooth and efficient.
5. Which Key Performance Indicators does your team typically focus on for clients?
This is a major factor. When getting reports from agency’s you want the information to be streamlined, understandable and transparent.
It’s up to marketers to present their numbers so everyone outside the marketing department can easily understand them – leads, customers and revenue.
If an inbound marketing agency truly focuses on sales, REPORTING will reflect that. Their reports will focus more on leads generated, converted to next lifecycle stage, and ultimately closed.
Remember, there are a lot of moving pieces that contribute to the success of a WELL-ROUNDED inbound marketing strategy and they all work in unison.
Digital marketing agencies are all tactics, not just strategy. If you have tactics without strategy, you have disorder. If you have strategy without tactics, you have thinkers but not doers. Tactics always serve strategy.