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  2. How to Choose the Right Marketing Agency (Part 1)

How to Choose the Right Marketing Agency (Part 1)

Match Made in Marketing Heaven

You’ve made the decision to hire a marketing agency and now you’re faced with the daunting task to select the right one for your business. Your main criteria–making sure you find an agency that is in alignment with your business goals, priorities, and culture.

In this 3-part series, our Lifeblood Marketing experts will give you an insight into what questions you want answered before you make a commitment.

Let’s get right to it and start with the basics. Here are 6 simple tips to avoid hopping marketing agencies every few months.

1. Your Marketing Goals

Before you begin looking, ask yourself what your marketing goals are. Growth, brand recognition, sales increase, most likely something else.

Each marketing company has its own approach to meeting these goals: doing social media campaigns, revamping the brand, advertising, creating blogs relevant to the brand, and so on. Being clear on what you expect will help you find an agency that specializes in what you need.

To help you narrow down on goals, ask yourself:

  • What strengths and expertise you and your team already have?
  • What expertise do you not have but would benefit from?
  • How would communication with you ideal agency look like? Imagine who on your team would be in charge of daily, weekly, and monthly communication with the agency. What would the agency’s policy be on updating clients on projects.
  • How does success look for your business? Have a clear vision on your short-term and long-term success.
  • What’s my timeline for achieving success?

2. Bigger Isn’t Always Better

A big, impressive client list doesn’t always mean better business. Look for an agency that can offer a more personalized approach to your business, regardless if you own a small local shop or a large national business. After all, you want an agency that will make your needs a priority regardless of your brand size and budget.

This ties into how an agency handles their projects. Some marketing agencies are known for outsourcing their work. For the client this might mean no direct contact with the people working on the project, language and communication barrier, inability to address immediate concerns or updates.

An in-house marketing agency can ensure that all their clients’ needs are met by qualified staff passionate about helping their clients’ brand grow. With a more personalized approach, these agencies can schedule one-on-one meetings to help figure out the best marketing approach for their clients’ niche, and provide regular updates on the project.

3. Your Budget

Hiring a marketing agency is an investment. Whether you have a big or a smaller budget, the right marketing agency will offer services that fit your finances. Look for an agency that can give you a quote based on your budget and offer a transparent monthly billing plan.

It might be discouraging at first to see the price tag attached to some marketing packages. Don’t let this stop you. Get in touch with the marketing agency, you might be surprised how far your hard-earned money can go.

The cheapest option might be appealing at first, but if you’re looking for long-term marketing success, you won’t find it on the discount shelf. Expertise comes with a higher price but it also comes with a promise of quality, value, and profit for your business.

4. Look at what an agency does, not says

Client testimonials and examples of marketing expertise are the best tell tale signs of what to expect. A well-established marketing agency will have a client portfolio available on their website.

Look at the industries the agency has worked with and the results it has produced. Whether specializing in one or many industries, look for an agency that will be willing to come up with and try some unexpected creative approaches and solutions to your unique business needs.

Go a step further and inquire with other business owners who have hired the marketing agency.

Pay attention to what tools an agency uses to achieve their clients’ goals (AdWords, personalized strategy, creative web design, and so on) and also how success and failures are measured (ROI, ads turned into actual business, promotional campaigns).

5. Get in touch

A great agency won’t hesitate to answer all your questions about their marketing strategy, their personalized touch for every client, and costs.

Ask about client retention rate. Inquire about successful and not so successful past partnerships.

Set up a consultation meeting (these should be free) and discuss your business goals, the appropriate marketing strategy for you, and how you can budget to execute this strategy. Look at this as a job interview where you are the boss talking to a prospective employee. Ask away anything you need to know before hiring.

6. Does it feel right?

Do you ever meet someone for the first time and feel like you’ve met a soulmate? Or perhaps you got that gut wrenching feeling to run away as fast as you can?

Trust your instincts when it comes to choosing a marketing agency. If the chemistry isn’t there, don’t commit. After all, you and the agency have to work in sync to grow your business and brand recognition.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Does the culture of the agency fit your company’s culture?
  • Does the agency have additional cultural traits that would add value to your business, such as an exceptionally creative vision to overcome challenges?
  • Does the agency understand your business’ vision and have a clear strategic idea on how to execute it?
  • Is the agency’s staff passionate about what they do?

The second blog of our 3-part series on How to Choose the Right Marketing Agency will discuss how to distinguish between strategy and STRATEGY. Our in-house experts will give you insight on how to make sure you hire an agency that aligns your strategy across the business, not just within marketing.

Did you find these 6 simple steps helpful? If you’re ready for success but have a few more questions, our expert staff at Lifeblood Marketing will be more than happy to answer your questions.

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