As we've detailed in this space, outsourcing your marketing efforts comes with a wide range of benefits. But of course, even once you've decided that working with a marketing agency is the right step for your business, you still have to make sure that you find a partner that can actually help you effectively reach your audience and grow your business.
To accomplish that goal, approaching your agency search strategically is key. Here are 5 questions to ask potential partner when outsourcing your marketing.
1) What is Your Range of Services?
Not every marketing agency is created equal. Quite the opposite, in fact. Some will focus heavily on web design, others offer only (or mainly) market research. Digital marketing agencies may look very differently than media buying firms. And finally, some embrace newer philosophies like inbound marketing, while others don't.
To make sure you find the right partner, the first question to ask is what services they actually offer. Obviously, you need to find an agency whose expertise overlaps with your needs. Limiting your group of options in this way as early as possible helps you move forward knowing that every potential partner matches your needs.
2) How Do You Measure Success?
No secrets here: you need to find an agency that can actually help you succeed. And to make sure that's the case, asking the question of measurability is always beneficial.
What metrics matter, and how can your partner help you make sure that your money is well-spent? Do they have a process of self-evaluation that ultimately benefits your marketing efforts?
3) Can You Give Us Examples of Previous, Similar Partnerships?
Different audiences and industries require very different marketing approaches. An SaaS company, for example, will need an entirely different strategy than a community college or a local storefront business. Ideally, your agency should have at least some experience working in your industry and attracting your ideal audience.
If possible, ask your future agency for specific case studies, and even contact information of current and past clients. That way, you can reach out and verify that the partnership will be fruitful and mutually beneficial.
4) How Will You Charge for Services?
Different marketing agencies embrace very different models of growing their own revenue. They may work with you on retainer-based models, in which you agree on a monthly spend that ensures a productive partnership. Others allow you to customize your services, adding a service fee (usually between 10% and 20%) on top of the actual marketing spend.
Yet others engage in revenue sharing, demanding not a fee or retainer up front but a share of your business's revenue gained from their marketing efforts. These payments are typically more performance-oriented than the above alternative. But ultimately, you need to understand just how you will spend your money when working with an external marketing partner.
5) What Will Our Partnership Look Like?
Finally, don't sign a contract without an in-depth understanding of what the day-to-day relationship with your agency will actually look like.
Will your partner actually help you build strategy, or simply execute the tactics specified by you? How often will you touch base on the current campaigns, and what types of reports can you expect on a weekly or monthly basis? Each of these questions is important to know before the actual engagement begins.
Outsourcing your marketing effort can bring your business a wide range of benefits. But of course, you can only take advantage of these benefits if you find the right partner to work with. Each of the above questions can help you get a step closer to that goal. Of course, you will have input into what the final relationship with your marketing agency will look like - but you never know until you start asking.
For more answers on what a marketing agency can do for your business, give us a call or send us a note today at Small Dog Creative 661-702-1310!