Committing to an online marketing agency is a big investment and we often find that businesses get stuck in long term contracts with companies who end up providing a poor experience to other businesses. It’s not until they engage with us that they start questioning their service agreement and try to work out ways they can break this.
Here’s a list of 5 simple questions we developed so you can ensure you’re asking all the right questions before you sign on the dotted line…
- Has the marketing agency spent time getting to know your business? We’re amazed at how many companies can provide a quote for online marketing over the phone or without even meeting potential clients to find out about their business model, target market, unique selling proposition and all those other important details that should come into a marketing proposal. If your marketing team doesn’t know a thing about your business, how can you trust that they’ll provide you with the results you’re after?
- How many clients do they have in your industry? Bet you’re thinking the more the merrier, right? Wrong. Although it’s great to have industry specific experience, any ethical agency would see the implications in servicing two clients targeting the same type of business. If they are servicing clients in the same industry, make sure there’s no crossover in the strategy and target market, otherwise things could get messy!
- What are they charging? Seems like a basic question however with online advertising, it’s a bit more complex. If an agency is charging you, let’s say, $2,000 for AdWords, make sure you’re aware of the split between the management fee and direct advertising costs. If you’re working with an official Google Partner, they are obliged to disclose this information to you. If you do decide sign up with a Google Partner, they should also provide you with monthly reports outlining click costs.
- Is there a strategy? Some online agencies are great at setting up campaigns, simply for the sake of it. Strategy is the most important part of the campaign’s success as not only does it set a goal, it also allows you to measure success through return on investment. Online and offline strategy should be aligned and filtered through the entirety of the business. Strategy is not cheap, but it’s certainly worth the investment.
After all, you wouldn’t build a house without engaging with an architect, would you?
- Do you trust them? When Michael Corleone said “It’s not personal, it’s business” in the Godfather – he was very wrong. The relationship between an agency and a client should be strong and built on a foundation of mutual trust. If you’re questioning the provider’s motives and get a bad vibe when dealing with them, you should really ask yourself if it’s going to work. As an agency, if we don’t feel ‘the spark’, we will let down potential clients in the nicest possible way. We find that being selective with the clients we work with has its long-term benefits. We definitely think you should have the same mindset with not only providers but also customers and other businesses.