Few things can boost your game in business like great marketing. But not everyone can do it in-house. To get the most out of your marketing dollars, you must sometimes hire an agency.
Agencies all have different specialties. Whether you are looking for a digital agency, or a focus on advertising in print, there is a firm out there for you. They might even be local!
While it’s not always possible to hire local, especially in the digital age, you can definitely hire for a few other things. One of them is expertise. Here are a few other things you should hire for (and do!) for great results from your marketing agency.
Hire For Culture
This may sound counterintuitive, but it’s one of the most important things you can do for great results. Culture defines so much of what we do in our work. It also defines how we do it. If you want results that are consistent with your brand, you’ve got to share a bit of your company culture with the marketing agency.
If it seems like it will take too much time, don’t be phased! It’s worth it to investigate their company culture also. Many people don’t ask enough hard questions early on in this type of business relationship to get good results. Just like with dating, knowing what you want is everything when it comes to making a great business match.
Hire for Results
The results of the past make every bit of difference when it comes to hiring an agency. The past results show what they are both capable of and willing to do. Do you need hyper-polished work? Or just an enormous amount of marketing? Hire with your needs in mind, and match them to the past work of each individual agency.
Focus on ETA
Be clear about when you need the material. If you get flyers, social media posts, and everything else you need two months after a major holiday, it won’t really do much good. If you don’t think you’ve left yourself a lot of time, work with an agency that really has time and staff to ramp up production for you.
ETA is important for the long term and the short term. Make sure that your team can rely on the marketing agency for each milestone, rather than just the end result.
Discuss Payment Options Openly
There are all kinds of payment options for marketing contracts. If you’ve done your homework when it comes to culture, expertise, and ETA, you might have enough trust for an open-wallet contract. If not, communicate clearly about whether you are billing per hour or per project.
You will always benefit when everyone works to be the other’s favorite customer and agency. Try to put in a little padding if you can. If not, try to make sure that everything isn’t a rush order. Preserving a good business relationship and making room for quality gets better results than being too strict with a budget.
Take a Load Off
Here is an important rule: if working with an agency doesn’t make less work for you, don’t hire them! This is a criteria that you can assess by the level of customer service you receive while you are negotiating a contract.
If no one asks you questions upfront or doesn’t put enough work into negotiations, they will have to make up for it by asking you for a lot of information later. Choose to work with people who negotiate well at the start, and save yourself a lot of hassle in the long run.
Trust, Or Don’t Make the Deal
Building trust can mean a strong negotiation, but it can also mean working off of referrals. If you have minimal trust for an agency, your relationship and results are likely to suffer. Even if you can keep up appearances for a little while, it will be difficult to let people do their job when it counts.
Some people check in only yearly, but doing so monthly with weekly communications is more advisable. Communicate about everything! You really can’t go wrong, unless you are spamming someone with corporate emails.
Good communication is clear, kind, and valuable. Try to answer questions thoroughly, and even try to add a little more information or another question if you can. Make your emails worth reading. It’s how well you communicate during work that counts for results.
Outline Desired Outcomes
Be clear and specific. Do you need 1200 social media posts? A banner ad every month? Make sure that everyone understands what you are asking for and the style of work that you need. Many people don’t have clear artistic direction upfront and have to re-work graphic pieces because they guessed on style in the first place.
Working styles vary, but your brand should stay consistent! Hiring and working with these pieces of advice will help ensure consistent results that are maintainable in a long-term working relationship. Hire people who are creative, hard-working, and trustworthy. Be clear about your deadlines, and be prepared to pay extra if you’re short on time.