One of the biggest challenges that a small business faces are in marketing. No matter how great your brand and what it offers is, without effective marketing your brand will be unheard of.
And in the internet age, digital marketing is crucial to make your brand known. If it’s not known on the internet – it won’t be known at all.
So what do you do to market your brand?
The answer is simple: you hire a marketing agency.
But how do you ensure that the marketing agency is best for your needs?
The Guide on How to Hire a Marketing Agency
When you choose a marketing agency you want to consider two things primarily. The first is the credentials of the marketing agency. You want to make sure that they have proven experience in helping brands grow. They should be able to provide you with case studies.
You also want to make sure that the marketing agency fits your budget. But wait! Once you have met these two criteria, you still aren’t ready to hire a marketing agency.
There are additional questions you need to ask to make sure the marketing agency can truly help your brand.
Here’s what to ask:
1. What’s Your Strategy for Local SEO?
If your brand can reach a local audience, you want to utilize local SEO.
This helps your local audience know that your brand is open for business. It makes it known to your local audience that your brand is known among its competition. If an internet user is looking for a company in a particular niche, you want to make sure that it’s your brand that shows up in search results.
You want to ask the marketing agency if they have a local SEO expert onboard. You want to ask how they will make sure that your brand stands out from the competition and how it will win over the local audience.
2. What Industries Do You Have Experience With?
You want to make sure that the marketing agency has experience with your industry.
Ideally, there should be a familiarity with your industry. If the marketing agency isn’t familiar with your industry you can either move onto a new agency or ask them their strategy. Naturally, the marketing agency will want to keep your business. They won’t want you to go elsewhere – unless they specifically work with certain industries.
If they haven’t worked in your industry before, you need to ask the marketing agency how they will learn about your industry. You want to make sure they understand the target market and how to reach out to them. You want to make sure they understand the competition and the trends.
If you see that they have knowledge (or will develop a knowledge of) your industry, then you can move forward to the next question.
3. How Do You Track Progress?
Next, you want to ask the marketing agency on how they track progress. To show that the marketing efforts are working, they need to look at marketing analytics.
Ask them what marketing analytics services they will use – such as Google Analytics, Matomo Analytics, etc. You want to ask them how knowledgeable they are of these analytics services. If you aren’t familiar with the service, you should ask the marketing agency about the features of the service.
For example, you should ask about if the service tracks traffic and conversions. You want to know if it tracks demographics and geographical location. You want to ask them how they will determine their marketing strategy after looking at an analytics report.
You want them to be able to ask them questions such as “how will you increase the conversion rate?” and “how will you reach out to a new target market in a new geographical location?”
4. What Are the Goals?
Next, you want to ask the marketing agency what their goals are for your brand. How many new followers are they hoping to gain each month? What are their specific marketing strategies?
Whenever your brand launches a new product or service, you should ask the marketing agency how they will market this new product/service. Are they planning on creating a landing page? Will they promote the product/service through social media and email marketing?
You also want to let the marketing agency know the goals you’ve set for your brand. Perhaps you want to acquire new followers each month. Perhaps there are conversion rates you wish to hit. There will also be financial goals that you have. You want to ask the marketing agency what specifically they will do to help your brand meet the goals you set for it.
To return to the previous tip, you want to make sure that the marketing agency can prove they have met these goals. Many marketing agencies only care about ‘vanity goals’ and you want to make sure your marketing agency doesn’t engage in this practice.
This means that if you wish to acquire 10 new followers, you want to make sure that these 10 followers are interested followers. There’s never a guarantee that all, most, or even some of these followers will become customers. But you want to make sure that they aren’t frivolous followers who will never engage with your brand.
The marketing agency should also be able to continuously set new goals. As your brand grows, the marketing agency will have to come up with new goals to help it grow further.
5. What Channels Will You Use?
You want to ask the marketing agency what channels they will use to market your brand.
You want to first make sure that they will use email marketing. While email may seem old-fashioned, it’s still a preferred method of communication for many. Email is best used for digital newsletters.
Digital newsletters are one of the best ways to acquire customers and build an audience. These are used for informing your audience about any updates with your company. You can also use it to inform your customers about product/service launches.
You also want to make sure that the marketing agency is well-versed in all of the social media platforms. You want to ask them which social media platforms they will use to promote your brand. You also want to ask them how they will use each platform.
For example, they may use Instagram to promote your brand’s products/services. They can use Facebook to directly interact with your customers. LinkedIn can be used to share professional content and interact directly with industry professionals.
The marketing agency needs to understand the features of each social media platform in detail. They need to understand how to use the analytics features of each platform to measure progress.
6. Do They Understand the Trends?
Let’s return to our previous point of having familiarity with your brand’s industry. You want to ask the marketing agency if they understand and are on top of the latest trends.
Trends refer to general marketing trends. This means that the marketing agency has to know which social media platforms are becoming popular. They need to know what the trends are on how to promote your brand.
They also need to keep up with the news and how marketing plays on these trends. For example, if there is a particular social cause that brands are drawing attention to they may advise your brand to jump on the brand (if appropriate) to help with marketing efforts.
You should ask the marketing agency what the current trends in the news, your industry, and marketing are. Ask them how they would plan the first month to have your brand establish itself as being abreast of the trends. You want to inquire as to how they will research the trends and make sure your brand always keeps up with them.
7. What About SEO?
It’s no secret that one of the most important aspects of website marketing is through Search Engine Optimization – or SEO for short. SEO is the procedure by which your website is optimized so that it can rank highly in search engines.
You need to make sure that the marketing agency understands SEO. You want to make sure they discuss how they will implement SEO in their marketing strategy. SEO is so crucial to your brand’s success that if the marketing agency isn’t adept at SEO, then you need to move on immediately!
You should ask about how they conduct keyword research. You want to ask about when they decide to incorporate high-ranking keywords and low-ranking keywords. You want to ask about SEO in terms of website copy and website content (blogs, podcasts, videos). You also want to make sure they know how to optimize your website to make it more mobile-friendly as this is a crucial and often overlooked aspect of SEO.
8. What About Website Design?
Your website’s design is also crucial to its success. You want to ask if the marketing agency can do a full audit on your website. After they complete an audit, they should be able to make edits to your website.
Website design will have to go beyond the aesthetics of the pages. The website design has to include making sure that your website loads faster. It further includes making sure that the website is interactive. You also want to make sure that the website has easy navigation.
Ask the marketing agency how they would redesign the website and if they could provide you with a blueprint on how to rebuild it.
9. How Do They Work?
You want to learn about how the marketing agency completes their work. You want to inquire as to whether they have their staff work in-house or if they outsource the work. Or do they outsource particular tasks? Do they outsource SEO, for example?
You want to ask how tasks will be delegated among the marketing team. You want to make sure that the marketing agency knows how to delegate responsibilities. You want to make sure that all of the important tasks are covered. You want to know that there is a Social Media Manager, a Marketing Analyst, a team of Content Creators, etc.
Ask the marketing agency about their process on how they manage each task. Ask them if you are allowed to sit in on any marketing team meetings to give your input. There should be enough transparency so that you know that the team is working to grow your brand.
10. How Often Will You Hear From Them?
You want to inquire about how regular communication between you and the marketing agency will be. While you don’t need them to pester you regularly – and you also want to give them breathing space, you want to make sure they are providing your company with regular updates.
You want to see if you can schedule a regular call to discuss the marketing efforts and future initiatives. You want to ask if they can provide regular written reports on the marketing progress and what goals have been achieved.
You want to make sure that your marketing agency is customer-focused. You want one that isn’t trying to acquire too many clients and be another run-of-the-mill agency. You want one that will be able to understand your brand’s needs and offer a custom service. You want a marketing agency that provides stellar customer service to you.
11. How Many Accounts Are Managed?
This continues with our previous point. If the marketing agency is large, you will be concerned with how customer-focused it is. If an account manager manages several accounts at once, you want to make sure they can still give special attention to your brand.
Ask the marketing agency how account managers are able to manage multiple accounts at once. Ask if they will be able to schedule ample time to speak to you when needed. You want to ensure that no matter how many other accounts there are, that you receive an adequate amount of customer service when needed.
Market Your Brand
Now that you know what to ask when hiring a marketing agency, you are ready to grow your brand. With a marketing agency’s help, you will be able to establish your brand in its industry and outrank your competition.
And we’d love to help! Reach out to us to see what we can do for you.