Are you in the market for a marketing company to help with the marketing efforts of your business? Are you unsure about what questions you need to ask the marketing company before you hire them?
The ongoing pandemic continues to cost US businesses and consumers. By the middle of the year, it caused 72,842 businesses to close down across the country. While many traditional businesses are closing, digital start-ups are opening and blooming.
Other businesses that still keep their heads above water are using a digital format. Going digital also means that you must use the latest digital marketing techniques. Hiring a marketing company is a good choice if you’re not well-equipped to handle it.
This guide contains the 13 questions you may forget to ask when you’re hiring a new marketing company.
1. How Does the Marketing Team Measure Success?
An important question you need to throw out there is this. This way, you have an idea about how the company looks at success and its work. You also need to observe if their metrics for success match your marketing goals.
Before that, you may also want to talk about your goals. Ask how the marketing company plans to reach them. You may have for-profit goals like accruing sales or nonprofit goals like building brand awareness.
Knowing what metrics they’re focusing on seeing will tell you what they’re putting importance on.
Note that you need to know the metrics. This way, you know if the company is only talking about vanity metrics, which don’t have real implications. For example, the open-rate of emails in email marketing is a vanity metric.
Also, don’t feel shy about asking what will happen if the team fails to meet your goals. How they answer will tell you a lot about their resourcefulness, confidence, and reliability.
2. What Services or How Much of the Work Will Get Outsourced?
Outsourcing has several great benefits, including the fact that work gets done faster. You also get to pay people who are good at the job rather than learn and do it yourself. It’s why you’re looking to hire a marketing company to aid your marketing efforts.
Expect that some of the work/services that the company offers will also get outsourced. The marketing company’s specialty may be the thing they do. Yet, they offer other services that freelancers can take a stab at, too.
Knowing what services they outsource helps you learn if those are their specialty services.
3. What Is Its Expertise in Digital Services?
This is a key question you must ask any marketing company before hiring marketers. The digital marketing company doesn’t have to be an expert in every service. You want them to be an expert in the services you need.
This way, they can cater to those specific needs and deliver well. For example, you may want to focus on Instagram SEO campaigns. Ask about where the company’s expertise lies and then how well they can handle an IG SEO campaign.
You can get a deeper look at their skills by asking about which services happen in-house. They may employ full-time staff or freelancers. If in-house experts don’t conduct the services you need, you may need to look for a different company.
4. What Project Management Tools Does the Company Use?
As a company owner, you may have your set of preferred project management tools. You may use it for communication and file sharing within your company. You may also use it to dissect your budget and better learn how to manage your projects.
Knowing what the project management tools a marketer uses can help you understand their process. This is especially true if you use the same project management tools.
Also, professional marketing companies aren’t the only ones who must know how to use such tools. Learning them can also help you conduct risk analysis and weed out bad project ideas. Plus, you get to have a little background on the topic if you know more about project management tools.
5. How Does the Company Deliver or Report Data?
You can expand this question into smaller and more specific questions. Does the company have access to online reporting suites? Do they plan to include analysis or reviews during meetings or conference calls?
You may also request a sample report or access to their reporting portal to see how they deliver their data. This question also has some related questions that you may want to ask, as well. How transparent is the marketing company? Do its marketing company services show in measurable data?
6. How Often Do You Have to Meet With the Digital Marketing Company?
Before you ask them this, consider asking yourself the same question. Do you have responsibilities that may keep you from meeting with your new marketer often? Do you prefer to have informal meetings and to have them between longer periods?
Knowing the answer will help you establish a schedule for the duration of your contract. You may also want to know at a more frequent interval how well the marketing efforts are going. It also helps if you prefer to check in with the marketing team over a call or via a formal Zoom meeting.
Express your expectations, too. This way, you can coordinate your meetings and meet in the middle.
The company may prefer to meet every month while you want to receive reports more often. When you talk about it, you can agree to meet bi-weekly instead. It’s also better for both parties to know what to expect from each other.
7. What’s Included in the Contract With the Marketing Agency?
You may have already thought to ask how long a contract is with the marketing company. If you didn’t, ask that. Another thing you may forget to ask is what’s included in the contract.
Every agency writes unique contracts. Despite this, you’ll want to understand what the contracts you read say. Look for the expected deliverables and when you can expect them.
Some contracts are for parties that will agree upon a reasonable number of projects in a period. That’s how most agents work freelance. For example, a contract says you can expect four digital marketing projects in a month.
Knowing what’s written in the contract also helps you know what projects stay in scope. This also helps you know how much work you can expect from the marketing agency. Depending on the number of projects, it will also inform you about how many times you’ll renew it.
8. Can the Company Work for Performance-Based Compensation?
You’d look for a marketing firm that can work for performance-based compensation. Why? Before that, let’s define what performance-based compensation is first.
This is what you pay the company based on the results of their efforts. The common case is that you and the marketing team will agree to a certain price once you reach certain goals. Yet, this can get delayed if the company is still new and needs more experience.
The company may also give you subpar work quality. Before you agree to anything, you’d want to guarantee that the company offers this. It’s also one way for the marketing company to ensure that they can guarantee good results.
9. When Can You Expect to See the Results of Its Services?
Know that it takes time before you can see the results of marketing efforts. Depending on the services you need, ROI and success may return to you soon or later. For example, social media marketing will get more immediate results compared to SEO. You can check our SEO guide here.
As the hiring party, you’ll want to know how soon you can expect an ROI. It also helps to know how much time the marketing company expects it’ll take for their work to show results. This tells you about their confidence in their abilities and work.
This way, you know if a marketing company is boasting too much and is likely going to fail at the job. If the company’s answer sounds too good to be true, consider a different company. Note that you also need to have a good rough estimate of the time it takes for results to show.
10. What Brand of Marketing Does the Company Use for Content Marketing?
When we say “brand” of marketing, we’re referring to the strategies and styles that the company uses. Some companies like to adhere to inbound marketing only. Others like to focus on paid advertising.
You may find companies that specialize in content creation. Meanwhile, some may be great at making backlinks that are alluring and tempting to click on. Here’s a guide to backlinks if you want to learn more about backlinking. You may even find one that can do it all.
Every online marketing agency has a special brand of marketing. Knowing the potential marketer’s style can help you match your marketing needs. This way, you know what limits the company also has in their field. Remember, some can offer all these services as well because they outsource work as well.
11. How Does the Company Build Audience Personas?
This is another valid question you need to remember. What process does the marketing company use to build an online audience persona? In a sense, this can translate to “How well do you know my target audience?”
This will also give you an insight into whether the company will take notes from you about your audience. In a way, this can also affect the success of the marketing company. How will they find and promote your brand to the right audiences if they don’t know how to model your audiences?
If you read that the marketing company doesn’t have a plan about how it’ll craft an audience persona for you, be careful. This can mean that they have no plans of considering your audience personas. It’ll most likely lead to a waste of effort, money, and time.
12. Will the Company’s Strategy Reflect Your Brand Message?
Your brand and the marketer’s style of marketing need to match. Branding and marketing are two similar things, after all. Thus, you want to make sure that the marketing effort has as much vitality or elegance as your brand.
Let’s say you have a very vivid and animated branding. You don’t want to hire a marketing company with a very formal and quiet style of marketing. Or, at least, only if your company has the same quiet and formal energy.
Your brand is what establishes your position while marketing supports and defends it.
You also don’t want to confuse or disappoint your customers. They may expect something fun and whimsical, as you’ve branded your company to be. Hiring a marketer with the opposite marketing style can disappoint your expectant customers.
13. Does the Company Have References? Who Are Some Previous Clients?
Finally, ask the marketing company if they can provide you references. Those references can be clients that the company worked with once. It can also be a long-time client of theirs or another marketer that it collaborated with.
Don’t feel too shy about calling or messaging the reference they give you. This is the most reliable way of learning about the potential hire. You’d also get to learn deeper things about a company in a reference call than in a review or testimonial.
Knowing some of the previous clients also helps you learn more about the company’s work. You can check their work for consistency, marketing styles, and efficiency. If you like their past work, you may appreciate how they’ll handle your brand.
It’s like looking at the reviews of a brand new gadget before you buy it, which 94% of consumers do. If you see that their marketing efforts didn’t gather much audience reaction, then you can call it off. Note that you also need to consider the factors that may affect their marketing at the time if you do this.
Find the Best Marketing Company for Your Business Now
That ends our guide on the 13 questions you need to remember to ask a marketing company before hiring. We hope you found this guide useful and beneficial. Remember to write these questions down so you don’t forget to ask them during the interview.
Do you want to learn more about similar topics? Our blog is full of many more posts about digital marketing. Feel free to check it out to see more content like this.
If you have any questions about digital marketing, don’t keep it bottled up. You can talk to us about it. We’ll be happy to help you anytime.