Let’s set the scene. You own a business, but despite your efforts, the company doesn’t seem to be taking off as you’d anticipated. You know some changes need to be made, but the world of digital marketing is confusing and you’re not sure where to even begin making improvements, let alone do you have the time!
Sounds like you need the help of a marketing agency.
Why an agency?
For SMEs, hiring a marketing agency can be much more cost-effective than facilitating an in-house team. Agencies can offer a team of experts at a fraction of the cost of hiring and maintaining a full-time team, whilst having access to relevant tools and resources which reduces the need for businesses to invest in expensive software and technologies. On the flip side, even larger businesses with existing marketing departments can benefit from the assistance of an agency – there is no such thing as too much focus on marketing.
An external marketing agency can bring a fresh, objective view of your business and current marketing strategies. It can be much easier to identify strengths, weaknesses and overlooked opportunities when looking from an outside perspective.
Agencies often have a string of industry connections at their fingertips, from media outlets to potential partners. This can help expand your reach and open new opportunities that you may not have considered before. As well as this, it’s likely the agency will have a client base that spans a range of industries and sectors, giving them valuable insights into market trends, consumer behaviour and industry benchmarks.
An agency can be a valuable asset for businesses looking to enhance their marketing efforts, achieve better results and stay competitive within a dynamic marketplace. So, how can you find an agency that is the best fit for your business?
What do you need?
Understand your goals and objectives. Of course, an agency can suggest new avenues and perhaps highlight areas you hadn’t thought to improve, but it’s important that you know what you want out of this partnership. Maybe you want to increase your brand awareness, generate more leads or improve traffic to your site. Or, you may want to expand into new markets. Having a clear goal can help you find an agency that aligns with your vision.
This is also important as agencies will often offer a wide range of services, from digital marketing and SEO, content marketing and PR services, social media management and more. It’s important that you find an agency that specialises in the areas you want to prioritise the most.
How much do you want to spend?
There’s no universal price for a marketing agency, it will depend on the agency itself, as well as what exactly you require from it. Determine your budget, including any additional resources you can allocate to marketing activities. This will help to narrow down your options and find agencies that suit your financial needs.
Finding an agency
There are a variety of methods to search for a marketing agency. A simple Google search will do the trick, but you can also browse on social media, particularly LinkedIn. Remember that an agency doesn’t necessarily need to be geographically close to you. The work can easily be completed remotely, and the right agency will make you feel as though they’re just down the road despite actually being much further.
Gaining recommendations from friends and family can help point you in the right direction, but don’t jump straight onto a recommendation without doing your own research first. Look into whether each potential agency has any experience working with businesses similar to yours, or within similar industries. Check out any case studies or testimonials for insights into client satisfaction and results.
Meet with the agency
Reach out to potential agencies, either via email or over the phone. You can express your interest or ask any questions, as well as use this as an opportunity to assess responsiveness. Then, arrange a meeting. This can be face-to-face or via a video call, depending on what suits you best. It’s important to give yourself time to discuss your needs with a potential agency, as well as learn more about the agency itself. Evaluate the agency’s values, work ethic and company culture to get a good feel for the way it’s run. It’s all well and good finding an agency that is perfect for you on paper, but compatibility will make collaboration and communication much smoother.
In this meeting, be open about your current situation and your future goals. Ask how the agency would help you, and as many other questions as you need to get a good feel for the company. You can request some examples of previous work and can even ask for a reference to contact a previous client to learn more about their performance and reliability.
You can go through this process with as many candidates as you wish to, then compare each experience to decide which is right for you.
Trust your gut
At the end of the day, an agency is just a group of people looking to assist another group of people. You may walk into your first meeting and immediately feel confident that this is the agency you want to work with, but you could also walk into an immediate sense of dread.
Trust your instincts and choose the agency with clear expertise, experience and a strong passion for helping you achieve your marketing goals.