This is part one of a four-part series of questions to ask digital marketing agencies.
Questions To Ask a Digital Marketing Agency About Process and Background
Deciding to hire a digital marketing agency is a CHALLENGE. We get it! There are countless agencies and many strategies and methods, and everyone says their approach is the best. Where do you even begin?
First, take a few deep breaths; you’ll get through this. We’ve talked with countless businesses about their digital marketing needs and know that no one wants to be in the awkward spot of not knowing the right questions to ask when interviewing a digital marketing agency for your business.
To make everyone’s lives a little easier, we’ve put together this four-part series of twelve questions that you NEED to ask any digital marketing agency before you pull the trigger. If they don’t have a good answer, they may not be the right fit for your business.
These aren’t your typical “how much do you cost?” questions. Those are important but not what we’ll cover here. We’ve also covered 8 Questions Every Marketing Director Should Ask When Interviewing Agencies previously, which is perfect for in-house marketers looking to augment their team.
The twelve questions we’ve answered in this series are ones that you may not think of immediately. Getting proper answers to these can be the difference between a long-lasting partnership and being back in the same position in a few months. Armed with these questions, you’ll have the knowledge you need to make a solid decision about which digital marketing agency to hire, and as a certain famous cartoon character said, “Knowing is half the battle!”
Importance of Vetting Digital Marketing Agencies
Most business owners agonize over many high-level decisions and weigh the pros and cons before determining what they feel is best for their business. Choosing the right digital marketing agency is no different. The right group can become an invaluable partner, driving new and repeat business for years to come, while the wrong choice can bring the sales machine to a grinding halt or miss out on potential growth.
When interviewing a digital marketing agency, the biggest concern should be how they align with your business objectives, mission, and values. The best digital marketing agencies partner with businesses to understand the product or service at all levels. To achieve that level of buy-in, whoever you choose should fit the ethos of what your company strives for. If their objectives and values are not in line with yours, it can be a recipe for disaster.
Keep in mind that while you’re interviewing agencies, they’re interviewing you as well! A reputable digital marketing agency knows their areas of expertise and what is out of their wheelhouse. They also know what goals and expectations are realistic given a certain budget. When you come prepared with questions and understand that their experience is valued and welcome, an agency takes note.
Questions about Process and Background
A vital part of interviewing digital marketing agencies is understanding how each operates. While the tactics may be the same, every agency has different methods of operation, from how they onboard to how long engagements last. These four questions will help you determine if their background and processes mesh well with what you need.
How does our business compare to your current clients?
Asking the agencies you’re interviewing how you compare to their current slate of clients is a great way to tell if they’re a good fit quickly. If the agency is focused on clients with $5–$10 million annual revenue and you are smaller, you may feel like the small fish and not get the attention you want. On the other side, if you are larger than most of their other clients, you may outgrow their abilities or be constrained by their headcount.
Additionally, if the agency is heavily focused on a particular niche, they may not have the breadth of experience needed for your business. However, if you’re in a niche industry, a hyper-focused agency may be just the spark you need to break new ground.
How long are your typical engagements?
Are you looking for a long-term agreement, or are you looking for something short-term that you’ll re-evaluate as results begin to come in? Agencies vary on their preferred length of engagement, so understanding the thought process behind the typical length of a contract can shed light on their expectations of results and timing.
What is your process like once we sign the contract?
Understanding the process of what happens after you sign the contract is vital to ensuring the new relationship starts on the right foot. Successful marketing agencies will host a kickoff session introducing you to the team members you’ll be working with and gathering essential information needed to get started on the project.
Asking what each agency’s process is will help you evaluate how organized they are, as well as give you an understanding of the level of involvement you’ll be committing to at the beginning.
What do you need from me to be successful?
Sometimes the biggest hindrance to successful marketing is the involvement of the business itself. Whether it’s a lack of communication internally or limited access to necessary resources, projects can be derailed if there is a gap between what is needed and what the business expects.
Asking upfront how much involvement and input the agency will need from you is vital to a successful partnership. The best results often come from the collaboration between the agency and the business, so asking what the agency needs from you helps set your expectations and shows a willingness to collaborate to ensure the best results, which speaks volumes to the agency.
Continuing the Conversation
In this first part of a four-part series, we’ve covered four questions you should ask a digital marketing agency about their process and background. Check back for part two coming soon where we’ll cover three questions about tactics, strategy, and operations.