You’ve hit capacity in your marketing department. Your staff can’t handle the increased workload that is required to make a dent in your digital marketing efforts. What do you do?
Unfortunately, Superman isn’t flying to the rescue, so that’s where a third party company comes in – a reputable digital marketing agency. But is the time now? How do you find a proven company? How should they conduct business? How should you measure them?
These questions will be the focal point of this post. News flash! Brandpoint is an agency. So, we’re coming to you with rose covered glasses. Yet, this post is meant to start the conversation, give you some ideas, and hopefully drive you to a resource will fit your needs.
When is it time to look outside?
This is a great question. What we can say is this: It differs pending on the businesses situation. As clients, we have large companies that come to us interested in our writing capabilities. On the other side of the spectrum we have small companies come to us looking for a full digital marketing service provider. What we can offer you is a list of questions to ask yourself when considering if it’s time to look outside the building.
1. What is missing from my digital marketing?
2. What does my current team lack in experience or knowledge within the industry?
3. How much budget do I have to use?
4. When would be the best time to hire an agency within our fiscal year?
5. Would I need company approval from higher up, to hire an agency?
Additional questions may be created as you probe these questions. Having answers will help you decide if hiring a digital marketing agency is the right move. It will also help move the whole sales process along if you come to your prospective agency with the answer to these questions in mind.
How to conduct research
You’ve answered all the questions and now you’re ready to do some research. Where do you start?
Well, Google is always a good place. Searching with the answers to your questions is a good tactic. For example, if you need an agency to write large pieces of content like white papers or e-books, search this: Marketing agency that writes white papers or e-books. This type of search will get you a variety of links that can help you choose.
Another way to find a good marketing partner is to look to top media sites within the industry. Sites like Content Marketing Institute (CMI) will help provide direction towards top agencies. Look at the guest posts on CMI for top influencers as well.
What you should look for
You done some research and you’ve reached out to your short list. Now what should you look for as you engage in discussions with your list?
The main question — can they complete what you need them to do — is relatively easy to find out. All agencies have a list of companies they’ve done work for. Often the list is located right on their homepage. But not all agencies have references or case studies to reach out to. Asking for these things shouldn’t cause resistance with your contacts; reaching out to references is essential for your own knowledge, peace and comfort.
Another way to check on a company is to look at their Glassdoor rankings, or on their social media. How do they act? Are they doing what they preach? These are some investigative actions you can do to check the validity of the agency.
One more tool you can use is LinkedIn. Find the people that work there and might work on your campaign. Just like hiring them on to your team, you can see their experience and if they know what they’re doing.
The on-boarding process
One factor that is overlooked by a lot of companies is the on-boarding process a digital marketing agency employs to get a campaign started. Making sure there is a documented process that introduces you and your company to the key players handling your account sets your campaign on a good path. It also allows you to help the agency understand your brand (since you’re the expert in it), and lays the groundwork for the work and deliverables that are to be completed over the length of the contract.
To make sure your selected agency has an on-boarding process, ask the references you received about it, and ask the agency for a documented guide with action dates on the process.
Long-term campaign success
Once you’ve decided to use a digital marketing agency, the first few months should be a getting-to-know-one-another phase that will really lay the basis for the rest of the campaign.
While a lot of clients expect a digital marketing agency to handle the work with little help, it is important that you continue to be involved with the process. The number one problem with a campaign’s success or not, in our experience, is the engagement of the client.
While you are paying an agency to handle a lot, you are the marketing expert for your company. This means you need to guide your agency when they require help and be present for any questions they have. This is why the first few months are so important. They set the relationship and drive a campaign both can be proud of.
Working with a digital agency can be both fun and scary. It’s allowing new people to run your digital brand, which in today’s world can be a scary proposition. Making sure you are prepared for the journey and get all questions answered prior to signing a statement of work will make the process a lot easier and more successful.
Digital marketing agencies are here to help. With guidance, insights and knowledge from you, they can bring your digital brand up-to-date with best practices.
Want more information on working with a digital agency? Check out these posts from other Brandpoint experts: 5 Questions to Answer When Working with a Content Agency Writing Team, and Should You Hire a Social Media Agency?