For small business owners, hiring an external marketing agency can be a great way to grow your business if you have limited time or marketing knowledge. However, no two marketing agencies are the same, and it is important that you choose the agency that can best meet your needs on time and on budget. Business Foundations has compiled a list of things to consider when hiring an external marketing agency so that you don’t make an expensive mistake.


1. Know what your goals are.

Each marketing agency has their specialties, so it is important to know what outcomes you expect from the relationship before making a decision. Whether you are looking for a brand overhaul, to increase sales, improve SEO, improve your social media, or all of the above – each company will have its pros and cons and you need to find the one that best suits your goals. It will also be far easier to measure the success of the relationship when you know what your goals are.


2. See references.

You would check the references for a prospective employee, so you should be checking them for your agency too. Digital marketing has changed a lot over the years, so it is important that you can see some recent references or case studies from your prospective agency to prove the quality of their work. Examples of their work will show you what their skills are and if their work fits with what you are looking for.


3. Don’t sign a long-term contract.

If you are selecting a new digital marketing agency for the first time, it may be wise to only enter the relationship on a short-term contract. This will allow you to reassess regularly to ensure the agency is adequately meeting your goals. If the relationship isn’t working for your business, it is far easier and cheaper to walk away and find another agency if you signed a short-term contract. A good rule of thumb is to enter into quarterly contracts, that way the agency has to work hard to earn your business regularly.


4. Consider your budget.

As a small business owner, you may be looking for the cheapest agency so that you can grow your business for the lowest possible cost. Whilst it is tempting to choose the cheaper option, remember to keep the value of the work in mind. You need to ensure that whoever you choose will provide you with a good ROI, otherwise you are just wasting money if the cheaper agency provides little return. Try to choose a marketing agency that is transparent about their billing practices and will quote you based on your goals and needs.


5. Establish how you will communicate.

It is important that your marketing agency provides you with frequent updates on what they are working on and the results they are achieving. Before signing a contract, ask the agency how often they will contact you and if you will be in direct contact with the account manager. If they can’t provide you with a clear outline on how they will communicate with you, this is a red flag. You will likely find that the relationship won’t work for you if you can never get in touch with them or have no idea what they are doing.

Choosing the right marketing agency is all about finding which one will fit your goals, needs, and budget. With these tips in mind, you will know what to look for when enquiring with prospective agencies.

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