Many small businesses don’t have the budget or manpower to operate a full-fledged marketing department. That’s where online marketing agencies come in. Companies like HubSpot create tools that connect businesses with potential customers in a more efficient manner.
In this guide, we’ll discuss how to choose an agency that fits your needs, how to prepare for the application process, and what to expect once you’re working with the agency.
What Type Of Agency Should You Choose?
Deciding on the type of agency that you want to work with is one of the most crucial decisions you have to make. There are a number of considerations that you need to make. For instance, do you need help with SEO, social media, email marketing, or website design?
One of the most important things to consider is the specialization of the agency. You don’t want to work with a generalist agency, as they may not have the in-house expertise to effectively handle your project. A specialized agency will almost certainly have the in-house staff to handle your project, regardless of whether it’s SEO, social media, or email marketing.
Is Specialization Important?
If your business is specialized, having an agency that is also specialized in your area of business is important. This way, they know exactly what to look for when delivering results. It also means they can negotiate better rates with suppliers and partners.
The downside to specializing in a broad area of marketing is that it can be very difficult to become an expert in a broad area. When your business is specialized, you want to ensure that the agency you work with has deep domain expertise within the area of marketing (SEO, social media, email marketing, etc.).
How Specialized Should They Be?
Every business is different and some companies may be better suited than others for your project. To determine how specialized they need to be, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you need help with SEO?
- Do you need help with Content Marketing?
- Do you need help with Email Marketing?
- Do you need help with Google Ads and Social Media?
- Do you need a one-stop shop for all of your marketing needs?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then they should be very specialized in the area of marketing that you need help with. For example, if you’re looking for SEO help, a specialized agency should have a substantial amount of experience working with small businesses and startups.
What About Budget And Timeframe?
Budget is always a key consideration and you need to make sure that the agency you work with is able to provide the level of service and support that you need while keeping your budget in mind.
Choosing an agency that has a good reputation and has the necessary resources to complete your project is important. You don’t want to rush into any agreement without doing your due diligence first. As for the timeframe, you want to make sure that the agency can deliver results as soon as possible without setting yourself up for any unpleasant surprises later on.
What To Look For In A Marketing Agency
Once you’ve decided that you want to work with a marketing agency, the next step is to begin the application process. There are a number of questions that you need to ask during this stage in order to make sure that you’re working with the right agency for the job.
Some of the things that you should ask include:
- Are they a member of the American Advertising Federation (AAF)?
- Do they take pride in providing a positive customer experience (CTR > 1.0)?
- Can they provide case studies and references for previous clients?
- Do they follow-up after the initial client consultation?
- Do they offer training programs or seminars for clients?
- Do they offer any sort of guarantee for projects?
- What is their cancellation policy?
- Do they provide any ongoing support (i.e., additional training, content creation, etc.)?
The better the answers to these questions, the better the chance that you’re going to work with a reputable agency. Not all agencies are created equal and you want to be sure that you’re choosing the right one for the job.
How To Prepare For The Application Process
If you’re applying for a loan to grow your business, the bank’s underwriter will want to see your business plan. It may seem obvious, but having an up-to-date business plan is important in order to get your loan approved. In the same way, having a well-organized marketing plan is important in order to get the most out of your online marketing agency.
The plan should include the following:
- A summary of your business
- An organizational chart (i.e., Who’s in charge of what in your organization)
- A description of your marketing strategy (i.e., What are you going to do and how are you going to do it?)
- An analysis of your marketing objectives (i.e., What are you trying to achieve? Be specific)
- SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities &Threats)
- A marketing budget
- A projected timeline
You’ll also need to prepare for the application process by getting a business credit card and using it appropriately. The key is to make sure that you’re not overextending yourself by using this card for non-business related expenses. You can use the credit card for restaurant meals, gas bills, and other non-business related expenses. Any amount that is not spent on business related expenses can then be written off as a legitimate business expense.
What To Expect After You’re Working With The Agency
Once you’ve worked with a marketing agency and submitted your project to them, you can expect to start seeing results within 7-10 days.
The key to getting the most out of your agency is to monitor your progress closely and be available for feedback and consultation as needed. You should also be prepared to make adjustments and changes to your plan as needed. This is especially important if the agency sees something that they feel could be improved upon.
You’ll want to work with an agency that is a good communicator and remains available for feedback and consultation. If you feel like you’re not getting the results that you’re after, it could be a good idea to have a conference call with the agency to get closer to each other and find out what’s going on.
At the end of the day, choosing an agency that fits your needs is one of the most important things you have to do if you want to effectively utilize online marketing to grow your business. If you feel like you’re not getting the results that you’re after with a particular agency, it can be a good idea to choose another one or to work together with a different expert within the agency to find the solution.