It seems that you’ve decided to hire a marketing agency for your small business. A good move! For sure, professional advice in that field would help you grow. It is hard to do everything on your own.
Small businesses happen not to be seen by marketing agencies. Sad but true. But there are some things you should pay attention to when you want to find an ideal marketing agency that will be your partner in crime!
Think about what your goals are
First of all, think about your goals. Your perspective on what you need and your goals is very important. Decide whether you want to get brand visibility, support in marketing campaigns, or maybe completely revolutionize your digital presence. Maybe you’re looking for some support with Google Shopping, search engine optimization, a new set of digital strategies, or influencer marketing boost? Make sure you know what king of marketing services you are looking for before you choose your new digital agency (or build a house team for that).
The work will go much more smoothly if you have your goals set. It’s beneficial for both sides. Take a moment and evaluate your needs.
Choose an experienced small business marketing agency for your niche
Before choosing a full-service digital marketing agency, check if they are experienced in your industry. If you want someone to focus on social media, there is no point in hiring a digital marketing agency with eBooks or podcasts expertise only. A lot of agencies are very unique in their marketing perspective. After evaluating what your needs are, it should be easier to determine which digital marketing company is suitable.
Do the research before to make sure you will be in good hands
Head to your potential marketing agency’s social media and check their credibility. Of course, it is not genuine proof, but for sure something worth paying attention to. It’s good to look through their social platforms. Maybe it would work as a filter for you. The agency’s social profiles are also channels to evaluate their quality. Additionally, you may check their testimonials and read through the feedback from clients.
You care about social media and content strategy. You want to gain potential clients and have good contact with current ones. You need someone to run your business accounts. You’ve even found a digital marketing company that promises amazing results and guarantees running the account better than anybody else.
It seems that problem is solved. But something is telling you to check the agency’s social media account. You grab your phone, open Instagram and what can you see? Hardly any posts, no interactive content, just a tumbleweed rolling on the ground. Not convincing at all.
If they promise you:
- an amazing marketing campaign,
- a huge customer base,
- a breathtaking website,
- reliable marketing plan,
- traffic on your social platforms,
but their own marketing activities do not seem to be impressive at all… Think twice if you want to work with them.
If you want to see an Instagram account that will make you smile, click here.
Template solution is a red flag
Each business has unique problems and requires an individual approach. Keep in mind that in this field there are no ready solutions.
A good marketing strategy needs:
- details for execution
- potential customers’ research
- customer relationship management procedures
- content aligned to your business
If you’re getting a cookie-cutter strategy for your digital marketing services from day one, you may want to look elsewhere for a more personalized solution from another small business marketing agency.
Look out for too low pricing
Low prices are tempting but don’t fall for that. If they are offering suspiciously low pricing in comparison to the competition and assure to be the most effective on the market, something is wrong.
It does look attractive. But be careful when pricing is too low. Ask for the marketing strategy plan and leads’ qualifications. Of course, the highest price doesn’t mean the best quality either, so make sure to take a few steps to assure the quality of the company.
This may include:
- customers’ testimonials
- discovery call
- portfolio of digital marketing services
- tone of communication
Mismatching values with a small business marketing agency
Think of your values while consulting with a social media advertising agency. Pay attention if you have the same approach in business. With the same core values, your cooperation would be much more effective and fruitful.
Before deciding to work with an agency, make sure that there is chemistry between you two. Also, find someone who will be your growth partner, not just a team of digital marketing professionals.
If you have already decided on giving an agency a try, they may provide you with some recommendations of the activities to help you grow. Do not hesitate and ask questions. Make sure that the process is clear for you.
There are no dumb questions. If you’re not sure, ask about anything, starting from marketing strategy, through search engine optimisation, ending with hashtags on social media.
Mind the way of communicating with you
Imagine: an agency doesn’t respond to your emails on time. They are not so eager to be in touch constantly. And something in your head is telling you that communication should not look like this.
All of those are warning signs. To avoid this type of situation, ask a small business marketing agency some questions before working together.
Figure out if they don’t overpromise and underdeliver in terms of availability, and their response does not take a lot of time.
It happens that small businesses are not treated with a similar seriousness and respect as big customers. If your agency gives you attention, is eager to help you, and takes you seriously, you are on the right path!
The feeling of being cared for is crucial and something that you, as a small business owner, should feel at the first meeting.
Not taking your objectives into consideration is a bad sign. Make sure that they listen to you. See if they take into consideration your goals and mind your concerns.
Pay attention to the results they guarantee
When an agency gives you a big, specified number of followers due at a certain, relatively close date, be careful. An outcome like this often can’t be guaranteed in a short period of time or would have to be associated with some shady tactics. Growing your business is a process and it takes time.
If a marketing agency guarantees a number 1 position in Google in a day due to a magic content marketing strategy, you better thank them kindly, cross out of your list of potential agencies to work with, and contact another one. The agency can be good at SEO digital marketing services, but there are too many factors to consider when evaluating the results that guaranteeing them is either impossible or challenging.
Make sure that their predictions are based on a strategy and the analyzed data right for your business. When your expectations are met and a small business marketing agency understands you from the first meeting, it is a good sign.
Check the tools your small business marketing agency is using
It’s a good idea to verify the tech stack your potential agency partner is using. Find out how they track their campaigns. Ask about the decisive factor before making a marketing step ahead. What do they use to create content plans? How do they design an infographic or other graphic elements? How do they analyze the data? Do they use other solutions to attract potential customers?
Before asking, do the research yourself to check the best and the most effective tools available on the market and match with their recommendations.
An old portfolio is a no-no
Go ahead and ask your potential small business marketing agency for a portfolio they are able to present. Pay attention to the date. The digital world is changing all the time. Make sure that the presented portfolio is recent – this may give you the best idea as to what they are into and what projects they completed.
Not engaging content
If an agency proposes static content and poor marketing efforts, it would not succeed in gaining traffic at your platforms. If you feel like “you have seen these ideas before”, you may be wondering whether they suggest such a content plan to everyone they work with. The content and activities they would run for you should be tailored to your needs. If they are tailored for everyone else, they have never been truly yours!
Read the contract with a small business marketing agency
Ensure that you read the contract thoroughly. Get every point and obligation to avoid unpleasant situations. The contract should meet the requirements of both sides and play a protective role for one and the other.
Before hiring a small business marketing agency, check all the details about the ownership. If you won’t have the access to the accounts or the access is partial, it would be better to resign. It is a reasonable idea to be clear about the ownership from the very beginning. Take care of data privacy and determine the admin ownership of your all accounts.
Be open to new acquaintances
Try to get to know each other a little before you sign the contract. Build some connections and relationships. It would benefit you both for sure. Also, you would get a broader look at their perception of marketing and attitude on how to do business.
If you omit this step, just imagine how hard and painful would it be to work with the wrong people. One or two meetings are certainly not enough to build a real relationship. But there are some aspects you can draw your attention to.
- The way of interacting with each other
- Is their corporate culture resonating with you?
- Attentiveness and being ready to listen to you
Trust your intuition with a small business marketing agency
If you are a control freak and want to hire a marketing agency, you need to prepare mentally. Tracking all the moves will be hard. Also, observing the whole marketing process would not be as accessible as doing the marketing in-house.
Of course, the report and updates will be in your e-mail box. But if you consider all the mentioned points and chose the agency that is 100% compatible with you, your concerns may disappear. We are sure, at some point, you will trust each other and have a free headspace in terms of digital marketing strategy.
Nevertheless, if you feel that there is no trust between you, that something is bothering you, some shady business is in the air, maybe that is a sign to start looking for another agency.
It seems a lot to look out for and remember before hiring a company. But finding a marketing agency that clicks with you is possible, believe us. If you are still in the middle and you are not sure whether to hire a marketing agency or not, just look at these points.
When is the right time to hire a small business marketing agency?
Some signs are showing you might need some help with marketing. It is the right time for you to get marketing support if:
- promotion of your brand doesn’t deliver results
- a bell doesn’t ring if you hear words like email marketing, content marketing, digital media strategy, social media marketing, inbound marketing
- you do not have any marketing strategy and you work in the dark
- you want to communicate with your customers but you don’t have much experience
- your brand needs to be more visible and you desire to generate leads.
If you want to look at what a good small business marketing agency can offer you, check out our services!
Not everything you can do in-house
The vision of doing all marketing activities in-house is stressful and overwhelming. Building an in-house marketing team is not an easy process. It takes time to get experienced in marketing activities and reach the target audience effectively.
That is why a good small business marketing agency has access to the market due to its expertise or habits of potential customers, etc. They know marketing trends, SEO services, marketing automation solutions, digital design principles, conversion rate optimisation techniques, influencer outreach, and have marketing initiatives at their fingertips. In-house digital marketers very often work only for one company at a time, while digital marketing agencies work for many clients.
Their expertise and market knowledge are valuable and beneficial, though. All for saving your time so you can focus on other equally vital goals.
Costs of hiring digital marketing agencies
If you are worried about the extra cost, worry no longer. Hiring a digital marketing agency can cost you the same price as paying a full-time marketing specialist. An experienced team is often more productive than one person, providing more affordable services. Such a creative team is available for you and ready to operate on business scale. One specialist, responsible for every marketing activity (digital campaign, social media strategy, Google Adwords, affiliate marketing, and so on) in your company, is not able to do that many tasks at the same time.
Choosing the best small business marketing agency
Finding THE agency is not that easy, especially suitable for a small company. It requires some time. There are many both big and teeny-tiny things to consider.
But at the end of the road, it may all be worth it and exceed your expectations.
THE agency would not be only a contractor. THE agency should be a growth partner you can rely on comprehensive service from. We would be happy to work with all the customers – for us the size doesn’t matter. If you look for real professional support – competent agency but also creative agency, contact us!