Outsourcing marketing services can be a very attractive option for budget-strapped start-ups and small companies. With the myriad of options out there, choosing a reliable and trustworthy agency can be quite daunting. If you are not careful, you may end up not only wasting time and money but also losing countless opportunities to expand your business. Here’s a helpful guide to choosing the right service provider.
They are Knowledgeable About Your Line of Business and Industry
They understand that you have put in so much in developing your product or service and it should be given the attention it deserves. They must take the time to learn enough about your product to speak about with passion and authority. This includes major talking points such as specs, pricing, competitors and the ordering and buying process. Your partner agency must be able to anticipate any uncertainties and objections from prospects, and they should factor them into their strategies. The more they know about your industry, the less of a learning curve there’ll be.
They Understand Your Objectives
There is no shortage of experts in the marketing field but only few can show results. A good consulting firm must be able to strike a balance between executing creative campaigns and capturing qualified leads that actually translate into sales. They must take the time to understand your business challenges rather than simply offering cookie-cutter solutions. They must recognize your brand values and desired outcomes such as greater brand awareness, an increase in qualified leads, etc. Based on these objectives, they must exhibit technical know-how and recommend appropriate strategies using the correct marketing channels.
They Know the Latest Cost-Effective Tools
Make sure that the marketing firm has experience using the latest digital marketing tools that are cost effective or better yet, free of charge. WordPress is a free blogging platform and content management system that powers over 40% of websites in the world. It has great design themes that are mobile-friendly. You can also add free plugins to enhance website analytics and provide you with actionable insights. To oversee all your social media accounts, Hootsuite allows you to consolidate them into one dashboard where you can schedule your posts. The free version is already useful enough for basic social media management. Newsletters are great for keeping in touch with prospects. MailChimp is an easy to use program where you can share promotional offers, news about your company or articles from your blog. It shows you useful metrics on who is clicking the links and what content is most popular so you can plan topics along those lines in the future.
While these are all great tools to help you achieve your goals, choose a marketing firm that’s easy to communicate with and will be patient in helping your team understand their functions so that when you decide to move marketing efforts in-house, the transition will be painless and as smooth as possible.
They have a Proven Track Record
Do check out their design portfolios and links to campaigns they have handled. Ask about statistics and key performance measures that prove that they have hit their targets. How many of the campaigns have been repeated? It is usually an indicator that they know which works. Does the agency have case studies or testimonials from other customers? Don’t be afraid to ask which companies have been with them the longest. Repeat customers are always a good sign. They may have an impressive number of clients but if they can only speak of one-off campaigns or projects, that means they are only great at marketing their services but do not have effective methods to back them up.
They Know How to Measure Success
Your partner must have a clear idea how the return on your investment will be tracked and measured. Don’t trust a company that tries to impress you with too much industry jargon. They must be able to articulate their methods in simple terms and you come out of the initial meeting feeling confident that you know what they are doing. You want to make sure that they are not simply targeting metrics such as the amount of website traffic, email opens or social media followers but can analyze conversion rates. The agency must also be able to commit to timely check-ins and status updates so that you can monitor their progress. If this was not raised in the initial meeting, this might be a red flag that shows their inexperience or lack of accountability.
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