Thinking about starting a partnership with a marketing agency? The process may feel a bit daunting at first, especially if you’ve had a bad experience with another company in the past. But a different (and more credible) agency could provide better service and help you reach your business goals without keeping you in the dark about projects, or trying to sell you services you can’t afford (or don’t even need).
Whether you need help with audience identification, web design, social media management, or all three, here are a few questions you’ll want to ask before hiring a marketing agency:
How will your agency help me identify my best customers and set marketing goals for my business?
Business leaders often don’t know where to start when it comes to reaching more customers and growing their company. But a quality marketing agency can help you determine who your ideal audience is, how to use clear messaging in your content, and what achievable goals you can set to make more money and free up time.
Your marketing partner should walk you through the audience identification and goal-setting process in your first strategy meeting. The agency should also explain the specific key performance indicators (KPIs) that they’ll use to monitor the effectiveness of your strategy and make any necessary adjustments to help you meet your goals.
How will we communicate?
Once you’ve met with an agency and established your business goals and needs, you should ask when the company will give you regular project updates. For example, will the agency’s owner check in with you once a month, or will a project manager send you updates on a weekly basis? Nobody wants to be in the dark once they sign a contract and start paying agency invoices, so make sure you’re comfortable with the amount of communication you’re receiving.
And if you have questions about your marketing strategy, timelines for a project, or anything else, you should be able to easily get in touch with your agency. Most agencies have an online project management system that allows you to contact them when necessary.
What does getting a proposal and signing a contract look like with your agency?
When it comes to a business proposal and contract, transparency is key. If you have reason to suspect that a marketing agency may be hiding something from you, they probably are. But with a clear and concise proposal, you’ll know exactly what you’re getting from the agency and what everything will cost. if the company is clear about what you can expect from them, honest about service costs, and up front about timeline estimates, this will give you peace of mind — not to mention better results throughout your partnership.
Your marketing agency should also respect your budget without pressuring you into a sale. A great agency can work with you to find a solution that meets your needs and budget, even if you have to spread out your marketing initiatives in phases. And asking them about hosting costs, hourly fees for updates, and other expenses can help you avoid surprises and stick to your budget.
Will I own the domain for a website that your agency creates?
Your company’s domain name system (DNS) directs potential customers to your website. Businesses often purchase domain names from third-party hosts like GoDaddy or WordPress.
No matter where you decide to host your website, or which marketing agency you choose, you should own and have full access to (and control of) your domain’s account. Sometimes agencies will purchase a domain name for you as part of your contract, but even if this is the case, they should not fully own or control the DNS.
At the end of my contract, who owns the rights to my website?
You can imagine the frustration business leaders feel if they discover they’ve spent years paying an agency for a website they don’t actually own. But a credible marketing company will tell you that if you’ve paid for all the services — web design, page content, blog writing, and so on — you own the rights to your website. It’s as simple as that.
As a business owner or marketing professional, you should have control over every aspect of your website, even if you decide to end your partnership with an agency. Your marketing company should never withhold website ownership or control from you.
After my website launches, can I change my hosting provider?
This will depend on how your agency builds your website. Some platforms require special licensing to host, which makes it difficult to move your current site to another provider.
But if your marketing company builds your site on an open-source platform like WordPress, it will be much easier to transfer providers if you’d like, or if you choose to end the partnership. Also, your agency will probably provide hosting services for your website; then, you can decide whether or not you want to change providers.
Will I have control over my social media platforms and Google business listing? Or will your agency control everything?
Your social media accounts and Google business listing should always be active, relevant, and accessible to you (as the business owner or marketing professional). And whether you already have a Gmail account, or your agency creates one for you, every social media account should be tied to an email address that you own and have access to.
If the agency creates these accounts for you, you’ll want to make sure they will transfer ownership of your social media platforms and Google business listing in the event that you end the partnership. Once you decide to part ways, those assets should belong to you to use and update as you see fit.
Will you make all edits and updates? Or will I be able to make my own changes?
Mistakes and miscommunications happen, and if you spot them on your agency-run social media posts, you should be able to either correct them on your own or contact the agency and ask them to make the change.
A reputable marketing agency will either provide you with administrative access or share the credentials (username and password) that allow you to edit posts. Sometimes, ads are not easily accessible by a company if an agency is managing those. In this case, the agency can make any necessary updates to the ads, and they should quickly correct any misinformation or mistakes.
By asking these questions and carefully considering the responses you get, you’ll be in a great position for hiring a marketing agency that will help your business grow! Just remember that no matter which agency you choose, it should be a partner you can rely on. A transparent agency that lets you keep full ownership and control of your assets once they’re developed will save you lots of time, money, and frustration!
Our proven marketing protocol helps companies make more money, free up time, and plan an effective strategy.
Treefrog Marketing is an agency in Lafayette, Indiana focused on small businesses. We specialize in strategic marketing and advertising, graphic design, web design, social media, SEO, and more. For more information, visit our website and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.