When you decide to hire a digital marketing agency, you will, by default, check their mastery of KISSmetrics, ability to drive traffic, and deliver engagement. You will even review their understanding of your domain and evaluate their pitch.
Because you are really smart, you will also consider other aspects like:
- Did the agency ask you the right questions?
- Have you heard excitement or buzz around their current clients?
- Do industry leaders or companies and entrepreneurs you admire hire this agency?
Is that enough? No, your due diligence is not complete. Ask yourself four more questions to avoid a potentially disastrous partnership.
1. How Happy are Their Existing Clients?
Always ask to speak to some current clients. Happy customers are more than willing to recommend an agency. Another way to gauge client satisfaction to see how well connected they are on social media, how often they have conversations on these platforms, and the rapport they share.
Here is some information you should be probing for:
- How do they manage the client-agency interface? Do they have well defined touch points, and clear briefing expectations?
- Do they behave like true partners and take ownership of results?
- What is the average duration that clients stay with them?
- How much repeat business have they earned from existing clients?
- Has the size of their clients’ accounts increased over time?
2. Do You Like Their Previous Work?
Did any of their previous projects make you go, “Wow, that is cool”? Do you find yourself wishing, “Oh, we should have done that”? If you answer yes, chances are the agency is a good fit for you, because you are thinking along similar lines. You will enjoy building on each other’s ideas, and hit a winning momentum. Definitely hire them.
3. Is There a Cultural Fit Between You and the Digital Marketing Agency?
Committed to building a remote-first culture? Believe in playing as hard as you work? Addicted to Slack, Hipchat, or Reddit? Prefer four-day workweeks, and just as comfortable pulling all nighters? Great. Check that your agency is too.
You and your digital marketing agency need to be able to keep pace with each other, stride for stride. The journey is more fun when it is shared with people who enjoy the same challenges you do. Seek out enthusiastic, quick learners, who make it easy for you to work with them.
4. How Important is Your Business to the Agency?
You want a digital marketing agency that:
- Values your business
- Makes it easy to collaborate
- Gives your brand the focus it needs
An agency with a gargantuan client list may not be what you really need. If the agency you choose is very large and has many big accounts, yours might get lost in the clutter. A smaller agency is more likely to be hungrier for your business and more motivated to help you achieve your marketing objectives.
Whatever size you prefer, choose an agency that doesn’t make you fight for attention.
Once you have asked these four often unasked questions, and you find that the agency ticks all your boxes, sign the deal. Congratulations, you just avoided a partnership disaster!