Deciding to hire a marketing partner can be a tough decision. In fact, some people feel their organizations are forced to “settle” for this option. The good news is that if you’re hiring a good partner—one that is the right fit for you and your organization—settling will never be an issue. You just need to ensure you’re appropriately vetting your prospects and selecting a team that is committed to your growth.
Get Your Search On
Knowing where to start is probably the trickiest part. Think about the things you need in a marketing partner and take to those places to begin your search. Do you need someone with stellar social media skills or are you looking for a powerhouse PPC provider or maybe you need both? If so, start digging into those social platforms most valuable to your business. Don’t just look for agency prospects, but look at brands you like. Write down what it is that they’re doing well. Also, try searching GoogleTM using terms for marketing services you need and see what AdWords links you find (if you’re specifically looking for PPC). If you like what a marketing company is doing in social or through PPC for themselves or other brands you admire, chances are you’ll like what they can provide for you, too.
Another avenue to take is a good old fashioned word-of-mouth recommendation. Simply ask around. Do you have friends or family at other organizations who utilize marketing agencies? Talk to them and get their thoughts. You could even increase the reach of those word-of-mouth conversations by putting out a request for recommendations on LinkedIn (pending you have a decent-sized network). Cast a bigger net and get a larger response, right? While 84% of consumers take to the Internet before they make a purchase, it never hurts to get the recommendations from others before you start your online stalking searching.
Formulate Your List & Assess Their Client Work
Between doing your own online search, asking others for recommendations, and tapping into your LinkedIn network (or other social platform), hopefully you have at least a small list of vendors to start vetting now. If you haven’t already, visit each of their websites. They might have pretty home pages, but what about their portfolio? Focus on their client work. Do they showcase work product that might be on par or with your needs or brand? More important, do you like what you see. Some might even offer a case study or more information about the project at hand.
Read though these and decide if you like how the agency approached the challenge. Make notes about each agency—what you liked and didn’t like. Even note things you didn’t understand. As you dig through all their sites, you’ll arrive at a number of questions you’ll want to ask each one, and some questions that are specific to each.
Often times agencies will offer blogs or whitepapers on their website. The information offered here could provide sharper insight into how they approach challenges and what kind of cultural fit they might be for your organization.
Pick Up The Phone
Now that you’ve developed a set of questions, it’s time to start calling and having introductory conversations. These types of calls take time so don’t try to rush them, but maybe have a goal in mind—narrow it down to three prospects who you’d like to meet. You may find that you have a really good rapport with one agency particular. This is not uncommon, but make sure to pursue a meeting with at least one additional agency so you have something to compare.
If you’re looking for a partner who will collaborate with you and help strategize and execute marketing plans that get results, call us at 303-300-2640. For more than 22 years, Webolutions has been working with organizations across the country to design and develop websites as well as plan and implement strategic marketing initiatives that get results.
What do you look for in a marketing partner?