Let’s Face it, There Are a Lot to Choose From
There are an estimated 13,536 advertising agencies in the United States alone.
With that many options, it can be difficult to find the right one, even when you focus only on agencies with a specialization. Use this guide to help you find the advertising or marketing agency that can help you make the biggest impact.
Signs that a Marketing or Advertising Agency is Right for You
You have to start your search by narrowing down your options. These are some of the broad criteria to look for:
- Industry – Agencies often focus their efforts on one or two industries. Look for one that focus on yours for they will understand how to market your brand. No sense in paying a company to learn how to market in your industry.
- Format – Agencies often focus on a specific format – print, radio, TV etc. Look for the agency that has the most experience where you want to advertise. We of course recommend online over traditional any day of the week.
- Rate – The cost of advertising and marketing services vary wildly. Make sure that the companies that interest you fit into your short, medium, and long-term marketing budget.
- Service – Will you get the same level of service even if you are a new or small client? Look for an agency that will make your account a priority no matter what. Relationships matter – you’ll want someone that you can count on.
Steps to Take Before Your Final Selection
Once you have your list of choices narrowed down, you need to get some very specific information from each marketing or advertising agency:
- Talk about the Metrics – It’s crucial to use hard numbers to judge the effectiveness of any marketing strategy. Find out what metrics the agency plans to use (we call them Key Performance Indicators), how they plan to gather the information, and how they plan to respond if the numbers fall short of target. Its all about tracking and reaching goals!
- Outline the Plan – A good agency should be able and willing to outline a strategy for you before you sign on as a client. Make sure that their plans mesh with your goals and the persona you wish to target. A strategy with a plan has a far higher ROI.
- Discuss the Market – Every market requires a different marketing strategy. Determine how well your candidates understand the market you plan to focus on, and how they can/will revise their approach to reach different markets. (See Industry bullet above)
- Scrutinize the Contract – Marketing agreements come in many forms. Before you commit to anything, make sure your agreement clearly outlines the services that will be provided, and holds the agency responsible if the results are less than promised.
Look to the Future, Not to The Past
The final thing to keep in mind is that advertising and marketing have undergone a sea of change in the last decade or so. The internet has fundamentally changed the way that businesses connect with clients. Unfortunately, many advertising and marketing agencies have been slow to accept this change and are still trying to catch up.
No matter what kind of business you run or how large you are, inbound marketing needs to be a major component of your online strategy.
44% of online shoppers begin by using a search engine. (Interconnected World: Shopping and Personal Finance, 2012)
Make sure you are working with an agency that has the experience, creativity, and track record to make your online strategy a success.
Learn how to launch your business to the next level with an all-inclusive 360 inbound marketing system that brings new leads and customers to your doorsteps.