After speaking at a recent conference, a business owner from the audience confided in me. Her conflict: She was getting cold feet with her agency.
The agency had recently finished revamping her website, and now they were preparing for her business's first-ever Facebook advertising campaign. On top of the management fee to the agency, her small business would dole out an additional $900 a month on ad spend—a fee she wasn't totally comfortable with.
Between the obscurity of digital advertising and the significant ad spend, she was terrified.
5 Ways to Become Your Agency's Favorite Client
Here are some of the tips I offered (and a few more, now that I've had the chance to think about it in more detail):
1. Always be upfront with your expectations. The audience member hinted at something very important: $900 is a lot to her.
From this, I can gather that she's likely stretching her marketing budget to its fullest extent, and she feels like she's taking a significant risk.
But here's the thing: Marketing takes time. And when it comes to ads, the first few weeks are inevitably a series of tests where the marketing team fine-tunes the strategy.
What she really wants is to see a return on investment as quickly as possible. If the marketing team spends too much time trying to create the perfect ad, they may be wasting their time. A simpler ad that generates revenue is likely enough in this situation.
As a business owner, it's your responsibility to be completely clear in what you want from your agency. Think of it this way: You wouldn't let a secretary move in the wrong direction on a project. Why should your agency be any different?
2. Ask how it works. You've brought in the agency for their expertise, but you're still placing an enormous amount of trust in them. If you feel nervous or hesitant, that's perfectly normal.
A lot of that fear comes from the confusion surrounding the industry as a whole. Social media and other digital marketing efforts are supposed to work, but the how isn't always clear.
Once you understand how, say, an advertising campaign is built, you'll realize it's just as much systematic process as it is creativity.
The process becomes much less scary once you understand how everything works, so ask for an explanation.
3. Get a thorough breakdown on all metrics. Your agency is probably sharing a good deal of data already, but here are the biggest numbers you should pay attention to:
The first two are the easiest—a single invoice or a trip to your A/P department could likely give you a quick answer.
This third number isn't always as clear, thanks to all the variables involved. Make sure your agency has set up as much tracking as possible to give you all the juicy details you need.
Those aren't all the numbers that matter, however. You likely won't see an ROI at the beginning as the agency runs tests and dials in on the best ads and target audience. There are other metrics, like Cost Per Acquisitions (CPA) or Click Through Rates (CTR) that tell other stories worth paying attention to.
4. Tell your brand story. A good agency will start the relationship off by getting to know everything they can about your brand. These details will ultimately play into how they represent your brand across channels, and the more accurate they can be, the better the results.
But there are things you can provide that can't be supplied in an interview. A few examples:
Give them a tour of your facility. As they pick up more details on the brand, they'll be able to represent you better. This is especially useful if you make products onsite.
Send free merchandise to their office. Leave the swag for your customers. Instead, send over some of the products they'll focus on selling so they can experience them first-hand. Bonus: If your agency's worth anything, they'll be excited to experience your brand.
Introduce your team. Different team members have different perspectives on what makes your brand standout, especially when it comes to your sales and customer service departments. These teams are a wealth of knowledge on the value behind your products and services.
5. Be involved, and stay active. The client relationships that are the most fruitful are the ones where clients are:
responsive (They can respond to an email or a voicemail within 24 hours, but preferably even sooner.)
respectful (They show up for meetings and meet the deadlines we've previously agreed upon.)
Being pleasant and enthusiastic is a plus, but responsiveness and respectfulness will ultimately help you get the most out of your agency.
Working with an agency can be scary work, but Poetica Marketing can make it simple. Contact us to discuss your marketing needs today.