Essential Questions to Ask an Inbound Marketing Agency Before Hiring Them
Hiring an inbound marketing agency is a critical moment for any business.
Just as with a direct-hire, the agency you appoint will be directly responsible for helping your business to thrive.
They’ll drive essential aspects of your business, such as your digital marketing strategy. The work your chosen inbound marketing agency does will touch other critical areas of operations indirectly too, such as your lead generation system and the buyer journey.
Hiring an agency isn’t just a routine hire; it’s a milestone appointment which will have ramifications across your service business.
It’s a decision that could potentially impact whether
- You are finally able to use your budgets and resources effectively.
- Create a strong value proposition which makes clients excited about working with you and,
- Fulfils the promise that you know your business has
All of those things have ramifications for you personally too - they dictate whether you can move to a bigger house, buy that much-longed-for property overseas or send your kids to private school.
That, of course, means you’ve done your homework and have a strong shortlist of agencies.
Now, you just need to make that final decision.
So, where do you start? You ask questions. You need to get to know the agency that will eventually create your inbound marketing framework and enable you to scale your service business to meet your ambitious growth targets.
Choosing the wrong agency is a costly, time-consuming mistake which could take months or years to put right.
Asking the right questions gives you the data – and confidence – needed to make the best possible decision to fuel your business.
Do you need a growth agency or a marketing agency?
First things first, what type of agency do you need?
If you want to grow your business, a growth agency might sound like the best fit, but it’s not that straightforward.
A growth agency fulfils a consultant or business partner role. This type of agency will play a strategic C-suite role and carry out actions such as market research, developing financial strategies and repositioning services and products before moving into the marketing agency deliverables.
A marketing agency is the best choice when you want to do better at marketing and grow your online presence.
A marketing agency will strategise, design, build, launch and employ campaigns to raise awareness and improve marketing campaign performance to increase lead generation.
Which agency is right for you?
Questions to ask an inbound marketing agency before signing a contract
Know you have confirmed you need an inbound marketing agency rather than a growth agency, you need a shortlist of questions to help you decide on the best fit for your service business and team.
Q: 'Do you have expertise in my sector?'
Knowing that an agency has previous experience in your sector, especially if it is very niche, can be a deal-breaker. If the agency comes in already competent about your space, they’ll be able to get to work quickly.
Q: 'Can you share some case studies?'
Case studies and testimonials give you an insight into the type of brands that the agency works work and demonstrates the kind of work they typically produce. Ideally, ask to see a few different case studies from other types of businesses to assess how versatile the agency is.
Q: 'What makes you different from your closest competitor?'
An inbound marketing agency should be good at selling itself; that’s what you want them to help you do, after all. Asking them what separates them from their closest rival condenses USPs and capabilities into specifics.
Q: 'What reports and analytics can I expect?'
You’ll want to know upfront how transparent your chosen agency is. Ask them what kind of reports and analytics you can expect to receive from them, and how often.
The more data you’ll have at your fingertips, the better informed you’ll be. Data translates to better decision making. Ask if you can see examples or dummy reports to understand better how open the agency will be and whether data reports are issued in a meaningful way.
The ultimate response you should benchmark against is real-time Analytics like we deliver here at 6teen30 Digital - 247/365, updated every 60 minutes.
Download Your Copy Of Bound To Grow: The High Growth Companies To Scaling Revenues Using Inbound Marketing
Q: 'What is your onboarding process?'
A quality agency onboarding process is vital and something that can’t be rushed. You should be able to get an idea of how much time this will take and what it will look like, the more comprehensive, the better.
Q: 'What do your project management and communication processes look like?'
Project management and communication are two of the cornerstones of the agency relationship. Ask what systems or processes they use. Poor communication causes relationships to sour quickly, but a clear policy and a variety of lines of communication are a good sign.
Q: 'What’s your agency culture?'
Culture is increasingly essential in all kinds of workspaces – while you shouldn’t expect Google level perks, knowing what type of culture underpins the agency gives you a good indicator of what makes the agency tick and how happy and fulfilled staff members are. (Review 6teen30 Core Values and Culture here)
Q: 'What’s your staff turnover rate?'
While no agency can promise that their key hires will stick around forever, you want to have confidence that your account managers will likely be around this time next year. A low turnover rate also shows that staff are loyal and like what they do – something which will be reflected in their performance for you.
Q: 'Who will be handling my account and how experienced are they?'
Most agencies will have a mix of very experienced and not so experienced staff. You may also find that you have a combination of experience levels working on your account and that’s fine too. What’s not OK is to make a commitment and then find out that your budget means you’ll only have access to a junior team. Ask upfront about experience levels and areas of expertise.
Q: 'Can I meet the people I will be working with?'
Your relationship with your chosen agency is a partnership, so you’ll want to know going in that you can work with the people responsible for your inbound marketing activity. Check out the 6teen30 team here.
Q: 'Do you have the ability to grow with me?'
Your revenue goals are firmly rooted in growth, and you know that you want to scale quickly. You’ll therefore need to check that your chosen agency can do the same, rather than go through the disruption and expense of outgrowing your chosen agency in six months and being forced to jump ship mid-way through your campaign.