If you think it’s time to hire a marketing firm and outsource marketing for your business, there are some things you need to make sure you know first.
After all, these people are going to be in charge of bolstering and promoting your brand online, so it’s important that you make good decisions.
In my past life, I grew a partner program for a tech startup and learned how to identify a reputable marketing firm in mere seconds.
From my experience, I offer you these six considerations before you hire a marketing firm:
1. Know what you want to accomplish
Imagine going to a car dealership and saying, “I have a fantastic credit score and want a new car. I don’t care what model or color, I just want to drive away in a new car.”
The salesperson will literally salivate as they skip over to the most expensive model on the lot.
I see this a lot when it comes to digital marketing: a client says they want to market their business with a healthy budget, but they don’t have any goals or objectives in mind.
To weed out unethical marketing firms, do your homework, write out a plan, and come prepared to your initial meeting with a clear vision of what you want to see from the relationship.
Do you want more sales? More leads? Better marketing collateral? A new website? Just like any transaction, if you come unprepared, you are setting yourself up to be exploited.
2. Learn about all the services they provide
Is the marketing firm a one-stop shop for all of your digital marketing needs, or do they specialize in only one or two services?
For certain services like Pay-Per-Click (PPC) or Search Engine Optimization (SEO) you may want a dedicated expert, as there is a lot of knowledge and skill involved in setting up a successful program.
Other times, you’ll find that a marketing firm offers a number of digital marketing services because they feed off the same skill sets.
For instance, at BJC Branding we offer email marketing, lead generation landing page programs, and web design because our team members are experts at maintaining brand/messaging consistency between those three marketing channels.
Sometimes, if a marketing firm doesn’t provide a certain service you need, they may have trusted partners to which they can refer you.
Again, do your homework on these partners, but if you know, like, and trust your marketing firm, then assume they’re placing you in good hands. Personally, we vet every partner ourselves before we consider offering their services to our clients because, at the end of the day, it is our reputation on the line.
3. Research the marketing firm’s previous clients
The marketing firm you work with should have experience with businesses of your size and industry.
For instance, if you run a plumbing or HVAC business, then you wouldn’t do yourself justice to hire a marketing firm that specializes in retail or restaurants.
Take a look at the marketing firm’s website and see if they have a “Clients” or “Portfolio” section.
Also, check them out on Yelp, Google, and LinkedIn to see how business owners like you have experienced their services.
4. Set expectations for your involvement and availability
Sometimes, you’ll hire a marketing firm to take care of the tasks you just don’t want to handle. In fact, we have a considerable number of clients hire us for a full-service email marketing program that requires limited involvement on their end.
Other times, our clients let us know that they want to be involved at each step of the process.
Either way is fine, but it’s equally important to let your marketing firm know how involved and accessible you will be so they can plan resources and timeframe accordingly.
If you don’t live up to those expectations, then the marketing program can easily become a failure for both parties.
5. Make sure you get along with their team
These people may not be W-2 employees for your company, but you still have to work with them on a monthly, weekly, or daily basis.
If your personalities don’t jive at the onset of the relationship, then you may likely have issues down the road. No amount of client referrals or success stories will overcome the gut feeling that you simply can’t work together, so be sure to ask some personality or cultural fit interview questions before you hire a marketing firm.
If you’re having trouble finding the right fit, consult trusted directories like the Constant Contact Marketplace to see other potential marketing firms for hire.
6. Read the contract carefully
A reputable and professional marketing firm will provide you with a formal contract and scope of work to get the program started.
In these proposals, they’ll usually include some legal terms that speak to the length of the contract, cancellation process, and indemnification from future lawsuits.
Be sure you read these terms, as they are legally binding once you sign. If you sign on for a twelve-month commitment and decide to cancel after three months, then you will be legally bound to them for another nine months.
If need be, send to a lawyer to review if you feel overwhelmed by all the legalese.
Hire a marketing firm that will bring your business to the next level.
If you find a good firm with talented people who understand your business, there’s a good chance you’ll see substantial dividends from working together.
Keep the above considerations in mind and trust your gut, and you’ll find a reputable marketing firm that can get you to where you want to be.
Want to find a marketing consultant that fits your needs? Visit the Constant Contact Marketplace to find the right fit based on your location, industry, and business need.
About the Author: Bryan Caplan helps businesses elevate their digital marketing. CEO of BJC Branding and professional speaker, Bryan travels the country, presenting on a wide range of digital marketing topics.
Bryan is also one of the nation’s first Master Certified Local Experts with Constant Contact, having provided digital marketing strategy to well over 1,000 businesses since 2010. Bryan is a guest lecturer at the Sawyer School of Business and a contributor to several websites including Constant Contact, BlueHost, BusinessTown, and the Boston Business Journal.