Most companies hire a marketing agency to assist them with marketing and advertising tasks that the company does not have the resources (staff, time, know-how) to execute.
Popular reasons to hire a marketing agency:
- You just started a new business
- Sales slump
- Offering new or updated products or services
- Expand your customer base
- Increase brand awareness
- Maximize sales
- Offer a better customer experience
- Have new or tough competition
- Start online advertising campaigns
The right marketing agency can come on board and accomplish marketing and advertising-related tasks with a swiftness and competence that would parallel using the Easy Button.
However, marketing agencies aren’t mind-readers. There will be information that your company will have to provide at the beginning of any major marketing project. Some of the most critical information that will be requested is as follows:
1. What is the monthly/annual budget you’re willing to spend on a digital marketing strategy?
Have your accountant provide a reasonable range that your business can afford to spend each month. This number will depend on what type of marketing campaign will be developed, your revenue and goals, so it can range from $300 a month to $5,000 a month for a small business. Keep in mind, marketing and advertising efforts should have a return on investment (ROI).
2. Who is your target audience?
You, your sales team and/or marketing team should know detailed demographics about your average customer, why they buy from you, what they buy from you, as well as where they are geographically and where they are online.
3. What’s your company’s unique value proposition?
You should have a list of reasons why people buy from you. What makes your company’s products, services or experience unique and better?
4. What are your marketing goals and key performance indicators?
What do you want to accomplish or improve upon with a new digital marketing strategy? Also, what key performance indicators (KPIs) - which are values that will be measured to determine the effectiveness of an objective (a marketing or advertising strategy) - does your company use? Examples are Facebook followers, contact forms filled out, visits to the website, etc.
5. Does your company have any brand guidelines or particular design styles?
The marketing agency will want to know your company's branding: brand’s color codes, mottos, fonts, etc. Also, be sure to have plenty of pictures of your products or services and a vector image of your logo available.
6. Who are your biggest competitors?
You should know three to five of your major competitors, so the marketing agency can research them to better understand your audience and see what the competitors are doing right versus wrong.
7. When was your website built and what is the content management system (CMS)?
The more details about your website and other software your company uses, the better.
8. What are your current marketing/advertising strengths and weaknesses?
First, have your sales, marketing and customer service team provide you with their anonymous suggestions. Then you should research various analytics (Google analytics, social media analytics, email marketing analytics, CRM analytics) to get a clear picture.
9. What is the ROI on past marketing and advertising strategies or campaigns?
It’s important that this type of information is always measured and saved, because it will help you decide what types of campaigns are not worth repeating. Examples are print advertisement, online promotion, attending a tradeshow, etc.
10. Has your company utilized Google Adwords or social media advertising?
If so, what were the click-through rates (CTR)? What were the keywords? What were the social media audiences targeted? The more analytics on previous online advertising efforts, the better.
11. What keywords has your company been focusing on?
Whoever built your website should have asked the same thing. Keywords are bound to change with time, but this is something all business owners should know about their business. (Hint: Your website’s keywords should be listed as title tags and meta data in your website’s coding.)
12. Do you have access to your Google Analytics account?
The marketing agency will need to know enough details about who visits your site and how so they can craft a complete picture of your website visitors, potential customers and actual customers. About how many website visits do you get per month? About how many lead capture forms get filled out per month? How do people find your website?
13. What are your average sales per month?
You should know this and you should also know if there were any recent peaks, dips or plateaus in sales.
14. How many of your customers are returning customers?
Google Analytics data can help with this but good CRM software will help even better.
15. What is your CRM, email marketing and other marketing/sales software?
Do you like all the software your employees and you utilize and does the CRM software accomplish everything you need it to? Be sure to ask your employees who use the software the most often. There are lots of different software options out there and it’s important to find the best fit.
16. What is your ideal process for communication and reporting with the agency?
How often will the agency and your company communicate, who will report to whom, how often will the agency send reports, will there be monthly phone calls, etc. Will the new marketing agency have to work with any of your company’s employees? (Example: your sales team or customer service team.) These are all things you need to hash out.
17. Are you interested in social media marketing?
The agency might have their own opinion, but they’ll first ask you what you think.
18. What is your understanding of SEO, social media marketing, PPC ads and inbound marketing?
A new marketing team will want to know your level of understanding of the services they provide so they won’t confuse you with jargon and they can communicate plans in a way that you understand.
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