So, before you begin to “interview” each marketing agency you’re considering, sit down with your team and create a solid list of questions that will help you determine whether this marketing agency is ideal for your industry and business.
Specific Questions About Their Portfolio and Experience
1.) How much experience in my niche do you and your team have?
Getting to know your agency means getting to know who they’ve helped before and for how long. Be sure to ask about your niche specifically since your business’s area of expertise will dictate many of the marketing methods that the company uses. A beauty industry marketing agency might not necessarily know how to manage a client in the healthcare industry, for example.
2.) What company size do you have the most experience working with?
If you are a new brand, then you will have different needs than a widely known company. If this agency needs to build your brand from the ground up, for example, then you’ll want to know that they’re capable of doing so.
Retention is one of the most important and key factors that helps you determine how successful an agency is.
Six months of retention data gives you a clear and accurate picture of how this agency functions on a regular basis and shows that they’re able to deliver on the promises they make to clients.
4.) Do you work with any of my competitors? Will I be alerted if you start to?
Especially if this firm specializes in your business’s niche, how can they confirm that there won’t be a conflict of interest between you and your competition?
You never know what will change down the line. Whether or not they communicate a new, similar client to you can be a sign of their professionalism or lack thereof.
5.) What is a mistake you’ve made with a previous client?
Tying back to the idea of showing interest in the agency’s portfolio, consider asking to see examples of their work and hear how they feel about it in an honest setting. Find out about a mistake that they’ve made and grown from and why they consider it a mistake.
6.) What specific case studies and clients have you had the greatest success with in my vertical? Why do you believe that was?
Since you’ve already asked about their mistakes, now we can give them a chance to brag a bit! Ask if they have case studies about their most successful clients.
7.) Could I speak to some previous clients as a reference?
Previous or current clients will give you an unbiased, overall review of the work of this marketing agency, its weaknesses, and its strengths.
Questions about the Logistics of their Marketing Campaign and Measurable Success
8.) What is your profit margin or key performance driver?
Remember that agencies are service-based companies, and profit margin is an important factor to them. But that doesn’t mean it should be the only factor, and asking this question gives you a chance to get a feel for how much your agency balances its own interests and its responsibilities to you as a client.
Shocking profit margin figures (75%, for instance) may be a red flag. Successfully-growing agencies have a more modest profit margin of about 40-60%.
9.) How will you get to know my business and me?
An understanding working relationship between you and the agency that is marketing for you will be critical. But how does that process actually happen?
10.) How do you know when a marketing project has been successful?
Sure, maybe you get along with an agency. Maybe you like their work. But marketing can be pricey, and if you’re going to risk some of your company’s cold hard cash with this business, you want to know that it will pay off.
They should be able to answer this question specifically. Anyone who says something vague like “when the client is satisfied” should raise a few eyebrows.
11.) What are some specific numbers regarding ROIs with previous clients?
Let’s see the receipts! Ask the agency to go into detail with a former client. How much did they pay? How much did they get back? How much traffic increased on their website? How many new followers did they gain on social media?
How can this agency prove, concretely, that they were a wise investment for the company?
12.) How long before you start to see results?
If you are hoping to see immediate results, make that known to the agency. They can use different methods depending on how long you expect and want each initiative to last.
13.) What is your marketing tech stack?
Building is limited by the quality of tools that you have in your box, and this fact applies to marketing strategy, too; though it’s possible to find success in a myriad of ways, it’s important that your agency has the actual software and other resources that are necessary to complete the task at hand.
Things like Google Analytics, content management systems, and email marketing systems are all great examples of things you might want to see. You may also want to ask if you will have access to those tools to oversee the process.
14.) How do you approach edits and revisions to content, final products, ads, etc.?
Regardless of how smoothly the process goes, there may come a day when this agency shows work you just aren’t a fan of. In those circumstances, how many revisions are you allowed? How long will they take?
15.) Will my marketing manager be providing a marketing roadmap and campaign strategy?
An experienced agency should be able to provide you with a clear, structured plan and strategy that includes means of checking its progress as you utilize it. This content strategy may include specific numbers that have been useful for the agency in the past. For instance, this growth agency may use the 80 / 20 rule for social media, or other ratios and techniques that are unique to their agency.
16.) How do you learn from your campaigns and optimize?
As your marketing plans move on, you may notice, for example, that certain methods are taking off while others remain stagnant. An excellent growth marketing agency will be able to explain how they notice those changes and edit their strategies based on them.
17.) What types of content marketing do you utilize?
Content marketing will be a must for many accounts. Does this agency primarily focus on any particular method? Maybe they’re excellent with visual advertising like Instagram reels, but their SEO and article writing skills are lacking.
You may also want to ask if any new forms of social media emerge if those types of platforms will then be included in your package. Try to guage if this agency keeps up with social media trends, like TikTok hacks, that will, to a certain extent, guarantee engagement and a modern brand voice.
18.) What techniques do you use to analyze competitors?
Marketing is a competitive industry, and top-notch agencies will use the most modern, effective methods, even if that means creating original software and ways of measuring success. For example, we’ve created an algorithm that we use to analyze your competitors’ most successful posts and identify which methods work best in your industry. This algorithm is part of the reason we’re widely considered the best marketing agency in LA.
19.) What makes your marketing techniques different from other agencies?
Do they use omnichannel marketing? Do they specialize in a certain niche? Find out why you should choose them over any other marketing company.
20.) Can I make alterations to what I want out of our partnership during its duration?
What is the process for making changes to our contract or to our expectations with one another?
21.) What do you expect from me in order to create the most productive relationship possible?
You and your marketing agency will be working together on some big projects. Try to get an understanding of how they tend to work, what’s important to them, and what they expect from you.
Questions About Their Team and Communication
22.) Where have your employees worked before coming here?
Knowing about any connections can again help you avoid conflicts of interest. Ask where the employees have worked before and who they have worked for.
23.) Who will primarily be managing my account?
Oftentimes, the person who you first speak to within an agency won’t be the one who directly manages your company’s marketing. Before your start, find out who will really be in charge of this campaign’s success and what their qualifications are.
24.) Are you completely remote? Will I ever be able to meet with you in person?
Sometimes you want to set up that face-to-face meeting. Will you be able to? Even if the person managing your account is in another location, find out if there is someone physically present in the office to meet up with you when you really need it.
25.) How much experience do you require to become an account handler at your agency?
Maybe the company has been around for a while, but your account handler is a rookie. The best digital marketing agencies will have people who know what they’re doing all the way up and down the ladder.
26.) If I have a complaint about someone I’m working with, then who should I contact?
If, for example, you aren’t happy with the person managing your account, but you are pleased with the agency as a whole, then who should you talk to? Will they be able to transfer your account to someone else, and what does that process look like?
27.) How much work do you outsource to other companies or freelancers?
It is likely that this agency outsources at least some work, so ask them about what their relationship with their freelancers is like and what other companies they work with.
Questions About Billing and Prices
28.) Do “rush projects” cost more? What qualifies as “rush?”
Since you’ve already asked how long certain projects tend to see results, also try to get a clear timeline for how long it will take them to put their initiatives together. If you need something quickly, will you have to pay more? How much more?
29.) How should I expect to be billed?
Regarding billing, there are a few important follow-up questions to look into as well:
- What day of the month can I expect my bill?
- What platform or money transfer app do you usually send invoices on?
- How much time do I have to pay my bill after receiving it, and are there any fees associated with late payment?
30.) Legally, who is responsible for any errors committed by your team?
Let’s say someone on their social media team accidentally uses a copyrighted image in an Instagram ad, and you get a cease and desist letter. In any circumstances, from something relatively minimal to a full-blown lawsuit, your contract should include who bears financial responsibility for those mistakes.
After going through the questions on this list, you will not only be more equipped to choose the best marketing agency for your business, but you will also be ready to move forward with your agency of choice with all your bases covered.