If you’re a business owner, outsourcing Marketing expertise to an external agency may have crossed your mind at some point. Such a decision isn’t always easy to make, even less so when there’s an overwhelming amount of agencies established each year.
Much like any personal relationships you have, a professional connection with a third party can only prosper when treated as an integral part of your business, not as a helper you sporadically reach out for assistance. While there are many factors that can influence your success, here are a few things you can do to get the most from your relationship with any agency you may choose to endorse.
Communication is key
It’s a cliche, but one whose importance can’t be overstated. Communication is key. Most agencies recognise the value of building relationships through communication. They would push for regular check-ins with clients, encourage face-to-face meetings and collaboration. Nonetheless, communication should go both ways. To maximise the potential for success, do keep them abreast of important directions and strategies that are fundamental to your Marketing campaign as a whole.
Prepare them for success
While it’s important for the agency to be proactive in gathering information, there may be trends and seasonality they aren’t always aware of. Without such knowledge, key strategies may be overlooked. This is rather common with agencies that have little or no industry experience. As a result, it’s essential that your agency is well-informed before any planning or implementation takes place.
Treat them well
It’s human nature to get upset when things don’t go your way. And when revenue should be trending upwards but it isn’t, it’s easy to lose your cool. After all, if you’re investing in a service, you should expect a return on that investment at some point. Notwithstanding, treating others with respect and dignity is fundamental to getting the most from any kind of relationship. Without that “psychological safety”, communication tends to weaken and information is withheld. If this happens, the cost you bear would be much higher than what you’re invoiced for. Making it safe for your agency to share bad news and discuss solutions is one way you can prevent that from happening. If you can’t accept that running a business comes with ups and downs, you’re not ready to own one.
Participate in the process
It’s typical for business owners to lose sight of their association with external stakeholders because of their jam packed schedules. However, in the grand scheme of thing, every investment counts. As such, it’s highly recommended that you get yourself involved in the process as much as possible.
Good agencies appreciate inputs from their clients and projects are often held up because they can’t get an approval soon enough. Through active participation, you can communicate your needs from the get-go, minimise downtime and get your campaigns rolling in a timely manner.
Give them time
Avoid shopping around too often. Great results don’t happen overnight. Measuring your agency’s performance within the first month or so won’t give you a fair and accurate assessment. This is particularly true if you’re working with a Search Marketing agency. This line of work requires great persistence and improvements non-stop. Constant change of your service provider means depriving yourself of time needed to show results. Six months is a recommended minimum amount of time to determine if the relationship is worth staying for.
Take advantage of freebies
Smart agencies take a proactive approach to nurturing leads and relationships. One way to accomplish that goal is to launch free events and workshops for existing or prospective clients. These freebies serve to strengthen their positioning in the marketplace and to educate their audience on the industry’s way of working.
To get the most from your agency, take advantage of these freebies as much as you can. They offer great opportunities to put faces to names, be acknowledged for your wants and needs, and at the same time, to upskill yourself. This is particularly helpful should you decide to stop outsourcing and bring the expertise in-house later on.