If you are new to digital marketing or are unsure what’s best for your overall strategy, hiring a digital agency makes perfect sense. Outsourcing time-consuming work that requires special knowledge and precision can leverage your marketing spend and drive growth for your business. There are keys to building and nurturing that relationship, however, that can make the difference between a successful partnership and a waste of both time and money.
Understand Key Performance Metrics BEFORE You Begin
Naturally, you want your new agency to increase your sales and strengthen your online presence. But how much of your traffic is currently coming from Facebook? What’s the conversion rate of your last email campaign? These are numbers any business manager should know. If you aren’t currently tracking these numbers, check out our post on utilizing digital analytics to your advantage to get started. You should be comfortable talking about revenue, conversion rates, lifetime value, and overall analytics as part of your marketing relationship.
Know Your Goals
Even the most talented digital marketing firm needs your guidance to drive real growth. Maybe you want to see a 10% increase in conversions from your contact us page. Maybe you’re unsure and are looking for insight on objectives from your agency. Either way, clearly defining objectives at the outset will allow you and your partner to better tailor materials specifically to your needs. Having actionable, attainable goals is essential to any marketing campaign, but don’t assume your marketing partner knows what those goals should be before you discuss them.
Share Your Secrets
No one knows your business as well as you do. Beyond just analytics, your brand story, your differentiators, your competitors—these are things in which you are the expert. In addition to your brand’s big picture, don’t neglect to share actual testimonials from your business. While many agencies can create content that promotes your brand, only you can provide the core for them to build on.
Communication is Always Key
This simple piece of advice is applicable to every situation in both business and life. Communicating your needs, desires, frustrations, and anything else on your mind is the only way to nurture a positive relationship with your partner. Don’t accept a proof that doesn’t quite fit with your brand message. Don’t stay silent if the copy doesn’t read quite right to you. Digital marketing agencies are full of skilled professionals that can tailor messaging so it's just right.
Communicate early and often so you’re not wasting time sending back off-brand proofs that could have been avoided altogether.
Help Your Teams Work Together
You may have a single point person that is managing the relationship between your business and your marketing firm, but team members on both ends will be responsible for developing and implementing your strategy. Be sure to lay out the structure of your team, learn the structure of the agency’s team, and try to optimize the workflow to take advantage of both internal and external talents. On an ongoing basis, work to discover redundancies, maximize efficiencies, and help both teams produce better work together.
Learn the Rules
You hired a digital marketing expert for a reason, but you should also be familiar with the rules and parameters that govern the digital marketing space. Did you know a Facebook ad can contain only 20% text, or what kind of punctuation is allowed in Google Ads? Though these rules can change quickly and frequently, being aware of them means not requesting the impossible from your partner. Or being disappointed when your original vision can’t be realized.
Manage Your Relationship Expectations
Speaking of disappointment, even the strongest relationships are going to have their ups and downs. Often, when one side feels they’re not getting what they deserve, it can be difficult to find the courage to be direct. Letting your frustrations fester, however, is never a productive solution.
Set up a regularly scheduled time, be it weekly, monthly or quarterly, to honestly address the current situation and force yourself to have the tough conversations (if necessary). Opening up the floor for suggestions (and criticisms) from the other end is often the fastest way to smooth over wrinkles in your relationship.
When entering a marketing partnership it’s critical to be sure both parties have realistic and clearly defined expectations going in. Partnerships are based on personal relationships after all, and not every agency will be the right fit for your business. Follow your instincts and communicate your concerns when they arise. Doing so at the outset will help ensure success for both parties.