Have you ever started work with a new agency, only to find out two months in, they’re not the right fit and you end up switching again as soon as the contract is over? One of the factors we pride ourselves on at Ingenuity Digital is making sure we’re the right fit for the clients we work with right from the start. This benefits both us and them. Below, I’ve highlighted some quick wins to successfully approach and onboard an agency.
Why do you need an agency?
Typically, if a company is actively seeking us out as a digital marketing agency, it’s for one of these three reasons:
- Stakeholders feel they are paying too much to drive leads and sales
- They are struggling to get a return on investment from their website
- They have targets imposed on them and they don’t have the resources to hit them
Whatever your reason, make sure the agency knows it! You may not think you need an agency – I see this all the time. But, if one approaches you with actionable insight, then why not take it? They won’t be looking for you to buy from them then and there. Instead, they just want to be front of mind if you do decide you need an agency. And maybe, just maybe, they’ll recognise an opportunity you haven’t considered, or they’ll find something important that you didn’t even know.
How to onboard a new agency
Speak your boss’ language
Throughout this process, your line manager will either be a massive help or a great hinderance, no matter your position in the business. Even if you’ve had a budget signed off, they will still expect results. However, the issue with this is that the results you want, might not be the same as your line manager.
For example, if you’re defining success based on traffic to your website while your boss is being assessed based on sales, you’ve got a problem. Find out how your boss measures success and tell the agency! Trust me, it’ll help you be more successful if you’re ticking the right boxes. One of the first questions I ask when meeting a client is, “What can we do to get you promoted?”. This will provide you with a good idea of what your KPIs should be when approaching an agency.
Be honest and upfront
I can’t stress this enough! Any decent agency will ask for access to your Google Analytics, Search Console and AdWords, so if you have these, share them. Examine the key requirements for your website and order them in a scale of importance. This could include:
- What is your budget? Have you got a budget that has been signed off? If so, ensure that if any agency can over-deliver on those KPIs, that it’s beneficial to your business to provide them with more budget.
- What is your project timescale? Is it dependant on your company’s year-end? Do you have to hit certain targets by certain dates? Take these factors into account and share them with the agency.
- What outcomes are you looking for? These are those all-important KPI’s we mentioned earlier. Examples may be to increase traffic, increase brand awareness, generate additional sales or drive subscriptions.
- Who are your audience segments? Don’t say everyone, because that’s not getting you anywhere. Do you have key user personas that the site needs to cater to? If not, ask your agency to help you create these. The more data you have around your customers, the cheaper and easier it will be for an agency to help you.
- Do they fit your business? It’s not just about if they can do the job well, it’s if they can work with you and your team well. Is their culture aligned with yours? Does the day to day contacts work well together? It’s a lot like interviewing for a new member of staff, you need to make sure they’re the right fit. If you want your business to grow, you need to look for an agency that has a history of helping their clients grow and want to help you grow your company too.
- Be open to critique and changes: This is probably the hardest point to deal with on both sides. Yes, you’ve worked for your brand for five years, you know your keywords, your personas and your target CPCs inside out. But, typically, a good agency, will work across different sectors and have experience in everything from eCommerce through to finance.
Due to the sheer number and variety of clients they’ve worked with, they will likely know something you don’t, so listen and be open to change. At the end of the day, if your plan is to do everything the same going forward, you don’t need an agency. Equally, a client that has worked in their business for many years will understand their pain points and should share this insight with the agency.
Be clear on why you want an agency and, when you’re going through the onboarding process, what you want from the agency. It’s not only really effective at helping us get the most out of your investment, but it’s also really helpful for you and your business.
Help the agency understand what you and your business want to achieve and you’ll be flying in no time. If you want any more useful tips on this topic, I’m happy to chat to you, email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.