By 2021, it’s predicted that businesses will spend around $325 billion on digital marketing worldwide.
With marketing swallowing up so much money, it’s no surprise that not every online advertising campaign will be a smashing success. In fact, if your marketing partner isn’t properly utilizing SEO for small business and other vital digital marketing techniques, you might be fueling the demise of your brand.
Due to a lack of regulations in the marketing industry, nearly anyone can start up a digital advertising company, whether they know what they are doing or not. Unfortunately, small businesses are often the target for these inexperienced marketers.
So how can you avoid partnering with the wrong marketing companies and choose the one that will maximize your growth? Follow along to learn the vital questions to ask before signing the contract to ensure success.
Who Are Your Previous Clients?
This simple question will answer multiple concerns about your potential marketing partner.
First, it will give you an idea of their experience level. If they struggle to tell you about their clients or refuse altogether, it could be that they don’t have the background they want you to believe.
Second, you’ll get an idea of the fields they specialize in and if your business fits into that. To get the best results, choose marketers that already know your market and can dive right in with the specialty. For example, if you have an HVAC company, you likely won’t find it advantageous to choose a marketing consultant who’s only worked with salons.
Instead, seek out a consultant who’s experienced with HVAC marketing. As a bonus, after you know what clients they have worked with, you can get a feel for the success they have had with their marketing efforts.
What Services Do They Cover?
Digital marketing is a blanket term for many elements. Get familiar with your prospective partner by gaining an understanding of what they do.
Will they be designing ad campaigns? Is your website design included in the contract? What social sites will they be managing on your behalf?
Are they familiar with the benefits of SEO and will they be practicing black hat or white hat SEO strategies?
They should be able to give you a clear list of the services they will provide for your company and how they will carry them out. Getting this sorted out before you start will save you disappointment when you discover that their idea of digital marketing doesn’t include everything you had assumed.
How Will They Work With You on Your Goals?
The marketer should be fully aware of your business goals and have a plan in place to help you accomplish them. Since every business will have a slightly different view on what they would like digital marketing to achieve, it’s important that a marketer takes the time to personalize your campaign.
Get a feel for what communication would be like. Are you free to ask questions at any time? Is there a set schedule for updates and input?
Will there be one agent assigned to your project or will you be dealing with multiple marketers throughout your contract?
Think about these questions on your own to determine what your needs really are and ensure your marketing partner has an aligned view.
What Are Their Business Values?
Every business has a vision and goal, even marketing companies. Take the time to familiarize yourself with their mission statement and overall business values.
These values will give you a clearer picture of how they carry out business. If their goal is to take on the largest amount of clients possible, it’s probably safe to say they won’t be putting a lot of care into your project.
Ultimately, you’ll have the best success with a business that has similar views and values to your own brand. They’ll be able to sink into your voice much more effectively and work simultaneously on supporting your goals, and their own.
What Tools and Software Will They Use?
Even if you aren’t familiar with all of the marketing tools, this is a great question to flush out experience and expertise.
In order to keep up with multiple clients and scale marketing efforts for your project, they’ll need great software and effective tools. If they can’t list any applicable tools, they likely aren’t experienced enough to have built up their bag of tricks.
Additionally, if they are using out of date systems, you could end up missing out on online advertising opportunities or suffering through the growing pains when they adopt new systems.
What Is the Contract Length and Terms?
What are they requiring to get started? Are you obligated to stay with this company for months even if they don’t turn out any results?
Most companies will offer a trial period to ensure you will be satisfied with their services. This gives both parties a chance to discover if this is a good partnership and what the working relationship will be like.
Steer clear of companies who insist on a long term contract without any form of a trial period or exit opportunities. This will ensure you don’t get stuck with a marketer who isn’t actually doing anything for your company but legally can’t be escaped.
How Will They Report Progress?
Just like any business venture, progress is not linear and it may take a while to see changes. While it’s unrealistic to expect a 50% jump in sales overnight, your marketing partner should be providing you with data that outlines progress.
These reports will be vital to understand what is really going on with your marketing campaigns and what you have paid for. Reporting should be non-negotiable and any refusal to produce this information is a red flag.
You should expect to receive reports on a weekly or monthly basis with breakdowns that help you understand what results were achieved.
Choosing a Great Marketing Partner
Now that you are equipped with the most important questions to ask your potential marketing partner, you can step into that meeting with confidence and choose the best possible pairing. From their recent successes to reporting expectations, you’ll know exactly what they can offer before you seal the deal.
Want to discover more valuable tips and tricks to grow your business? Check out our other articles today to discover all the secrets for a successful business.