By Brad Shorr
Outsourcing your marketing can be a smart move for small businesses.
Whether you want to find new customers, build a stronger brand, or engage existing customers, effective marketing campaigns require careful planning.
If you’re looking to hire a marketing agency, you want to make sure you’re sizing the marketing professional up correctly so you’re putting your business in good hands.
These five questions will help you zero in on the best fit for your needs, without having to become an expert in online marketing to do so.
1. What does your ideal client look like?
This is a good one to ask right off the bat, before the marketer knows exactly what you’re trying to accomplish and can shape the answer around that information.
The purpose of this question is to establish whether there is a good fit between your needs and the agency’s sweet spot.
Most marketers specialize in something. Some are great at website design, some focus on paid search campaigns, some with email marketing — and on and on.
Generally, you want to work with an agency/freelancer that does what you want to do, day in and day out. If you are outside the marketer’s sweet spot, chances are you’ll get less than their best attention and execution.
There are a couple of exceptions. If your business plan involves rapid expansion, you may want to hire a marketer that excels with clients larger than yourself. Otherwise, you’ll need to start over with a new agency when you’re knee-deep in managing growth.
The other exception may be if the marketer says, “You’re outside our sweet spot, but you’re where we want to grow our business. If you work with us, we’ll give you a discount and we’ll handle our learning curve on our dime.”
A marketer that says this scores high for honesty, and you could be getting the bargain of a lifetime.
2. What is your five-year business plan?
This question gets at the marketer’s stability. Unless you have a very short-term marketing objective — e.g., a product rollout, a simple website build — you’ll want an online marketer you can stick with for a while.
Most online marketing activities require sustained testing and data evaluation to hit stride and continuously improve; starting over with a new marketer usually entails taking a few definite steps backward to achieve several possible steps forward — not the greatest scenario.
The key is to make sure your marketer has a plan. You certainly don’t want to hook up with a marketer whose main objective is to snag an in-house job somewhere. Ideally, you’ll want to hear the plan is sensible, concrete, and keeps you in the sweet spot.
3. If we hire you, what are the first 10 things you are going to do?
The purpose here is to determine if the marketer has a documented, systematic process for campaign management.
As I said at the outset, online marketing is complicated, with a lot of moving parts. If the marketer really understands the lay of the Go to the full article.
Source:: Business 2 Community