5 Ways to Maxmise Results With Your Marketing Agency29 April 2016
Contracting your marketing out to a specialised agency is always a step in the right direction for an SME. It’s an investment in the future of your business – and will undoubtedly help build your brand and drive growth.
However, some business owners mistakenly believe they can sit back, let the agency do all the work, and watch the dollars roll in.
But it doesn’t really work like that.
In order to get the best value from your marketing and really maximise your ROI, SME owners need to work in partnership with their marketing agency. You have the business expertise, we’ve got the marketing nous. Working together, we can create high-impact marketing that will get results.
So what are the ways to ensure that you get the best results from your marketing agency, and the best value for your investment?
1. Get everyone on the same page
Start by giving your marketing provider a comprehensive brief. Talk about your expectations, what you hope to achieve. Give them all the details - because if you don’t, they’ll be working in a vacuum and no-one will be happy with the outcome: you won’t get what you want, and the service provider will feel like they’re delivering something that’s not good enough.
Once you’ve entered into a service agreement with your marketing agency, make sure your expectations align with what you’ll actually be getting. Read the documentation that’s provided as soon as you receive it, double-check what is and isn’t included, and ask for clarification if you’re unsure of anything.
Now is also the time to establish ‘ground rules’ to help build a strong working relationship. For example, be clear about how you prefer to be communicated with – phone calls, skype or email. Will you travel to your service provider or do they need to visit your offices? Or you could set up regular fortnightly or monthly calls. This will lay the foundation for easy, effective communication as your marketing progresses.
2. Be realistic and specific
Before you begin, set specific, tangible goals for your marketing.
Many of our clients say, ‘I want to grow my business, I want to make more sales.’ However, the reality is that most SMEs don’t have the all-encompassing budget to match that all-encompassing objective. You’re working with a specific, limited budget (and time frame), which necessarily limits your objectives.
So as you go into the project, think about what you want to achieve from the marketing service (realistically) - do you want a new website developed? Do you want five hundred more Facebook followers? Do you want to drive more leads? Launch a new product?
Tell your service provider the outcome you’re looking for, so they can work towards achieving that successfully.
And remember – you can't hold your marketing agency accountable for sales, because they’re not following your sales process through from start to completion. As your marketing activity rolls out, it’s essential that you provide the infrastructure at your end to support it: when the phone starts ringing, make sure it gets answered. Marketing can generate interest and help with the sales tools to increase conversions but it’s up to you to follow through and close the sales.
3. Share your business knowledge
Sometimes, we get clients who like to test us as they might a clairvoyant. They come in and don’t want to tell us anything about their business; yet they want us to be able to come up with great marketing ideas. This simply doesn’t work, because great marketing is grounded in data, analysis, research and strategy.
A marketing agency gives you access to experts across the marketing spectrum – strategists, marketing managers, copywriters, digital marketing specialists, graphic designers. But because they’re working for you, they need an in-depth understanding of your business: your objectives, target market, what’s great about your product, why you sell it, why people buy it, etc. This information is the key to your marketing success, it allows your provider to apply the right marketing strategies and target your campaign most effectively.
So it’s vital to work in partnership with your marketing agency, after all while they are the marketing experts, you are the expert on your business.
4. Time is money
When you work with an accountant or a lawyer you know that all time is billable. The same system applies for your marketing agency. Time is a commodity, and every phone conversation, every email or documents that needs to be read or written, is time that needs to be accounted for.
You don’t want too much of your marketing spend going on long phone conversations, chasing up documentation or sign off, etc. You want your marketing team to be productive - strategising, planning, writing your content, developing campaigns – actioning the activities you want to happen.
Be efficient and responsive! Get all your information together in one go – your brief, instructions, images, copy – anything that’s needed to get the project off the ground. And as the project progresses, always be sure to respond to requests for information, approval or feedback in a timely manner. If your agency has to follow you up multiple times, that costs you time and money.
5. Contribute and make the most of your investment
When it comes to working with a marketing agency, you’re only going to get out of it what you put in. It’s your business that’s being marketed, so your involvement and input will guarantee a better outcome.
Be collaborative - review their work, approve it, check it, provide data and answer questions as required. Be responsive – quick turnaround times will ensure you won’t miss any marketing opportunities.
And remember, your marketing plan is a valuable document. It will contain ideas beyond what can be achieved within the contracted timeframe, so keep it and continue referring back to it to get the most out of it. Scour it for information - there’s often some real nuggets in there that you might have missed first time. And it’s absolutely vital that you follow through and action the plans your marketing provider has put in place.
When you outsource your marketing to an external agency, it’s all about team work – you’re both on the same team and you’re aiming for the same goals. You can amplify the results and kick more of those goals by building a great working relationship with your marketing provider, with everyone on the same page regarding outcomes and expectations.