How To Get The Most Out Of Your Online Marketing Agency

[Note from the editor: Please welcome this guest post from Jolina Pettice, Director of Client Accounts at TopRank Online Marketing.]

After many years in the agency world, I can tell you that the relationship between company and agency is not unlike any other personal or business relationship.  If it’s rewarding, mutually beneficial and dare I say fun, it’s an experience that pays dividends for both for the company and the individuals involved.

Whether you are exploring, just got started or are well into an agency relationship, the following are 6 tips to get more out of your Online Marketing Agency.

#1 – Self Assessment
It’s difficult to know where you need the most help unless you honestly explore your organization’s strengths and weaknesses. For example, maybe your team excels at analytics but could use help creating meaningful content that drives traffic, engagement and ultimately inquiries.

Create a quick checklist. Then as you talk to agencies identify if their strengths are the best fit for your areas of need.

#2 – Know What Success Looks Like
Most people would never dare climb in the back of a taxi and tell the driver to go wherever he/she chooses. The same is true for working with an Online Marketing agency.

Before a successful roadmap can be created, everyone needs to understand the objective. The agency can take you where you want to go, but if you are unsure of the destination this will lead to problems down the road.

Either before you hire someone – or within the first few weeks – success needs to be clearly documented and have buy-in from both sides.

#3 – Open Up
It can be difficult opening up about your company with a new agency. However, the more you share, the better equipped they will be to help you. Be ready to bare your marketing heart and soul so your partners can have a keen understanding of your current situation and where you want to be in 3, 6 or 9 months.

Note – a good agency knows this and will have tools ready to draw information out of you!

#4 – Make a Commitment
Online Marketing is not a short-term project. It’s long-term and quite rewarding if everyone has set expectations appropriately and has buy-in on the objective.

A recent Forbes article highlighted 3 reasons good strategies fail. One of them is the urge to change strategies before the existing one has had a chance to work. Avoid this by setting milestones that are meaningful and can be reported back internally to keep key stakeholders engaged.

#5 – Communicate
For the love of <insert spiritual leader>, communicate with your agency. They may be poised to move marketing mountains, but they aren’t mind readers. If you like something, tell them and they will do more. If you don’t like something, tell them that too.

The agency you have chosen should be top-notch and therefore ready (and very willing) to hear critical feedback. Communication is key to a relationship, even in a business setting.

#6 – Celebrate
A common oversight is not considering what top-level executive will want to achieve through an Online Marketing program and helping them understand the milestones along the way.

The client-side day-to-day contacts and agency may be on the same page, and happy with progress; but other internal decision makers need to be a consideration.

Celebrating the milestones – large and small – is good to keep the relationship enjoyable and everyone motivated. Be sure to gain agreement on reporting metrics early in the engagement, so you can clearly share results internally as-needed.

From strategy meetings to counseling a client’s venture into the latest social network to celebrating sales goals, we find great pleasure in being the chosen agency of a variety of fantastic brands. In doing so, many relationships have extended beyond the walls of a conference room to anniversary plans, travel and birth announcements.

So, as you embark on your journey to select an agency keep these 6 tips in mind for a more successful – and fun – agency relationship.

Image provided via Shutterstock.