How to choose a marketing agency and track their performance
As in-house marketing manager, you have a lot on your plate. You’re overseeing your company’s marketing strategy from head to toe, managing budgets, managing your team and making sure that results are being achieved!
If you’ve been lucky enough to be able to engage a digital marketing agency for a little extra help with things like Facebook ads and optimising your digital strategy, it’s also on you to make sure the agency is performing. But you don’t have time to keep tabs on every single metric and piece of content that goes out. (In fact, that’s a guaranteed way to ensure that the marketing agency can’t do their job properly). So, how can you make sure that the agency you engaged is actually performing?
First up, you need to make sure you vet the agency properly before you bring them on board. Here are a few red flags and things to watch out for when meeting with agencies.
They promise you incredible results without telling you how they plan to achieve them.
If an agency promises to win you 10,000 leads and a rainbow with a pot of gold each month, sure, it sounds awesome! But what steps are they going to take to achieve those results?
Of course, you’ll discuss your overall goals and the results you’d like to see. But the agency should be able to outline exactly how they’ll work towards achieving those results. We’re talking something a little more in-depth than them telling you they’re going to run Facebook ads. A good agency should be setting SMART goals, and outlining the KPIs and metrics they’ll use to measure success, as well as a roadmap of what they’ll do along the way.
They over-promise or guarantee results
While we’re on the topic of promises, be wary of specifics. Digital marketing has a lot of moving parts. Things need to be tried, tested, tweaked, and optimised. Constantly! So, if anyone guarantees you X number of leads, engagement, or revenue each month, that should be a red flag. A ballpark figure is ok, but again, you want to know how they plan to achieve it.
They’re difficult to communicate with
If an agency doesn’t respond to your enquiry, or send you a proposal in a reasonable timeframe, that could be an indicator of what they’ll be like to work with when you sign with them.
On the flipside, if they’re too eager to sign you, you should be wary as well. A good agency should vet you as much as you vet them. The best results happen when your values align, you can work toward the same goals, and it’s a good fit from both sides.
They don’t have case studies to show you
It’s perfectly reasonable to ask what kind of work the agency does, what kind of clients they work with, and what sort of results they achieve before agreeing to anything. In particular, look for work they’ve done with other clients in your industry. Just because an agency can get impressive results for an eComm client, it doesn’t mean they understand the nuances of generating leads for your gym business. Ask if they can show you case studies, examples of their work, or better yet, if there’s a previous client you can speak to for a testimonial. If they’re cagey about this, run the other way!
How to tell if your marketing agency is performing
Now you’re confident you’ve got a good agency on board. But you still need to make sure they’re delivering. What do you need to look out for?
When it comes to monthly reporting time, make sure they’re not bamboozling you with numbers and metrics that aren’t meaningful. As a marketing manager, you’re better placed than most to understand all the data and metrics you’ll be presented with. Ask yourself, do the metrics the agency is showing me actually tie back to the goals we set?
Sure, a massive surge in web traffic is exciting, but if you don’t see that traffic convert on your end, it could be a sign that the agency isn’t holding up their end of the bargain to bring you quality leads and traffic. You need to discuss how they’re going to change their approach next month.
Afterall, helpful metrics should be actionable. They shed light on what’s working, what isn’t, and inform future strategy and decision making. A good agency should use these metrics to identify opportunities and make changes if necessary.
The one caveat we’d like to add is that digital marketing takes time. With any agency, there will be a period of testing, discovering, and optimising before you start to see maximum results. The agency should make this clear from the get-go, but if you have to answer to colleagues who want to know why the agency you engaged hasn’t brought in thousands more in revenue in the first month, you need to be able to explain why. It’s also important that you and your in-house team are working with the agency, not against them, in order for them to get you the kick-ass results you’re looking for. That means providing them with the creative and collateral they need, and approving things in a timely manner.
We hope these tips have set you up to find an awesome agency and build great relationship with them! Speaking of awesome agencies (we think you know where we’re going with this 😉), here at WCM, we love working with in-house marketing managers. If you need support with the digital aspects of your company’s strategy, get in touch today.