You’ve weighed up the pros and cons and decided that outsourcing your digital marketing function is the way to go. Fantastic decision! But this blog isn’t going to be about patting you on the back with a list of benefits (even though there are so many). Instead, we’re going to focus on the future: how are you going to get the best out of this new relationship with a digital marketing agency?
The primary reason for getting in contact with a digital marketing agency is because you want to give yourself the gift of time. If you can pin down a team of digital marketing experts to conduct their magic on your behalf, you can focus in on your business objectives, right? Of course! But if you don’t define some crucial aspects of your agency relationship in the early stages, then you could end up losing a lot of time in the long-term.
To avoid being a digital agency hopper be aware of these rules of engagement:
Bad personality fit is a deal breaker
Have you ever been in a conversation with someone and, although the words they are saying make sense and strung together offer up coherent sentences, you just cannot understand what they are really trying to say? This happens every day in all kinds of relationships, infamously the marital kind! However, you really do not want this to be the case with your digital marketing agency relationship.
Of course, digital marketing agencies are a particularly flexible breed when it comes to communication skills because they are in contact with many different types of industries, each one with their own culture bubble and associated jargon. They have the skills to interpret, decipher, revise, and mould language. However, personality fit is a different thing.
Personality fit is about having:
- a working rapport
- similar business principles
- a complementary approach to problem-solving
- a unanimous understanding of what success looks like
Without these attributes you and your digital marketing agency will never be on the same page; conversations will run in circles and nothing will ever get done quite right.
What are your expectations and goals? Now say them out loud
This is where a unanimous understanding of what success looks like comes from. The clearer your goals are, the less chance there is for scope creep and the smoother the path is to success.
It is a good idea to share your long-term goals in the initial meeting with the agency, but your vision requires continuous maintenance. This doesn’t mean simply taking a look at the data report at the end of the month. Clarifying your expectations and goals should be a part of every conversation you have with your digital marketing agency.
A great way to ensure everyone has their eye on the same prize is with examples. Show the agency examples of what an attractive website, eBook, infographic, video, blog, newsletter looks like to you. This shouldn’t be about copying the competition (we have a whole blog on why that’s a terrible idea) but it can help impart a clear mental image of what the end will look like when working on a project.
Pick your in-house liaison
The bane of every digital marketing agency’s existence is when they have done their share of a project, send it to the client for the all-clear and then, a whole week later, it eventually reaches someone in-charge who says “Yes”.
Agencies understand that their client is busy, after all it is probably why they started the relationship with them in the first place, but they also want to able to do the best job they can. Delays, especially in the world of digital marketing where timing means everything, stop progress in its tracks. Extended periods of communication drought also have a nasty habit of drying up those all-important creative juices mid-project.
Remember: in marketing, timing is everything!
The in-house liaison cuts through all this time wasting. They are the crucial point of contact that keeps the ball in play. If there are any changes in the company that affect the website, such as the team page or events feed, the in-house liaison will be the one to think to let the marketing agency know. If a meeting needs to be postponed or an email list needs updating, having an insider who knows the roles in the company inside-out and has their finger on the pulse of the company calendar can be vital.
It may sound like a small thing but an in-house liaison can save everyone a lot of unnecessary headaches from month-to-month.
You are now entering the circle of trust
When you give an external company control over your digital marketing function there is trust involved. This is obvious. The less explicit manifestation of trust is the day-to-day type that permeates every project you and your digital marketing team will work on together.
We have advised you to give the agency examples of content that your company prefers, and this is great for clarifying expectations. However, you also need to trust in the digital marketing agency’s expertise. Sometimes projects can get bogged down by what the CEO would prefer or what a competitor is doing. Trust the knowledge and experience of the digital marketers you have chosen to work with. If they advise that a font, or colour or headline won’t work, listen to their reasoning and be open to their ideas.
In the end, you should enjoy working with your chosen digital marketing agency because, after all, both parties want the other to thrive. It is the ideal win/win scenario. Working with an agency puts you in the unique position of having a set of fresh eyes that want you to succeed on all of your new projects. Take advantage of this unique benefit by trusting their instincts and giving them room to get creative. By following these rules of engagement, you will find yourself with an invaluable alley by your side for all of your business ventures.