Marketing is complicated. There are a lot of moving parts. Sometimes, we wish we could just be blunt with the business owners we are trying to help and tell them the cold, hard truth without sounding like rude, demeaning, know-it-alls. So, in an effort to enlighten and not frighten, we give you our new blog series “You’ve Been Schooled!”. We hope it will help business owners understand marketing a little better and make better decisions with their marketing dollars. Today’s topic is hiring an agency and our expert is Sara Flaherty-Lee.
If I could vent about (ahem…educate) business owners on hiring a marketing agency, I would tell them this:
Get Your Ducks in a Row Before You Interview Agencies
“I meet with so many small business owners who don’t have basic information I need to help them when we meet. If you are interviewing marketing agencies, here are some questions you should be prepared to answer:
- What’s Your Vision for Your Company? – There’s no one better qualified to establish the vision for a business than the business owner. To most effectively convey your vision for your business, have these elements in mind:
- A brand voice (positive, friendly, down-to-earth, informative, etc.)
- A mission (to create a better everyday life for many people, to inspire healthier communities by connecting people to real food, etc.)
- Short & long term goals
- What Is Your Budget? – You don’t have to have an exact number, but you have to at least have a ballpark idea I can work with. A good rule of thumb is to allocate 10 – 12% of your annual revenue.
- What Does Your Ideal Website Look Like? – Have some examples of websites and functionality you like. Saying you’d like a “Clean and modern” site doesn’t help me that much. Show me.
- Who Is Your Target Audience? – Know who you are trying to reach. Have some specific demographics, including age, gender, income level, etc. Know the geographical radius you’d like to reach, etc.
- What Is Your Website’s Purpose? – What do you want your website to do? There are many different kinds of websites designed for various purposes. What is the end goal for users when visiting your site? To buy a product? To request a service? To submit contact information? Tell us what you want to accomplish with your website – increased revenue, improved client satisfaction, showcase your portfolio or services, etc. – so we’ll know what kind of design and user-experience to plan for.
One last piece of advice: You should definitely plan to invest in SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Yes, it’s a monthly expense, but having a website without SEO is like having a car with no gas. It won’t go anywhere. You have to optimize and maintain your organics so your target will find you when searching for your products/services. Every website budget MUST include SEO.”
Sara Flaherty-Lee – VP Partner Development
And there you have it. It’s going to go a lot smoother and faster if you have some of these basics figured out before contacting an agency (whether it’s us or someone else) to help with your marketing. Please help us help you avoid the extra preliminary meeting where we ask questions that you don’t have answers to.
Your marketing agency should be a strong and flexible partner that brings you real value. They should be solving problems for you – not creating any. If you keep these points in mind, you’re almost sure to have a great relationship with your marketing agency.
We hope this helps you in your quest to grow your business. Should you need marketing help with your website, SEO, branding, or anything else, please contact Lure Creative and we will be happy to share our insight and expertise (but not in a bossy, condescending way) to help your business Get Found and Be Known.