• Three Questions to Ask Your Next Advertising Agency

    If you own a small business, at one time or another you've probably donned more hats than you knew you could. You've probably been the owner, the bookkeeper, the designer, and the head of marketing. The further you get in your life as an entrepreneur, the more you begin to realize that being a smart business owner means delegating tasks to those who have experience and time to work in your business while you work on the bigger parts. Hiring an advertising agency can be a daunting task, but if done right, it can propel your business to the next level. When you're evaluating proposals, make sure to ask these three questions so that you're sure you've made the right choice.

    1. Have You Worked in My Market Before?

    This can be a big red flag right off the bat. If the advertising agency has never worked in your market or isn't able to show work that would be somewhat similar to what you're looking for, then it might not be the best fit for your company. While it may seem exciting to be the pioneer, if your budget is tight for outsourcing, then you want to make sure you take the safe bet. Look for campaign examples and case studies that show how the agency has worked with clients in your area.

    2. How Long Do They Typically Campaign?

    Asking about the duration of a campaign can help you set realistic expectations when working with a new advertising agency. If you're looking for short-term gains, running a traditional ad campaign might not be the best fit for you, so talking with the account managers at the agency can help you decide if they can meet your expectations, or if you need to seek another firm. Remember that marketing is a long process, and results can take time. Make sure to remain realistic in your expectations (but always make sure to voice concerns if you're not satisfied).

    3. Will They Handle Your Social Media (and Do You Want That)?

    Many companies have become full-service agencies that handle your marketing, advertising, and your social media accounts. Depending on how many partnerships you want to make, this could be helpful, or it could make things more stressful (especially if you sever ties with the advertising agency later on). Decide what exactly you want to delegate to your new firm and make sure to keep an eye on how your company's "voice" is perceived on social media. If, however, you're interested in sourcing it to another agency or keeping it in-house, there are many talented agencies that focus specifically on ad campaigns and won't touch social media because of their expertise in other areas.

    Hiring your first advertising agency can feel like a daunting task as giving up your marketing efforts to another team means letting go and trusting that the job will be done well. Once you've chosen an advertising or marketing firm, make sure to do your research, set your goals, and keep open lines of communication with your account manager so that your next campaign is a success.

    Author: Andrew Stratton
    Author Notes: When considering an advertising agency, business owners visit Diane Allen and Associates. Learn more at http://www.da-advertising.com/
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