The 3 key things you must do before hiring a digital marketing agency

Have you got a business that has grown to the stage that you think you’re ready to take the plunge and outsource your digital marketing to an agency? Perhaps you have taken on a few new clients or sold an additional pallet of stock. Whatever the trigger, getting experts who truly understand the digital marketing options available, and which ones will be right for your business, will make a big difference to your business growth.

There are a few things you need to prepare before taking the plunge if you want to get the maximum value from the relationship. If you aren’t prepared, then you will be wasting time (and money!) while they do the prep for you. To hit the ground running with your new agency, there are three things you need to do first.

1. Know your ideal customer

Do you know your ideal customer? They are the ones that require little effort to attract, but who provide you with maximum return. What characteristics do these customers have in common? Being able to brief your agency on the customers you want them to target will help them tailor the marketing to reach the right people.

If you don’t currently know who your ideal customer is, try this little exercise:

Draw a table with two rows and columns, labelling one axis ‘Amount Of Effort’ and the other ‘Amount Of Return’. Now, identify types of customers who fit within each segment of your table. What are the characteristics of your customers that provide high return and require little effort? The ones who tend to purchase the most without you having to expend loads of energy converting them? Completing this exercise will help you prepare a great brief.

2. Provide the agency with a well thought out, in-depth brief

What is it that you want your agency to achieve? Do you want to increase awareness about a new product/service you are offering? Is your goal to increase the bottom line? Providing a detailed brief can be the difference between a campaign that generates the results you need and one that completely misses the mark. An ideal agency brief includes clear objectives, success metrics, a budget and a clear timeline.

3. Set-up your website tracking and goals

Typically, the first thing any digital marketing agency will do is set up your website tracking, your goals and conversions – so that they can objectively measure their performance. But, if you are able to correctly set up your tracking before meeting with an agency, not only does this allow them to focus on getting you results, but it also means you have been collecting data they can use when creating their first campaign.

John Wanamaker, a pioneer in marketing, has famously said: “Half the money spent on advertising is wasted; the trouble is knowing which half.” If you can get ahead of the game and prepare a great brief, outlining the characteristics of your ideal customer, and also set up your website analytics and tracking before you start talking to agencies, you will be a step ahead. By providing your potential agency with data about your customers, their behaviour and how they interact with your advertisements, you will be helping them spend money on the ‘right half’.

So many companies approach agencies when they are unprepared. Many agencies spend the first month of engagement setting things up to ensure that the marketing is trackable and that they are targeting the right customers. If you as a business owner do as much as you can to prepare first, your digital marketing agency can focus on acquring conversions for you that much faster.

Gerald Ainomugisha is a freelance web content writer and Content Solutions Provider (CSP) focusing on business reporting, HR management, IT and digital marketing.