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How to Evaluate & Select a Marketing Partner




Is marketing your business not high on your priority list? Maybe you’ve tried doing it yourself and you simply don’t have the time to manage these activities on top of running your business. Or maybe you want to work with an expert that has the expertise to drive business results. Either way, seeking a marketing partner to help you in these efforts might be the answer for you.

The only problem is, how do you know who to trust with your marketing? There is a plethora of options: you could hire an agency (or multiple agencies) to handle different aspects of your marketing (email, social media, etc.) or you could hire a freelancer to do it all themselves. How do you decide?

Choosing a marketing provider should take some time, if you want to do it right. Before selecting a provider to work with, do your research. Below is a list of qualities to look for in a trustworthy marketing provider:

  1. Good Reputation: Does this provider have a strong reputation in the community? What do previous clients say about them? Request a list of references from the company and call these references to ask questions about their experiences with the provider. Similarly, try to locate a list of additional clients which can often be found on the company’s website. Reach out to some of these clients and see what they have to say.
  2. Strong Portfolio: Check the potential marketing provider’s portfolio. What kinds of projects have they completed and what kind of clients have they worked with? Do these projects or clients have similar needs as your business? Are they on a similar scale to your projects? Understanding what kind of expertise they have will help you evaluate if they are a fit for your particular business needs.
  3. Available Resources: It’s important to make sure that your potential marketing provider has the resources needed to meet your expectations. Does this marketing provider have enough staff to support you? Are they local or remote? Are they available and responsive by phone and email? Can a representative visit you in person, or do you have to travel to them? Do they service other businesses in or near your area? How many hours can they dedicate towards working on your projects? If you are thinking of a long-term partnership, do they have the resources to grow as your business grows? Ask these questions to understand if they are able to be of maximum service to your business.
  4. Transparency: To avoid misunderstandings, set expectations early. It is important to develop realistic and mutually agreeable performance indicators like website visits, phone calls, form fills, store visits, sales, etc. In addition, have regular (monthly or quarterly) check-ins to see how things are going. You’ll want the ability to set clear expectations for both the company and for you. Regular contact and open lines of communication is extremely important.
  5. Passion and Enthusiasm: At the end of the day, you will be working with this marketing provider on a regular basis, so you want to make sure they share in your passion for your business. Marketing a business requires understanding the ins and outs of the business as well as the things that make the business interesting and unique. A partner that asks more questions and takes an interest in you and your business will be a better fit than a partner that simply makes inflated promises. You will want them to care just as much about what you do as you do.

If you’re looking for a media-specific partner like an email marketing provider you might have some questions and considerations specific to that method of marketing. However, these five considerations are foundational to any new marketing relationship. So do your research before hiring a marketing provider and ask questions and compare results.

To get started, check out the MarketingBitz Vendor Directory. This directory lists marketing providers across the world. You can search by the marketing services you are most interested in (social media, websites, SEO, email, etc.). Each listing tells a little more about the company and their specialties. Good luck!

Becky Harris

Contributed By: Becky Harris

Becky Harris is a content marketing specialist at the Local Search Association.

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