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How do you choose the "right" marketing agency?

If you run a business or wear the marketing hat, you know how important digital marketing is.

You know it's the way to get found on the web, to generate leads and to convert leads into customers.

However, you also know that it requires a lot of resources. And you may have chosen, like many others, to outsource some of your marketing efforts to a marketing agency.

Today, there are plenty of agencies to choose from.

Anyone can start their own agency in today's Denmark (and thank God for that - that's how I started Webamp).

The problem arises, however, when the mass of marketing agencies becomes difficult to choose from and you are rightly unsure about who can do the best job for you.

Are they the ones throwing the most opaque marketing buzzwords your way? Are they the biggest - the ones with the most prominent clients and awards? Is it the smaller specialist agencies that might give you more attention? Or something else entirely?

At the risk of sounding cheesy - I'll put it this way: When it comes to choosing a marketing agency, it's not about how you choose an agency. It's about how you find the "right agency".

Just the right match for your business.

Nicolai Vittrup
Last updated: 12. dec. 2022

7 things to think about when choosing your next marketing agency

Many of the clients we have in Webamp have worked with other agencies before us. When I ask them why they changed agency, they tell me that their previous agency did not live up to their expectations.

Of course, there may be several reasons for this. The most common reason, however, is that there has been too great a difference between what they have been promised (or thought they had been promised) and what has actually been delivered.

So let me go through the things I think you should consider when choosing your marketing agency.

1. Time

At Webamp , we've always lived and breathed for 2 things: great customer experiences and sublime products.

That may go without saying and may sound a little abstract. But we have a pretty concrete way to ensure it. We make sure that none of our specialists is responsible for more than 25 clients.

This ensures that our specialists know the first names of those they work with and what success really means to each client.

Several of our competitors have a slightly different approach. Some agencies' specialists have close to 100 clients per man.

If you do a quick head count, that works out to (give or take) 160 hours a month. That means they have a maximum of 1.6 hours per month for each customer.

If an hour and a half is enough for you per month, then Webamp is definitely not the right choice for you.

This is not to say that the majority of agencies take this approach - that would be too unfair a claim to make.

In some cases, it even makes sense that for a small amount of money, you only get 1.6 hours of work per month.

But, unfortunately, our industry has a lot of broken vessels where multitasking is taken a little too literally.

Again, it's all about finding the right match.

2. Vision and mission

Your business should align with the agency's vision and mission. Here's the question to think about:

Do your company and the agency have the same ideas about what you want to achieve?

For example, if you want to be the biggest in your industry, don't choose someone who has too conservative ambitions and doesn't have it in their DNA to think big.

If you want to be the best on the shopping feed on Google, then you should choose those who are very specialized in Google Shopping.

Well, that goes without saying.... But do you remember to ask?

3. Binding

Tying subscriptions can be a difficult thing to understand in our industry. After being in the business for over 10 years, I still don't understand the idea of tying up your customers for 5 years.

Of course, it makes short-term sense for the agency, in the sense that it "secures the money".

But what experience does it give you as a customer to be tied to a collaboration for 60 months?

When I was younger, I worked for one of those agencies that thought 5-year commitments were just fine.

I see several challenges with such agreements. The biggest is that there will be a risk that some agencies will not feel the same "need" to work as hard for you. To follow trends and develop their bets for you continuously.

I'm not saying that's the case. I have no way of knowing for sure.

...But keep in mind that if you have a 5-year commitment, they don't have to fight for you more than once every 5 years, right around when your contract is about to expire.

At Webamp , we always run a 12-month commitment.

It does several things for us. For one, it means my colleagues will always go the extra mile for our customers. If we don't, our customers have the option to stop, usually within 3-6 months.

It keeps us sharp to know that our customers are always looking for the best product, and we commit to that by letting customers "go" after just 12 months.

It also allows us to "move hours" from one month to another. Usually we spend a lot of hours during the start-up period to ensure a stable foundation for the new customer.

We can do this (without losing money) because we have the freedom to put in fewer hours in some of the other months when the need is less.

4. Proof of concept

We cannot get around the fact that references and cases are very important.

After all, around 82% check a business's reputation before deciding to engage.

I think it's the right thing to do. Check out the agency's reviews on Google, Facebook and Trustpilot.

What words do their customers use about the collaboration? What has been their experience? Did they feel heard and were they happy with the results?

5. Customer service

In my view, customer service is about eyes open when the going gets tough and ears pricked when the hustle and bustle of everyday life is in full swing.

Waking eyes when it burns at
How would you feel if your website went down on Monday night, today is Thursday, and no one has checked to make sure everything is as it should be?

This is just one example of customer service that can easily fail in our industry. But that won't happen if your future agency has its eyes open.

Ears pricked in the hustle and bustle of everyday life
Few in our industry dare let customers talk to the "geeks".

I believe that the best ideas happen when the client and the people doing the work talk together. This ensures that we understand your business, not just guess what's right for you.

Guesswork typically happens if production managers let busyness overcome pricked ears. Or that the agency downgrades communication because it has to go through a "customer success manager" .

6. Chemistry

It is important that there is good chemistry between you and your marketing agency advisors.

It is important that there is good chemistry between you and your marketing agency advisors.

Think about whether these are people you want to have coffee with. After all, they're going to grow your business.

7. Method

Let's take search engine optimisation as an example.

SEO consists of many different factors, and it takes many activities to influence Google's algorithm enough for a top ranking.

It also means that many different methods can be used. We therefore always encourage you to challenge the agency on its working methods before choosing.

For example, how do they get links? Is it from Mette's knitting book, quick PBNs or from "real" media? How do they view content for your website? Do they work with valuable content marketing or keywordstuffed landing pages a skilled copywriter has never come across?

And just as important, what are results for them? Do the volatile numbers in the cloud count? Is a move from page 10 to page 7 a success? Or do actual enquiries from potential new customers count?

Ask the agencies you talk to.

So now what?

Don't just take my word for it, of course. Go out and have meetings with a few different agencies and keep the 7 factors in mind.

I believe it can help you choose the marketing agency that best suits you and your business.

I usually say that the most amazing agencies are the ones that dare to say no to a client, either because they don't feel they are the right fit for them or because they simply don't have the time to solve the client's challenges.

I hope my advice gives you an even better understanding of what the difference between an agency and the right agency for you is.

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