Nine Tips for Finding the Right Marketing Agency for Your Small Business

You’ve put in the work, your small business has grown, and you’re ready to expand with the help of a marketing agency. Sounds simple enough, but when it comes to finding the right fit for your company, the process can feel overwhelming. Don’t sweat it! The following tips are designed to help you find a marketing agency that’s just the right fit for your business.

1.  Determine Your Brand Identity

Before reaching out to a marketing agency, it’s helpful to have a general sense of your own brand identity – what you stand for, your goals as an organization, and the customers you are trying to attract. If you don’t have a solid brand identity yet, you can start by holding a few internal meetings to establish your values as an organization, where you are positioned in your industry, get a clear understanding of your ideal customers, and identify your overall business goals. Don’t sweat it if you aren’t 100% sure of your brand identity yet, though. A strong marketing firm should be able to help you narrow this down with a simple work session. Your brand identity is the foundation for your overall marketing mix, so be sure to look for a marketing agency that either asks about it or is willing to help you hone in on it!

2.  Understand Where You Need Help

Are you struggling to convey your business offering? Are clients leaving for competitors? Are you lost when it comes to SEO marketing? Need help with signage, social media, or communications? Take note of where your business could use the most help to meet your business goals so you can narrow down your list of agencies who specialize in what you need and where you need to grow.

3.  Set Realistic Goals

Do you need to attract a specific set of customers? Drive traffic to your website? Increase sales? Launch a new product line or service? By clearly establishing your business goals, you can ask a potential marketing agency for specific examples of how they will help you achieve these goals and how they have helped others do the same.

4.  Ask Your Peers for Referrals

One of the best ways to narrow down your search is super simple—just ask around! See which marketing companies and agencies people in your network have used or would recommend. Word-of-mouth referrals can open doors and introduce you to amazing people you wouldn’t have found otherwise!

5.  Determine if You Want to Stay Local or Go Remote

If you want an agency that can provide face-to-face time and visit your business in person, you’ll want to look for a local agency. If proximity isn’t a top priority for you, and if you would prefer a greater number of options, you can cast your net far and wide. In today’s world of virtual meetings and team file-sharing platforms, the ease of working with agencies in other locations shouldn’t be a barrier to sourcing the agency that best suits your needs.

6.  Search Using Specifics

It’s time to bust out that search engine! If you’re getting too many hits when searching for “small business marketing agency,” try searching based on your specific needs and location. For example, searching “SEO marketing agencies near [your location here]” may yield better results than “marketing agency near me.” Or “small business marketing agencies specializing in [your industry here]” may connect you with an agency with industry-specific experience.

7.  Research Your Potential Partners

Once you’ve found a handful of agencies you’re interested in, it’s time to do a deeper dive. See if they have helped any businesses similar to yours. Some agencies are specialized and some deal with a wide variety of clients. What matters most is that you find a few agencies that produce quality work in the areas you need. It’s also a good idea to see how the agencies market themselves. Be sure to check out their online presence and website to review their credentials. Do they communicate their own business values, offerings, and successes clearly? Do they have experienced staff on hand to meet your needs?

8.  Reach Out and Meet Up

Now that you’ve narrowed your list down to a handful of agencies, it’s time to see if they truly fit your needs and can take you on as a client. Reach out via phone or email and let them know you are seeking a new marketing agency partner. If they get back to you in a timely and professional manner, that’s a good sign! Set up a digital or in-person meeting to discuss your needs and get their take on how they’d work with a business like yours. Be sure to ask for examples of how they’ve helped similar businesses in the past and ask for a new business proposal to showcase exactly how they’d plan to help you and your business achieve your goals.

9.  Make a Decision!

In addition to a new business proposal, an agency should provide examples of how they work with their clients and how they charge their fees. Thoroughly review the information provided and examples of work they’ve done for other clients. Are you happy with the quality of their work? Do they seem reliable, experienced, and professional? Have they shown you how they can help you achieve your goals in a quantifiable way? Do you feel confident in their team and how they’d align with your organization? If so, it’s time to say yes to your new marketing agency and get to work growing your business and brand!

The process may take some time, but the right marketing company should feel like an extension of your team and can truly take your business to new heights.

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