5 things you need to know before hiring an agency

At Wellons Communications, we’ve seen how much of a difference hiring an agency can make for a business.

We’ve seen the power of a national PR placement in getting a client noticed by buyers in their industry. We’ve seen how a coordinated social media ad campaign can move the needle on sales. And we’ve seen how a strategic marketing plan can raise serious awareness and have an impact on the bottom line.

In fact, we’re proud to have been part of those results for our clients.

But we also understand that hiring an agency might not always be the right move. When clients have different expectations of what an agency does, or when the agency isn’t the best fit, clients might not see the results they’re looking for.

To ensure you’re getting the most from your client-agency relationship, consider these five things BEFORE you make your decision.

What you need from your agency.

Not all agencies are created equal. In fact, if you just Google top agencies in your area, chances are you’ll get a mix of ad agencies, marketing agencies, PR agencies, social media agencies, even terms like creative agency or digital agency—all of whom specialize in different areas. As with all things in business, you need to know your goals. When you zero in on those, you can find an agency whose strengths best align.

What level of service you expect.

Agencies are structured differently. At a large agency, for instance, you might never speak to upper-level management, while at a smaller firm, he or she might be your main point of contact. Agencies also provide a different level of service based on the contract you draw up. If you choose a lower level of service, for instance, you might not be able to achieve all you want when you hit a certain number of hours. Alternatively, if you just need one service, you don’t want to overpay for things you already have handled. Be sure you and your potential agency partner are on the same page as to who’s doing what and what the level of service looks like.

What constitutes a win.

This goes hand-in-hand with knowing your goals for an agency relationship, as well as knowing what you need in an agreement. What, to you and your agency, is a win? When do you both call it a success? If all you have is a nebulous idea of “more sales,” you might find yourself disappointed, wondering what, exactly, this agency is doing for you. Having concrete benchmarks (a national PR hit) that feed into and support your overall goals (more sales) will make both sides of the client-agency relationship feel fulfilled.

You’re going to have some work to do.

Often, clients sign the contract and sit back, expecting something to happen. Only it doesn’t. That’s because with any agency you choose, you’re going to have to put in a little work up front, as well as a little to maintain the relationship throughout its course. You will need to have a true, unclouded view of your company, and you’ll need to share some of that with your agency. They need to not only get a sense of your goals, but of your strengths and weaknesses, opportunities you may not see, and who you are at your core. If you put in a little time to share these things—or designate a strong employee to manage the relationship—your agency can better serve you. And it doesn’t stop there. You, or that designated point of contact, will need to stay engaged to get the most from your agency, providing things like direction on how to respond to customer concerns, the latest product artwork or event posters, and important news updates. Generally, you’ll get out more than you put in.

Who fits with your team.

The contract, the service level, the fees—all of that is important when selecting an agency. But more important? Who they are. You know what kind of business partners you like to work with in all other facets of your business. Don’t let an agency be an exception. Your agency should feel like a fit, like an extension of your team. Make sure they fit into your culture and values, because you’ll be working with them on the things closest to your business.

If you’ve considered all of these things and found the answers, an agency might be the best choice for you—and you might be ready to truly get the most from that relationship.

We hope you’ll consider us at Wellons Communications. We are one of Orlando’s top PR and social media agencies, and we specialize in PR, social media, content and marketing. We are a smaller team dedicated to making real connections with our clients and delivering great results. And we love new clients!

Want to learn more? Give Will a call at 407-339-0879 or email him at will@wellonscommunications.com. We’d love to share our perspective on the answers to these questions so you can find the right agency for you.