When you start a business, it’s no secret that your business is your baby! You’ve built your dream from nothing, and it’s hard to let go as it grows. Because of this mentality, it is a massive leap of faith to trust someone else with your baby. Like finding a good babysitter, choosing an advertising agency that can help you reach your goals is a daunting task. How do you know you’re making the right choice and avoiding the pitfalls of being cheated over and over again? Here are our five tips for choosing an acceptable partnership between your business and an agency!
#1: Look for honesty in every aspect of the process.
When you work with an ad agency, you’re putting a lot of valuable content in their hands, so you need to feel confident in the process. Choose an ad agency who isn’t afraid to tell you when your timelines aren’t realistic. Choose one that is going to show you what all your upfront costs are and what you’re money buys you. Choose a group who is making sure you understand what they need and why they need it. There are so many freelancers and shady agencies out there who only say yes, refuse to explain why they need things, and who run away with your money. You want to know that when problems arise, these people are going to be there for you and be able to help you grow as a company.
#2: Look for an agency who does things in-house.
Outsourcing is a common practice because it’s more cost efficient. There’s nothing wrong with saving a little money here and there, but when an ad agency is sending your website to some overseas developer, how do you feel confident that your ideas are considered? When you choose an advertising agency who works with an in-house team, you know the people you speak to are in direct contact, and you have more input. It’s not overseas in a different time zone. It’s here, it’s local, and it’s never too far out of your control.
#3: Look for an agency that gives you ownership of your marketing materials.
When you create a website through builders like Wix or Squarespace, they technically own your site, not you. Same of some advertising agencies. They might build you a beautiful website, but when you decide that you’re done working with them, you might find that the fine print of a contract you signed gives them the rights to your website! This can happen for other materials as well. From social media logins to email accounts, you need to make sure that if you decide to terminate your relationship with the agency, your stuff still belongs to you. We have worked with quite a few companies who have ex-agencies holding their marketing materials hostage, and it’s complicated to get them back.
#4: Look for an agency who has plans, ideas, and goals for your business.
Not to toot our own horn here, but at IDG we believe in building partnerships. When we work with a company, we go into our initial meetings with ideas, concepts, and plans that we share with the client. We want our potential clients to know that we thought about how our relationship could be mutually beneficial instead of one-sided. If the agency you’re considering never gave you any new ideas or bounced ideas off of you, what are they providing you? If you’re the only one with concepts, pay yourself the money and save yourself the hassle!
#5: Look for an agency who is accessible.
In the age of constant connection, you’d be surprised how hard it is to get ahold of someone. When problems are solvable via phone call, you shouldn’t have to call 600 people to get resolution. Find an advertising agency who is available when you call, who responds to your emails promptly, and who calls you back when you leave messages. You are giving them business, and you deserve to be heard. Don’t let them make you feel otherwise.
A lot comes into play when choosing the right advertising agency for your needs. From budget to ability, sometimes you might need to sacrifice somewhere to make it work. However, we recommend sticking firm to these five tips so you can avoid the worst of the worst. We’ve seen many small businesses who have been kept in the dark, ripped off, stolen from, and taken advantage of. We work hard to mend those damaged relationships with our clients and make them feel comfortable. Make sure you’re not sacrificing what matters and choose an advertising agency you feel confident making a part of your team.
If you’re looking to join the IDG family, we would love to hear from you. Reach us Monday to Friday from 9-5:30 at (714) 221-4377!