You’ve decided the time has come to bring on a team to make your digital dreams a reality. Here are 10 things to think about before you seal the deal.
1. What Kind of Business Do You Have?
Different kinds of business models and industries have disparate digital needs. Have you identified your business model, your industry, and the opportunity? If not, there’s no reason to panic. Besides offering digital solutions, agencies can also offer business modeling solutions to help you sort out your business model and the opportunity. This kind of offering can apply if you are a start up that has yet to appear in the marketplace, or even if you are an existing company looking to diversify or pivot your positioning.
You want to be the best in your industry, and stand out because of your unique offerings. Have you assessed the marketplace to identify your competitors? Sometimes this is very straightforward, with other brands in the same vertical as your business. Other times this is not as clear, as your company’s offerings may be similar to pieces of different brands already on the market. If you are not currently aware of other industry players, this is also something your agency can help you discover.
2. Your Business Goals
What are your current pain points about your business? What are you aiming to improve by enlisting the help of an agency? It may be increasing your brand awareness, or reaching a certain sales projection goal. Sharing these intentions with your agency will help them identify the opportunity, and the methods that they will use in order to reach that objective.
3. Your Website Goals
A website is a business tool. Do your website goals differ from your business needs? Perhaps your business goal is to build awareness or hit a targeted sales amount. A website goal however, can include getting leads, clicking through to content, or achieving sales, which will help contribute to your overall business goals.
4. What Do You Need?
Agencies tend to offer a variety of services for their clients, while some specialize in very specific services. Does the agency you are considering offer the solution you are seeking? A good way to tell this is by viewing the agency’s website.
5. Their Portfolio
At this point, you should have a general idea of the services you are looking for an agency to provide. Take a look at their portfolio. Does the quality of their work align with your expectations? Also, look for examples of the kinds of projects you are expecting to work on with your agency. If you want a new logo, do they have logo examples to share with you? If you are looking to increase your website traffic or sales, do they have case studies highlighting their success with previous clients? If your project is an offering or business model they have not worked on before, it should be a red flag.
Once you get to the point of having a conversation with your prospective agency, there are some additional questions to ask them about their portfolio. Have they worked with clients in the same industry or even similar solutions to your brand? Have they worked with competitors? Are they currently engaged with a client in the same space? Knowing this information will help you understand the agency’s experience and their ability to provide solutions for your specific brand.
6. The Budget
Now that you’ve identified an agency that specializes in the kind of project you had in mind, it’s time to address the expense. What amount have you allocated for this initiative? What you can afford to spend may limit the execution of the project. Be upfront about your budget in order for your agency to be able to properly manage the project expectations. It also just might be that your budget is too small for your agency to take the project on. When reviewing agency pricing it’s important to remember there will be a team of specialists dedicated to your account. Having multiple minds collaborating together to produce the work tends to result in a higher quality product than having one person solely working on it alone.
7. Relationship Status
Are you looking for a contractor for a one time project, or are you looking to build a long partnership with an industry expert? Some agencies will take on a quick assignment, while others are really looking for clients to build a lasting relationship. It’s always a good sign if your agency is invested in the long-term and is able to supply you with different offerings as your business grows.
8. Do You Feel Important?
You’ve been communicating with your agency of choice, do you feel like a top priority? How quick are they to respond to your emails and questions? If it takes days to hear back, chances are your business is not being valued. Does the agency jump on a regular call with you to review work that has been done and to check in on the progress? An agency that puts in the effort to frequently update you about project status knows how to manage expectations and deliver.
9. Do They Know What They Are Talking About?
You’ve looked at their portfolio. Have you asked to speak with their specialists to fully understand the project scope? Also, you can ask for a list of client references to speak with other clients that have worked with them. Happy clients are always a good sign.
10. Are You Ready for An Agency?
Working with an agency is a commitment. Get ready to be assigned homework as well as to review work and provide feedback. Your agency is going to want to hear your thoughts and make sure you are happy. Do you have the time to review their work and provide feedback in a timely manner?
What role will your agency play in your business? Will they be taking the place of key positions in your company where you don’t have the ability to hire full-time staff? Or are they a specific project? Besides the current role the agency is serving, think about your long term business growth plan, and how the agency is going to fit in.
Blue Fountain Media is a digital agency offering website, digital marketing, and design solutions to clients all over the world. Ready to get started? Tell us more about your project and contact us to set up a free consultation.