Finding the perfect match for you and developing a strong, happy relationship can be tricky and takes work. Finding, establishing, and developing the right client-agency partnership is no different. When you’ve found your soul mate, your perfect match, you simply know because you are better with them than without. And it is no different when you find your perfect digital agency that has an aligned attitude and lasting commitment to your business, you know you can achieve greater things together.
So, how can you find your Mr/Mrs Right Agency? Well, with a little planning and by following the five steps outlined below, you can improve your chances of finding the right digital agency for you with which you can develop a long-lasting partnership.
Create Your Wish List
First things first, you need to understand what it is you need. An awareness of the type of company you are, the level of digital expertise you currently have, and the main project requirements and resources (both in terms of people and budget) you have available for any upcoming digital initiative is critical in order to develop a good brief (if you need support writing a brief, we have a blog for that!).
For example, do you need strategic direction and consultancy, creative design, an ecommerce platform, SEO services, social media management, web development or a combination of these? Once you know what it is you’re looking for, it will be a lot easier.
Then you need to think about time frames – do you have definite deadlines for some of these? And budget, is your budget realistic? If you don’t know exactly what you need that’s OK, but be upfront about this and a good agency will help you to define your options and refine your strategy.
Assess Your Options
Unfortunately there’s no digital marketing Tinder to help you find your perfect agency, but there are lots of other ways to pull together a potential shortlist.
- Recommendations from peers – this is always a good starting place. Collate recommendations from colleagues, LinkedIn connections, and other businesses in your industry.
- Platform or technology recommendations – if you already know the CMS platform or marketing technology you’d like to use then they will often have a list of recommended agencies. For example, Kentico list their UK based Solution Partners on their website.
- Reports – look at reports such as Econsultancy’s Top 100 Digital Agencies or The Drum’s Digital Census.
- Find examples of work – if you’ve seen a particular website or piece of digital content that you love, why not find out who the agency was behind it?
- RAR – take a look at the Recommended Agency Register. It’s a free register of agencies that have been recommended by their clients.
Once you’ve found a few potential agencies that you feel could be a good match for you, do your homework and start online stalking!
Their website is an obvious place to start: read client testimonials, look at their work, and try to understand the agency’s expertise and strengths. Then start to look a bit further afield, you need proof that they are what they say they are and are well-regarded in the digital world. Take a look at their social channels and interactions, the awards they have won, thought-leadership content on their blog or elsewhere, and speaking engagements they may be involved in.
All of this will help you to build a picture of the agency and whether or not they will be a good partner for you.
Is There Chemistry?
As with any relationship, there has to be chemistry and the importance of good chemistry between a client and agency shouldn’t be overlooked. Don’t forget you are going to be working closely together going forwards, so you need to like each other! Consider which agencies are genuinely interested in your organisation and challenges.
The best way to establish if there is chemistry is to speak to them. So reach out, maybe with an initial phone call and then set up meetings with each of them. This can be before you even issue an RFP or brief.
You should be able to establish how each agency approaches challenges and whether these are the type of people you want to work with. Communication in this early stage will tell you a lot about the agency. How easy or difficult are they to communicate with? From emails to phone calls to face-to-face meetings, you want a digital agency that will communicate clearly and talks your language.
Will It Last?
So you may not ‘date’ your potential agency for as long as you would a potential spouse but the process for finding the right match should still be thorough. This isn’t a relationship you want to fall down at the first hurdle!
Your perfect match should offer what you most value on your wish list, have the right expertise, be what they say they are, be people that you like, and have a lasting commitment to you to achieve great things together.