You can’t trust your advertising and marketing to just anyone. That’s why when it comes to finding the best ad agency, you need to know what to look for.
Researching agencies and listening to endless sales pitches can be exhausting, discouraging, and overwhelming — how do you know which agency will be the best fit? What can you do to avoid listening to a sales pitch from an agency who clearly isn’t going to work out?
Here are our top 7 ways to find the best ad agency — before you ever sign a contact!
During Your Initial Research
Before you submit that form or book that call, you should do some initial vetting of the agencies you’re looking into.
Research their Reputation
This is a little hard to quantify, but researching an ad agency’s reputation is essential to finding the one that’s the best fit for your brand. Getting a word of mouth recommendation from a colleague is a good first sign!
But what if you don’t have a first-hand recommendation? You likely have colleagues in either your own industry or the advertising space. Don’t be afraid to reach out to them to inquire about your potential agency partners. Ask them what their reputation is in the industry, or if they know of any brands who have worked with them in the past.
Look into why their past clients have left — did they bring their marketing in-house because they outgrew the agency space? did the agency partner not deliver the promised results? was there a lack of communication?
Peruse Their Clients
When you’re in the sales process, take not of what brands the reps mention they’ve partnered with before. Are they in your same industry? You want to make sure this agency will understand your specific industry’s needs. (For example, Blue Wheel is a leading beauty marketing agency — we’ve worked with brands such as Caudalie, Erno Laszlo, Banila Co, and Grande Cosmetics.)
Additionally, you can browse their case studies on their website to get a sense of who they work for before you jump into the sales process. But make sure you look at more than just the brand names; also look for the results of their work with those brands.
A major red flag would be if an agency features a brand’s logo on their homepage, saying they’ve worked with them, but has no results or case studies to share about the brand. You don’t want an agency who books a big brand and then loses the contract because of poor performance!
Analyze Their Thought Leadership
One quick way to vet a potential ad agency is to look at their blog and LinkedIn page. Do they keep up to date with the latest digital marketing and advertising news? Are they regularly posting articles that show they’re experts in the field? Any ad agency worth their weight in gold will be regularly engaging in thought leadership, either on their blog, by guest posting on industry publications, or on social media.
During the Sales Process
Once you’ve booked a sales call, make sure to look into each of these areas before you jump on Zoom. And then after the call, be sure to analyze your experience. Every communication matters.
Go Over Needs/Goals
Make sure you have clearly outlined your company’s needs and goals to present to your potential ad agency.
Do you just need someone to run your digital advertising? Are you looking for someone to help you create content for your Facebook ads too? Outline exactly what you’re looking for and the goals you hope to achieve with the help of an ad agency — whether that’s grow sales, reach new customers, or scale your advertising efforts.
Be clear with what you’re looking for in an ad agency. You’re likely looking for someone who will be an extension of your team, who will understand your larger business goals and be able to manage your digital advertising efforts in light of your larger business strategy.
Don’t be afraid to lay out what you expect — whether that’s bi-weekly meetings, weekly reports, email responses within 24 hours, or a structured approval process.
Ask for Rates
Don’t be shy about asking for rates. After all, you’re the one who has to pay for their services! Be up front in asking what they’ll charge you for your needs that you’ve outlined. Don’t just go after who is the cheapest ad agency — lower prices usually mean lower quality. You get what you pay for when it comes to advertising, so don’t cheap out on investing in a quality ad agency.
Then ask the nitty gritty questions. Do they require long contracts? Can you do month-to-month contracts? Be wary of ad agencies that only offer long contracts (24 months, etc.) as you will be stuck with them for a long time, regardless of the results they provide your business.
Evaluate Sales Process
After you’ve left the Zoom meeting, write down your thoughts right away while everything is still fresh in your mind. (Hopefully you were taking notes when you asked about rates and expectations!)
- How knowledgeable was the sales rep? Did they have an understanding of your business?
- Did they seem to over-promise results?
- Did the pitch seem generic and not geared towards your specific brand?
- What was the communication like before and after the call. Were they clearly and promptly communicating throughout the process, or was it like pulling teeth to get a response? (This could be an indicator of how communication will be once you’re onboarded.)
We don’t want to brag, but we think we’re one of the best ad agencies in the game. Get in touch with us today for an experience that will knock your socks off.