Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Tacoma Marketing Agency

With so many marketing agencies across the Puget Sound and beyond, it can be difficult to know which agency to choose, which questions you need to ask and how much money to spending with the right agency.  Below are a few questions to ask to assist you in finding the right marketing agency for your business.

Here, we’re outlining the top 7 questions you need to ask a potential Tacoma marketing agency, though this exercise could be used for a Seattle marketing agency, a Portland marketing agency or a nationwide marketing agency.

1. How Are You Different?

When you’re looking for a Tacoma Marketing Agency, asking them the right questions regarding what sets them apart from their competition is important.  We suggest you give the agency a chance to sell you on their services and see how well they do it.  Listen to their elevator pitch and critique it carefully.

This is crucial differentiator in many aspects.

Website designers or  SEO guys are not marketers.  They are specialists in what they do.  These specialties have a role in a marketing agency, but an agency looks at marketing holistically, not just how your website looks.

You really need to be able to get a sense of how the marketing agency is going to convince your website visitors to buy from you. If they’re just rehashing the same pitch you’ve heard dozens of times, they don’t have what it takes, and they’re not going to offer your company anything truly dynamic.

Asking the marketing agency “How are you different?” is the perfect first question to really test the waters. Learn about their specific methods, the type of language they use and specialties, and what they’ve thought of that other agencies haven’t.  Ask them where the succeed and other agencies fail.  We can’t tell you how many of our customers have come to us saying that they were taken care of poorly by another agency in Seattle or Tacoma.  (Unfortunately for them, they’ve wasted time and resources that can’t be recovered)

Keep in mind, a marketing agency needs to help your business think outside of the box.   How far they’re willing to go outside the box makes a huge difference for you. Recent studies show that 78% of customers who visit a website filled with customized or specialized content believe that company is invested in creating good relationships with clients.  Does the marketing agency you’re interviewing set themselves apart when it comes to specialized content?  They better.

If they can’t give you a unique answer that makes you enthusiastic about working with them, then how on earth can they make people want to work with you?

2. How Do You Track Progress And Analyze Data?

If you’re actively trying to market your business, you know that staying static is the fastest way to ensure you stay in the red.

You need to find a marketing company that is constantly scrutinizing the methods they use when it comes to content, web design, social media, branding…the whole 9 yards.

And if they’re current methods aren’t working, they need to be able to tweak them – fast.

They also need to be able to tell you where your web traffic is coming from, find your most successful keywords, and help you clearly define your target market. That can’t happen without constant, thorough analysis.

Finally, ask how often they issue plain-English reports of the data they’re analyzing. If they get glassy-eyed and silent at any of these questions, it’s time to move on.

3. Can We Talk To Some Of Your Past Clients?

You likely know it from your own hiring process: the best way to find out how effective a Tacoma marketing company really is? Talking to people they’ve worked with in the past, and asking for a portfolio.

Even a terrible company can sell itself well if it’s the only opinion and side of the story you’re getting. Ask for the contact information of past clients, so you can get the info you need.

But don’t stop there.

Ask your potential marketing agencies to provide statistical reports and data on just how they’ve grown other companies through their services.  This may be confidential information that they can’t share, but they should be able to provide some generic results if asked.

Keep in mind that even if their costs are higher up front, a good marketing agency will likely end up paying for itself – and then some.

4. How Are You Handling Social Media?

In order to stand out online, drive traffic to your website, and increase the recognition of your brand, you need to have a serious social media strategy.

But is the Tacoma marketing agency you’re considering working with willing to help?

You can’t overlook social media as a huge way to connect with current clients and find new ones. With the average consumer spending at least 40 minutes every day on Facebook, you need to do everything you can to show up in their feeds.

Make sure your agency has a plan to streamline your content across multiple platforms, and that they’re taking into account social media as a part of your larger customer service plan as well as marketing tool.  Consider asking the agency to guest post on your site, or return the favor on theirs.  Social sharing, even across industries, can be a gold mine for finding and reaching new customers.

5. Are You Updating/Maintaining Our Site, Or Is That On Us?

Did you know that broken links, 404 error pages, and bad landing pages can make your website fall in Search Engine (SEO) rankings?

When you’re meeting with potential companies, make sure you’ve asked if you’ll be the one responsible for the maintenance of your website. Depending on how much time you have, this may or may not be a make or break issue.   Some marketing agencies don’t have the bandwidth or staff to do site maintenance, others do.  You’ll just want to make sure, up front, if you will be responsible as soon as your new web presence is activated.

Asking the right questions now can help you avoid any surprises down the line. A reputable company will be upfront about when they will stop working with your site and which items are your responsibility.

6. How Do You Plan To Get To Know Us?

When you’re looking for the right agency, you want to make sure you find a company that cares as much about your brand as you do about your customers.

If they aren’t willing to really take the time to get to know your brand’s mission, your services, your company history, and even your individual employees, the marketing content they create could be inadequately describing and showcasing your business.  Imagine if you had a very specific niche you were going after and the entire campaign described your product or service incorrectly.  It would be a devastating waste of time and money.

It could also completely wreck any branding work you’ve already done. Make sure you ask this question to ensure that your branding won’t be muddled and that your marketing plan will make sense with the type of business you are.

7. Do You Think Locally?

Hyperlocal digital and content marketing is more important than ever. When you’re trying to find your ideal Tacoma marketing agency, make sure they’re as “in touch” with local markets as you are.

Do they have connections with local influencers?  Is there shop or physical presence in or near the city you do business?  Or do they at least know the city and what the people are like?

How are they going to tailor your marketing plan to connect with a local market if they don’t understand it?

Will they monitor your local listings online and in print?

How do they plan to get your brand in the heads of customers on both a local and national level?

Local reputation management might be a good idea for your business if you sell a service or product that is local.  Google, Facebook and Yelp reviews are all an important part of a local business.

Ready To Hire A Tacoma Marketing Service?

Now that you’ve worked through this list of the 7 questions you absolutely need to ask a potential marketing agency, you’ll know exactly what you’re getting before you invest your time and money.

For additional marketing and ad industry news and advice, please check out our blog.

We encourage you to get in touch with us today to find a marketing service in Tacoma that’s willing to give you thorough answers to all the above questions.