1. Clarify your marketing needs
First, decide what you want to achieve with your online marketing. Make it specific and write down your goals. Then determine you budget. Now that you know what you want and how much you are prepared to spend to accomplish it, you can already narrow your search considerably.
2. Find agencies that match your needs
Having determined what you want, start browsing through the various agencies out there and find the ones that best suit your goals and that offer the kinds of packages you are looking for. If an agency’s strategies don’t mesh with your requirements, you can eliminate them from your search. Of course, the cost is also a factor. Quotes that exceed your budget and which the agencies in question can’t or won’t negotiate on, obviously won’t make it to your shortlist.
3. Do some research
You should always look into each agency’s background to determine if they are right for you. Are they capable of delivering on their promises? Take a look at previous campaigns they have worked on. Better yet, look at their own website and blog, and see if they run them on the principles they claim to represent. Wherever possible, testimonials from previous clients will also help you get a clearer picture of how an agency operates.
4. Ask questions
When you start engaging with an agency, ask them for examples of previous work. A strong portfolio is the most important testimonial an agency can offer you. Ask them about which individual or teams would be assigned to your project, as well as a summary of the results they promise to deliver, and how these results will be measured.
5. Set an initial task
To clinch the deal, ask the agency to carry out a specific task and then review its performance. You could ask them to prepare and pitch some campaign ideas to get the ball rolling. The results of this exercise will give you a strong feeling about whether you do or don’t want to work with this team. The pitch will demonstrate whether the team understands your brand, and whether they have the creative and organizational skills needed to pull off an effective campaign.