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The Best Questions to Ask a Marketing Agency

In a world of fast-moving trends and fleeting opportunities, staying on top of your marketing might feel like a near-impossible task – but don't worry! The good news is that you don't need to try and do it all yourself, and if you take your time to carefully consider your options, a marketing agency can be your saving grace.

However, not all marketing agencies are alike, so knowing who to trust can be tricky. Luckily, as a marketing agency ourselves, we receive all kinds of questions from prospective clients. Here are some questions you should ask potential agencies... and why!

Do You Have an Area of Expertise?

It might sound self-descriptive, but within the marketing field, there are different areas where a marketing agency might specialise. From Google Ads and selling on Amazon to SEO and designing brochures, knowing what to ask for will help you find the right agency.

Many agencies describe themselves as being full-service, and while this might be true, this often isn't the case – they will likely have particular strengths and weaknesses like any other business. Make sure to press your potential agency on where they excel and what skills they have in-house that will enable them to deliver what they promise.

Can You Provide References or Case Studies?

Always keep an eye out for positive (and negative) reviews and testimonials. While nobody will tell you where they've gone massively wrong in the past, you should be able to read between the lines to get the information you need. If an agency is pushing their SEO services, but all of the reviews and testimonials only mention PR, this could be a potential red flag.

Ask for case studies of previous work across a number of different areas. Make sure to dig into the details and look for performance metrics that are comparable to your own business. If there's anything you're unsure about, or you'd just like a little more information, be sure to ask!

How Do You Stay Updated with Industry Trends

Staying ahead of the curve is key, not just for agencies but also for the clients they're serving. A productive marketing agency will constantly scan their online channels to check for anything that could be of value to their clients; reading insight reports, downloading guides, and speaking with fellow professionals.

At Royal Flush, we have a show-and-tell session every Friday morning, where the team can share anything they've found during the previous week. From the latest developments in AI-driven marketing to tools that can make video production quicker and easier, this is just one way we always keep our eyes on the road ahead.

What Is Your Client Onboarding Process?

Understanding how an agency onboards new clients is crucial for a smooth working relationship. Ask about their onboarding process, including how they gather information about your business, target audience, and goals. A well-structured onboarding process ensures that the agency has a clear understanding of your brand and objectives, which is essential for crafting effective marketing strategies.

We encourage prospective clients to complete a marketing consultancy project before either party commits to further work – this is called scoping. This ensures that we understand what type of activity would be best for the client. It also helps upskill their in-house team by bringing everybody together and sharing ideas that may not have been considered previously, while the subsequent report is perfect for new starters and trainees.

What Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) Do You Track?

While marketing is a long-term investment, it's essential to have realistic expectations about when you can start seeing results. Ask the agency about their timeline for achieving specific goals or milestones. Remember that the timeline may vary depending on the scope of work and the specific nuances of your industry – no two marketing strategies are alike.

Measuring the success of your marketing efforts is crucial. Ask the agency about the KPIs they track to assess campaign performance. The specific KPIs may vary depending on your goals, but they could include metrics like website traffic, conversion rates, email open rates, click-through rates, and leads generated – these are known as sanity metrics and have a measurable impact on your business. Sanity metrics, on the other hand, such as likes, shares, and comments, do not.

What Is Your Pricing Structure?

Discussing pricing is a crucial step in the decision-making process. Ask the agency about their pricing structure and what services are included in their packages. Some agencies charge a flat monthly fee, while others may invoice based on the scope of work or performance-based models.

Make sure you fully understand their pricing and any additional costs associated with your marketing campaigns. Ensure that the specifics are agreed in advance and that you know who is responsible for national fees like advertising budgets and PR material.

Final Point: Be Prepared to Be Challenged

While this isn’t a question like the rest of our points, you should be prepared for it. A good marketing agency will check and challenge often in order to deliver the best possible outcome – the worst thing they can do is say yes to anything and everything you say. By challenging you and your brief, they’re using their experience to look outside the box for other solutions.

These guys have been doing their stuff for a long time, and this is what they do every day, so trust them to make the right decision. That doesn’t mean you should accept everything your marketing agency says, but at least be open to their ideas. By working together, it’s possible to combine their expertise with your knowledge – this often yields the best results!

Get in Touch

Choosing the right marketing agency is critical for your business's growth and success. By asking these questions and carefully evaluating the agency's responses, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your marketing goals and objectives.

With Royal Flush Marketing, we pride ourselves on our transparent approach, wanting to understand which direction is best before we agree to any deliverable work. We don't rush ahead, and instead try to look at the bigger picture and identify where we can have the strongest impact.

To book a free one-hour consultation, submit an online form or give us a call on 01492 463209.

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