1) Start with what you need
Before narrowing down your choice of agencies, think about where your business is and what is important when choosing a growth marketing agency.
You may need a full-scale growth marketing agency that covers every aspect of growth marketing, or you may need only one or two services, such as content marketing or SEO.
Create a clear vision on what you need and so you can have an easier time choosing an agency. It will also be easier to say ‘no’ to services and add-ons that you don’t need.
2) Look at each agency’s case studies
Any reputable agency should be able to provide you with case studies on previous clients. These case studies should be full of details and provide proof of results. It should be easy to see exactly how the agency took the client from their starting point to where they wanted to be.
It is also helpful if you can see input from the client and see whether the agency listened to what the client wanted.
It’s also a good idea to ask if you can speak to some previous clients and get feedback from them.
If an agency won’t provide case studies and is reluctant to let you speak to other clients, consider that a large red flag.
3) Find social proof
Look at your potential agency’s reviews and comments. Are they responsive to reviews? Do they sound as if they care about their clients and their reputation?
Dig into their social media, their website, and their blog. Do they practice what they preach? Are they consistently posting quality content on social platforms and on their blog? Does their content scream ‘professional and trustworthy’? Do you feel that they are experts at what they do?
Take a look at their certifications, too. Any good growth marketing agency should have certifications in aspects of marketing and in the software they use. Are they HubSpot certified, for example? Do they have the certifications you’d expect to see?
If none of this rings true, move on to the next candidate, says Buffer.
4) Look for SMART goals from your agency
Any agency can make big claims about what they’re going to do for you. Only a professional agency will be able to spell it out with SMART goals that are tailored to you and your business.
If an agency can’t tell you, at least in general terms, how they’re going to achieve their big claims, it’s time to move on.
5) Will your growth strategy be tailored to you?
Some agencies have standard packages and plans that they use with every client. However, your business is unique. Your goals are unique. Check whether your potential agency will provide you with a tailored, bespoke growth strategy.
Ask your agency what metrics they use. Are they simply focusing on vanity metrics or are they using metrics that really matter?
Growth marketing is (or should be) heavily data-driven. How will your potential agency gather data and use it to inform your personalized growth strategy?
If an agency can’t answer these questions, it’s not a good sign.
6) Can your agency scale with you?
Presumably, you’re looking for continued growth over the long term, rather than short-term growth now. Is the agency you’re checking out large enough and qualified enough to take you where you want to go?
Can they keep your company moving forward and growing in a sustainable manner? Do they have more than just a short-term plan for you?
7) Do they have the technology?
A large part of growth marketing is using marketing automation. This software can be expensive and require a large investment.
Does the agency have the software that’s needed to take your business where you want to go?
Not only that, but marketing is ever-changing. Where we were before the pandemic is not where we are now. Increasingly, for example, even B2B businesses are buying online, without necessarily having face-to-face meetings at all.
Is your potential agency keeping up with the latest marketing trends? Are they keeping an eye on the latest technologies too? Will they invest in new technologies if they are needed for business growth?
8) Is the agency a specialist in your field?
Some marketing agencies are generalists. They aim to work with any business, regardless of their industry.
If you can make that work, then great. Maybe they are the agency for you, as long as everything else lines up.
However, you may need an agency that’s a specialist in what you do. There are too many areas in some industries where inside knowledge is needed, not just nice to have.
Consider whether a generalist marketing agency will work for you, or whether you need an expert in your business.
If you need a specialist, ensure they have enough years of experience and a full background in your area before hiring them.
9) Are they a good fit?
You may not think that whether you like the agency employees or not matters. However, you will be spending a lot of time with them and it does make a difference. Do you feel comfortable with them? Do you feel they value the same things that you do?
What is the company culture like and does it fit with your company values?
Do the employees seem happy where they are? The last thing you need is a revolving door of account managers for your company because unhappy staff keep leaving.
Be highly picky when choosing your growth marketing agency. Your choice really does matter. With the right agency by your side, your company could be set for long-term growth and a successful future.