When you hire an agency to help expand your marketing capabilities, you’re trusting them to understand and execute your vision. But to make the most of your engagement, remember that you’re part of a team. There are actions you can take to make the entire process smoother and more efficient along the way.
Here are five ways to be a good agency partner in 2021:
Speak Up Early and Often
Your working dynamic with an agency should be a dialogue, not a lecture. As you go through the process, don’t be afraid to ask any questions that come up. Make sure you understand what the purpose is for each change or decision.
A professional agency should understand that they have more expertise than you or your team might have, so they need to make sure you are on the same page. The best thing you can do is ask questions or make suggestions early on, because that’s the optimal time to work them into the overall vision.
And remember this: you hired an agency to help you execute a vision for your business. If you’re not satisfied with something, speak up about it. An agency’s goal at the end of every project or engagement is a happy client, so your feedback is essential.
Be an Active Meeting Participant
Don’t underestimate the impact of actual conversations! Email works for quick questions or keeping you updated on project details, but there is a lot of gold that can come from sitting down together and having a discussion - even virtually.
Make sure meetings are a priority for you and other key decision makers. Do your best to show up on time, and have any questions or notes prepared. Agency and partner meetings are a crucial component of keeping a project or campaign running on track and in the right direction, so do your best to make time for them.
Meet Your Deadlines
The agency might be spearheading the project, but the partner has homework, too. At the beginning of the project, go over tentative deadlines with the agency and make sure you understand what they will need from you.
Who does the agency go to for approvals on content or design? How many people need to sign off on a decision before it’s approved? How quickly will they need you to return any notes or changes during the reviewal process? The more clear you can be on these expectations from the beginning, the easier it will be to complete your project on deadline.
And remember, you’re both working on a timeline together. So even if you’re fine with moving at a slower pace, the agency might need to work quicker to allow time for other projects they’re working on. Do your best to be respectful of their time, and expect the agency will do the same for you.
Adopt Campaign Tools
Most agencies will use some kind of project management program to keep everyone in the loop about what is due and when. Some of the common ones they might use include HubSpot, Basecamp, Slack, Trello, Asana or Teamwork Projects. In some cases, they might request that you have a presence on those platforms, too.
If you’ve never used their particular software before, expect there to be a little bit of a learning curve. Most of them are user-friendly and easy to pick up with a little practice. But if you stay involved and keep up with project updates, you might find that it’s an extremely useful tool to track the progress of your project.
Think Like a Project Manager
Put yourself in the shoes of a project manager and think about what kind of client would be your favorite to work with.
Clients who are responsive, open to new ideas, and stick to their deadlines are the easiest to work with, and - no surprise here - they are often the happiest with their results.
Hiring an agency is just the beginning of what could be an excellent partnership, and a wonderful opportunity to expand your business. Think of an agency as an extension of your own team, instead of just someone you’ve hired to do a job, and you’ll be much likelier to reap the rewards of a high-quality partnership.