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Choosing the correct marketing agency will have a major domino effect on the rest of your strategy.

You’ve identified a need, set a goal, and clarified the strengths and opportunities within your marketing setup. Now you can choose the right marketing agency to help you meet your goals.

Does this sound a little intimidating? Well, it certainly can be! Not only will hiring outside marketing expertise represent a significant budgetary investment, it will also impact the success of your company – at least for a while. And just to make things a bit more complicated, there are dozens of marketing agencies vying for your business. How will you know which one to choose?

Table of Contents:

How to Choose an Inbound Marketing Agency


How to Choose a Marketing Agency for Your Business

The good news is that you’ve probably already done some of the things you need to do to select the right marketing agency. Let’s take a look at how you can find a marketing partner that will meet your needs.

1. Clarify Your Needs, Goals, and Budget

If you’ve been following the advice in our previous posts on the type of marketing you need, the type of agency you need,  and how to create a marketing strategy, you should already be clear on these points. If not, now is the time to finalize your requirements. Unless you can be crystal-clear with your marketing partners, you risk getting poor results.

This is also the time to set a budget for your project. You may want to break this into a smaller amount (for an initial project) and a larger amount (for longer-term cooperation).

2. Research Agencies

Next, research agencies that have experience in your desired area (e.g. inbound marketing, social media marketing, advertising, etc.). It would be ideal to find one that also has experience in your industry. However, a lack of industry knowledge doesn’t have to be a dealbreaker if you and the prospective partner are willing to spend some time in pre-project education. 

Up to this point, you can get most of your information from a Google search, agencies’ websites, and some online reviews. Be sure to look for agencies that have examples of their work, case studies, actual client testimonials, and other material you can examine. If an agency doesn’t have contact information, a body of work, and a clear statement of what they do, it’s probably best to move to the next candidate.

Now that you’ve narrowed the field by specialty (and possibly other factors, like geographic area), get to know your top candidates. We’re talking about meetings and conversations now. You want a marketing partner that has good communication skills and that makes you feel comfortable and valued.

What if you connect with a particular agency, but they don’t have any experience in your industry? Discuss their approach to a new industry; find out how they’d go about learning your field and developing ideas. If you’re both willing to do some extra work (and attend some extra meetings), this can still be a successful collaboration.

3. Ask the Right Questions

Now you’re talking seriously to one or a few marketing agencies. It’s time to think about the details. Don’t forget about these important but overlooked questions:

  • Who will be working on your project? Will you have a dedicated project manager or some other contact person?
  • How will results be measured? It’s important to agree on this so that you have the same definition of success.
  • How will work be delivered / what technology will be used? You want to make sure the agency delivers the same formats (or uses compatible tech stacks, in the case of a mobile app or website) that your company uses.

4. Consider Starting Small 

Many companies choose to work with a new agency on a single campaign or project as a trial run. This lets you see how well your organizations mesh and whether they deliver on their promises. If everything goes well, you can turn to larger, longer-term collaborations.

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How to Choose an Inbound Marketing Agency