The importance of creating an effective relationship with your agency

Ashley Romagnoli, Senior Marketing Manager
Posted on Dec 30, 2019

There’s a lot that goes into starting a new project. How do you know when to hire an external agency, and how do you pick the right one?

Starting a digital project takes a lot of planning and forward-thinking. Do you keep it internal, or should you reach out to an agency? We’ll go through the steps of starting a new project with an agency and how to ensure that it is successful.

Should this be an internal or an agency project?

When you’re kicking off a project, you might step back and think – do we have the internal resources to manage and execute this project? Sometimes the answer is yes. If you have the time and budget, you can benefit from completing a project internally. Your team already understands your brand guidelines, and it can reduce the cost of completing the project. However, if your team does not have the internal resources to meet the timeline, it’s best to have an agency supporting the work. Working with an agency also means fresh ideas and perspectives, and is well worth the ROI.

How do you find the right agency for you?

If you do choose to work with an agency, where do you start? Here are a few ways to find the agency that’s right for you:

Ask colleagues or peers for references

Don’t be shy – reach out to your network. Chances are many of them have been down this road before. They may have done some research and found an agency that was a great match for them. If they have seen success from working with a particular agency, it’s worth looking into for your project too!

Have you noticed any work recently?

Take a look at the leaders in your industry who have recently launched a new website or other work. Chances are they worked with an agency on it, and you can take a page out of their book. Or better yet, think outside of the box and take a look at a different industry – what’s intriguing to you? At Imarc we work across a number of industries; this enables us to learn and push the limits in one sector, like tech, while bringing these forward-thinking concepts to our other clients, like those in finance or legal.

Put together a request for proposal (RFP)

A request for proposal (RFP) is often the best way to start your search for a partner agency. Once you have an understanding of your project’s requirements and the goals, draft your RFP. Share it out with the agencies that you’ve chosen from a Clutch search, or perhaps from the references your colleagues shared with you.

During the RFP process, engage with each agency. Invite them to your office for an in-person presentation to give them an opportunity to show their personality and, most importantly, their expertise.

Interested in kicking off an RFP? We’ve put together a template to help you get started! Download a copy of our RFP Template.

How to be sure they’re the right fit

Working with an agency is not a transaction, it’s a relationship, and you should view them as an extension of your team. You’ll be working closely with this team throughout the project and ideally for future projects as well.

Here are some things you’ll want to look for when choosing the right agency for you:

  • They have an understanding of your company and industry.
  • They have similar cultural and core values as your company.
  • Their team is easy to work with, but they aren’t afraid to push you.
  • They understand your goals.
  • They have a history of success.

How to start the relationship

You’ve selected the agency that you’d like to work with, but how do you get started? First, you’ll want to discuss with them the type of project you’ll be working with them on – is it a website redesign? Branding? A new web application? The agency will use this information to create a scope of work (SOW) for the project. It’s a good idea to start with a short-term project, like a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign or website code audit. This allows for the relationship to grow as you get a feel for the typical communication and scheduling.

Once the short term project is complete, take some time to reflect on it. How did it go overall? Were timelines met or exceeded? Was the agency the right fit for you? If you checked yes, it’s time to kick off that bigger project, or keep the company on retainer.

Now that you have an agency that you like, let’s talk about how to ensure a successful project and on-going relationship. Stay tuned…