Choosing the right agency partner for your business can be a daunting task. Whether it be for your website or digital marketing needs, the most important choice you will make for your project is the agency that helps you do it. While we reference ourselves (O8) as the agency in this blog, we hope the advice given applies to all kinds of agencies.
How do prospective clients find an agency?
Some of the ways clients find us here at O8 are by referrals, word of mouth, SEO, organic search, PR, speaking engagements, or paid advertising. We think the best contributor towards finding new clients is word of mouth. Our current clients are some of our biggest and best marketing and sales representatives.
While our sales and marketing teams do the heavy lifting in bringing in new clients, nothing speaks louder or carries more weight for a potential client than the word of someone who's satisfactorily worked with us. Fostering partnerships with current clients is especially important because it's the easiest way to bring in more work
What makes a client a good fit for an agency?
A good agency fit comes down to three things: values, size, and budget. You probably don't want to be partnering with clients who don't share your values as an organization or as individuals. It’s important to make sure that you feel good about the work you're doing.
The next factor is size. At O8, we generally don't work with too many major enterprise organizations because they will be looking for a much bigger agency, and that likely has an international presence. Taking on the right-sized projects helps set realistic project budgets, so you don't give time away for free.
The final piece of the equation is the budget, which is very important. Having an appropriate budget for both the services, ad spend, tooling, etc., is crucial. Often, clients don't have a budget in mind for marketing, and that's something that comes up later. So it's essential to walk through all potential factors of a client's budget before starting a project
Do agencies ever turn away potential clients?
At O8, we focus on partnerships and relationships. If that's not what a potential client is looking for, another company might be a better fit. One-and-done projects are not our preferred clients. However, some agencies specialize in one-off projects.
It's important to set a precedent for the types of clients you want to work with. There needs to be an open dialogue, a communicative, healthy relationship.
Again, it's crucial to have a firm grasp on the budget and size of the project. It might be too small or large for the agency's capacity. Knowing this before you get too far into the process can save a lot of time and stress
What recommendations do you have for clients who are “shopping” for agencies?
The biggest piece of advice is don't compare agencies on price alone. You can find a great deal with an agency that won't be available in an emergency after hours, or who won't get you the full range results that you're looking for. You might get a quickly delivered, beautiful website, but it won't do anything for your company as far as conversions. It won't be easily maintainable or growth-oriented.
With agencies that build websites without purpose or technical strategy involved, you're going to accumulate technical debt, which costs more in the long run. There are hidden costs that you don't see until you actually have to make it grow and move and maintain
What makes a successful agency-client relationship?
What it comes down to is partnership. Both sides in the equation need to be willing to truly partner together. Those are always the engagements that exceed both sides' expectations and turn into long-term, successful partnerships. If you respect what we do, and we respect what you do, there's a level of collaboration that comes from that which is invaluable.
One of the biggest challenges with a new client is building trust and getting to a point where you can work effectively together. Understanding who the primary contacts are between client and agency is essential as they act as the interpreter between the two parties. If clients and agencies don't have the same baseline, it makes working together particularly challenging.