We recently wrote about some of the differences between working agency side and client side, and what can be done to ensure the relationship runs and smoothly and profitably as possible. With that in mind we thought it would be good to highlight what sort of questions you can (and should) expect your agency to ask you.
Do you have Brand Guidelines?
I work in content and this is one of the most important documents that we need. It allows us to write content both for your site and externally while all the time ensuring it’s on brand and in the correct tone to talk to the audience. Not only does this help with the final product but it also makes the sign off process much quicker as content is less likely to need amendments.
Couple brand guidelines with a brand immersion session and the agency can really hit the ground running on your campaign.
Are there any Barriers to Development?
It’s likely that any new agency will have a number of technical and development recommendations to be implemented. It’s important from the outset that the agency knows about how developments are handled. Some companies can and will make these off the cuff while others work on monthly sprints.
There may already be large scale developments planned and the agency should be made aware of these too. Firstly, it’s likely they will impact on future work and secondly, there may be aspects of it that the agency can provide input on. The agency will also need to know any limitations of your CMS.
Do you have an Events Calendar?
Providing an up to date events calendar to an agency is one of the simplest, yet important things a client can do. This doesn’t mean the normal dates like Easter and bank holidays etc. but those dates that specifically relate to their industry.
For a digital agency like us, this means things like BrightonSEO, in the education sector it could be when the major parties release their manifestos or education policies or as is the case with a client of ours, the dates that they put on their own events throughout the year. Having access and knowledge of these allows the agency to coordinate their efforts for best results and also allows them to piggyback on existing buzz and chatter without using huge amounts of budget if necessary.
What Do You Require?
And by extension, what results do you expect? A vital one – for new clients at least. It sounds obvious but can sometimes be missed. From the outset it needs to be clear for both parties what they’re aiming for and how it’s going to be delivered.
The agency should ask you what you need and discuss through what the options are. In most cases they’ll have done their research too and will have ideas. It’s best to be able to talk these through together. Remember, what the client wants may not always be the best way to spend the budget to get results and ensure great ROI. Sometimes, a different approach can be much more beneficial to all parties.
What Reporting Methods and Metrics Do You Use?
Reporting’s a vital part of a campaign and it’s important for an agency to know your reporting structure and what tools are already in use. This may allow them to tailor reports to suit the existing structures and potentially to combine and cross-reference data.
It’s also recommended to let the agency know the internal reporting structures in terms of metrics and who reports to whom in senior management. Talking as a SiteVisibility employee, if we know that senior management are interested primarily on, for example, increasing website conversions over everything else, we can tailor the work we carry out accordingly.
Here’s a roundup of some of the other things that an agency might ask:
- Financial details – Details about payments, the financial year etc.
- Key members of staff – Who’s the main point of contact? Who are the directors etc.?
- Past campaigns and successes/failures
Key Takeaway: An agency can never have too much information, the more we know, the better job we can do.