3 Tips for Moving to a New Internet Marketing Agency

Illustration of two hands tearing a heart in half.
Want to break up with your internet marketing agency? Starting over is never easy and can be a painful process. But once you find the right one, it can be smooth sailing for years to come.

In this article, I’ll share some of the things you can do before you start a new relationship with a search marketing agency so that you are set up for success:

Know What You Want Ahead of Time

Do you know what you want out of your agency? Chances are that if you’ve been around the block with vendors, you have that list of needs, wants and deal-breakers.

On the other hand, you may have no idea what you’re looking for other than you want results. And results are part of it, but there’s often other nuances about the relationship that are equally as important.

So before engaging in a new agency relationship, document what you want and be sure to talk about those things when you interview prospects.

Here are some ideas to explore:

  • What do you need the agency for now and in the future? Is it to tap into creativity that perhaps you are lacking on your team? Is it to use them as a sounding board for new ideas? Is it to act as a checks and balances for the procedures you have in place? Let your agency know, so they are in the right mindset to deliver what you need.
  • Do the services they offer work for you? Are they cookie-cutter SEO packages or customized to your needs? Do they focus on strategy and ROI or just checking things off an SEO checklist?
  • What is the communication process and client management like? How do they keep you updated? How do they choose what to work on first and how do they keep the project moving along?
  • How will they define results? The idea of what the results are may evolve and change over the course of the engagement, but it’s important to understand the expectations. It’s the agency’s job to understand what results are expected, and then use education to set the tone for a more realistic approach if they are too “pie in the sky.”
  • What did you like in your past agency relationships? What didn’t you like? What would you like to see more of?

After you’ve given some thought to these, know what and when you’re willing to compromise. No business relationship is 100% perfect. Know the things you are willing to let go of to get those other things you’ve prioritized as important.

Regardless of which agency you choose to work with, poorly managed SEO projects can hurt the relationship. I suggest reading this article to help ensure your project runs smoothly:

Invest Time into Getting to Know the Agency

Yes, it’s a lot of work. But making impulse decisions about a new agency – especially if you intend it to be a long-term relationship – can turn out very badly. So put in the time to research agencies and make a short list of those you will talk to.

Here are some ways you can start compiling that short list:

  • Tap into your network and see if your trusted colleagues use an internet marketing agency.
  • Dig into popular industry sites like Search Engine Land or Search Engine Journal to see which agencies contribute to thought leadership.
  • Attend industry conferences (many of which are online now) and check out the speakers and agencies who are contributing.
  • Check out review websites that rank agencies, but be sure that they aren’t pay-to-play models and are independently researched.

Once you have a list, you can do a little more research to whittle it down some more.

Here are some ideas for initial research:

  • Check out the agency website. Do they initially align with your wish list? Any deal breakers?
  • Do they offer value on their site? Does it seem like they are invested in educating website visitors?
  • What trust signals so you see? Certifications? Client logos? Awards? Results / case studies? Other notable things?
  • What is their online footprint outside of the website? Are they engaged in other channels? Check those out, too.
  • Do they have any reviews or testimonials on their site and elsewhere?
  • What sort of client do they cater to? Do they specialize in something?

Once you have the top three to five agencies you want to speak with, document your interview questions ahead of time and set up a call.

For more on evaluating agencies, read:

Be Realistic Going into the Relationship

Internet marketing and SEO will not fix all your business problems, but it can help bring them to light and offer better solutions than what you’ve had prior. The relationship you have with your agency can help you identify those not-so-obvious problems.

However, there are two things you need to make the relationship work:

  • Realistic expectations
  • Trust in your agency

One of the most important things the agency and the client can do is to set realistic expectations ahead of time, and to make sure the line of communication is open on these expectations throughout the relationship.

Once you have chosen the right agency, there is a little bit of earning trust on the agency side initially, plus a whole lot of letting go and trusting on the client side. Why did you hire them in the first place if you can’t do what they recommend?

For more, read:

Whether it’s your first time or fifth time switching agencies, each new beginning brings new hopes, concerns, expectations and realities. Take the lessons you’ve learned from your past business relationships forward to your new agency to help make it a success.

When you’re ready to start a new relationship with an internet marketing agency, give us a call. Our team of SEO experts can help you achieve more qualified traffic, higher search ranking and increased revenue.

Bruce Clay is founder and president of Bruce Clay Inc., a global digital marketing firm providing search engine optimization, pay-per-click, social media marketing, SEO-friendly web architecture, and SEO tools and education. Connect with him on LinkedIn or through the BruceClay.com website.

See Bruce's author page for links to connect on social media.

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3 Tips for Moving to a New Internet Marketing Agency

3 Replies to “3 Tips for Moving to a New Internet Marketing Agency”

I found your article to be very helpful. Continue posting such content.

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