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 are 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 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 check 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’s 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 do 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 clients 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 they 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.

FAQ: How can I ensure a successful transition to a new internet marketing agency?

Transitioning to a new internet marketing agency can be pivotal for your business growth. To ensure a smooth and successful transition, follow these key steps:

  1. Self-Assessment and Goal Setting: Before making the switch, evaluate your current marketing strategies, strengths, and areas that need improvement. Define clear goals and expectations for the new agency to align its efforts with your vision.
  2. Comprehensive Research: Conduct thorough research to identify potential agencies. Look for their expertise, industry reputation, and client reviews. Consider agencies specializing in your niche with a proven track record of delivering results.
  3. Needs Alignment: Ensure the agency’s services align with your needs. A tailored approach is crucial for a successful transition. Discuss your goals openly with the agency to gauge their understanding and willingness to meet your objectives.
  4. Open Communication: Effective communication is the foundation of a strong agency-client relationship. Establish clear lines of communication, preferred channels, and frequency of updates. Regular communication ensures both parties are on the same page throughout the transition.
  5. Define Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Set measurable KPIs to track the success of your new agency’s strategies. Whether it’s increased website traffic, lead generation, or conversion rates, having quantifiable goals helps monitor progress effectively.
  6. Onboarding and Training: During the transition, provide the agency with access to essential tools and platforms. Additionally, offer insights into your brand’s voice, values, and target audience to ensure a seamless onboarding process.
  7. Collaborative Planning: Work together to create a detailed marketing plan that outlines strategies, timelines, and responsibilities. A well-structured plan guides your partnership toward achieving the desired outcomes.
  8. Performance Analysis: Regularly review the agency’s performance against the established KPIs. Analyze data, assess outcomes, and make data-driven adjustments to optimize your marketing campaigns.
  9. Feedback Loop: Maintain an open feedback loop with the agency. Share your observations, concerns, and suggestions promptly. Constructive feedback fosters continuous improvement and strengthens the partnership.
  10. Flexibility and Adaptability: The digital landscape is dynamic. Be open to adapting strategies based on market trends and changes. A successful transition requires the flexibility to evolve your approach when necessary.
  11. Results Evaluation: Periodically evaluate the overall results achieved by the agency. Are they meeting your expectations? Are the KPIs being met? This evaluation will guide your decision to continue or consider further adjustments.
  12. Long-Term Vision: Beyond immediate goals, discuss your long-term vision with the agency. A partner who understands and shares your future aspirations can contribute significantly to your sustained success.
  13. Continuous Learning: Stay informed about the latest digital marketing trends. Regularly engage with the agency to brainstorm innovative ideas that can give you a competitive edge.
  14. Cultural Compatibility: A successful partnership extends beyond professional compatibility. Ensure that the agency’s values and culture align with your own, fostering a collaborative and productive relationship.
  15. Trust and Patience: Building trust takes time. Be patient and allow the agency to demonstrate its expertise and deliver results. Trust is the cornerstone of a successful transition.
  16. Celebrate Milestones: Acknowledge and celebrate the milestones achieved together. Recognizing successes strengthens the bond between you and your agency.
  17. Future Planning: As your business grows, your marketing needs may evolve. Continuously plan for the future with your agency to adapt and scale your strategies accordingly.
  18. Performance Accountability: Hold both parties accountable for their roles and responsibilities. Regularly review progress and address any concerns promptly.
  19. Regular Check-ins: Schedule regular check-in meetings to discuss progress and upcoming initiatives and address any challenges. Open and consistent communication fosters a strong partnership.
  20. Continuous Improvement: Embrace a culture of continuous improvement. Learn from past experiences, optimize strategies, and drive your marketing efforts toward continuous growth.

By following these comprehensive steps, you’ll be well-equipped to smoothly navigate the transition to a new internet marketing agency and set the stage for a successful online marketing journey.

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

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