If you’ve made the decision to partner with an agency to handle your marketing, congratulations! You’re already a step ahead of your competition.
But you wouldn’t hire a technician without sorting out their skill set first, right? You also shouldn’t hire an agency just because they have a swanky website.
(Yes, yes, they definitely should have a nice website. That’s not what this is about. But don’t hire anyone just because their site is awesome!)
In short, you need to find out what a potential agency can do for your shop, as well as how it will interact with you, how you’ll gauge successes and failures, and more.
So, what questions should you ask any agency you’re courting?
We’re glad you asked. We spoke to Tracy Davies, Dieselmatic’s Director of Account Management, to learn more about the endless hunt for the right marketing team.
What kind of experience do you have in the commercial diesel industry?
Not surprisingly, this is kind of important.
Let’s be blunt. Almost any good local agency can help you establish a nice web presence—but someone who knows your industry and can walk the walk and talk the talk is going to do a way better job of reaching the kind of customers you want.
Your agency reps don’t need to be able to complete an engine teardown on their own, by the way. But they should have at least a working knowledge of the industry and perhaps be aware of things like the tech shortage and diesel prices. Why? Well, you don’t want to have to spend the first weeks or month teaching your new agency about diesel repair, right?
Who owns any domains and ad accounts you set up for me?
This is really important.
If an agency sets up a domain or any accounts on your behalf and you eventually part ways with them…they may technically own those accounts. And getting those accounts transferred to you may be difficult or impossible.
Trust us, you don’t want to deal with that.
Make sure that ownership remains with and/or reverts to you if you leave—even if the agency is managing them. (At Dieselmatic, we practice what we preach: all your accounts and domains, even the ones we buy for you, are yours and go with you if you leave us.)
How long are your contracts?
Before signing anything, find out how long you and this agency will be stuck with each other if things go south.
Yeah, that’s a dim view, but shop owners are pretty pragmatic. Some agencies require yearlong or multi-year contracts. That’s fine and dandy if business is booming and you’re getting tons of results from their efforts, but what if you aren’t? That’s a year or more of pain ahead.
(Psst…Dieselmatic is month-to-month—if you aren’t happy with your results, we part ways: no harm, no foul.)
What do you hope to accomplish for my shop?
It’s one thing for your potential agency to talk all about how much money they’re going to make you. YES, that is important—you’re hiring them to increase your revenue!
If that’s their only aim, it’s not a bad one. We’re just using it as a segue to differentiate ourselves here, because hey, it’s our blog and we can. We want to make you more revenue, but we also want to land you the kind of customers that will change the way your shop operates.
We know how hard repair shop owners and their employees work. We know that the right kind of business means more revenue…and less work for them. (Coincidentally, our friends at Fullbay want the same thing. No wonder we teamed up.)
How will we interact?
Some agencies provide cookie cutter templates. You talk with them once a month, or once a week, and maybe you get biweekly email updates.
But marketing isn’t one-size-fits-all. Maybe you want to meet with your account manager weekly. Maybe you’d rather be hands-off and let your agency do its thing. Your agency should work with you and for you. If you prefer to be extremely hands-on, then weekly or every-other-day calls are possible. If you would rather let your agency do its thing, maybe you’re happy with a yearly catch-up.
Basically, the right agency for your shop will be willing to design a communication cycle based on your needs.
Want to ask us some questions?
We hope this article has gotten the wheels turning (in your head, that is). Remember, you’re essentially hiring an agency just like you would a technician—find out their qualifications and how you’ll work together before you sign that dotted (or digital) line.
And hey, if our shameless name-dropping got you interested in what the heavy-duty diesel specialists at Dieselmatic can do for your shop…well, drop us a line. We’d love to hear from you!