Transitions in life, whether business or personal, can be tricky to navigate – even if it’s a change you’re excited about.
When you start working with a new inbound marketing agency, it can seem like there are so many moving parts and to-dos. There are workflows to become familiar with, relationships to build and expectations to be met.
The first step to a successful partnership with a marketing agency is finding the right fit. When both parties are committed and on the same page, it’s much easier to work through any challenges that might arise.
Before you commit to any one agency, find out more about their onboarding process and their approach to easing the transition with new clients.
But there are still things you can do from your end to help streamline the process.
Before you start thinking about the nuts-and-bolts of working with a new agency, you need to have a clear idea in mind of what you’re looking to achieve and what marketing success means to you.
With most inbound marketing agencies, you’ll be asked to fill out a creative brief during the kick-off process. This document sets the foundation for the direction of future projects, so it’s important to take the time to thoughtfully and thoroughly go through it.
At Kuno Creative, for example, we ask our clients questions in a creative brief like:
Whenever possible, have other members of the marketing, communications and sales team review the creative brief to ensure consensus. Internal conflicts can be one of the biggest stumbling blocks to a smooth transition to a new marketing agency.
Consider also what an ideal partnership with the marketing agency looks like to you and what exactly you’re hoping to get out of it.
Some clients, for instance, are looking for more of a guidance-based relationship. Working with an agency gives you access to a team of experts in different areas of marketing who can advise, answer questions and provide explanations.
Other clients want help with execution and optimization. They have a strategy set already and are looking for support with specific tasks, like developing a new website or setting up lead nurturing sequences.
Most fall somewhere in the middle.
Don’t be shy about communicating your hopes, both in terms of results and relationships. And the earlier on, the better!
Blending two teams, each with their own tools and workflows, comes with its own unique challenges. It can take time and practice to get in sync with one another.
When done wrong, the results can be disastrous: miscommunication, misunderstandings and missing data all arise when teams aren’t aligned. The good news is that you can avoid these issues by tackling potential technology hurdles from the start.
Effective communication and project management are at the heart of success.
Especially with large teams working together, transparent communication around various project stages and next steps is key. Chances are, you’re already using some form of project management software at your company, like Asana, Basecamp, Trello or Monday.
At Kuno Creative, we manage all tasks and projects in Basecamp. In some cases, our team will be added as additional users in the client’s system.
The tool itself isn’t as important as how it’s used: to keep everyone on the same page. This helps avoid one-off emails or private message chains where a key player might not be looped in. And it makes it easier to track the progress of a project and give feedback.
Let’s say a content piece is being developed to serve a specific purpose. Maybe it’s a top-of-the-funnel blog post or landing page to garner awareness and interest. Or maybe it’s an ebook or case study to encourage action and conversions.
Whatever the final product is, it will pass through a lot of hands: a writer, an SEO expert, a copyeditor, a designer, a web developer and so on. And at each stage, client feedback is seamlessly built into the process.
Aligning your communication and project management from the start means that everyone knows what everyone else is working on. Updates, deadlines and next steps are clear to all. And there are no surprises.
Another key component to a smooth transition with a new inbound marketing agency is setting up access to the various accounts that are needed.
The accounts your agency will need access to depend on the scope of work, but can include:
If you’re coming to an agency like Kuno Creative for support with implementing HubSpot, there will also be some initial tasks to accomplish. This could be anything from integrating Salesforce and HubSpot to setting up dashboards to developing new email templates.
But that’s why you’re working with an inbound marketing agency, to manage all this for you! Responsiveness to requests helps the process go smoothly and ensures deadlines are met.
One final note about accounts: keep ownership yourself whenever possible instead of using agency accounts. This means you’ll always have access to the data and dashboards, should you ever part ways with your agency.
Ultimately, the most important way to have a smooth and easy transition to a new agency is to work with the right one for your needs and goals. If it’s not a good match, all the communication and collaboration in the world can only go so far in helping you get the results you want.
What does a good match between an agency and a client look like? A great fit that will be successful on both sides of the partnership is when the client’s expectations and budget are met with the agency’s expertise and ability to deliver.
At Kuno Creative, we’ve helped companies across industries achieve measurable impact: we design websites that convert, create content marketing plans that attract, run paid advertising campaigns that drive results and help build brands that stand out.
Check out our case studies to see how we help our clients get results.
This is Part II of our series about working with a marketing agency. In Part I, we looked at the 5 Signs It's Time to Find a New Inbound Marketing Agency.