Startup Guide: How to Find the Right Agency

Who should you trust with your bright idea?

Startup Guide: How to Find the Right AgencyAs many of us try and fulfill our startup dreams, an even greater number of people have already tried and failed. This isn’t to say that the ones who didn’t make it had bad ideas. More often than not, many of them invested heavily in creating game-changing innovations but fell short when it came to marketing their own products. With this in mind, try to keep this fact about the world of startups to heart: having a great life-changing idea is awesome, but it’s only half the battle. The other half is fought by the people you hire whose job it is to figure out how to sell the idea, at the right time and to the right people. That’s why finding the proper agency to market your bright idea is critical to your success.

Who can I trust with my startup?
Now, with me being a writer for an agency, I’m betting that you’re already raising red flags in your mind with the assumption that I am simply writing to blatantly pitch Hashtag Interactive as the perfect company for your digital marketing needs. Okay, first of all, calm down. I’m not going to promise you the world, because the truth is it’s virtually impossible for any one agency to meet the demands of every single startup. So no, maybe we’re not the perfect fit for your company and if so, then maybe we can help you find the ones who are. Here are a few things you should keep in mind when you’re trying to find the right marketer to handle your startup:

Determine your goals
Determine-Your-GoalsThis may seem easy enough–I mean it is your company, right? You should be able to say what you want for it. Well, it’s not that simple. First you need to ask yourself a series of questions, including: What do I want to achieve? Do I have the budget for it? (And most importantly,) Are my expectations realistic? It might help to try and get the point of view of people outside of your company for this one, to help you evaluate your startup objectively. Once you know where you want to go and whether it’s even possible, then you start looking for the agency that can get you there.

Go smaller
Once you’ve established your goals and your budget, now it’s time to determine what kind of agency you’re looking for. To help you narrow your list down, ask yourself, do I want the marketing giant or the backyard operation? If you have the capital, it’s pretty easy to just choose among the top advertisers and tell them what you want. This, however, isn’t always the most viable option, regardless of how much you may have in your budget.

Consider this, going with a smaller agency whose core competencies match your goal requirements can help you maximise your campaigns. It doesn’t mean you’re settling for anything less, it just goes to show that you’re willing to do your homework when choosing who you team up with. It’s not rare for a tiny ad company to be filled to the brim with talent, the hard part is trying to find them. These companies often choose to be a small operation because they don’t settle when choosing who will be a part of their teams.

Going for a smaller agency can also give you the most bang for your buck because they tend to go the extra mile for you; smaller companies offer personalised services, and also, you can count on them to give your business the care and attention it deserves. Because If you were willing to bet on them, then you can rest assured that they’ll be willing to stake their reputation on your company’s success. Sure it’s going to take a lot more work at the start, but the benefits outweigh the extra effort.

Do your homework
Do-Your-HomeworkSpeaking of extra effort, you need to do your homework. Look at the agency’s track records: What are other companies saying about them? Do they have any successful experiences in helping startups? A quick Google search can do wonders here, but if you’re still unsure, try and meet the team if you can. Salespeople tend to be overzealous when it comes to pitching, so it would be much better to meet the people behind the scenes to get a better grasp of the possibilities.

Another way for you to get to know the agency is by taking a peek at their website. It tells a story and it’s important that you read it, but don’t take it at face value. Try to read between the lines. As a rule of thumb, agencies will put their best foot forward and overtly highlight all the things that they’re good at. For example, if a marketer is good at branding and design you’ll definitely see them talking about it on their site. This ought to help you in determining whether the agency’s core competencies match what you need to reach your goals. Likewise, you can also check whether their weaknesses are something that could become a problem for you in the long run.

Client lists aren’t always what they seem
Okay, so you’ve checked their website, and you see that they have been working with some pretty recognisable names in the industry. While that sounds awesome in some cases, you have to keep in mind that the strategies for marketing an established brand is way different from selling a startup like yours. Don’t get starstruck by client lists, they only tell half the story. Instead, try to delve deeper, ask how they handled other startups and what their challenges were and how they overcame them. Because while you will most likely get the fluffy version of the story, there will be some truth behind it and you’ll be able to get a better picture about the agency in general.

Avoid “Yes Men”
Avoid “Yes Men”Why is this a problem you ask? Well, while it might be awesome at first to find an advertising company that will say yes to your every request, you’ll soon find that it’s most likely a revenue-driven response. This means that they most likely care less about your success and more about their bottomlines. Instead, try to find marketers who would be willing to tell you what’s what. Not only does this signify that they know what they’re doing, it also tells you that you’re dealing with passionate individuals who would sooner tell you that your goals are far-fetched than lie to you. So if your current agency is treating your every request as doctrine, it might be time to drop them and go for another company. Believe me, your future self will thank you in the long run.

With these tips in mind, you’re now ready to regroup and take your startup journey to the next level. Now that that’s out of the way, check us out, we might just be the agency you’re looking for–or not, let’s find out! Drop us a line here and let’s hash it out.

on May 27, 2016