9 ThinGs to Consider When Choosing a Marketing Provider
There are a wide variety of options available out there to help you market your business. Yet, the process of actually hiring someone to do this might just leave you feeling overwhelmed and time-poor.
It’s a big decision! And the unfortunate truth is that the average client/retainer relationship doesn’t work out too well and often doesn’t last as long as you’d like it to, especially if it’s your first time hiring this service. Often there are some significant hidden costs to switching providers. (We’ll help you avoid them.)
Use this guide to help make your decision easier, faster, and more confidently so you can find the right partner faster and get to your goals.
Here are the 9 things you should consider when choosing a marketing provider:
1. Ownership of Accounts
Who owns the accounts? Will you have full admin access right away? Will they be set up properly such that should you part ways there will not be any issues?
You need to make sure you aren’t setting yourself up for an ugly surprise down the road. We deal with problems all the time where past marketing providers have set up services under their own accounts and either don’t want to provide access or sometimes can’t at all even if they wanted to. (Facebook Business Manager is an example of a super important account that can’t be transferred ownership from the person who created it. Watch out! This causes huge problems later.)
2. Ad Spend
Does the monthly retainer include ad spend?
Some marketers include ad spend in their retainers. You need to know exactly how much of your retainer is going to advertising costs and how much of it is going to the management of your systems. Typically professional agencies do not lump these together as most business owners are better off having control of their ad-spend so they can adjust on the fly based on seasonality, demand, and supply.
How are results reported? We recommend at a minimum your marketing is reported to the level of marketing qualified leads. Raw leads are not sufficient.
If you allow your marketer to report on anyone who reaches out to your company that’s all they will do. They’ll have great cost per (raw) lead numbers to show you, but these leads will never be as good as a company that is optimizing specifically for qualified leads. You get what you pay for. Don’t pay for cheap Raw Leads if you want to scale profitably, pay for Qualified Leads at the volume you need, within your allowable cost of acquisition.
Does your agency require meetings to know how things are going or do they integrate into your sales system to see for themselves?
If they need meetings, it means that they only course correct at the frequency of the meetings.
If they don’t need meetings, then they must integrate into your sales system so they can monitor the quality of the leads they are sending you from a sales perspective.
We recommend that they do both. They integrate into your systems so they can gauge results for themselves, and they have meetings periodically to make sure that everything is in line with where it needs to be.
Bonus points if their system automatically adjusts based on your data to self-learn in real-time like ours does.
Do they use an attribution tracking tool to qualify leads? How does it work? What is their target ratio of marketing qualified leads to sales qualified leads? (It should be 1:1.)
You need a system that tracks in real-time where your leads, prospects, and sales are coming from. The days of asking your prospects where they heard about you are done. When you’re running up to 75 different ads at any given time, you need a system that knows which ad they clicked.
Not only should this system be able to track where these people are coming from, but it also needs to be able to filter them based on how qualified they are and send that data back to the ad platforms in real-time so you can properly leverage ad platform AIs.
Who is responsible for your account and how many accounts are they responsible for?
Is one person responsible for the success of 75 businesses’ marketing? Or does the provider cap the number of accounts each manager manages? You need to know how much attention your account is going to be getting. Are they looking at your ads every week? Every Month? What else are they doing and when?
Attracting new clientele is one thing, but you’re going to need staff as well if you want to grow. Do they have proven systems for attracting Green Industry staff?
As soon as you get your marketing working you’re going to need more staff. Make sure your marketing provider has experience attracting good-fit staff. (Again, Qualified – not raw leads here too!)
8. Industry Specific
Unless you want to pay extra for development and testing, and have to wait a few years to get some data under your belt, you’re going to want to choose a provider that has been testing and developing specifically for the landscaping industry.
9. Strategy & Deliverables
Are you fully aware of the strategy, how it works, the actions that need to be taken, and how to measure if it’s going to plan? Do not allow marketers to convince you any of what they do is too complicated to explain to you – it isn’t. There is no such thing as “SEO Magic”. Have them explain to you exactly what they do to manage your SEO and PPC each month and how they are measuring results – it should be in Qualified Leads.
Over the years we’ve made mistakes on all of the above as we’ve improved our marketing services, but it’s been through various trials and tribulations that we’ve developed ways to support the Green Industry with the best solutions for growing your business. Feel free to reach out to me if you’d like to learn more about how we can help you grow!
Want to learn how the Lawn Authorities Growth Platform will work for your business?
About Chris Penny and Lawn Authorities
I've been helping landscape maintenance companies grow their businesses since 2013.
Our fastest growing client has grown from $250k to $1.5m in 3 years using the strategies covered in this website.
Our unique approach to marketing comes from my experience marketing my own lawn care business for 11 years (2005-2016). There are so many unique challenges to growing these kinds of businesses: churn, lowball competitors, attracting the right staff - to name a few. Our systems solve all of these, empowering our clients to grow rapidly with confidence.