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Which Advertising Agency is Best for Your Small Business? How to Choose

written by: Haley Montgomery•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 10/20/2009

Working with an advertising agency for marketing your small business can offer much-needed promotional expertise. But, how do you know which one is best for your company? This article outlines the 5 Rs of choosing an advertising agency: return, resources, reputation, reliability, and rapport

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    How to Choose the Best Agency for Marketing Your Small Business

    Part one of this article series offered some guidelines on how to know when you are ready to work with an advertising agency for marketing your small business. It’s clear that advertising agencies offer valuable promotional expertise, creative ideas and the management capabilities to maintain your marketing program, allowing you to focus your time and energy on building your business. Once you’ve made the decision to work with an advertising agency, however, how do you make the best choice?

    There are countless options for advertising agencies from large corporate-minded groups to smaller boutique shops. Some focus in specific industries or business types and others work with a wide range of companies, including small businesses. Choosing the right advertising agency is important for the success of your advertising and marketing efforts. Use these five Rs as guidelines for making the right choice for your unique marketing needs.

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    Return

    Budget is your first consideration when choosing an advertising agency for your small business. Some agencies have a prerequisite minimum budget that potential clients must meet. Look for one that is experienced working within the budget you’ve set. In addition, your agency commitment is an investment. Be sure your choice has a proven record of gaining returns. Ask for client references and follow up to determine the agency’s track record of meeting marketing goals.

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    Resources

    Your best choice for an advertising agency is one that has the resources required to offer innovative marketing solutions that will be effective in your particular industry and location. Choose one that offers high creativity as well as expertise with companies of your size. Also, choose an agency that has contacts with the media outlets relevant to your target audience, whether online opportunities, traditional publications or other media.

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    Reputation

    Without question, the business of advertising doesn’t always have a squeaky clean connotation. In fact, it can sometimes have a downright shady reputation. Follow up with your agency’s client references and ask questions about their business practices. As with any business partnership or vendor relationship, trust is essential to success. Make sure you are comfortable with the reputation your agency has with other clients and in the marketplace.

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    Reliability

    One of the key benefits of working with an advertising agency is that you won’t have to worry about the details of executing your marketing program. Look for an agency you know won’t drop the ball in handling those details. Consider how attentive they are to your needs in your initial meetings and their protocol for following up on correspondence. This will give you a clue as to how they handle the day-to-day requirements of managing an account.

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    Rapport

    It may seem subjective, but your ability to connect with your agency team is vital to them understanding your needs and executing a successful program. The rapport between your respective team members can make or break the process. A good rapport makes communicating your goals and even your dissatisfaction much more productive.

Working with Advertising Agencies: Small Business Tips

Choosing to work with an advertising agency is a big step for business start-ups, but agencies can offer much-needed promotional expertise for marketing your small business. This series offers guidelines for knowing when, choosing the right one and working effectively with an advertising agency.
  1. Is It Time to Hire an Advertising Agency for Your Small Business?
  2. Which Advertising Agency is Best for Your Small Business? How to Choose
  3. Tips for Working Effectively with an Advertising Agency