If you’re considering hiring a growth agency, you’re likely at an exciting time in the development of your business. The path ahead is lined with opportunities, and you’re at a crucial inflection point in your journey. Hiring a team of growth marketers can be a gamechanger for your business, sending growth into overdrive.
So far, you might have been running marketing yourself, as a plucky, entrepreneurial founder Maybe you’ve worked with a marketing freelancer, or perhaps you hired a couple of generalist marketers in-house. At early-stage companies, these strategies often work just fine, but if you’re ready to take your business to the next level, it’s time to seriously consider hiring a growth agency.
Growth agencies build and execute high-impact marketing campaigns across all kinds of verticals: from Pay Per Click (PPC) to Content Strategy. They’ll partner with you to identify key objectives and design carefully tailored strategies that you’ll test, iterate on, and optimize over time. There are no hacks, shortcuts, or tricks – just high-quality, data-backed strategies that deliver results.
There are a ton of great growth agencies out there. At Tuff, we like to think of ourselves as one of them, but we know there are other great options out there; agencies like NoGood, Ladder.io, Right Side Up, and Part and Sum.
It’s vital you determine which growth agency is the best fit for your team. But how do you know what to look for? Let’s explore the key issues you should consider when hiring a growth agency.
Define the Scope of the Partnership
Many growth agencies are formed of two key components: growth strategists; the quarterbacks that lead your brand’s overall growth strategy, and channel experts; the domain experts that provide specialized knowledge in specific growth marketing verticals from Google Ads to Conversion Rate Optimization.
You might already have some of these resources in-house. Before you start talking to growth agencies, define exactly what kind of support you need from the relationship. If you’re working with a PPC freelancer that’s killing it, you probably don’t need a growth agency that specializes in Google Ads. Look for agency partners that can supplement your existing capabilities, not cannibalize them. The best growth agencies work as an extension of your team.
Identify Major Objectives & Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Effective growth marketing demands a series of milestones and metrics you can use to measure your progress. Exactly what these metrics look like is driven by your company and your business model. A software platform with a subscription-based business model will have entirely different growth metrics to an eCommerce fashion brand.
As you think about how to measure success, consider your overarching objectives. Work backward to determine the growth metrics that will enable you to achieve these goals and milestones.
Perhaps you’ve promised investors you’ll hit $10 million in ARR by the end of the year. Calculate what needs to happen for your business to hit that goal. How many new customers do you need to onboard? How many leads do you require to generate those customers?
The most common KPIs are often the most obvious: metrics like revenue, website traffic, or Return On Investment (ROI). But each marketing channel has its own KPIs too. Partnering with an experienced growth agency will help you determine what these should be, and also the benchmarks you should be aiming to hit.
Talk to Multiple Growth Agencies
It’s important to explore relationships with several different growth agencies to get a feel for which is the best partner for you. We suggest talking to three to five agencies at this stage. To identify which agencies you should talk to, ask your network for recommendations, or search on Google. Check out the websites of the agencies you discover, and look out for case studies with parallels to your business.
There are all kinds of reasons an agency might feel like a good fit: they might have a lot of experience in your industry or they could specialize in marketing channels that are important to your business. Maybe you just really jive with their team.
It’s impossible to figure out which growth agency makes the most sense for your team without talking to a few different agencies. Most of the time, these conversations start with a discovery call – a short, no-commitment call with a growth marketer from the agency. These calls are your opportunity to share your growth challenges, ask questions, and learn more about each agency’s approach to growth marketing.
Here are a few questions to ask during these calls:
- What do you look for in an ideal client?
- How often will we meet and what is the communication structure?
- Do you focus on a specific industry? Do you focus on a specific stage?
- How much of the work is done in-house vs outsourced?
- What’s your pricing structure?
- Will you bill a percentage of ad spend?
- How many people on the team will we work with?
If the partnership feels like it could be a good fit after this call, you can expect to receive some follow-up. Often, this takes the form of a detailed growth marketing proposal that outlines exactly how the agency will work with your business.
Be prepared to give the growth agency access to elements of your marketing stack: platforms like Google Analytics and Facebook Ads Manager give agencies an invaluable window into your current growth strategy, helping them to recommend more tailored strategies uniquely suited to your business.
Review the Proposals and Make Your Decision
By this stage, you should have received detailed proposals from a few agencies. Take the time to review these in-depth: a lot of thought goes into these documents, and they provide valuable insights into what a potential partnership would look like.
Incorporate data into your decision-making process, but don’t negate your gut feeling about which agency is the right partner. Ideally, this is a long-term commitment and it’s vital that you work with a growth agency you can trust. Don’t be afraid to schedule follow-up calls with agencies you’re seriously considering: it’s important that you have all your questions answered and can make your decision with confidence.
Tuff Growth: A Proven Growth Agency
If you’re considering partnering with a growth agency, the team at Tuff would be more than happy to chat. We bring big-picture growth strategists and seasoned channel experts to every engagement, helping you build a scalable approach to growth marketing that promotes efficient, sustainable long-term growth.
Want to learn more about our approach to growth marketing? Schedule a call with our team now – we’d love to share how we can help!
Ellen is the founder at Tuff and one of the team’s core growth marketers. She is a versatile marketer with expertise in multiple channels – from ppc to seo to email to others – responsible for the experiments and testing. She is happiest when she’s on the ski hill or outside pointing her mountain bike downhill.