Choosing a digital marketing vendor can be a hand-wrenching experience. You're business' reputation and budget is on the line, not to mention your job and reputation could be at stake as well. That's why you need to work with someone you trust.
If you are interviewing multiple vendors (and you should), make sure they are asking you a TON of questions before even attempting to provide you with an estimate. Sure, some projects like designing one HTML email template may not be terribly complex but if your vendor doesn't know that you need this to also integrate with three other technical solutions your company is using you are both setting yourself up for a pile of headaches and frustration.
That's why exploratory discussions are so key at the beginning of every project—to learn as much as possible about your business, your needs, and goals. These discussions also go a long way towards establishing trust.
How else can you establish trust but by having conversations, multiple conversations with your potential vendor? Referrals sure go a long way, but even then your vendor should come to your first meeting with a list of questions either prepared for you on paper, or at-the-ready from memory. I prefer the paper route as it serves as a conversational guide. On top of that it gives business owners and steak-holders something concrete to reflect upon after your meeting is over. There is always something that comes to mind later. Why not help your potential clients capture these important details early in the project and avoid additional "surprises" down the line. (Spoiler alert: There are always "surprises" but knowing as much as you can early on helps to minimize their affects on your success)
Sample questions your vendor should ask you:
- What are your goals?
- Who is the target audience? What is their mindset?
- How do they view our product or service?
- What do they like or dislike about it?
- Is it a necessity or a luxury?
- What kind of person is a heavy buyer or user?
- What are we promising them?
- What can we offer them?
- Who is our competition?
- What do they offer that we do not?
- Do rival services present problems that this one solves?
These are just sample questions. We have FOUR pages of questions we ask our clients to thoroughly vet the current situation and begin to determine an appropriate approach to get you business where you want to be.