5 Questions to Ask a Small Business Marketing Agency Before Hiring

It can be difficult to hire a marketing agency for your small business. Small businesses come with unique challenges that not every agency will understand. An agency should be hired that has a desire to understand your business and work with you to make the business the best it can be. Sometimes it’s hard to tell if an agency or freelancer actually knows what they are doing. You aren’t the expert, which is why you’re hiring one! Here are a few questions you can ask the agency to help you determine if they are right for you.

How do you expect payments to be made and what are the due dates?

Small businesses sometimes have a juggling act when it comes to paying invoices. If this is the case with your business, make sure you are talking to the agency about when invoices are sent and when they are due. It’s good to be upfront with the agency on your needs. The right agency will be flexible for your needs and accounting system if it means for a smoother process for all.

How do you communicate with clients?

It’s important that the agency you work with communicates well with you. This doesn’t mean you have to have all of the same communication channels or that you speak in a similar way. It means that you are on the same page in how you will communicate throughout the partnership. The agency needs to understand when to call versus when to email versus when to text and you need to know the same. Response times need to be discussed as well. Do you expect them to answer emails on the weekend or just emergency texts? Usually, you can tell how an agency will communicate by their proposal process but you will still want to make sure you are directly asking so that you are happy with the communication before you’ve signed with an agency.

What reporting will you provide and will it be explained?

Depending on what services you hire the agency for, the reporting could be centered around metrics or maybe it’s more of a report on the status of the project. If you had a campaign, there should be a campaign recap with the results. If you are having a website made, you should receive some kind of status report of what has been accomplished and what tasks still remain. You should also be talking with the agency on what metrics they think are important as well as setting expectations for what reporting you find to be the most important. Also, are they explaining the report to you? Answering all your questions in a clear way? By hiring an agency, you are likely expecting to be given somewhat of an education.

How can your experience help my business?

It’s ok if the agency initially doesn’t know all the ins and outs of your industry or business. But they should be able to demonstrate the ability to catch on quick and show a willingness to dive in and understand. Their experiences with other businesses should also help your business even if the industry doesn’t necessarily relate. For example, if you are a dental office and the agency has no dental experience, that might not be a bad thing. They might have enough experience with other health clients or lead generation that they can still help your business.

Do you understand my business’s brand?

First, let’s admit that there is a difference between what you want your brand to be versus what it really is. An agency should be able to help you get you back on track if your brand isn’t actually what is being pushed to consumers. OR they will work with you to embrace what the brand has become. An agency should be able to have open conversations with you to work on what is best for the business. If you want your communication style with clients and followers to be friendly and silly, the agency will need to understand that so they aren’t communicating in a formal way.

There are so many questions that can be asked when hiring an agency for your small business. Hopefully, this list can help get you started on identifying what is important to you and what will lead to the best working relationship. Have questions? Feel free to comment or contact me directly.


Conquer + Flourish is a marketing agency based out of San Diego serving businesses locally and beyond. We specialize in providing services that small businesses need but might not have the time to dedicate to or know where to begin. From creating a comprehensive marketing strategy to managing your day-to-day needs or even occasional consulting to keep you on track, Conquer + Flourish is dedicated to helping business owners and managers focus on the business they love for continued success.