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How to Hire a Marketing Agency 2024 (Easy Steps!)

Skyrocketing your marketing strategy can be challenging. We take the guesswork out of how to hire a marketing agency to take your marketing to the next level.

Octavia Drexler
By Octavia Drexler

Updated February 15, 2024.


Hiring a marketing agency can feel like you're in a massive market, and everyone's screaming at you. And the most confusing and upsetting part of all is that there's so much noise you can't even make sense of what they're saying. They throw "marketing plan", "marketing talent" and words like "inbound marketing campaigns" at you, but it all feels like a mishmash of buzzwords and jargon.

So how do you navigate this chaos and find the right agency to help you with your digital marketing activities? 

Here are some things you need to know. 

First things first: should you hire a marketing agency?

Before we take a deep dive into the best practices of hiring a marketing firm, let's get an important question out of the way: should you hire an agency?

Here are some matters you should think about first:

Is your ROI high enough?

Hiring an agency makes a lot of sense and can bring a lot of benefits with it, but only if paying for the agency is justified by your return on investment. If your company is rather small at this point, hiring an agency might not be the solution you're looking for because it can be quite costly. However, hiring an agency might be a smart move if you have steady revenue and are looking for ways to increase your sales.

Do you need an agency, a freelancer, or an in-house hire?

Not every marketing service needs to be an agency. Sometimes hiring a freelancer or enlisting an in-house hire can be more effective and cost-efficient. It's important to assess your specific needs and budget before making a decision.

For smaller, short-term projects, freelancers may be a better option as they often have lower rates and are more flexible with their work arrangements. However, for long-term campaigns or where multiple services are needed, investing in an in-house hire might be a better choice. As for agencies, they're best when you have a larger budget and need a wide range of services with the ability to scale as your business grows.



Do you know your marketing challenges?

A reputable marketing agency can help in many ways, but they won't help you if you don't know what areas of your marketing strategy need improvement. Take time to identify your biggest marketing challenges and communicate them clearly to any potential agency hire. This will ensure that the agency has a clear understanding of your needs and can provide tailored solutions.

A lot of very good agencies specialize in a set of services or marketing channels. They're usually SEO agencies, influencer agencies, paid advertising agencies, or email marketing agencies. You'll rarely find a smaller agency that offers all of these. This is where the larger agencies come in, with a much larger price tag.

Do you want to grow internal knowledge?

Growing internal knowledge helps you get a better understanding of your customers, what they want, what they like, and how to serve it all to them. It also helps you keep up with the ever-changing landscape of marketing and stay ahead of your competitors.

In this case, hiring an agency can be a great way to supplement your internal team's knowledge and skills, as they often bring in specialized expertise and industry insights that you may not have access to otherwise.

Do you want to access investment?

This might not be the case for all VCs and angel investors, but many will consider your team before they invest. They might consider working with external agencies riskier than having an in-house team that you're growing. So if you want to access investment, consider hiring the agency later on and focus on building internal marketing skills.

Do you have someone internal who can work with the agency?

One of the great things about agencies is that they're independent. However, if you don't have time for your marketing at all, it's best to make sure you have someone internally who can work with the agency, provide them with feedback, and create comprehensive briefs when needed. Otherwise, you're pretty much leaving your entire business in the hands of strangers who may or may not be 100% aligned with your vision.

The benefits of hiring a marketing agency

As mentioned before, there are very good reasons to hire a marketing agency too. Some of the most touted advantages of working with agencies include:

Wide range of skills

Even when specialized in one or two channels, agencies will still provide you with access to a wider range of skills. They often have team members with diverse expertise and experience in various areas of marketing, such as digital marketing, traditional advertising, branding, social media, and more. This means you can benefit from working with an all-star marketing team who'll take a well-rounded approach to your marketing strategy.



Lower costs (in some cases)

Working with a digital marketing agency isn't always a costly affair. You shouldn't go cheap and hire the least expensive agency you can find on Fiverr, but compared to the costs of hiring an in-house team or investing in expensive tools and resources, outsourcing to a credible agency can save you money sometimes. Plus, you have the added benefit of not having to worry about employee benefits and overhead expenses.

Access to the best industry tools

Agencies often have access to expensive industry tools and resources that you may not be able to afford as a small business. This can include advanced analytics platforms, SEO tools, and paid advertising software. These tools can provide valuable insights and improve the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.

Innovative ideas

Agencies work with multiple clients, sometimes in different industries or niches, and who might have faced similar challenges to yours. This means an agency can cross-pollinate ideas and bring fresh perspectives to your marketing strategy. They can also provide valuable insights into emerging trends and technologies that you may not have access to otherwise.


Managing marketing efforts in-house can be a time-consuming task, especially for small businesses with limited resources or expertise. By outsourcing to an agency, you free up your time and resources to focus on other important aspects of your business. This can lead to increased efficiency and productivity overall. If you're looking to save time and still get quality results, hiring a marketing agency might be the right choice for you.

How to find the best marketing agency

Let's say you're keen to hire an agency. That's absolutely amazing, but be aware that searching for the right one might not be as easy as going to Google and typing "social media marketing agency in...[insert here country/state/city]."

Well, you could do that. But you might end up spending quite a lot of money on a service that's not right for you.

Here's what you need to do to find the best agency for your needs:

Understand what you need

You don't leave on vacation without a destination, and you don't hire a marketing firm without understanding what you want them to do for you. Take the time to identify your marketing challenges and marketing goals, and communicate them clearly to potential agencies.



Create a shortlist

If you go to Google, LinkedIn, or any of the freelance platforms right now, there's a high chance searching for an agency will result in hundreds, if not thousands of results. To create a viable shortlist of options:

Ask your team

Your team members might have worked with marketing agencies in the past. Ask them to see if they'd recommend these agencies and why.

Consult with industry peers

Similarly, asking industry peers can help you get recommendations from people who have first-hand experience working with certain agencies.

Look for specific expertise

Remember, not all marketing agencies are created equal. Some might specialize in social media marketing, some in Search Engine Optimization, some in email marketing, and so on. Be sure to look for agencies that have experience and proven results in the specific areas you need help with.

Remember: you're not just looking for a "marketing person" to deliver some random marketing materials or a one-off successful marketing campaign. You're looking for a marketing partner – an agency that works with you to grow your business, put your name in front of potential customers, and help you nurture them throughout the customer journey. 

Research each option

Once you have a (shorter) list of options, start looking at each of them. Here are some areas to include in your research:

Their online presence

You know that old saying about the cobbler's shoeless children? It might somewhat apply to marketing agencies, to be fair. A lot of marketers and agencies won't find the time to market themselves as well as they do for their clients.

That being said, you'd expect a social media agency to have a pretty steady social media presence, and an email agency to send regular emails. You'd also expect a marketing agency to be pretty adept at being online and putting themselves in a good light in an organic, non-braggy way.

Analyze your candidates' online presence. What does it tell you? Do they look like the kind of agency that shows strategic effort in building customer relationships or are they more like one-hit wonders? 

Read case studies to see if their expertise is a match

Good case studies and testimonials will help you understand if your chosen marketing firm is a good match for your needs, industry, and expectations. Check if they've worked with businesses similar to yours and the results they've achieved. This can give you a sense of what to expect.



Consider their pricing structure

Different agencies have different pricing models. Some may charge a flat fee for services, while others may offer monthly or hourly rates. Make sure you understand how each agency charges for their services and whether it fits within your budget.

Look for reviews and ratings

Just like any other product or service, online reviews and ratings can provide valuable insights into a marketing firm's reputation and customer satisfaction. Check independent review sites to get a more objective view of the agency's performance.

Give them a brief & ask for pitches

One of the best ways to see how an agency works "in action" is to give them a brief and ask for proposals from them. It doesn't have to be something super extensive (you don't want them to work for free). But it can be something that helps you better gauge their ability to understand your business and requirements, offer creative solutions, and communicate their ideas effectively.2



Meet with the best options & ask the right questions

You should have a pretty short list of options by now, so it's time to schedule a meeting and see how they fare in person. Here are some questions you can ask during the meeting:

What are your marketing goals?

This question might seem odd, as they should be the one asking you about your goals. But here's the thing: if a marketing firm doesn't have a vision and a set of clear (SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals for themselves as a business and their clients' campaigns, how do they expect to help you achieve your marketing goals?

What are your services, specifically?

Sometimes, websites and even case studies and white papers can be a bit vague. Generally, that's not a good sign, but following the cobbler's children analogy, it might not be enough to reject a digital marketing company. Ask them specifically about what they're going to do for you and how they plan on executing it.

Can I see some work you’ve done with other clients?

You have, of course, checked case studies and read testimonials. But, unless bound by very tight NDAs and contracts, most agencies will be happy to show you some of their work. They might even be willing to put you in contact with someone who's worked with them before.

Ask for live examples and try to understand how they've helped other businesses achieve their goals.

What are the costs involved?

Pricing can be a deal-breaker, depending on your budget and needs. That's why it's essential to fully understand all the costs involved in working with an agency, including any potential additional fees or expenses.



Will you run the project management side of things?

Some agencies handle everything, from strategy to management and executions. Others, on the other hand, are more focused on the execution side of things. Be clear about your expectations and ask about their project management process to ensure a smooth working relationship.

What are your contract terms?

Every agency has its contractual terms, and you should understand them clearly before you sign on the dotted line. Ask about the contract length, payment terms, and any other important details so that there are no surprises later on. You don't want to be stuck in a long-term contract with an agency that's just not a great fit, for example. 

How do you handle reporting?

No matter how great the chemistry between you and your chosen agency might be, you want to make sure you can track their progress and results. Ask about their reporting process, how often they report, and what metrics they focus on to measure success.

Who in your team will be working with us?

It's important to know who will be handling your account and working on your campaigns. Ask about the team members, their roles and responsibilities, and their experience and expertise in the industry.

Find your agency with Mayple

No time to look for the ideal candidate? To sift through the hundreds of options, assess the culture fit, and ensure your chosen agency will allow you to work with digital marketers who deliver on their promise? 

We have a better option for you: if you're looking for marketers (freelancers or agencies), work with Mayple. We have more than 1,000 marketers and digital agencies in our network, providing all types of service you may need, from public relations and content marketing to full-service agency options. 

Mayple is not a digital marketing agency.

What we do is match businesses like yours with vetted agencies, freelancers, and contractors. We listen to your story, take note of your needs, and then use AI and machine to find you the perfect match. Not just a "reputable marketing agency," but an agency partner with a proven track record for your needs and industry. 

Once you meet and greet them and they provide you with a strategy, you can get down to work.

The entire process is easier, quicker, and more secure than trying to find the right agency match on your own. Plus, we don't have any contract minimums. You can cancel any time you want, and you can change the marketer or agency too.

Want to know how Mayple-vetted agencies work with clients? Check out our case studies and learn more about companies that reached their business goals using our expert services. 

Want to get started? Contact us and we'll have you up and going with a perfect marketing agency in less than a few days!