After 4 years as a seller and consultant on the Amazon marketplace, I can confidently say the only constant has been that the tools, tactics, and terms of service are always changing. During my conversations with hundreds of brands, I’ve learned that there is usually a point where every business (large or small) struggles to keep up with the ever-changing platform and to identify needed marketing expertise outside their organization.
Brands who are investing in their future business start thinking about outsourcing to a company that can become their long-term marketing partner.
However, as growth surges the Amazon marketing space has become increasingly crowded, with new agencies and small boutique firms popping up every day. How do you differentiate the agencies that can deliver consistent sales results from the pretenders? The risk of wasting time, money or even doing damage to your brand reputation is real and selecting the wrong agency could be worse than not doing anything at all.
Picking the right partner isn’t an easy task. First, there are many digital agencies that have only just recently expanded their services to include Amazon. Without a history and long term understanding of the marketplace, do you really want to be their guinea pig? So, with that being said, how do you make the right choice for your business?
Don’t base it on price…
For a lot of businesses, the choice boils down to price, but the cost alone isn’t a great determinant of whether or not an Amazon marketing agency is right for you. You don’t want to go with an agency you can’t afford, but a low price tag isn’t the best choice either. Most agencies will work with you to come up with a plan within your budget range, and if they can’t, a quality agency will be upfront about that.
A lot of clients go for the most responsive agency (if they aren’t wooed by a low price tag first). A marketing agency that responds first is one that a lot of potential clients will trust because they feel they’ll get the same level of service and attention once they’ve hired the agency.
Just like price, though, responsiveness shouldn’t necessarily be the deciding factor, but it does make for a good starting point. Assuming you get more than one response within a reasonable amount of time, you can further narrow down your options from there.
Here’s the criteria you should use to choose an Amazon marketing agency.
Price and responsiveness are only part of the package. Here are other factors to pay attention to and evaluate in order to select the best Amazon marketing agency for you.
What’s their communication style?
Getting a quick response back after the first time you contact an Amazon marketing agency isn’t all that rare. What you really want to look for is how efficient communication is throughout your “choosing an agency” process.
• The marketing agency shouldn’t go radio silent or only reply with short, partial answers if you have follow-up questions.
• They should be attentive to all communications from you, even if it’s not entirely clear they’re about to make a sale.
• They should also be forthcoming about their process and the steps you’ll be taking.
Don’t forget the most basic necessity of communication: reliability. The agency should be contacting you when they say they will.
What’s their work pattern?
When you’re used to a totally different work pattern than the marketing agency you’ve hired, it can become frustrating to get anything done and it can start to feel like you’re not making nearly enough progress. Part of this has to do with communication – if you’re working on wildly different schedules, when will you talk? – but it also has to do with how well your expectations are being met.
Think about your timeline for finishing projects; when and how often you want to have meetings with the agency; and the days and times you expect to be able to contact them. Even something as simplistic as whether you want to communicate mostly via phone or through email can impact your relationship with the provider.
What’s included in their marketing proposal?
The proposal should be a major part of your decision about whether or not this is the agency for you. You should never hire an Amazon marketing agency without getting a proposal first, and there’s also no requirement for you to hire an agency just because they’ve sent a proposal. The proposal should be a major part of your decision about whether or not this is the agency for you.
This starts out pretty easy. You’re going to look at the price of the project and the length of engagement, and chances are you’ve already discussed these areas with the agency, so there shouldn’t be any surprises here. Then, you should look to make sure the following criteria is met:
• Does the proposal address a solution to what your business needs? Are your most important metrics mentioned?
• Is there a schedule for what you can expect and when, and the reports you’ll receive along the way?
• Are projected outcomes included in addition to the steps that will lead to them?
• Is pricing broken down so that you know exactly what you’re paying for?
As you critique the proposal, don’t get too caught up in design. Yes, a highly styled proposal may look appealing and be eye-catching, but a simple two-page proposal with text only can still completely meet your needs.
If you are at a point where you’d like understand how outsourcing your Amazon marketing can grow your business, I’d like to help.
Let’s chat about your current needs and where you’d like to grow. I’m happy to answer your questions, help navigate the selection process, or make a personalized referral to our network of over 50 Amazon marketing agencies and service providers. Book a free consultation session with me to get started