There is a tendency to believe that because you are working with a marketing partner, you don’t have to worry about your marketing at all. This is true, to an extent. You should trust your marketing partner to do their job, and do it well. After all, that is why you hired them.

However, while some providers add value immediately and you can see the results in calls, emails, store visits, etc., others might not be performing to your expectations or to the expectations they had set when you first started working with them. For this reason, small businesses must regularly check in on progress.

At the end of the day, you are responsible for the success of your company. So if you’re thinking about moving on from your current provider, here are five questions to ask yourself to decide if that’s the right decision:

1. Am I seeing improvements in key performance indicators (phone calls, emails, store visits, etc.)?

At the outset, you and your marketing partner should set key performance indicators (KPIs) like phone calls, website visits, website form fills, store visits, etc. If this wasn’t done in the beginning, it is extremely hard to evaluate the performance of a provider. Obviously, results will differ based on the campaign’s object (drive traffic to a website, make a purchase, like a page, etc.), which is why it’s crucial to set objectives early on.

For example, if you want to grow your following on Facebook, your marketing partner will make different recommendations compared to if you want to drive more phone calls to your store. Make sure your marketing partner knows what your digital marketing goals are. If the objectives were clear, but the results are underperforming, it may be time to seek other options.

2. Is my marketing partner regularly updating me on their progress?

Communication is key. Your marketing partner should be both transparent about and held accountable for their work. When starting your relationship, both parties should set expectations for how often communication will take place, and in what form. Will you have weekly phone calls? Monthly? Or will you communicate mostly via email?

You can also set up other methods of communication like Slack and Microsoft Teams to stay in touch. So if you’re considering moving on from a provider, evaluate your communication with them. How often do you talk? Do you know what they are working on right now? If the answer is “no” then you may want to reach out and reevaluate.

3. Does my marketing partner meet deadlines and deliver any on-going materials on time?

Do you have established due dates with your marketing partner, or a schedule for regular, on-going materials? If not, stop reading this article and give your partner a call. You should have established deadlines and content production quotas on projects so you know when and how much your partner does for you. If you do have established deadlines, and your partner is regularly missing them, then that’s another red flag.

4. Do I often receive unexpected charges from my marketing partner?

Price isn’t something you should ever be surprised by. If you hired a partner, the provider should have been completely transparent with what it costs to work with them. This is why contract agreements are important. Read them thoroughly and if you are finding unexpected charges coming your way, push back.

On the other hand, you may want to give your partner freedom to test strategies and new products or services. Either way, you should feel comfortable approaching your partner about these costs as they come along. A good marketing partner will walk you through these charges. If you don’t get this kind of transparency or you aren’t satisfied with the explanation from the provider, the provider might not be a good fit.

5. Am I frustrated with my marketing partner?

If nothing else, you should not feel frustrated every time you talk to your marketing partner. This is a sign that things might not be working out. If this is how you are feeling, take a minute to write down your thoughts. Why are you feeling frustrated? Is there a lack of communication? Seeing a lack of results? Do they fail to follow up when they say they will? Once you have this list, take it to your partner and express your concerns. If your concerns are met with resistance or anger or just ignored in general, it may be time for you to consider seeking out a different partner.

Hiring a marketing partner can be challenging. However, if you set the expectations, stay involved in the process to some degree and question what you don’t understand, you can get out of the relationship what you want.

Not sure whether or not you need a marketing partner? Consult this article to help you decide. When you are ready to begin “partner shopping,” visit the MarketingBitz Provider Directory.