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Rarely does one luck into a great relationship with one of the top 10 advertising agencies. It takes a lot of effort on the client side to ensure that the relationship is everything you want it to be. This article is for CEOs who want to get the very most for their online marketing investments. If you don't experience these 7 signs of top ad agencies, then be ready to give notice and start looking elsewhere. That is one option; it is also possible to use this checklist to hold your current agency to a higher standard. They may be doing a good job, but there is always room for improvement, and every improvement they make potentially puts more money in your pocket.

1) You have great communication with your agency. One of the biggest problems businesses report when discussing agency relationships is lack of communication. 'They never return my calls and rarely email me.' That is a common statement we have heard from disatisfied clients. Top 10 advertising agencies do more than talk the talk; they actually stay in touch with their clients, and not just to chit chat. They are always offering new ideas and reporting on campaign milestones. They keep regular conference call appointments. They treat you with the same enthusiasm one year into the campaign as they did when you signed the contract.

2) The agency anticipates your needs. Did you create a new product? Are you offering a new service? Top ad agencies have marketing recommendations ready for you, before you ask. Your input of course is crucial, but a top agency will be proactive and come to you with options. This is another form of communication. A great agency is always looking out for your best interests and creating new ways to keep you a cut above your competition.

3) You never have to wait for your agency to send reports. If it's the first of the month or the beginning of the week (depending on your agreed upon reporting timetable) then you receive your marketing reports in your inbox. The scheduled conference call happens when it is supposed to. Your reports are easy to understand and they offer insights and recommendations that you can use to improve your position online.

4) Your account manager makes it easier to sleep at night. The first sign of a great agency account manager is that you can easily reach him or her when you want to talk. All too often today in business it is extremely difficult to get people to return calls and emails. When you are paying an agency to manage your account, your account manager should be available to you. Exceptions can occur; the manager may be ill or on vacation. If this is the case, it is incumbent on the agency to provide you with an alternate manager to consult with; and this person needs to be up to speed with your account. Great managers are the ones who are seeking you out; not the other way around.

5) Top ad agencies are flexible. This flexibility is vital to your online success. Ask your account manager this question not just once, but at least once PER QUARTER: “Is this activity the highest ROI activity available to me right now?” This question lets the account manager know that you want them to always be looking for the best use of your investment. Top ad agencies will seek you out and ask you this question; but you should always be prepared to ask it.

6) Great agencies discover trends and help you take advantage of them. 'Ahead of the curve' -- that's where the great agencies live. No one can anticipate all trends, but you pay your agency to spot the trends that can impact your business. So if you sell bedroom furniture in St. Louis, then your agency should be dialed in to the St. Louis market and how you can dominate it. The takeaway here is that you should ask your account manager to help you spot trends. The great managers will. Help your manager by providing necessary information to keep him or her well-informed.

7) Top 10 agencies are never complacent. You know you are working with a great agency when they continually look for new ways to satisfy you. These can be small points, such as sending a report early to accommodate your schedule; or introducing you to an expert who can help you with website updates.

Your agency should also be experts at stepping into the breach: Suppose a firestorm brews around your company on social media. Your agency should know how to diffuse it and then report the results to you.

There's more to working with a top 10 advertising agency than making money online. Your agency should help protect your reputation and always be on the lookout for new opportunities. Get everything you need to know about selecting a top agency by reading our Amazon #1 best-selling e-book -- it's free

-Grow Team

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