Hiring an ad agency can be exciting because it means your business is growing. You’re dreaming about your future and the new possibilities for your brand.

But when it comes to finding the right agency, where do you start? The process can be overwhelming. There are a lot of agencies out there, and dozens of services they provide.


Here are 5 strategies for helping you find the best fit for your business:

1. What kind of help do you need? Make a priority list before starting your search.

Ad agencies can help with anything from creating a unified brand to digital marketing (social media ads, google ads, etc.). Different agencies have different specialties. So what’s your #1 need? Clear priorities will help you find an agency that aligns with your goals.

2. Study an ad agency’s portfolio. Look for experience.

Portfolios matter at an advertising agency. When you browse their previous work, look closely at their ideas. Are the ideas creative? Does the work feel fresh? What were their results? Next, read their bios. Look for experience, as well as evidence of attending conferences and getting new certifications. Steer away from agencies with little senior experience. Firms like this will charge premium pricing for an inexperienced team. 

3. Speak openly about your expectations and your budget.

A good agency should be able to understand your long-term goals and work backward. They understand your needs and your budget first, then help you develop a plan that makes sense for your business. Some projects, like connecting your brand to your target audience, take time, so it’s important to discuss timelines together. One big red flag: an agency that makes grand promises on a short timeline. Run! 

4. Pay attention to their process.

When you meet, are they clear about the next steps? If they share a thoughtful step-by-step plan, they’re more likely to guide you smoothly through the process. Also, when you work with an ad agency, expect homework. Do you know what you need to do next? Clarity is key.

5. Know what you’re getting, and when.

“Deliverables” are the tangible products you’ll get from the ad agency. (These can be photos, brand messaging, logo, website, etc.) Do you own the deliverables? For example, if you’re getting a website, do you fully own the website, even after you stop working with the agency? Both parties should know the scope of the project – the deliverables, the timeline, the budget, and the steps that are required along the way.


If you use these tips in your search, and you feel like the ad agency hears and understands your needs, then you’ve done your due diligence.

Wondering if Novella Brandhouse would be a good fit for your business? Explore our portfolio. Read our bios. Then grab a spot on our calendar. Let’s chat about your goals.

As a bonus, here are questions your business should ask when you’re in the process of hiring an ad agency:

Before the consultation:

  • What’s our goal? Our #1 priority?
  • What’s our budget?
  • Do we need to completely outsource our marketing, or support our existing marketing team?
  • What’s the agency’s level of experience?
  • Is the agency’s portfolio creative and aligned with the type of work we want? 

During the consultation:

  • What will we need to do throughout this process?
  • What’s the timeline for the project?
  • When can we expect to see results?
  • What’s the experience level of the team we’ll be working with?
  • Do we own the deliverables?
  • What are the agency’s recommendations for this project?
  • Does our budget align with our expectations?
  • What’s next?

After the consultation:

  • Do we feel heard?
  • Does the agency understand our goals, services, and target audience?
  • Can they meet our expectations within the budget we set?
  • Do we feel like they care about us and will give us the attention we deserve?
  • Are their promises realistic?
  • Do they seem easy to work with down the road?
  • Are the next steps clear?


Need more on this topic? Listen to our Scale With Strategy: How to Hire an Ad Agency LinkedIn Live episode on our YouTube channel.