15 Questions to Ask an Influencer Management Agency Before Signing a Contract
So you know that it's time to hire an influencer management agency, but now you're tasked with finding the right fit for you and your brand.
Do I have to prepare? What should I look for? What questions should I ask?
In today's post, I'm sharing 15 key questions to ask an influencer management agency before signing a contract. It's important to remember that while your prospective agency may have pre-vetted you, that doesn't mean you're an automatic match. You have to love them, just as much as they love you!
1. How long has your company been in business?
While influencer management agencies are a fairly new business, you'll want to make sure your prospective agency has at least a few years of experience under their belt.
2. How many total influencers does your company represent?
Are you dealing with a smaller, boutique agency or a larger company? There are pros and cons to both, but I personally prefer to work with an agency who is established enough to have a solid roster, but is small enough to have a genuine relationship with each of its influencers.
3. How many influencers is each manager responsible for?
A full plate is a full plate, no matter how you slice it. In my opinion, the smaller the manager/influencer ratio, the better.
4. What are the primary verticals that you’re signing the most brand deals in?
Most agencies will have a variety of working brand relationships, and it's important to know if those brands align with your primary verticals. I once interviewed an agency who did most of their deals in the home/lifestyle vertical, with very little brand deals signed in the fashion niche, which warranted an immediate no.
5. Can you share a sample of brands in the _____ industry you’ve worked with?
It's always helpful to gauge the type and quality of brands your agency is actively working with, especially as it relates to your primary niche(s). If you find that you don't recognize or take interest in any of those brands, the agency is most likely not the best fit.
6. Approximately what percentage of your partnerships are long-term or recurring?
Long-term and/or recurring partnerships should always be the end-goal. This is a helpful question to gauge what your agencies current relationships look like, and what that might mean for you being a part of their team.
7. Tell me about your pitch process. How often are you pitching and what does your typical outreach and follow-up look like?
Believe it or not, some agencies don't proactively pitch to brands! It's also always good to feel out someone else's process so you can manage expectations and know how well it naturally aligns with yours.
8. Are you pitching your entire roster or individually tailoring your pitches?
This is a question I added to my list after hearing about a friend's experience with her agency. While her agency regularly pitched to brands, when they pitched, they were pitching for their entire roster, rather than pitching for the individual. In these scenarios, she was matched up against other influencers with double or triple her audience size, and it was almost always no-contest. While this helped out the agency because they were closing deals, it significantly hurt her individually.
9. Does your agency require a minimum number of projects or income secured in a given month?
Some agencies mandate a monthly earnings quota in order to stay on their roster. While this might drive someone to grind really hard, for me, it would warrant an immediate no. I've always valued quality over quantity and that may translate to earning 20k one month, and 2k the next. I strongly believe that ebb and flow is a natural part of the business, and wouldn't ever want to feel pressured in a scenario like that.
10. Can you run me through what your role in managing a campaign might look like from start to finish?
It's important to get a feel for the business structure of your agency, along with the key roles your manager(s) will play in working on your campaigns. How involved will they be? How confident are they in negotiating contracts? How will they keep you organized?
11. What does the weekly and/or monthly relationship between manager and influencer look like?
How often are you checking in? How are you managing my projects on a weekly/monthly basis? What will we work on together and what will you take care of on your own?
12. Tell me about your process for goal-setting.
Some agencies will have bi-weekly or monthly check-in calls to talk about upcoming projects, set new quarterly goals, etc. while other agencies might do a more formal check-in on an as-needed basis. It's always good to know how much or how often an agency is actively helping you improve your business before jumping in.
13. Based on what you know about me, what is a reasonable expectation of collaborations you think I’d be working on each month?
It's likely that the agency you are in talks with has pre-vetted you. They've probably taken a look at your social media stats, your overall audience, the type of content you are creating, etc. An experienced agency should be able to discuss reasonable expectations prior to signing with them so you can get a better idea of what to expect each month!
14. What is your takeaway?
Most agencies will be upfront about their take-home from the get-go. If it hasn't come up in conversation, don't forget to ask this important question before wrapping up your call! 20% is the standard fee that most management agencies will take.
15. How do you pay out and how often?
Will your agency pay you or will you be paying your agency? Every agency works different so understanding their structure is a key detail you won't want to miss. My management agency is paid directly by the brand, and then it's my responsibility to invoice my agency every pay run with the total project cost minus their fees. My managers lay everything out for me, so it's as simple as inputting numbers into an invoice every week, and sending it off. IF your agency is paying you, it's important to know how often and via what means (direct deposit, PayPal) so you can manage your expectations about how often you'll have money coming in.
If you're ready to sign with a management team, I hope these questions to ask your prospective influencer management agency come in handy! And if you're not quite there yet, bookmark this post! Promise, it'll come in handy 😉.