It’s 2016 and Your Marketing is Still…Well, Still.
So when are you going to put it on the move?
You have just encountered someone who understands your pain and frustration. I get it, as a small business owner myself who’s connected with many other entrepreneurs and business owners, I know what you’re going through.
Who better than someone who understands through personal experience to get you through this stagnancy?
More likely than not, you’ve probably been burned.
As a highly successful marketer, even I have been burned brining in “so-called experts” to handle a new traffic channel launch or to implement a technology that I didn’t have time to learn.
But just like you, I wanted results.
And probably just like you, I got burned. After spending a ton of money, time and energy we just were not getting the results.
Now, the excuses I often hear are:
“We are still optimizing.”
“No one is buying right now, it’s not just you.”
“When we run this campaign for large brands we get a ton of customers immediately, you’re just not well known.”
“Your page is just not converting.”
All things that I know to be complete and utter bull, because the traffic I am running IS converting and we ARE making sales and how do you think we are able to pay you if it’s not working?
If you’re reading this you’re a business owner who’s probably had a similar experience.
Granted you have reached a certain level with your know how and expertise. But maybe you’re at a plateau that you would like to shake. So you go on the same journey I have, looking for someone who can give you results.
Chances are, if you’re like a lot of the business owners (many of whom are close friends that I have known for many years) you have been burned, not once but many times.
Even though I am the author of the book on digital marketing, have been selling products and services online for 11 years and spent over a million dollars on Facebook alone last year advertising with a ROI of 940%, I have been burned too.
I don’t take it personally; I use it as a learning experience.
Here is how NEVER to get burned again…use the 8 question cheat sheet.
8 Questions You Have To Ask Before You Hire Any Digital Marketing Agency or Consultant…To Ensure You Get Results.
1. ARE YOU MEANT FOR US?
This is the first and most important question to ask. You need to know what your budgets are, how much of the work your team can do and specifically what work you want them to do. What are minimum budgets for successful ad campaign and what is the MINIMUM VIABLE FUNNEL needed to see returns.
If you just started you don’t need a behemoth conversion funnel…you want to start simply and quickly so you can start seeing results sooner than later.
2. WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR BEST MOVES?
As a business owner this is an imperative question to ask. You and the agency you choose need to be clear on exactly where you are and where you want the business to go. Know your sales numbers, know your current cost to acquire a customer and know the lifetime value of the customer. You should always have these numbers. If you don’t it’s a great exercise to see exactly where you are so that you can determine where you want to go.
Once you have these numbers, work with the agency or consultant to determine how they can add new marketing channels and funnels to your business and even optimize what you’re currently doing to achieve your goals within the next 12 months.
Determine the exact strategy they will use to get you there. Any good agency or consultant will also recommend ways to add new products, upsells, down sells and cross sells, depending on your business.
If you feel the strategy and implementation exercises they put you through are not thorough then chances are the final strategy they put together for you won’t be thorough either.
If all they recommend is clicks to your website then run far, far away.
3. WHO IS YOUR TARGET CLIENT?
If the prospective agency or consultant doesn’t dive deeply into your target client or prospect and at least capture 20 to 30 data points on your ideal customer then they’re no good. Plain and simple; Just say NEXT!
4. KPI AND REPORTING=SUCCESSFUL RELATIONSHIP
A solid agency will provide you with intuitive reports that should include all the key performance indicators that you agreed upon during initial strategy and planning sessions.
The reports may contain a ton of information, BUT they should have some top line numbers where you can gauge campaign health immediately. Other important numbers are metrics from your conversion funnels.
A stat you should also request is “Percent of Target Achieved” for the month/quarter/year.
This is a true measure of short-term and long-term objectives.
And the most important number of all is ROI.
5. COMMUNICATION IS KEY, ARE YOU TICKLISH?
DO NOT let the agency make it seem like you’re any of your inquiries are petty. Because when you are evaluating their effectiveness, one of the most important things is how collaboration and communication with the client will be executed.
Agencies that have set in proper platforms and processes to manage aspects such as, client communication, collaboration, reporting and billing, and project management remain focused on the main task at hand rather than flailing to manage client relationships and business operations.
6. WHAT ARE WE HAVING TODAY?
There should be two main courses… a good traffic source and a converting funnel. If these are the specialities of the agency you choose then consider yourself in good hands. A large agency will not work with most small businesses even though they handle most categories of digital marketing. If you do not have a lot of experience working with agencies then you should look at a consultant or agency that will find a good traffic source that taps into your target market and a simple funnel that will convert your traffic into customers with a solid ROI.
You want to stay away from any agency or consultant that specializes in just SEO. SEO is typically blackhat. Months of work and thousands of dollars spent over night can typically disappear with a single change in Google’s algorithm, so beware!
7. IT’S NOT YOU, IT’S ME
Wait, no, it’s you. If there is ever a question of ownership then you know that agency is not for you. You should ensure that you always own the content and have it hosted on your own servers. We have often seen web designers host everything on their own servers and if the relationship went sour they would hold the client’s website hostage.
Ensure your agreement states that you own the content.
8. TINY BUT WORTHY?
This is a common but necessary inquiry. You need to outsource because you’ve expanded enough to do so but you’re still dwarfed by some of the larger companies that agencies will typically work with. It is the agency’s job to assure you that your account will receive the attention and focus it deserves in a timely fashion. Sometimes being small means being able to get ahead quicker, and a good agency can recognize that.
OTHER THINGS…WHEN SHOULD YOU SAY “NEXT?”
How much time should elapse before you start to consider another option if results are not apparent?
The answer to this is actually not that simple unfortunately.
A process like digital marketing takes time.
Remember, “No matter how great the talent or efforts, some things just take time. You can’t produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant.” – Warren Buffett.
However, digital marketing growth is exponential with occasional spurts.
Sometimes an agency’s efforts might seem moot from months 1-12, for example. But suddenly, months 12-16 see excessive growth of, say, 600%. The first 12 months of work directly contributes to this growth so in this case, switching options at 10-12 months would’ve been an ineffective move.
The tough nut to crack is figuring out how paying your agency in a linear manner will benefit you in the long run by way of exponential growth (as your marketing will exhibit). Sometimes one must simply put faith in the option they’ve chosen.
IS GOODBYE IN THE STARS?
A number of variables are at play here. The age of your business, the nature of the digital marketing campaign, and the amount of time the consultant spends, all play a significant role. For example, a paid search or advertising campaign would generate results quicker than a content marketing or SEO campaign.
Be that as it may, all aspects of digital marketing end up growing gradually and then shooting up drastically. A good rule of thumb is that if you’re not seeing gradual improvement with your campaign within 6 months’ time, then it might be wise to investigate why.
However, sometimes even fantastic digital marketers may find themselves at a standstill with no results, simply because the client is unwilling or unable to implement advice and newer business models. But if the company has seen good results in the past then the client will know that the consultant’s strategies need revving. And communicating this is key.
If this is the case, be patient, but also be ready to make moves to greener pastures if the consultant isn’t generating desired results at all.