Marketing is the process of getting your products and services in front of your target market through the understanding of customer needs, creating value and completing strategic activities.
Traditional avenues for advertising such as radio, TV and print have made way for digital channels. Its no longer possible just to take out an ad in a local paper, get in front of your target audience and get enough customers for your business to thrive. The process in today’s market is more complicated as consumers are bombarded with marketing material day in and day out via multiple channels.
One of the biggest complaints we hear from business owners in Australia is that they don’t have enough brand awareness, leads and customers. Many of them have never tried digital marketing before, others have with not much success. So this brings up the question of how do I pick the best digital marketing and SEO agency for my needs and how do I avoid getting bad services. Let’s take you through some of the things you should think about.
The digital marketing world moves at such a fast pace that to keep up with the changes it really needs to be your sole focus day to day. This makes it really difficult for time poor entrepreneurs to successfully tackle this aspect of their business so they are missing out on new customers and more revenue with each passing day. This is where having an experienced digital marketing agency on your side can really help you grow your business.
When you invest in marketing experts who will handle the more complex aspects of your digital marketing strategy it frees up time for you as an entrepreneur. Then you can focus on the other areas of running your business where you do excel instead of trying to study digital marketing around your already busy work day in the hopes that you can acquire enough knowledge one day to tackle the activities successfully.
Digital marketing experts have often worked for many years, accumulated a wealth of knowledge including what does and does not work. This means you save time and can achieve your business goals much faster.
What do digital marketing agencies do?
Digital marketing agencies help businesses increase their revenue through targeting ideal customers using varying marketing tactics across multiple platforms. Every online marketing agency provides a different combination of services. Some will specialise in one aspect only such as pay per click advertising for example. While others will be able to provide you everything you need in one place such as social media marketing, SEO and content marketing.
Agencies who can provide everything under the one roof are able to work towards your goals with a holistic approach. Focusing on complete customer acquisition strategies rather than success in only one area for your business. It’s never a good idea to have all of your eggs in one basket.
This is Google’s own advertising platform where businesses can display their ads on Google and it’s advertising network. With Google Ads you can target users who are looking to learn more about or purchase your products and services. As a paid digital advertising platform you are able to see your return on investment quite clearly within the data, which would be a lot more difficult to do if you were using traditional streams like TV radio or print.
Search Engine Optimisation
Search engine optimisation (SEO) also targets users who are searching for your products and services but focuses on achieving organic visibility for your brand. This is an amazing long term strategy which can bring you a lot of ready to buy customers in the foreseeable future. SEO has been around for a long time, is constantly evolving at a rapid pace and is the kind of industry where the quality of work widely varies. This is one of the occasions in your business life where it is not a time to be penny-pinching! You need to be identifying the agencies that provide valuable services and help you reach your goals. A lot of the cheaper SEO alternatives are just not going to provide the level of services that will help you generate revenue and can cause detrimental problems to your website and business.
This Pay Per Click Advertising platform is quite hot at the moment in the digital marketing world. Facebook is used by over 2 billion monthly active users and is comprised of people across varying industries, interests, behaviours and locations. Facebook is amazing because it lets you highly target your ideal user which means your advertising is very strategic and helps drive the ROI.
The concept of content marketing seems quite simple in theory. Create content that your target audience might like to see, then upload it to your website and you’re good to go! Unfortunately great content marketing is a lot more complex than that. This process involves the creation of copy which incorporates targeted subject matter and promotion tactics. After all you want to make sure people will see the content. That’s where you’ll need your SEO and digital marketing experts to come in and really lead your strategy.
Email marketing is still one of the top performing revenue generators for most businesses in comparison to other channels such as TV radio and affiliate marketing. To get the most out of an email marketing campaign you should have a strategy that involves the execution of best practice techniques, review of efficacy and adjustment of tactics to further optimise return on investment. 78% of consumers have unsubscribed from a company’s list (Hubspot, 2016) as too many emails were being sent. You don’t want to be wasting those potential leads and sales because of poor execution.
Digital agencies may offer services such as conversion optimisation techniques to boost your sign ups, creation of lead magnets, implementation of marketing automation systems and they may even assist with creating highly engaging and high converting email blasts!
Know which questions to ask
Sometimes it can be difficult to know which questions to ask when something is unfamiliar to you. We have put together some key questions to ask yourself and the agency you are in discussions with.
Did the agency discuss your business with you and identify the best approach and strategy for services?
Digital marketing is not a one-size-fits-all activity. A lot of digital marketing agencies won’t actually get involved in the business discussions to understand what your pain points are and only then offer a tailored solution. If you are being offered a standard package that is inclusive of the same tasks that are offered to all of their prospective clients then the chances of you getting a great return on investment for your marketing spend are going to be significantly lower. This is because the strategy and activities being offered are based on what suits the agency not what suits you.
How is their business travelling?
A lot of digital marketing and SEO agencies will claim the best way to identify if an agency knows what they’re doing is to see if they’re ranking for key terms but that is not always the case. Many great digital marketing agencies get the bulk of their clients through customer referrals and are often so busy servicing the influx of clients they receive that they don’t have time to dedicate to their own SEO. As mentioned, each business is different, its not one size fits all and the area you are reviewing for your own interests may not be a focus for this particular agency. For example you may judge an agency based on how many Facebook fans they have because you want to build your Facebook audience up through a campaign but I would argue that you need to look at the work they do on their clients. That’s the ticket to the truth.
What KPI’s will they focus on?
If you’re talking to a digital marketing agency and the discussion is solely around ranking you for some specific keywords and other vanity metrics like getting likes on your Facebook posts or something like that you may not be getting the best value for money. Any good SEO knows there is way more to a campaign than just ranking for a specific keyword! Keyword rankings don’t always equal traffic and they certainly don’t always translate into dollars.
What are their reviews like?
Checking what people have to say about the agency you’re looking at is important. There will never be 100% positive reviews for any business. People are more likely to leave reviews over negative experiences than positive so really look into what people are saying. Is there a consistent pattern? Is there a lack of communication? Lack of quality work being done? These are the kinds of alarm bells that you want to pay attention to.
How will they develop your link profile?
Acquiring high quality backlinks is a time consuming process even for the experts. Many lower quality agencies and freelancers use tactics that can impress in the short term, such as buying links or using private blog networks but what happens when the google algorithm catches up to you? Can this agency help you recover from the penalty your site gets? How will your business function with no visibility to customers? If you hear anything from the agency implying they can get you a set number of links or a large number of links very quickly you should probably run for the hills. These tactics are not what you want. You need to look for an agency that is dedicated to doing the hard work, building relationships with real webmasters and journalists to earn you high quality backlinks that will serve you well into the future.
How much does the online marketing agency charge?
When it comes to your online marketing it is not a time to Penny pinch a good SEO who is worth any time at all will be charging you anywhere from $125 up to $250 an hour and that may seem like a fair chunk of change to many business owners but the value that you get from an expert who can command that kind of money is endless. You’re paying for the expertise that comes from countless hours of ongoing daily study, mistakes made over the years and experience gained which means that you’re going to be able to achieve your goals faster because these kinds of experts know tend to know what they’re doing. There are people out there who will claim to be able to offer the same kind of value for $100 dollars a month. This can sound really tempting for cash strapped entrepreneurs but think of the opportunity cost here. How many customers and how much revenue can you afford to lose before your business is no longer viable? Can you afford to have your site drop off of the search engines? Don’t risk it with cheap and nasty SEO.
Are they qualified to provide you services?
Unfortunately, there is no law against opening an agency even if you lack the skills to provide the services that will create great value for clients. As a consumer you should be diligent in your selection process and ask key questions such as how long they have been in the industry, what their experience is, if they have any formal qualifications in any relevant areas and the like. Now, there are many amazing online marketers out there who had no formal degrees or training but likely earned valuable experience through their working history. So don’t discount them just based on a lack of degree, but if the marketer was selling ice cream or mortgages last week and SEO or online marketing this week then that might not be the best option for you, regardless of the price.
There are some red flags that will give away which digital marketing agencies aren’t worth your time but on occasion these will be harder to see and you will need to dig deeper. Take your time to look at what you really need and what is on offer. As with all other areas in life you tend to get what you pay for so really look beyond the price and look into the value to you and your business. The right digital marketing agency can help you take your revenue to the next level, handle everything for you so you can focus on other areas of your business and give you peace of mind that the best tactics are being implemented.
If you would like to invest in the online marketing tactics that can help you grow your business then get in touch with our digital marketing agency to discuss your needs.