When you are looking for a marketing agency, you may feel apprehensive about handing over such an important part of your business to a third party. However, there are some things to look for when choosing an agency that should ease your concerns.
Here are five simple things that you should expect an agency to be using to give you the best service and earn your trust in those vital early stages.
HootSuite is a well-known tool for social media management. It allows your agency to schedule updates for social media pages across multiple channels, to monitor their reach and engagement and ensure your social media activity runs smoothly. As a client, you can become a “super admin” on HootSuite, which means all updates go through you before publishing.
HootSuite Pro includes a range of reporting tools and can be integrated with Google Analytics, so definitely look for an agency that takes this approach to get the most out of social media.
As a small firm, you’ll be looking for an agency that reports a full picture of your return on investment. You don’t want to be investing in marketing services that are not cost effective — so your agency should be advising you on where to shift your budget.
For a full ROI picture, your agency should be offering call tracking. It’s an affordable option for businesses of any size. By placing trackable phone numbers across your different marketing campaigns, you’re able to track enquiries and conversions that result from online and offline media, and analyse them alongside clicks — giving a truer picture of your marketing success.
The marketing world is full of data, most of which you probably don’t need to know. Your agency should understand that not everyone is an analytics expert, so they need to deliver results in a clear and digestible way.
Ask about Google Analytics dashboards. These are fully customisable reports, so they don’t swamp you with unnecessary data. They display only the information that is relevant to your goals, whether that’s clicks, time on site, conversions or simply profit.
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software should be at the heart of every project. We use Basecamp, which gives transparency to a project every step of the way. It allows the agency to lay out the process beforehand, set up tasks and assign them to team members, establish milestones and keep a paper trail of communication with you.
If you have an audience, turn that into a readership. Every marketing agency should offer an email strategy for sending out regular newsletters with links back to your content. They say that great content shares itself, but go with an agency that gives it that extra push.
MailChimp makes it easy to import your existing contacts to a mailing list and push your content to the right people. It’s capable of split testing designs, and sending follow up emails to those that engage. The reports give clear insights into how the campaigns are performing and help you keep track of conversations, so you don’t miss out on capturing customers.
Every agency should be using these industry-standard tools to build a long and profitable agency-client relationship.
I love the fresh-scrubbed feel of a new year. It’s a great time to set goals and it inspires me to charge ahead.
I do more looking forward this time of year than looking back, but it is important to pause and take stock of where I’ve been. It helps me avoid making the same mistakes twice, and reminds me of things we did that worked well, so that we can try to repeat them.
To that end, here are my top four marketing must-dos in 2014:
With clearly defined goals, you have something to aim for and a way to measure your progress (or lack thereof). Throughout the year, I can easily analyse the numbers and see whether I’m on track; if I’m not, I know I need to address any problems.
Goals include how many followers or connections you’ll gain on your social media networks, and how many new subscribers you’ll sign up for newsletters. Sales may be a number you take into account, but remember — sales are the result of a comprehensive strategy of which marketing is just one component.
Building a database with email addresses and relevant information about former, current and prospective clients is absolutely essential. It allows you to communicate with them, reminding past customers of all you have to offer; strengthening the confidence of current customers; and encouraging prospective customers to move toward a sale.
If you’re just getting started, create a database of all the people you know who might be interested in hearing from you including friends, family and all your business contacts. Your communications should not be sales pitches; they should offer valuable, helpful and relevant information.
Grow your database by including a “call to action” on your website — an invitation for visitors to share their contact information in exchange for something that benefits them. That could include free reports, how-to videos or subscriptions to your blog posts.
The first thing some people do when income declines is minimise expenses by whacking their marketing budget. Huge mistake! In fact, you need to pay more attention to marketing when sales drop off.
The new prospects you develop today, and the prospects you’ve been establishing relationships with, will be your paying customers tomorrow. If you allow that stream to dry up, you’ll be in even more dire straits a few months from now.
Today we have more tools than ever for communicating the value of our service or product. Many of them cost you nothing. Today I can jump on Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and the other social media networks and reach a potentially far larger audience for free.
Speaking engagements may be old school, but they’re still effective; personal, face-to-face experiences create lasting impressions. Traditional media — radio, newspapers and magazines, and TV — are also still powerful and carry the additional benefit of giving you credibility. That implied endorsement from journalists can set you apart.
Creating a great website accessible to millions of potential shoppers doesn’t have to break the bank, and you can ramp up its value by using it to showcase your publicity.
Use everything at your disposal to share your message.