As a small business, one of the first things you need to do to stabilize your business is to get your lead generation system sound. Hiring an online advertising agency may be a very good step in the right direction if you know marketing isn’t your thing, but it could also be a disaster if you’re sorting thru online advertising agencies without a clear idea of what you’re looking for.
If you’ve been in business for awhile, you know working with vendors who can’t help you obtain your business goals is a waste of time–online marketing agencies are no different.
Maybe you want to expand your business, get a physical location or add another, give pay raises, or serve a wider audience with your solution. Whatever your ultimate goals for your business may be, getting the right marketing plan in place and the right people to help you execute it is going to be a huge step closer.
Unfortunately, if you’re currently feeling pressure because you want growth, but you’re seemingly stagnant because your marketing strategy isn’t working sufficiently for growth, you could spend more time with few leads, low sales, unimpressive reputation, and mediocre aesthetics if you choose the wrong online marketing agency.
1. Have Clear Goals
One thing all entrepreneurs learn is to be clear on is their business goals. If you send an employee to get “as many materials as you think we need”, they are likely to come back with the wrong amount. Similarly, if you hire an online marketing agency and you simply want “more leads” or “more sales”, it’s likely, you’ll both have different metrics for success.
Adding to your traffic may be a sufficient milestone for the marketing agency, while you may not be satisfied because you’re looking for added sales. You want clear goals, and you want clear expectations also.
While online marketing agencies perform pertinent tasks for businesses, they aren’t magicians so there are steps and constraints for them to help you achieve your goals. They work within financial confines, brand specifications, and constantly changing technology. They’ll need to stay trained, be very good with project management, and communicate well so you’re clear about the status of their efforts in conjunction with your goals.
2. Make Sure the Agency is able to Measure ROI
Let’s say you hire someone to clean your facility and your cleaning supplies continue to come up missing. You’d say the cleaning employee is either stealing or wasting, right?
Similarly, with online marketing agencies, if they’re not clear on their math, you’d notice your money would seemingly go down the drain. It would be a disaster to work with an online marketing agency who’s not careful to make sure your marketing budget is going towards your goals down to the penny.
Of course, there’s a point of statistical relevance. You can’t analyze data before there are sufficient results. Some marketers say 1000 clicks in a campaign or two weeks of time before data is statistically relevant, but once there are sufficient data, they should know:
- How much it’s costing to get each lead from each traffic source?
- What traffic sources are getting you the highest conversions for the lowest cost?
- Which landing pages are performing best?
3. Recognize the Importance of a Marketing Budget and Scaling it for Growth
Many businesses never grow because they underestimate the importance of marketing, but even a small marketing budget can be very limiting to a business. It’s important to understand that the budget presents constraints: the smaller, the more constraints.
Rather than adding money into payroll or materials acquisition whenever there’s profit, you should consider adding more into marketing and lead generation.
Especially with many startup entrepreneurs, they struggle to reinvest the profits to grow the business. They may hit a milestone like “holy grail” income goal many small business entrepreneurs are shooting for, then rather than reinvesting, they’re buying themselves a new car, new house, or some other luxury.
Reinvesting in marketing ensures you keep a steady influx of brand awareness and potential customers.
4. Realize This is a Long-Term Relationship so Ensure all the Necessities are There
It’s some transitions you make that it’s better to stay for the long haul than to jump around. When you jump around, it seems to set you back because your results are variable.
For example, if you jump around from physician to physician to treat an ailment. Each physician has to research your medical history and question what did and didn’t work.
Online Advertising Agencies are like business marketing physicians. They identify a treatment solution for your online advertising needs and implement that.
With time, you should see growing results. A few things you want to be present within the online advertising agency you choose are:
- People you want to work with regularly
- Good attitudes
- A willingness to teach you
- A strategic partnership mentality where they’re not simply concerned about performing the contract tasks, but they’re concerned about fulfilling your ultimate mission, vision, and purpose in your business.
5. Do They Outsource or Perform In-House?
Like with every industry, there’s opportunists and professionals. With online advertising agencies, some of them are performing their own work, so they’re able to give you clear explanations of what’s going on, implement things quickly, and communicate effectively.
Unfortunately, there’s also opportunists and others who outsource essential components of the work. They may even white label your entire contract from another company! As a result, they may not be able to make the best decisions for your business, they may not make the necessary adjustments when needed, or communication could be unclear.
6. What are Their Specialties and Limitations?
Everyone has limits. Limits are a problem, but discovering limits are components that are important to you is a problem.
With online advertising agencies, you want to know the areas they have the most confidence and experience, and you want that to be compatible with what you’d like to implement in your business. You want to know what areas of online advertising they may not have much success with, and you don’t want the areas where they’re limited to be your primary focus because that could be problematic.
7. How Do They Measure Success?
If you got 1 million shares on one article, would you consider that a success? If you got 10,000 additional website visitors, would you consider that a success? Or, do you simply care about ROI?
Some online advertising agencies will boast about metrics that may not translate into key performance indicators you may be concerned about. If you want sales, be sure that the online advertising agency you choose is clear on those goals.
Some entrepreneurs want brand awareness, so they’ll pay for metrics that don’t directly correlate to sales. You’ll have to be clear about what’s most important to you.
8. How Often do They Report to You and What’s Included?
Typically, online advertising agencies will send you a report to keep you informed of how your advertising is going. You want to know how often to expect the report, what metrics you’ll be informed about, and who to report to if you have questions.
It could include a variety of metrics, but you want data that tells you things you may need to do to improve the results. For example, if they’re not involved in your web design or copywriting, they may need you to make updates to the landing page to improve conversions. You’d want your report to contain data like that.
A Quick Video Playlist
I know it can be challenging to pick the right agency for you. Here’s a playlist to help you:
Final Words on Online Advertising Agencies
The goal of this article was to show you some tips on how to choose online media agencies. It can be confusing to compile a working team to execute an internet marketing strategy. If you have questions or concerns about this, don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments section. I’d love to help you out!
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Now, it’s Your Turn…
Do you have experience working with online advertising agencies? What do you think are the most important factors for choosing online advertising agencies? Leave your comments, questions, and feedback below.