If you are in small business (and even a medium-sized business or organisation) and are seeking more growth in your business and are not up to date with all the strategies that work to produce growth in 2020, we have put this audio recording (and below text) together for you.
There are so many freelancers, boutique agencies, social media managers, and larger agencies peddling their ‘digital marketing’ wares at the moment. It can be hard to determine who to trust. Some are just trying to sell you on a strategy they know of, hoping for a quick sale. Some deliver some level of results, some don’t even do that. Others though are the real deal and can get great results for you!
We know that digital marketing (when done correctly) drives the growth needle forward in small businesses (and businesses and organisations of any size). It works because your market is spending oodles of their time online… including their smart phones. We just need to use effective digital marketing techniques to gain and pique their interest, get their attention, tap into their buyer impulses (and needs or desires), encourage them to buy from you… AND have your business websites, services and products findable when they search Google or Bing. It’s simple in theory but requires marketing proficiency, conceptualisation skills, technical skills, writing skills, story-telling ability and creativity to make it happen.
We each have over 15 years of experience in digital marketing. We know what works and what combination of strategies will get growth for your business.
When thinking about digital marketing, do you ask yourself questions like:
- Should I focus on Google or Facebook?
- Should I be using Google Adwords or SEO?
- Should I hire an in-house team or outsource the work to an agency?
- How good does my website need to be?
- Who can I trust?
- How much should I be looking at investing to get results?
- Will this actually help grow my business effectively?
The answer to the last question is, “Yes it will, but only if it is done by experts who can confidently get you results, who follow through on what they say they will do (aka: keep their word), are honest and transparent.”
Digital Agencies operate in very different ways. Some use tactics that are borderline unethical, while others operate extremely ethically and make sure they get great results for ALL their clients.
We have put together a series of questions to help you determine the right digital marketing agency for you.
1. Does the team who are (or have) created your website, actually know how to make it generate and drive sales for your business?
A website without a sales growth strategy is like owning a car that never gets fuel put into it. It looks good, but barely anyone ever sees it, nor does it function the way it should. A website can be a MASSIVE sales asset for your business, BUT it needs ‘fuel’. The ‘fuel’ in this case includes the traffic driving strategies and conversion strategies (which are a part of digital marketing) that make it generate great volumes of leads, enquires and sales for your business month in, month out. This is what we call a ‘performer website’.
During its life-time a performer website SHOULD yield at least 50x to 100x (or more) in Return On Investment (ROI) compared to what it cost during the first 18 months, from the time it was first launched.
We recommend asking the website agency you have approached to create your new website (or the agency who is currently looking after your existing site) if they have the traffic driving strategies, conversion rate strategies and digital marketing skills to help get the level of sales growth you want. Ask them to demonstrate some of the methods they use. Consider also contacting some of their other clients to find out what they say about them.
2. What is the Agency’s experience in business and experience in Digital Marketing?
How long has the agency been operating? What levels of success have they achieved for other clients? You will find that some agencies cannot give out information about other clients, however a trustworthy agency who is proven at delivering results will calmly let you know this… AND they will take the time to get to know your situation and show you that they want to prove their worth to you.
One way you can ask them to show you their worth and level of experience is to ask them if they will do ‘just some’ digital marketing activities for you, during an agreed upon trial period. If they agree to this, during this trial period you will get to see how they treat you and how they operate. A typical trial period is 3 months.
If they prove themselves to you during the trial period, you’ll have much more confidence in their experience and abilities moving forward with a ‘full holistic digital marketing growth plan’ and implementation plan.
3. Has the website or digital marketing agency you work with (or are looking to work with) taken the time to understand your situation?
It is very important that the website or marketing agency you work with (or plan to) have taken the time to understand your business and your industry,… HOWEVER, they also need to properly understand your customers and the market itself.
Make sure they have also taken the time to understand your situation; your business goals and any challenges your business is currently facing.
4. Australian Based Agency!
You may or may not be surprised about the number of agencies that send work off-shore… without you knowing. Some do this to offer considerably cheaper quotes to you. Note that in this article I do not suggest basing your decision on whom you work with, based on price. Cheap prices mean short-cuts and things done wrong. They can damage your business, your website and will leads to wasted money and having to start over. If the website traffic-driving strategies are incorrectly done, this too can mean trying to dig your way out of a penalty with Google (and that can be expensive). Here are some tips on how to avoid a penalty.
The old saying applies, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”. Another old saying comes to mind too, “Poor man pays twice”. Be very cautious if a website or digital marketing agency provides you with a quote that is well below the other half dozen quotes you have gotten from other agencies.
Note that I talk about ‘agencies’ and not ‘freelancers’. This is because freelancers are often highly inexperienced in business, quoting and getting the actual work done,… let alone delivering growth results. Be extremely careful when comparing quotes from freelancers to those of quality agencies. In all things, you get what you pay for.
Don’t get me wrong though, there are some great freelancers out there. I even still do some freelance work from time to time.
Just be very cautious of cheap pricing. They might be very inexperienced and/or they may be off-shoring the work which can lead to a HEAP of problems for your business.
To get results for your business, the actual people doing the marketing work need to understand the culture and the markets you work for. We recommend always working with an Australian team who have Australians doing the work.
5. Does the Agency specialise in all areas of marketing, digital marketing and digital advertising or just one?
This is a REALLY important question to find out.
Digital Marketing requires a holistic approach. No one activity will drive the needle forward… it is a combination of strategies and techniques. It’s also about focusing on where your ideal market is spending their time online (and off-line). This differs greatly too when considering different industries and markets.
For example: If the agency you work with only has skills in Facebook marketing, they are ONLY going to recommend Facebook strategies to you…because that is all they know. They are going to try and ‘sell’ you based on their very limited knowledge and experience, rather than properly advise on a holistic approach.
Watch out for agencies that only push one or a few platforms and strategy types. They are putting WAY too many eggs in one basket…. and if you use that approach ongoing, you will be losing a LOT of other opportunities that are out there for your business. Just like in traditional marketing, a digital marketing plan is holistic and diversified.
A diversified holistic digital marketing plan (which does also include some traditional marketing) does NOT just focus on one or two online channels or platforms. LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Google, Facebook Messenger, Facebook Marketplace, Pinterest and Twitter are just some.
A digital marketing agency who can get you best results focuses on where your potential customers spend their time. They are interested in properly advising you on the most effective strategies for your unique business, not trying to sell you a singular product or ‘off the shelf marketing package’.
Side note: If a digital marketing agency is talking about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) with you, we recommend listening to their advice. SEO combined with a few other strategies (namely digital advertising and lead generation) can be a great way to kick off your digital marketing if you are on a very limited budget to begin with. Once these activities start yielding results, you can then start looking at investing further into a more fully holistic digital marketing growth plan.
6. Does the digital marketing agency just have digital marketing skills or are they also skilled in areas including sales, marketing, systems, processes and procedures?
There is a lot more to being a digital marketing expert (or agency) than just digital marketing. A good digital marketing agency also has the ability to assist with increasing and maximizing your sales conversions. THAT is the whole point of the activity after all!
We recommend that you make sure the digital marketing agency you select understands sales pipe-lines, buyer behavior, the customer value journey, inbound marketing and the importance of systemising workflows and efficiency.
7. Should you Outsource to an Australian Digital Marketing Agency or hire your own in-house team?
This really comes down to your budget. You need to be aware of what it will cost you if you choose to hire an in-house team. Remember too that digital marketing is best done by a team, not one person. Each person in the team has expert skills in certain areas. This ensures you get the best results. You also get access to more than one mind/ ‘brain’.
If you are looking at hiring your own in-house team, you will need to not only factor in their salaries and perks/ incentives you will need to give them so they stay with your business (if they are good their skills are in huge demand), but also their ongoing training.
Digital marketing is a VERY fast-paced industry. Tactics and strategies that may have worked well 12 months ago, may not work well now. New technologies within platforms are also released often. Algorithms change. MANY things change rapidly! If you do not invest in paid courses for your team and other forms of formal training and upskilling, you will find their skills will be somewhat redundant within 18 months. If you are not prepared to pay for their coursing and give them the time to do it every 3 to 6 months…. and instead, expect them to upskill in their own time (outside of working an 8 to 10 hr day for you each day), good luck with that.
Another option is you could hire a marketing manager who has excellent digital marketing ‘full stack‘ skills. They are typically not experts in every area, but still very talented. They can also coordinate and effectively work with a 3rd party digital marketing agency easily. This can be a really good option in many circumstances.
If you are a very small business though and don’t have the capacity at this time to hire both a marketing manager and a digital marketing agency, we recommend finding a REALLY good 3rd party boutique-sized digital marketing agency. Find out though if you are going to be palmed off to a junior team member of the agency or if you are going to get to work directly with a senior consultant. THIS in itself will make a BIG difference and can sometimes mean the difference between success and failure.
There are a LOT of businesses who have aligned with digital marketing agencies over the last 20 years. Those who have done their due diligence well and have selected excellent digital marketing agencies are doing very well,… even during these difficult times due to COVID-19. They are surviving and thriving and staying ahead of the pack! They are listening to what their markets are wanting and needing,… and pivoting accordingly! They are also working collaboratively with their digital marketing agency to discover even more new opportunities. They remain visible, attractive and accessible (and top of mind) to the markets they serve.