Seventy percent of companies surveyed around the globe say their biggest marketing issue is converting prospects and leads to customers while 63% say it’s generating traffic and leads, according to HubSpot’s State of Inbound 2017. Many of those companies, determined to do better, have started to focus on “improving their SEO presence, creating more blog content that can be found via search, and distributing and amplifying their content.”
But how do you go about all this? Likely, you’re so busy building your business that you only have time to give a passing nod to the concept of marketing. And, even if you do have a marketing person or team, can they do it all?
Is it time to think about working with a digital marketing agency?
What Is a Digital Marketing Agency?
A digital marketing agency uses the internet to promote your brand, product, and services as opposed to newspapers or magazine or television to do the same thing. But how it does so varies.
Types of Digital Marketing Agencies and What They Do
There are several types of digital marketing agencies, and each type serves a particular need.
Benefits of Working with a Digital Marketing Agency
When you partner with a digital marketing agency, you expand the range of marketing skills sets at your disposal. Perhaps your marketing team is really great with social media and generates a fair amount of leads, but maybe it falters when it comes to email nurturing campaigns to turn those leads into customers. Or, the team could be amazing when it comes to writing blogs and creating great content but isn’t as savvy as needed to measure the ROI of those efforts.
A good digital marketing agency fills in those gaps for you, either working with your current marketing team or supplementing what it does, and even powerhouses like Accenture recognize the need to fill the skills gap. But an agency also offers other benefits. You can gain:
- Insight into your business from an outside perspective
- Time for you to focus on building your business rather than lead generation
- Marketing coverage when your team (or person) goes on vacation
- Better understanding of what works so that you only spend on “what drives actual purchase behavior, not just what ads get the most views”
- Improved authority and credibility by being positioned as a thought leader
- Help when you need it. You can ramp up and down as you need because a digital marketing agency is not a full-time expense
What Should You Expect When Working with a Digital Marketing Agency?
Many digital marketing agencies take a cookie-cutter approach. They’ve found a marketing strategy that works for them and assume it will work for all other companies — regardless of what business they’re in.
Cookie cutters are great to make uniform holiday treats, but not so much so when you want to be unique, stand out, and get noticed.
Thus, there are certain things you should be on the lookout for when you start interviewing agencies.
Things to Look for in a Digital Marketing Agency
Not every digital marketing agency will be right for your business, your needs. To find the right one for you, Smart Insights suggests you:
- Talk to more than one agency
- Interview the agency as if it were going to be a staff hire
- Ask questions
- Discover how it tracks and reports on campaigns and projects
- Check references
- Meet the team you’ll work with
Those are excellent suggestions, but I’d like to offer a few more to ensure the match is the absolute best for you.
For one thing, you should check out how it markets itself. What’s its website like? How frequently does it post to social media? Are the blogs updated? If you like what you see, add that digital marketing agency to your list. It may be worth talking with them after you consider a few more things, such as, whenever possible, the agency should:
- Have experience in your niche
- Provide you with samples of the types of reports they provide to make sure those make sense to you
- Explain why and how they measure what they do
- Give you the names of clients you can call on your own
After all, as John Bertino of the Forbes Coaches Council aptly notes:
“A creative marketing agency with your best interests at heart can make a huge difference to your bottom line. A bad one can cost you a ton of money, and may even cost you your business.”
Questions to Ask to Find the Right Digital Marketing Agency
It’s one thing to tell you to ask questions to find the digital marketing agency right for you. But, if you’ve not worked with one before, how do you know what to ask?
Here’s a list that can serve as a guide, because the answers you get to the questions help clarify whether the agency has the experience you need and how things will get done, specifically.
Digital marketing agencies engage in several pricing models, the most common of which are explained below:
Top Digital Marketing Agencies
Most top digital marketing agencies — whether boutique or massive giants — are full-service digital marketing agencies. Each will follow a specific process in creating your campaigns.
At Total Product Marketing we’ve found success in many campaigns by using a process we’ve developed and fine-tuned over the years.
This is where we get to know the client, its business, and its marketing goals so that we can develop a strategy that meets your company’s specific needs. This stage often includes:
- In-person meetings
- A lengthy introductory phone call that’s recorded so we can refer back to important points
- A discussion of your products or services, your target market, and your desired customer base
- An intensive review of your current marketing materials, including website, white papers, ads, etc.
- The gathering and analysis of any metrics you have
2. Strategy Development & Approval
Depending on whether the project is a simple ad campaign or a more complex inbound marketing project, this phase involves:
- Development of buyer personas
- Determination of content needed for various stages of the funnel
- Outline of estimated time frames
- Determination of KPIs to be measured
- Discussion of overall plan with client, amending as needed, gaining approval
3. Task Breakdown and Scheduling
Let’s say we have a six-month project whose goal is to increase website traffic and convert 5% more leads. The client and TPM have agreed that will involve:
- Writing 12 blogs
- Creating 2 white papers
- Developing 2 landing pages and promotional campaigns for the white papers
- A 3-stage email nurturing campaign based on blog readership
- A pay-per-click campaign for one of the white papers
The first step will be to break down the number of individual pieces of content this will produce, followed by scheduling them on a calendar to ensure timely delivery.
4. Steps Involved in the Completion of Each Individual Piece of Content
We don’t just tell a staff member to write a blog about x. There’s a detailed process we use to ensure that value-add to marketing and quality are always assured. Here’s the process we go through for each piece we create, whether it’s a Facebook ad, a blog, video, or an eBook. Varying members of our team are involved, depending on the step in the process.
Before the writing begins:
- Choose preliminary topic of piece
- Conduct keyword research based on that topic and related themes
Once the writing begins:
- Create takeaways, a basic outline of the most important components of the piece
- If it’s to be a landing page, the takeaway includes using Amy Harrison’s tables for landing page copy planning
- Internal approval of the takeaways or send back with comments for revision
- Writing of the copy
- Internal approval (or revisions needed) of that copy, with attention to its educational value and link quality
- Quality editing, where the approved copy is edited, fact checked, and proofread
Client approval process:
- Send copy to client for approval
- Changes made as needed
- Add design elements to the piece
- Proofed internally
- Send designed piece to client for approval
- Create tracking mechanisms for piece
- Go live
- Watch metrics
- Tweak as needed
- Create reports
- Report to client
- Continue or readjust as needed
The tools we use for all our work include:
- HubSpot for Marketing Automation
- Trello for project management
- Slack for collaboration
- Grow for business intelligence and reporting
- WordPress for CMS web design
If you’re on a budget or would like to explore some of the free tools we recommend for content marketing for yourself, check out our post 6 Free Tools to Create Managed Services Marketing Materials.
How We Know What We’re Doing
Because there are so many steps in the creation of each piece of content, we use Trello. A card is created for the content piece. It includes the title of the piece and the due dates of each step it needs to move through to completion. As a task is completed, the resulting effort is added to the card, and it moves to the next step in the process.
We have a dedicated traffic director who ensures that things move smoothly across the board. Cards move across the board from left to right as the individual requirements in the project is completed. Each step within the creation of the content is assigned an individual column on the Trello board, providing a quick visual reference of the progress of all projects currently being worked on.
What We Can Do for You
We know campaigns are important to any digital marketing strategy. However, we truly believe in the importance of continuity over campaigns-only to building long-term brand value. We can help your business have everything working together with the marketing campaigns emanating from that long-term strategy.
When you’re ready to work with a digital marketing agency that measures its success on your success, give us a call at 855-646-8662 or contact us today.