Email marketing is the oldest form of online marketing. It is the most direct and effective way of connecting with your leads, nurturing them and turning them into customers. Most digital marketers use email marketing to advertise special deals, highlight content or promote an event.Email marketing is one of the most popular and effective tools to help you boost sales online. In this article, we’ll share how email marketing can help your business grow and few tips to get you started.
What is email marketing?
Email marketing is a powerful digital marketing strategy used to promote products or services to prospects and customers. Effective email marketing can convert prospects into customers, and turn one-time buyers into loyal, raving fans. Using emails can also help your customers to become aware of your latest items or offers. Email marketing can play pivotal roles in lead generation, building relationships and also driving traffic to your blog, and social media.
How email started
Engineer Ray Tomlinson, the father of emails, in 1971 launched the world’s first email while in a windowless room in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The message was nothing special, a series of numbers and letters that looked more like a password than a message, but its significance was profound.The email was sent from one computer to another, travelling through a network of machines not unlike the internet we know today. Tomlinson also introduced the “@” symbol in email addresses to the world.In 1978, Gary Thuerk, a marketing manager for the now-defunct computer company Digital Equipment Corporation, sent out the first commercial and unsolicited mass e-mail promoting his firm’s computer products. Sent to hundreds of computers over ARPANET (a precursor to the Internet; see DARPA), Thuerk’s message immediately gave birth to email marketing. There were only a few hundred people on the list, but that was enough for Thuerk to claim the mantle, “Father of Spam.”Today, we’re inundated with email marketing campaigns, and spams, but there’s no denying the impact a well-crafted message can have on your customers.
Why is email marketing important?
You now know what email marketing is. Let’s talk about why email marketing is relevant for your business.Despite the rise of social media, and a hundred other forms of messaging, the traditional email format feels relatively old. However, it still remains one of the most powerful and effective way to nurture leads and boost customer loyalty. That’s why almost every social media platform requires you to have an email. The email list can yield dramatic rewards for business owners. According to Direct Marketing Association, email marketing on average sees a 4300 percent return on investment (ROI) for businesses in the US.
Importance of email marketing
1. Email is the #1 communication channel. You can go for a few days or weeks without checking social media like Facebook or Twitter, but most people use email every day, if not multiple times a day, so it’s safe to say that email marketing is good for business. At least 99% of consumers check their email daily. That can’t be said of any other communication channel.2. You own your list. On any social media platform, your account (along with all your fans and posts) could be suspended or deleted at any time, for any reason, without notice. However, you own your email list. No one can take those leads away from you.3. Email converts better. People who buy products marketed through email spend 138% more than those who do not receive email offers. In 2015, a study by the U.K.-based Direct Marketing Association (DMA) found that for every $1 spent, email has an average return on investment (ROI) of $38. That’s huge! The average order value of an email is at least three times higher than that of social media.4. Email marketing allows you to run A/B tests. With email marketing, you can run A/B tests of a subject line or call to action to identify the best performing message using email marketing software that can also be configured to easily send out emails.
How to get started with email marketing?
Email marketing is made up of several moving pieces, but that doesn’t mean it has to be complicated. Here’s how it breaks down:
Step 1: Establish your goals
But signing up to an email marketing tool and jumping to send your first email, it’s worth taking a minute to think about your goals and what you really want to achieve with email, as that will dictate the type of campaigns you send, who you target, the content you include, and how you measure success.
Step 2: Build your email list
Now that you have identified your goals and what you want to achieve from email marketing, it’s time to build your email list so you can start sending campaigns that those goals. There are a couple of different ways you can build your email list, but the right method depends on the goals you establish in Step 1.
First, create a branded opt-in pop-up form for your website
Pop-up forms provide visitors with a quick, convenient way to share contact information and subscribe to your list while they’re browsing your site, making them a powerful tool for audience growth.
Create marketing campaigns to find your people with Facebook ads
Facebook ads can help you reach new audiences and find new customers by targeting people who’re similar to your existing contacts. But Facebook ads aren’t just used for selling stuff, but also to generate leads by collecting emails through ads that link to your landing pages with opt-in forms. In just a few steps, you can create an ad that drives people to your site so they can quickly and easily sign up for your email list.
Step 3: Select the type of campaigns you want to send
There are several different types of email campaigns you can send to subscribers, and the type you choose really depends on the goals you established in Step 1. The campaigns could be newsletters (about one main topic of interest), Marketing Offer (offering discounts and special promotions), announcement (announcing a new product, feature, or service), and event invitation.
Step 4: Create your first campaign
Now that you’ve decided on your goals, built a bit of an audience and selected the type of campaign you’re going to send, it’s time to start building your email. Find tips to making the most of your email marketing campaigns in the next heading.
Step 5: Measuring your success
After publishing your email campaign, it is now time to keep track of your progress and learn exactly how many new people join your email list. You can track the success of your email marketing campaigns: using tools like Google Analytics.
Email Marketing Strategies
Effective email marketing takes effort. Here are a few strategies for making the most of your email marketing campaigns:
Send relevant emails
Once someone has trusted you with their email address, don’t abuse that trust. Inundating your audience’s inbox with emails will cause them to lose interest or unsubscribe entirely. Focus on sending them relevant, engaging messages about the stuff they like, and they’ll be loyal for a long time to come.
Attract your subscribers
Grow your email list, you need to attract people with a compelling offer. You need a lead magnet, something awesome that you give away for free in exchange for an email address. It doesn’t have to cost you anything to create. Some popular lead magnet examples are: eBooks, resources or consultation.
Probably the most obvious problem is when your email gets sent to a subscriber’s spam folder. Before you can email anyone, you need their permission.
No purchased emails
While buying email lists may sound like a great shortcut, it isn’t. And we do not recommend it. We also do not recommend adding emails from people’s business cards that you collected at seminars or workshops unless you have their permission. People who don’t opt-in specifically for your email list are not interested in your services. Emailing them, therefore, is a complete waste of your resources.
it’s important to email your subscribers consistently, so your list doesn’t go stale. So to keep your list fresh and filled with engaged subscribers, it’s a good idea to periodically remove inactive subscribers. An inactive subscriber could be anyone who has not engaged with any email in the past 6 months or more.
Timing can have a huge effect on subscribers opening your emails, so think carefully about what time and day you send your emails.
Make subject lines stand out
When it comes to email open and click rates, your subject lines are everything. Your job is to make your subject lines stand out. The subject line should entice curiosity, include numbers, be friendly and speak in a language and style that your subscribers use themselves.
When you draft your subject line and message content, write as though you are speaking to a person, with a personal subject line and a personalized message.
Mobile email accounts for 67% of all email opens, depending on your target audience, product, and email type. Make sure your email is responsive and includes easily loadable media. Also consider the fact that mobile screens are smaller, so long subject lines may get cut off on mobile devices.
Content must be engaging
If a subscriber is happy with your content, they are more likely to open your emails in the future. Conversely, if a subscriber is displeased with what they get, they probably aren’t going to open your emails again, and they may even unsubscribe. Simply make your content engaging and appealing t your subscribers.
Email marketing is a powerful driver of sales & revenue for your business, and has a greater reach and return on investment than any other channel available to marketers today.Follow the steps outlined in this guide for a quick start to email marketing and campaign success.Get started with email marketing today with SEO Digital!
Social media marketing first started with publishing where businesses were sharing their content on social media to generate traffic to their websites and, hopefully, increase sales. But social media has matured far beyond being just a place to share content. These days, businesses use social media in a myriad of different ways. Some ways in which businesses use social media are, monitoring social media conversations and analyzing their reach, views, likes, follows, engagement, and sales.
Social media marketing is simply digital marketing that involves connecting with your audience to market your brand and boost sales for your business or company. Social media marketing activities involve publishing radically different social actions such as sharing short messages/texts, videos, media links, joining events/groups. It also involves the use of paid social media advertising to drive audience engagement, build brand awareness and increase sales.
We’ve created this guide to help you understand the relevance of social media marketing and how to develop a compelling social media marketing plan for your business this year.
The major social media platforms in 2021 are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat
Why is social media marketing relevant in 2021?
While it may seem overwhelming, the importance of social media cannot be overstated. It’s so important that 97% of marketers and 78% of salespeople are using social media for their business. Plus, its benefits extend far beyond increasing sales. However, not all businesses are aware of the benefits of social media marketing. 50% of small businesses aren’t using social media to promote their business. That’s an alarming number. Even more concerning is that an additional 25% don’t plan to use social media in the future either.
How Will Social Media Boost Your Business Online
1. Makes it easy to promote your business
2. Help you increase your clients reach
3. Promotes brand recognition and awareness
4. Increase traffic to your website
5. Build your conversions
6. Enhance communication and engagement with target audiences
7. It is mostly FREE!
Do you now see the relevance of using social media marketing to boost your brand online and drive sales? Are you ready to get started with marketing on social media? Here are a few things to consider before you kick-start your social media marketing
1. Start With a Strategic Goal
Social media strategy planning starts with identifying your brand’s goal. Maybe, you want to use social media to increase your brand awareness, generate engagement around your brand, or even drive website traffic and sales this year. Either way, your goals will define your content strategy and how much time and energy you’ll need to dedicate to your campaigns. Additionally, the goals you set for your business must be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound). Starting a social media marketing campaign without a strategy goal in mind is like going to visiting a new city without a map—you might have fun, but probably get lost.
Second, research to know which social media platforms your competitors are and where they have their largest reach/following. Your competitors can provide valuable data for keyword research and other social media marketing insight. Start by creating accounts on the same platforms to beat the competition, but always do it better! You can also figure out which social media platforms you want to focus on.
Aside from the major social media platforms, there are also social messaging platforms like Messenger, WhatsApp, and WeChat you can explore. Always start with a few platforms that you think your target audience is rather than to be on all platforms.
Here are quick questions to ask yourself when defining your social media marketing goals:
Why do I want my brand on social media?
What am I hoping to achieve with my brand through social media campaigns?
Who is my realistic target audience?
Where does my target audience hang out and how would they use social media?
What message do I want to send to your audience using social media marketing?
Your business type should inform and drive your social media marketing strategy.
Last, think about what type of content you want to share to attract your target audience best? Will they be images, videos, or links? Is it going to be informational, educational, or entertaining? With time, you can always change your strategy according to how your social media posts perform by tracking the data using analytical tools.
2. Plan and Create (curate) compelling content
By now, you have managed to figure out your strategy goal through research and planning. But how about your content strategy? The next thing to consider after setting out your goal is to develop your content strategy with great, compelling, and innovative ideas.
Publishing content to social media is as simple as sharing a blog post, an image, or a video on your personal Facebook or Instagram profile. But in this case, you will want to plan your content ahead of time instead of creating and publishing content spontaneously. Also, your content must be informative, educational, or entertaining depending on the goal you set for yourself in the beginning. Examples of content you can consider are stories, images, short-lived videos, and showing your audience the human behind the posts they see. To ensure you are maximizing your reach, always publish content at the right time and frequency.
There are a variety of social media scheduling tools that can help you publish your content automatically at your preferred time. This saves you time and allows you to reach your audience when they are most likely to engage with your content.
3. Listen and Interact With Your Audience
As your business and social media following begins to grow, conversations about your brand will also increase if you strategise well. One key to being successful in social media is to listen and interact with your audience. People will comment on your social media posts, tag you in their social media posts, or message you directly. Always find time to respond and address their concerns. This will show you are reliable and they can trust you for a quick response to your products.
So what is social listening? Social listening involves tracking conversations around your brand and in your industry and using the information to review your marketing strategies. Social listening and interacting will help you understand your audience better, where they like to hang out, and what they like to talk about. It is simply finding out what people are saying about you. If you’re not using social listening, you’re leaving a lot of great insights on the table.
Social listening and social monitoring are however two different things. Social listening involves what your audience does and social monitoring is about why they do what they do.
People might even talk about your brand on social media without letting you know. So you will want to monitor social media conversations about your brand. If it’s a positive comment, you get a chance to surprise them. Otherwise, you can offer support and correct a situation before it gets worse. There are several social media listening tools out there that you can use, explore and find the one that best suits you and your budget.
4. Track your analytics
Along the way, you will want to know how your social media campaign is performing. Are you reaching more people on social media compared to months back? How much positive feedbacks do you get? How many people used your brand’s hashtag on their social media posts? The social media platforms themselves provide a basic level of such information.
To get more in-depth analytics information or to easily compare across social media platforms, you can use a wide range of social media analytics tools. For example, Google Analytics can be used to measure your social media marketing techniques, as well as determine which strategies are better off abandoned.
Metrics you can measure with analytical tools
The number of unique accounts that have seen any of your posts.
Refers to the number of clicks on your post or account. Tracking clicks per campaign are essential to understand what drives curiosity or encourage people to buy.
The total number of times all of your posts have been seen.
This refers to the total number of social interactions divided by the number of impressions and sheds light on how well your audience perceives you and their willingness to interact. It can also be measured by the number of times your post was liked, saved or commented on.
5. Hashtag performance
What were your most-used hashtags? Which hashtags were most associated with your brand?
This refers to the number of unique users that saved your post.
7. Profile visits
Times your profile was viewed.
The number of accounts that started following you.
Having these answers can help shape the focus of your content going forward.
When you have more funds to grow your social media marketing, an area that you can consider is social media advertising. Social media ads allow you to reach a wider audience than those who are following you. These platforms are so powerful nowadays that you can specify exactly who to display your ads to. You can create target audiences based on their demographics, interests, behaviours, and more.
When you are running many social media advertising campaigns at once, you can consider using a social media advertising tool to make bulk changes, automate processes, and optimize your ads.
CONTACT SEO DIGITAL NOW TO HELP YOU DEVELOP A COMPELLING SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING STRATEGY
At SEO Digital Ghana, we use social media marketing to build your brand and boost your sales. Get all the benefits of social media with SEO Digital Ghana Now!
Digital marketing, also known as online marketing or internet advertising is a big deal these days. Internet usage has doubled over the past decade. This shift has massively affected how people purchase products, services and interact with businesses.
So, what is digital marketing? It is simply the use of the internet, emails, mobile devices, social media, search engines, and other channels to reach the right consumers. All these forms of marketing help introduce people to your company and convince them to buy your products. One key element of digital marketing is that, it requires the use of innovative approaches to attract and understand your potential customers as compared to traditional marketing.
Digital Marketing Assets and Strategies That Can Boost Your Brand
Digital assets and strategies are vital in today’s market and if you don’t keep up, you will be left behind. Let’s take a look at what your business needs to maximise its marketing plan and start reaping profits.
Digital Marketing Assets
Assets are values owned by a group or company. Marketing items used to project your business and get potential clients attracted to buy your products are termed Digital Assets. Are you using the available digital assets you have at your disposal to boost your marketing? If you’re unsure, don’t worry, here are few examples:
Strategies for digital marketing is also constantly evolving. Some strategies businesses use are:
1. Pay-Per-Click Advertising
PPC advertising is any type of digital marketing where you pay for every user who clicks on an ad like Google AdWords and Facebook Ads.
2. Paid Search Advertising
Google, Bing and Yahoo allow you to run text ads on their Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) to target potential clients who are actively searching for a product or service like yours.
3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
With SEO, you can rank pages or blog posts on your site organically and not have to pay directly for every click, but this usually takes quite a bit of time and effort.
4. Paid Social Media Advertising
Social media platforms like Twitter allow you to run ads on their site to increase your business’s visibility with audiences.
5. Social Media Marketing
This is free and organic however, organically marketing your business on social media takes a lot more time and effort but in the long run, can deliver much cheaper results.
6. Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
CRO is the art and science of improving your online user experience. Most of the time, businesses use CRO to get more conversions (leads, chats, calls, sales, etc.) out of their existing website traffic.
7. Content Marketing
This is another fairly broad digital marketing term. Content marketing covers any digital marketing effort that uses content assets (blog posts, infographics, eBooks, videos, etc.) to build brand visibility, drive clicks or sales.
8. Native Advertising
Ever get to the bottom of an article and see a list of suggested articles? That’s native advertising and mostly fall under content marketing because it uses content to attract clicks.
9. Email Marketing
This form of online marketing is the oldest and it’s still going strong. Most digital marketers use email marketing to advertise special deals, highlight content (often as part of content marketing) or promote an event.
10. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is essentially paying someone else (a person or a business) to promote your products and services on their website.
How Powerful is Digital Marketing Now?
With technology continually evolving, so do the behaviours of consumers. As a result, we have seen how traditional forms of advertising has continued to decline. We have also watched how digital advertising have grown from strength to strength. Some reasons for this include, an increase in the way we access information, news and an increased activity on digital devices. In addition, digital marketing is affordable, which allows any sized business with any size budget to target specific markets effectively. Today, just having a website is no longer enough to engage your audience and convert them to new customers. It is now important to consider implementing a complete digital plan that works across multiple channels.
With this in mind, here are 7 reasons why you need digital marketing for your business:
1. Increase reach
With the growth of the internet, more people are spending their time online. Over 7.7 billion people use the internet across the globe. It has become an integral part of everyday life to conduct searches, check social media, and purchase products online. Your customers are online, which highlights the importance of digital marketing. They’re browsing the web looking for your products or services. If they can’t find your services/products because you’re not online, you risk losing those leads to your competitors.
To drive the best results for your business, you need to build your online presence. This will help you reach more audience that want your products or services.
2. More Advanced Analytics
With digital marketing you know the following about your ads and audience:
Whether they actually saw it. With traditional marketing like TV and radio ads, you don’t even know that much.
What they interacted with
If they liked it
If they lingered on it
What they viewed
If they shared it with a friend
Did it prompt another action
If it led to a sale
You also learn much more about the people interacting with your ad:
Who’s most interested in your ads
What are they like
What makes them more likely to take an action
Who is easiest to convert
Who spends more
What do they do online
Gives you their demographics
What terms do they use to find you online
Which websites do they visit that lead them to yours
All of this easy to with free analytics software like Google Analytics. You can gain even more insight with paid tools. In addition, you can use what you learn to cut costs where you aren’t seeing an ROI and increase efforts where you get the best results.
3. Keep up with your competitors
Online marketing is highly competitive and your competitors have already taken advantage of it. They’ve created social profiles, adapted their website for SEO, and run paid advertisements to reach new leads. This reason in itself is one of the reasons why you should use digital marketing. If you want your business to compete with others, you have to do what your competitors are doing and even more. By neglecting digital marketing, you’re already falling behind your competition.
Your competitors are gaining traffic that could be yours if you’re also investing in digital marketing. Customers online won’t know that your business is an option and will automatically choose a competitor. You must invest in digital marketing to get leads to consider your business as an option.
4. Target the right audience
The ability to target the right audience is one of the most obvious reasons why digital marketing is important. Imagine being able to market directly to people who have an interest in your products or services. You have the capability to directly reach leads interested in your business.
With digital marketing, you can target your audience more precisely than traditional methods. You can input important information about your audience and use that information to shape your marketing campaigns. It makes it easy for you to reach the right people. When you better target your audience, you drive better results with your campaign and reach more leads.
5. You can monitor and optimise your campaigns for better results
The importance of digital marketing is that you can easily track and monitor your campaigns. When you invest time and money into your campaigns, you want to know that they are working. Internet marketing makes it easy for you to track your campaigns, which allows you to adapt and drive better results.
It can be challenging using traditional methods to know the results of your campaign. If you run a TV ad, you may have to ask every person that comes into the store about what brought them to your business. It would be a very time-consuming effort that could annoy people who visit your business. You don’t need to worry about bothering your audience with online ads. Every campaign you run is easily trackable to see if it is driving valuable results for your business. In addition, metrics such as impressions, clicks, views, comments, conversions, and more can be analysed.
When you track your campaign’s performance, it’s easier to fix it and adapt to changes. With traditional advertising campaign, you typically can’t make changes until the campaign is over. It only benefits the next campaign you run, which can feel like you wasted money on the previous campaign. Whereas with online ads, you can see if they are successful or need improvement. If they need improvement, you can make immediate changes and implement them at any point during your campaign. In addition, online marketing helps you spend your budget more wisely to get more out of your campaigns.
6. Best return on your investment (ROI)
If you want to know the importance of digital media, look at the results it drives for businesses. Marketing strategies online have awesome return on investment (ROI). When you invest in these methods, you’ll get more out of them. For example, email marketing has the highest ROI of any marketing method. Every $1 spent, you have the potential to earn a whopping 4400% in return. This is a great opportunity for you to grow and earn a profit from your marketing efforts.
Internet marketing is also cost-effective and hence, leaves room for a great ROI. It doesn’t cost much to run a social media ad campaign, compared to certain traditional methods, and this gives businesses an opportunity to grow.
7. Easy to Scale & Adapt
For small businesses, it becomes very clear when you see how easy it is to scale and adapt as your business grows. Example, with social media campaigns, you can choose a daily budget and know how much it will cost without having to renegotiate an ad spot on TV. As you continue to convert that traffic, you just increase your daily spend and revenues with it. If you got a massive order from a customer and need to scale back to avoid getting backlogged, it’s just as easy. The power of digital marketing lies in the fact that, you can get instant results and analyze data fast to reduce wasted ad spend.
Digital Marketing Strategy
At SEO Digital, we recommend a professional online plan to raise awareness of your business and engage with prospective customers. Hence, strong digital marketing strategy should consist of the following elements:
Build a functional, professional and easy to navigate website. Include a blog on your site to update and inform your customers of any news in your industry. Also, consider inbuilt functionality to streamline office processes and make the customer experience better.
2. Search Engine Optimisation – (SEO)
Your website needs to include high quality, relevant content about your business and services. A number of SEO techniques such as high quality content, and keyword research can all help with your online presence. Keep this up to date and integrate it with a website measurement tool such as Google Analytics to improve your chances of being found online. Additionally, using strong quality content and relevant keywords on your website can improve your organic search results and make you visible to people.
4. Mobile responsiveness
If your website is difficult to read, the chances are prospective customers won’t make an enquiry. Make sure your website is optimised for mobile devices and creates a pleasant user experience.
5. Social media
The development of social media platforms will grow your online audience, and assist with online marketing. Social Media allows you to speak directly with your customer base to provide valuable information and build trust digitally to to increase your audience.
6. Online Advertising
Consider using various online advertising streams to increase your brand awareness. Common online advertising strategies such as Google AdWords allow you to target specific demographics and set your budget to suit your business. Online advertising is a highly effective way to add impact to your business and brand.
7. Nurturing your leads
Your digital strategies need to engage your customers to get them to take the next step and make a purchase. You need to have clear ‘call to action’ strategies built in to your digital platforms and make it easy for the customer to take that next step.
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Digital marketing is becoming more complex, as we develop new ways of effectively reaching clients and driving revenues online. Your digital marketing strategy and assets are essential in driving business success. Contact SEO Digital today on firstname.lastname@example.org or +233 50 664 3847 if you would like to review your business’ online marketing to increase your client base and profits.
With unlimited amounts of content out there, it most likely shocks no one that an aggravating measure of this content is total garbage. successful digital marketing will separate itself from the garbage by laying its trees on strong, drawing in and shareable content. The Internet is free and accessible to everybody, so anybody can (and it can appear like everybody does) gather their own particular content and not the majority of this content is quality. This convergence of junk is the reason you need your clients to see your content as a sparkling reference point of light and dependability in a landfill of substandard waste. Try not to add to the rabble; set yourself apart by offering your clients important stuff.
Need individuals to completely connect with your digital marketing message? Then, keep it straightforward. We mostly see possibly amazing digital marketing initiatives come up short just on the grounds that they got somewhat overeager and overcomplicated. Keep your message concise. Individuals have enough trouble in their lives. At the point, when given something simple, clients will delight in its simplicity.
You need to know your client. This online marketing rule (Seo Ghana) may appear to be really fundamental, however, it is regularly lost in the battle to make the following ‘huge’ thought. The best edge is one that catches and enchants the consideration of your client by talking specifically, plainly, and as we’ve effectively expressed, basically to them. Ensure your effort focuses on your particular group of onlookers. Go excessively expansive and you will most likely miss your check and market. The larger part of clients visits your website to get the most fundamental of essential data, like area, address, email address and phone number. Ensure these essential points of interest are super simple to discover.
Our world is constantly developing, and subsequently, so should our digital marketing You have to submit yourself to always planning to enhance and develop and we mean truly confer yourself. Put assets like time and cash aside for digital marketing R&D. You’ll see the best outcomes if you put aside around 10% of your opportunity to examine. If you would prefer not to get on board with next big bandwagon, you will need to put the time and exertion into estimating patterns and making your own, a considerably more lucrative approach than riding on the coat-tails of another brand’s genius.
Most companies start out doing their digital marketing using an in-house team, often on a shoestring budget. The business grows, and you hire more people to handle tasks. Eventually, you start to wonder, could my business grow faster with a real marketing agency?
The answer is almost always yes, with a caveat: You need to be sure to choose the right agency. The wrong marketing team could actually tank your business in a number of ways. Here are the telltale signs of a bad digital marketing agency, and how each type affects your business.
Your business and its needs are unique. Plenty of marketing agencies will pitch you a cookie-cutter approach, and they can be very convincing. But before you sign up to a pitch that doesn’t fit your business model, listen carefully to the pitch and ask detailed questions to understand how exactly the agency’s approach will build your business.
For example, if you’re a local brick-and-mortar retailer or service provider, your marketing needs to be location-specific and depend heavily on mobile strategy. You don’t really need an intensive (and expensive) link building or search engine optimization (SEO) campaign to put you on top of the result pages for general keywords. You need a localized marketing campaign tailored to a small business budget.
A local bakery, for example, with a limited delivery area doesn’t need to rank for “wedding cakes.” Ranking for “San Francisco wedding cakes” would be adequate in getting that company in front of a targeted audience. Conversely, an international chain of specialty stores with an online showroom would have good reason to shoot for more general keywords. Your marketing strategy must consider your product, your location (if applicable) and your customer demographics, and so it must be a specific approach tailored to meet your exact needs.
How a cookie-cutter approach ruins your business: Without pinpoint targeting, marketing is a useless expense. The best case scenario with unfocused marketing is break-even. Worst case, you spend a fortune to do all the wrong things and wind up paying your staff to field queries that make no sense. If you find yourself saying, “No, I’m sorry, we cannot mail a five-tier wedding cake to Australia,” you have picked the wrong marketing company.
Smoke And Mirrors
Far too many marketing agencies sell a familiar brand of snake oil. They dazzle you with industry terms that sound impressive and mean nothing. These agencies often deliver impressive-looking results generated in seconds by automatic programs and make you think they did the work. We at TAG regularly hear horror stories about “marketing consultants” who charge a small fortune only to email their clients a report that the business owner could have generated themselves for a small fee… or for free!
How smoke and mirrors ruin your business: With this shady dealer, you waste valuable time and money to hire a con artist, often to only spend more time trying to figure out what to do with the information they deliver. Most data-based reports today are cheap and automatic. Don’t pay for anything you can get for free. You want a marketing firm that will interpret these reports, build a strategic plan based on the data and follow through with targeted action.
Bad Channel Recommendations
It’s the natural order of things for a marketing agency to specialize in certain channels. There’s nothing wrong with this. Every agency needs to build expertise in specific areas, and resources are limited at first. The problem is that many agencies recommend only what they are good at — rather than what their customer actually needs.
Some SEO agencies are often the biggest culprits. When a small business is inquiring about SEO, it is SEO they are sold. But SEO alone might be a terrible investment for a small business on a limited marketing budget. A small business is often better served by some form of direct response advertising through Facebook or Google Adwords.
Similarly, many businesses get sold on the novelty of marketingautomation. The allure of automating your marketing and not needing to be involved sounds brilliant, right? But if your sales cycle is short or your prospect pool is small, starting with an intensive inbound marketing campaign is likely to be overkill — not to mention expensive. So ask yourself, Do I really need to build out email marketing funnels for 20 audience segments right now? Or would putting that first $500 directly into social media ads serve me much better?
How bad channel selection ruins your business: Online marketing provides business owners an abundance of options, but not every option that exists is a prudent choice for your business. A small business owner should be especially wary of investing in the wrong channels before precious marketing resources are wasted.
Ultimately, you’re hiring an agency to be the public face of your company. They’ll be speaking to your customers and building your brand. Look for one with a proven track record, a solid reputation and ideas tailored to you. Any marketing company representative should be able to ask the right questions, build a workable strategy and explain why the proposal will work in the context of your needs. Don’t bother trying to limit your choice to an industry-specific agency; that could work against you. In marketing, you want fresh and new, not tried and true.
Look for a wide range of skills and enthusiasm for your project. Marketing professionals who really get it will have lots of creative ideas for reaching your targeted audience with effective inbound content. You’ll get the best return on your money when you share what you know with a great marketing company. A rewarding relationship requires trust and open communication.
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. It’s not always easy to tell the difference.