Choosing an online marketing agency is no easy task. There are millions of firms out there. How do you evaluate your options? How do you ensure that you're making a wise choice with company marketing dollars?
You've got to start with asking the right questions. And these questions aren't just about expertise and relevant experience; though this information is helpful, it only scratches the surface. The questions you ask should shed light on the agency's strategies, explore processes, and reveal specific, concrete results. You've got to dig deep and ask the tough questions.
Here are 5 tough questions you need to ask your online marketing agency.
1. Do you report on campaign ROI?
A good online marketing campaign goes beyond good creative. A good campaign delivers tangible, measurable results, results that have an impact on your bottom line. A good online marketing firm monitors and reports your results.
Your online marketing agency should report on all campaign activity. They should be able to show you the number of sales leads generated from your website and the campaign conversion rate. A good agency can use your close rate to calculate how many actual paying customers/clients the marketing campaign generated in any given month.
If your agency can't show the value of a campaign and tie it to specific results, then how do you know it's really working?
2. Our website is attracting more visitors. How are you helping me convert visitors to qualified sales leads?
Most advertising agencies simply focus on bringing traffic to your website. Good ones help your optimize your website. The best online marketing agencies help you manage prospects through the entire sales process. Your online marketing agency should help you gather intelligence about your prospects. And they should use that data to glean insights about your prospects that will ultimately equip you to sell more effectively.
If your agency can't optimize your website for better conversion, it's time to say: "Adios!"
3. Are you tracking phone calls that originate from prospects looking at my website?
Leads. They're the lifeblood of your business or organization. And they can take shape in a variety of ways. A lead may consist of an email sent through a contact form on your website; or it may be a phone call you receive in your sales center.
Your online marketing firm should be able to track both online (email) and offline (phone calls) prospect activity. Our client work proves that more prospects pick up the phone and call than you might think. Not tracking phone calls means that you're missing out on key business data, and you won't have the full picture of your online campaign performance.
4. What are you doing to market to sales leads that aren't ready to buy?
A good online marketing campaign gives prospects plenty of time and options to research a product or service in more detail. A good online marketing firm will help you tailor content and the online experience to meet prospects' needs at different stages in the buying cycle. A good online marketing agency not only helps you get leads, but nurture those leads as well.
Hubspot reports that 97% of website visitors are information seekers that aren't ready to buy. They need additional information before they make a commitment. What is your online marketing agency doing to help turn sales leads into customers? How does the firm optimize the middle of your online sales funnel? Unfortunately, too many marketing firms leave this to their clients.
5. Does your team use detailed web analytics to make decisions?
First and foremost, your online marketing firm should integrate analytics in any and all campaigns to ensure that data can and will be tracked.
But they shouldn't stop at installing Google Analytics tracking code on your website. A savvy online marketer will help you set up things like Event Tracking and Goals so you know how exactly people are interacting with your site and how many people complete a specified action or task. Savvy marketers know how to distill volumes of information from Google Analytics into an easy to understand dashboard of "key performance indicators."
Not only should your firm explain what the numbers mean, they should also explain how to improve your numbers. A good online marketing firm always looks to the future and is armed with actionable steps toward improvement.
Also note that Google Analytics doesn't capture valuable pieces of information that can inform your marketing process. That's where hybrid tools like Hubspot, Marketo or Act-On can help businesses market on a one-to-one basis more intelligently.