When we started our marketing agency back in 2001, there were only a handful of Atlanta search engine marketing agencies. My how times have changed! Everyone seems to be trying to get into the SEM business. There are even radio and TV commercials now, which makes me laugh by the way. If you know how to do online marketing, shouldn’t you be able to rely on your own online marketing skills to get leads?
Small and medium-sized businesses need to keep their eye on the ball when it comes to digital marketing. The name of the game is new leads and closed sales generated as a direct result of your investments in online marketing, search engine optimization, paid search, display advertising and social media. As you read this it may seem obvious, but when you start interviewing most Atlanta search engine marketing agencies, they start talking about press releases and Facebook likes. Non-sense! Yes, there is a place for these things, but marketing generated leads and sales are what matter.
Need proof? We have a client that has hired an expensive social media “expert” to create a new Facebook page, and she has built a pretty good site and managed to acquire over 20,000 Facebook followers. But can you guess how many web leads they have gotten as a result of this? None, nada, nothing. So don’t take your eye off the ball!
What does the ball look like you ask? It starts with the total number of leads and sales you need to break even on the fees your agency is charging and the ad dollars you are spending. This is driven by things like:
- Your ad spend
- Lead conversion rates
- Cost of customer acquisition
- Total number of new customers
- Average revenue per customer
- Average profit per transaction
- Lifetime value of each new customer
The truth is that most agencies don’t care about this kind of granularity because they are not interested in true accountability for results. We like to think this is what makes TwentySix2 Marketing different from all these new entrants into the SEM business that rely on TV advertising to get new business rather than client referrals and word of mouth.
Since we are being honest about all of this stuff, you should know that clients have some responsibilities too. First and foremost, you have to have an amazing product or service that meets the needs of your intended target audience to be successful. You can’t just do what everyone else is doing and expect different results.
Second, online marketing is a collaborative effort, whether you work with an internal employee or an outside agency. Things like content marketing and social media require an authentic voice and deep knowledge about your business. As marketing becomes more complex, it will require some of your brain power and effort on your part to connect with prospects and convert them into customers. The good news is it will pay off in spades.
Last but not least, remember that complexity is the enemy of execution. Keep things simple in the beginning. Success online is about a little bit of effort exerted every day over a long period of time. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.