As a business owner, you understand the need for an outstanding marketing strategy in order to generate the maximum number of leads and sales. No matter what industry you’re in and what product or service you offer, you’re going to need marketing to be the center forward of your business growth curve.
After all, it’s through marketing that you increase brand awareness, boost sales, and attract new customers.
Developing a Digital Marketing Strategy
Today, the digital landscape is far more complex when it comes to marketing and advertising. It won’t be enough to throw money at ads and hope for the best. You need a well thought out strategy that explores the multiple options and nuances related to digital marketing.
A big part of that strategy will be to cut through the sheer noise on the internet. With every business organization vying for the attention of consumers, the internet is a crowded place where it can be difficult to stand out and get your message seen by your intended audience.
From ranking on the search engine pages to capturing people’s attention on Facebook, your business needs to differentiate itself and create a memorable experience for your users and potential customers. That’s why an experienced digital marketing agency is essential if you want to reach the right audience and enjoy the highest possible sales conversion rates.
Choosing the Right Digital Marketing Agency
Digital marketing agencies come in all sizes — from large multi-location international firms to smaller boutique firms — each offering different services and levels of expertise. While some offer full-service in-house marketing, design, and development services, others run skeletal operations and bring expertise, in the form of independent contractors, as needed.
Your company will benefit from an agency that brings multiple years of experience but has also stayed up to speed on the fast growing trends and technology in the digital marketing field. You want a partner that brings integrated and scalable marketing solutions for the best online competitive edge.
What Does a Digital Marketing Agency Do?
So, what sort of things does a digital marketing agency get involved in? At their core, they help you gain more sales by leveraging various kinds of marketing strategies that attract your ideal customers to your business website.
Once at your site, a digital marketing agency can ensure that you are offering the best user experience (UX) possible. They will also craft your UX to model an effective sales funnel where a customer is taken from the awareness phase through conversion to the ultimate sale.
Start with a Review of Your Website
A good digital marketing agency will start with a comprehensive overview of your existing website. Does it offer a good UX? Does it tell a story that captures the user and leads them down the page? Does it flow naturally and highlight your products or service?
If you don’t have a functional website, even a top digital marketing agency isn’t going to be able to maximize your marketing dollars.
Beyond UX, appearance, and flow, an agency will also ensure that your site performs at a level that meets today’s mobile-friendly criteria. According to Statista, over 63% of all searches are done on mobile devices which means your site has to function first and foremost as a mobile site.
It must also meet or exceed Google’s Core Vital metrics that include speed, rendering, and overall operation elements. Why should you care about Google’s expectations? Because 90+% of all searches in the US begin with Google and how your site performs on their Core Vital metrics is directly reflected in where your site ranks on their Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
Digital Marketing that Will Help Your Business Succeed
Once your site is fully functional and meets important industry benchmarks, your digital marketing agency will build a strategy that uses the most effective tools available. They will then implement the strategies and be instrumental in monitoring, adjusting, and analyzing the effectiveness of your entire digital marketing campaign.
Based on the type of business or organization, a solid digital marketing strategy will include a mix of these six components.
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization, also called SEO for short, is a strategy for ranking organically in the SERPs for specific keywords related to your business.
When the content on your website ranks high in the SERPs, you have a greater chance of capturing potential buyers at the ideal time.
SEO is a multi-faceted discipline and includes on-page and off-page components. Let’s look first at on-page SEO which includes some of these components:
- Keywords and Detailed Keyword Research — Any good SEO strategy or content strategy starts with solid keyword research that looks at the terms and phrases related to your product or service and the monthly volume of current searches happening for that keyword phrase.
It’s critical that keywords are based on what a new customer might be looking for and detailed enough that it puts your company in a competitive stance. Too broad and you are competing with too many other companies for a spot on the search page.
- Title Tags and Meta Descriptions — Using your main keyword, each page and post on your site has the opportunity to market your company or organization. The title tag and meta description are coded into your page and search engines use this information to rank your page as well as to create your page entry.
When you look at SERP results, Google generates the title and description about your company based on the title tag and meta description coded on the page. If you don’t have one, Google just uses the first lines on the page. By being proactive with strong keywords, you can target the customers you’re looking for. Don’t miss this key marketing opportunity that’s on every page and post!
- Content — Ensuring your content, whether on individual pages or on posts and blogs, is authoritative and relevant, you ‘build a reputation with Google’ that places you higher on the SERPs. A digital marketing agency can also help you design your content to be more search engine and user friendly though the use of headings (H1, H2, H3), bullet points, lists, and other techniques to capture readers.
And the key proven off-page component:
- Backlinking — Backlinking is a key on-page search engine optimization technique where other sites backlink to your content. Google sees this as a show of your expertise and leadership in an industry or sector.
Ways to achieve backlinking include guest posting, becoming a source or thought leader in your field, or publishing ultimate guides. Unless you are already a recognized and celebrated industry leader, a digital marketing agency can help you establish good backlinking.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is a billion dollar business and can include everything from Facebook and Instagram to TikTok, YouTube, and WhatsApp. Consider this:
Facebook is one of the largest advertising companies in the world. Thanks to it doubling as a social network, it has amassed a tremendous wealth of data about billions of people worldwide. All of the data is stored in complex databases that Facebook uses for the most highly-targeted ads available.
It’s possible to target ads so specifically that you will be speaking to a handful of highly segmented potential customers. You can carve out customers by gender, education, income, location, interests, status, and significant life events. With this incredible marketing power, you can enjoy a healthy ROI when you use Facebook Ads as well as other social media marketing opportunities.
Consider a strategy that includes some of these ideas:
- Paid Ads or Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC) — A digital marketing agency can be crucial in planning and executing an effective PPC campaign. Most social media platforms offer paid advertising, including Google and Facebook, where you can target your audience and pay each time someone clicks on your paid promotion.
- Influencer Marketing — Today, social media influencers have grown in stature and importance thanks to the democratic nature of online activity. Influencers now command top dollar to just mention a product or service — and they get results. However, the problem becomes how to find and connect with the right influencers and that’s where a top digital marketing agency can help.
- Commenting and Engaging — Being active on social media is important and by commenting on posts and engaging others on the internet, your business can establish itself as a presence. Who can forget some of Wendy’s snarky responses to Burger King on Twitter – we aren’t saying that everyone should try this level of sarcasm, but it sure got people’s attention!
Did you know that more than half of all mobile searches result in a sale? That’s right! What’s even more impressive is that when that search is for a local business, over three-quarters of searches end with an offline purchase being made in-store.
There are several options digital marketing agencies have for effective mobile advertising, but number one is in-app ads. Who hasn’t been on an app and seen the ad at the bottom of the page? Those clickable little ads often have videos that automatically play, as well as flashing, attention getting graphics that capture the eye.
From educational apps to gaming apps, mobile marketing and advertising is everywhere and with people spending an average of five hours a day on their phones, your business can effectively reach a large audience.
Content marketing is still king today. Of course, this involves things like writing blog posts regularly on your website and making them optimized for SERPs using strong SEO tactics. But it also includes writing more extensive pieces, such as white papers, eBooks, case studies, and pillar pages, as well as infographics, social media posts (think Pinterest, Facebook, or Instagram), and checklists or templates.
And don’t forget video format content which requires content scripting, but also video production and voice over skill. There is also podcasting that uses both audio and video marketing skills.
When you are busy running a business, it’s not easy to churn out useful and engaging content on a regular basis. And that doesn’t even take into consideration scheduling the postings, finding the backlinks, and managing/responding to comments.
That’s where a digital marketing agency can help get things done. Besides writing blog posts, a partner with strong content marketing skills can also create and manage a wide variety of content marketing opportunities.
Believe it or not, email still enjoys the highest engagement rates and ROI for businesses.
A solid email list is more valuable than having a massive social media presence. This is due to algorithms on those social media platforms reducing the reach of your posts, sometimes significantly. Email, on the other hand, has been proven to deliver $38 in returns for every $1 spent on marketing.
A great digital marketing agency will know how to conduct safe and effective email marketing and keep engagement rates high, so that emails actually get opened. An agency can also effectively use segmentation and autoresponder sequence optimizations as part of a successful email marketing strategy.
By using a digital marketing agency, you have access to state-of-the-art marketing analytics that deliver real-time results and ROI numbers when you need it. This allows you to see where your strategy is effective and where you might need to improve.
By evaluating performance and user behavior, you can refine areas that are working well and abandon options that aren’t performing to expectations. Today’s technology allows you the tools, so you don’t spend time and marketing dollars where it’s not effective.
How to Choose the Right Digital Marketing Agency
Choosing the best digital marketing agency for your business will be based on where you are in terms of growth (start up vs well established entity), what your long-term goals are, and what type of budget you have to consider.
Ultimately, you want a partner that is expert in the services already outlined. The best agencies have a wide variety of experts on board who contribute to the success of every one of their business clients and provide options for both paid advertising and organic marketing. Additionally, the best digital marketing agencies will also be able to cross services over from one to another and scale based on your business’s ebb and flow.
A professional and experienced digital marketing agency will do extensive research, understand your objectives, and identify with your target audience. Also, they will look toward developing a long-lasting relationship with you so that you can continue your success far into the future.
Ask the Right Questions
Asking the right questions will help you get clear on who to hire. Here are some basic questions that you should get the answers to when considering hiring a marketing agency:
Do They Lead by Example?
Perhaps the best indicator of a great marketing agency is how they run their own business. After all, if they’re in the business of helping other businesses with their marketing, are they leading by example? How does their site look? Is it optimized for SEO? Is it easy to read? How is their social media game? Are they on top of the best social media marketing tactics? How are they ranking on search engines for keywords related to their business? Are they active in their industry and viewed as an expert (published articles, awards, etc.)?
Some of these are details you can find out on your own, while others you can ask them about. If they aren’t demonstrating that they are using effective digital marketing strategies, then this could be a sign that they don’t really know what they’re doing.
Can They Demonstrate Success Through Case Studies from Actual Clients?
Let’s face it! You take a lot at face value on the internet.
Agencies can make all sorts of bold claims and even exaggerate results, but you still want to find the best digital marketing agency. So how can you do that in today’s online marketplace?
Check out the case studies each agency promotes on their site. A good case study will tell you what discipline and technology was used, as well as their approach and the overall impact.
And don’t forget to look for the results. Did they increase customers? Were they able to improve the time visitors spent on the site pages? Did they impact the user experience through better accessibility? Did their SERP rank improve?
Through their case studies, you should begin to see the type of agency they are and what they are good at achieving.
What Are Their Key Performance Indicators?
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are the kind of metrics that directly correlate with how well a business is doing. You want to make sure that you understand the difference between vanity metrics and KPIs. Something like getting a lot of likes on a social media post is a vanity metric because there is no direct connection to higher sales.
If a marketing agency is promising you that they will ensure you have a certain amount of likes every month, you’re not going to see that translate into more sales. Measuring true business marketing success involves these KPIs:
- Number of Unique Visitors– Usually, the more traffic you get, the more sales conversions you will have. The caveat here is that the traffic has to be targeted, so you’re getting visitors who are already interested in what you are selling.
- Time Spent on Your Website– The more time visitors spend on your website, the more likely they are to become convinced to buy something from you. If your content is truly relevant to their needs and wants, you will see longer amounts of time spent by them on your site.
This is one of the metrics Google uses in order to rank content on the SERPs. Making sure your site’s web pages load quickly will also be a factor in how long someone sticks around on your website. The quicker your website loads, the less likely you are to have people leave prematurely.
- Traffic Source Totals– Where are your site visitors coming from? What web pages are seeing the most traffic? If you find out that one type of external website is bringing in a whole lot of traffic, you can focus your marketing efforts there.
If a particular blog post is getting a lot of traffic, you may want to use it as a template for future articles. Is most of your traffic coming from organic search results, social media platforms, or certain websites? Are specific marketing campaigns delivering a great deal of traffic?
- Bounce Rate– The bounce rate indicates how many visitors to your website are leaving soon after getting to it. When you have a high bounce rate, it could mean that the content visitors are seeing is not relevant or valuable to them.
- Cost-Per-Click – The cost-per-click (CPC) is a metric used in relation to paid ads, where you only pay when your ad is clicked on. A high CPC may mean that your ad is performing well.
- Click-through Rate– The click-through rate (CTR) is a metric that measures how many times your ad is clicked on in relation to how many impressions it gets. Impressions usually mean the number of times your ad was seen. You can use this to figure out how to best target your ad copy.
- Social Interactions– When it comes to social media marketing, there are different kinds of KPIs that a marketing agency will track. A social interaction KPI assists in measuring how well your social media campaigns are doing.
Ideally, a tool will be used to track the entirety of a customer’s journey, from the moment they see an ad on social media to the moment they purchase something from you. Social interactions can help you identify just how many customers you’re getting through your social media ads.
If you have narrowed down your search to a few quality digital marketing agencies, then reach out and ask for a consultation. These will sometimes be free while other times may cost a little bit. Once you have made up your mind and chosen the right digital marketing agency for you, it’s upward and onward to higher leads and sales!