Agencies Are Moving Away From Leaning On Creative And Toward Impacting Business Results
The agency world has changed. The days of internal creative reviews where people sit around a conference room looking at boards with ads and creative concepts is quickly disappearing. It’s being replaced with lead review meetings where charts and graphs show real-time data that provides insight into lead generation, close rates and new customers.
What does your meeting with your agency look like? If it’s creative and you want it to be about results, you have a lot of new options. If it’s about inbound marketing results and your current digital agency can’t deliver to your expectations, you have a lot of options there too. The bottom line is with so many digital and inbound marketing agencies out there, the time has never been better to find one that knows how to impact business results and revenue.
Here are a few of the agenda items on a performance review meeting that your digital marketing agency should be having with you every 30 days.
Website Visitors And The Sources Of New Website Visitor Traffic
This is the ultimate top of the funnel, so your ability to grow website visitor traffic is one key way to improve the number of leads your inbound marketing is contributing to your company. If you do nothing on conversion, nothing on lead nurturing and nothing to improve your sales process, driving more visitors will produce more leads.
You’re going to want to make sure that your total number of website visitors is improving month over month. The best way to do that is to look at ALL the sources from which people are finding and landing on your website. This includes making sure you’re also impacting ALL the sources. The most obvious one and the one clients tend to focus on the most is organic searches. While it's the most obvious, it’s also the most difficult to impact in the short term. Over time you can impact this, but if you’re looking for short-term gains, the other sources like social media, referral sites, visitors from email, paid search and direct traffic will provide a bigger bang for your buck.
While there are levers we can move to drive organic too, the key to moving more people to your website is to focus on all of these sources. By creating inbound marketing tactics that focus on all the sources, you will see improvements in weeks, not months.
Site-Wide Conversion Rate And Landing Page Performance
If you do nothing to drive more visitors to your website, you can still improve the number of leads your site generates by improving the site-wide conversion rate. This is the percentage of people who convert from an anonymous visitor into a new contact or lead.
The fastest way to impact this number is to provide offers for people at all stages of the buyer journey. For most websites this isn’t hard. Most have only a handful of weak offers like "Contact Us" or "Sign Up For A Demo." Yawn. No one wants to do either. People want information to help them make a better purchase decision. Your website is probably not designed or built for conversion, so that’s likely holding you back too. Do you remember creating specific pages for people in the awareness stage of the buyer journey? Of course not. Do you remember creating specific pages for people in the consideration stage? Nope. What about people in the decision-making stage? Do you have pages and offers just for them? I didn’t think so.
Once you get your site reworked and you understand the questions that prospects want answered at each stage, you’ll create specific offers to help your website graduate from an electronic brochure into a lead-generating machine.
You’ll stop looking at pictures, colors, fonts and style, and start worrying about landing page conversion rates, content offer conversion rates, site-wide conversion rates and CTA button click-through rates. Honestly, make it whatever color you want, as long as people click on it and convert. That’s what your agency should be helping you drive — conversions, not color options.
Leads Generated, MQLs, SQLs, Sales Opportunities And Pipeline Value
Nope, all leads are not created equal. But ALL leads are good leads. You do need to know the different types of leads and you need to know that your marketing is producing enough marketing-qualified leads (MQLs), sales-qualified leads (SQLs), sales opportunities and proposals. Once you get these down you want to calculate a pipeline value and continue to monitor that pipeline value monthly.
The farther down the funnel the leads go, the more value they offer as their likelihood of closing is increased. If you want to really get fancy, you can create an actual service-level agreement (SLA) between sales and marketing where each type of lead has a specific value associated with it and marketing needs to generate a certain value associated with all leads.
For instance, a whitepaper request might be worth $5, but a webinar attendee might be worth $50 and a consultation request would be worth $500. The more consultation requests marketing generates, the faster it gets to its SLA number. Of course, those are also harder to create, so it'll work to produce a portfolio of leads. Regardless, marketing delivers to a number (say, $50,000 in lead value) and sales now has the leads it needs to produce the revenue numbers that management expects. Welcome to the new age of marketing — inbound marketing.
New Customers And Revenue Generated Vs. Goals
It’s the ultimate number, right? New customers, new clients, revenue from new business. These numbers need to be shared with your agency and your agency needs to be involved in these conversations. Are the leads closing? Why not? What can be done to shorten that sales cycle? What can be done to increase that close rate? Today marketing has tools that can do both.
Leads Nurtured Down The Funnel
Lead nurturing is a science. Ninety percent of the leads are not going to be sales ready, so if you don’t have lead nurturing tactics in place (and this is NOT calling someone seven times and then giving up) you’re going to be leaving a lot of high-quality leads for your competitors to snatch up.
Instead, get the air-cover email marketing ramped up and get the one-to-one lead nurturing emails ramped up, and continue providing high-quality educational and guidance-oriented content to these highly qualified people who one day will buy from you.
Keep working to make them feel safe with you, your company and your products/services, and when they’re ready they’ll be there for you to close.
Of course you have to want and need to have strategic marketing conversations like this to require an agenda such as the one above. Tons of businesses still simply want a vendor to deliver a website, get them on the first page of Google, handle social media or produce a few press releases. So if that’s what you want, no worries. Plenty of agencies are perfect for that.
But if you’re looking for a strategic partner that understands the new buyer behavior and how to leverage the new marketing tools available to deliver quantitative improvements in all the key metrics noted above, you have to be much more discerning when selecting your inbound marketing agency or digital marketing agency. There is a difference.
Strategy work is very valuable to people who understand that value, so if your agency didn’t include that or didn’t charge much for it, you can be sure the agency doesn't really know how to deliver it and hasn't done it very many times in the past. I know you wouldn’t select the cheapest doctor to handle your operation, so don’t pick the cheapest agency just to save money. You get what you pay for and going cheap is only going to set you back. As soon as you realize you hired the wrong firm, you’ll probably be starting all over again with the agency you should have hired in the first place.
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