In this article, I am going to show you how you can get the best out of your marketing agency.
Business owners and startups are consistently advised to try and remove emotion out of the running of their business; I can imagine there are times where this seems like an impossible, probably ridiculous task. Having never owned my own business, I can’t empathise 100%, but I can imagine it’s very much like the time someone ripped my writing apart.
Not only was it a piece of work that I was incredibly proud of, they ended the conversation with the cliché, “it’s not personal” when they noticed that I was understandably peeved. (Peeved is an extremely polite way of conveying the emotions that I was experiencing at the time).
NEWS FLASH – when you pour your metaphorical heart and soul into anything, whether it’s a singular piece of work, or a business; for it to be (unconstructively) criticised, it becomes deeply personal. And you should expect a fractured relationship with that individual to immediately commence. Just be cool yeah?
I’m digressing here, but the point I’m trying to make is that business is personal and of course your emotions are going to become intrinsically involved. It seems to be that acknowledging our emotions and instincts has a distinctively negative connotation, but I would argue that from emotion comes passion and if you aren’t passionate about the journey your business is taking then…what’s the point?
We aren’t robots. For instance, did you know that your heart contains 40,000 neurons that all fire to the brain, influencing our conscious and subconscious mind – and when we feel an emotion our body reacts in ways that we find difficult to control?
Hopefully, you have found an agency that is just as passionate and fired up about your business as you are. If you have engaged both your head and your heart and found a good fit, I’m sure by now that you have discussed goals and objectives, working arrangements and agreeing on how the results will be measured.
For a little extra guidance, I have put together some of the ways you can make sure that your relationship is one that is harmonious and yields impressive results. I’ve also included some great quotes, if I do say so myself.
So let’s get into the 4 ways your can get the most out of your marketing agency.
Be honest with yourself? Do you trust the agency that you are working with implicitly? If your answer is anything but a resounding ‘yes’ then I would advise you to stop all proceedings immediately.
Like you, we want to succeed at what we do; we WANT your business to increase and improve and because we want to see the results from the effort that we exhibit.
When your business succeeds, it means we have been successful. The beauty of digital marketing and digital agencies is the seamless blend of analytics and creativity, and I know that as a content writer, I take an enormous amount of pride in the pieces that I write.
From the research, the conception of the angle or title to the finished piece – my sole aim is to create a quality piece of work that I am proud of, that readers engage with and that has definitive impact for the client. Whether that results in an increase of web traffic, a positive impact on search engine rankings, brand recognition spreading or customers clearly converting on an e-commerce site.
A quality digital agency will create quality work that shows creativity, skill and integrity and you should trust them on this merit.
Trust them to write on your behalf, by all means, proof the work and offer advice and amends, even critique the work, constructively and positively of course. You are the expert in your industry, and while a good content writer will conduct significant research into the industry, its trends, and statistics – you can and you SHOULD give insider knowledge.
“Be a master of your craft, but know that you’re not THE master.” – Liz Wessel
2. Have Patience
In all honestly, you aren’t going to see results overnight. If your main focus is lead generation, you may notice an increase in inbound leads quickly – but if your agency is taking a comprehensive approach to your marketing then give them time to produce quality work that yield quality results.
Sure, you can find an agency that will scatter a large volume of links around for you; probably on sites that don’t have much relevancy to your business, accompanied by poorly written content, and you will probably experience a rise through the rankings.
Short term only, until Google Penguin rolls around again and then you can wave a cheery ‘bye-bye’ to any rankings and even reach the low of being de-indexed completely.
Here’s an example that I came across, “Four years ago, I was at a conference in London when a friend told me about an SEO consultant he’d hired for £300/month who had got his website to #1 for a keyword that generated £10,000 per month in profits for his business.
While congratulations were in order, a quick look over the consultant’s work made it clear that he’d unknowingly hired a black-hat link builder who was building thousands of dodgy links. I warned him against using this consultant, but his response was more or less “the proof is in the pudding”.
Shortly after the penguin update, my friend lost all of his rankings and spent the good part of eighteen months filing disavow requests and building his business from scratch.”
A quality digital marketing strategy will take time to reach a desirable result.
Allow your agency the time to gain valuable audience insights; who are your audience, where they live, the careers they are in, what are their interests, what brand affiliations do they currently have. Give them the time to research your competitors; how is their content/brand performing and who has given them exposure.
This information is a valuable tool that can give you a competitive edge. Once this is complete, a reputable agency will create engaging, insightful and informative content about topics they KNOW your audience will want to engage with. They will build relationships with publications/websites that are relevant to your business offering and publications that your audience already read.
Building these relationships take time –
“No matter how great the talent or efforts, some things just take time. You can’t produce a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant.” – Warren Buffett.
In the same way that you would communicate with your business partner, investors and employees – communicate with your marketing agency.
We are creative souls (some of us are technically minded too – double whammy!) and any company successes, ventures or unique company policies that you implement could be turned into an engaging, insightful article and a worthwhile placement!
Here at Datify, we hold authorship in high regard. Your team are probably experts in their roles, having some great lightbulb moments so why not share their knowledge?
Pitching a person rather than a ‘salesy’ story is a far more authentic approach…..but imagine our surprise and disdain when we secure an AWESOME placement only to find out the member of the team we have pitched has left the business :/ ?
All in all – the relationship isn’t a passive one; your agency should be reporting to you about strategies and results, and you should be communicating the information that will help the campaigns, or at least make the process more efficient and productive.
Any tiny titbit of information, any budding idea you have – tell them all about it!
All this faceless communication leads to misunderstandings and the context to be overlooked completely. This a relationship remember – let’s date! Bonding with your agency is so important, face to face meetings lead to lasting relationships; as much as I rib the guys in the office about the frequent ‘lunch dates’, all the face time with customer pays off for both parties.
“Much unhappiness has come into the world because of bewilderment and things left unsaid.” – Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
4. Think Outside the Box
Your business probably has a great offering, but you need to be willing to contribute more than this one dimension.
Just like you as a person, don’t be afraid to dig a little deeper and reveal all of the layers within your business! Industry experts and influencers are ‘thought leaders’; they attract attention because they talk about their experiences, business values, corporate social responsibility – people WANT to hear from them.
If your agency comes to you for a quote about something that is outside the realm of your business offering, the biggest disservice you can pay to your business and yourself is to dismiss it and think, “what has this got to do with my company?”. The best thing you can do, provide them with an insightful, knowledgeable comment and see where it leads.
Here is a great example; one of our clients works within the sports therapy and holistic treatment industry. I went to him one day and asked him for expert tips for interview candidates to calm nerves. He didn’t question it, he gave me a great quote about how effective breathing can be for calming nerves, along with examples.
The result? He was featured in an article in The Guardian. (To truly understand the importance of this you may want to read about link equity and authority!)
I suppose this links closely to trust, but keep an open mind when it comes to digital marketing, particularly content marketing. Your agency should be noticing trending topics that you should jump on to gain exposure and pitch you as an expert. Roll with it.
“Begin challenging your own assumptions. Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.” – Alan Alda
A great client/agency relationship requires each party to invest in the other. Once you have the agency that you know in your heart (back to those emotions!) is a great fit – hold onto them, like you would a lover. Well not quite, that might be pushing the boundaries; maybe a close friend or your favourite cousin?
Openness, honesty and transparency and a little sprinkle of emotion leads to a beautiful (and profitable) relationship.