CEO of NVISION, a leading Digital Marketing & Web Agency, George is a Business Leadership speaker and writer. Connect with him on Linkedin.
Based on my nearly 25 years of observing digital marketing trends and working with various clients, in this article, I’ll walk you through some truths I’ve come to learn about the agency-client relationship and how both parties can reach a more successful outcome.
There’s No One-Size Template
When working in a digital marketing agency, you quickly realize that one size doesn’t fit all. Each business—whether small, medium or large—requires a unique approach. Each business sells something different—a different product, service, idea and brand. So it’s essential to keep the company’s brand (or the brand they want to create) in mind when coming up with a marketing campaign tailored for them.
Business Owners Are Not Marketers
A lot of business owners understand digital marketing in a scattered, high-level way. They know they need a website and usually are aware that it’s essential to set up a blog and some social media pages. But what most don’t appreciate is that a website or presence on social is just the tip of the iceberg. Every digital online property that an organization has needs a heartbeat. You need fresh, consistent content, and owners need to get out of the mindset of “set it and forget it.”
Many owners also have some vague idea that they’re supposed to try to “go viral,” but they may not realize that going viral isn’t necessarily going to affect their bottom line. If the piece of content they go viral with doesn’t have much to do with their business, then people will just check out the content and go away. They won’t explore the company’s online presence any further. Viral marketing doesn’t always equal success.
What They Want Isn’t Always What They Need
Many companies come to a digital marketing agency and say, “I want this, this and this.” But after looking at what they say they want, what they want isn’t necessarily what they need. Isn’t this true of everything in life! Agencies need to go deep, ask the right questions and build a plan that aligns with clients’ expectations.
For example, someone may come to a digital agency saying they want a completely up-to-date, state-of-the-art website. In theory, this sounds fantastic. Why not have a website that lets consumers know you’re current? But looking at their online presence, you realize their website isn’t particularly outdated. Instead, their business needs fresh content on their social media and an emphasis on their SEO.
They Might Not Have Considered Other Channels
Nowadays, there are so many ways in which a business can add to its online presence—from blog posts and social media posts to podcasts and YouTube videos. Businesses can opt for influencer marketing if there are many influencers in their field who might be willing to review and endorse their products. They can also use paid advertisements on Google or social media. They can try inbound marketing in which the premise is to anticipate and enhance the customer journey from the moment consumers hear about you until they finish using your product and hopefully come back to buy more. Businesses can even try good old-fashioned email marketing—which, by the way, if done well can work wonders for a business.
There are seemingly endless options when it comes to digital marketing. But many professionals might not realize how they can use a particular channel. For example, everyone has heard of YouTube; it’s one of the most visited sites worldwide. But businesses may not realize how they can use YouTube to market their products. They may not realize that short, informative videos about their product or service might help popularize their brand.
It’s up to the digital marketer to show them how they can best use the internet to their advantage.
Step 1: Understand the Customer’s Business Goals
The first step is to ask what the business is looking for in terms of the result of its marketing campaign. Do they want more traffic to their website? Do they want to increase sales? Or do they want to recast their brand entirely? At times, a company might even be looking to do some damage control if their reputation has gone awry, which they could do with greater online transparency.
Step 2: Come Up With a Personalized Marketing Plan
The point is that each company’s aims are different. What works for one might not work for another. On the other hand, having more experience in a particular field can help a marketer figure out a good solution for every company they work with. By starting with an evaluation of what the company is looking for, effective marketers can go on to design a personalized marketing solution that will help the company to reach its business goals.
Step 3: Build Trust and Create Long-Term Relationships
At times, in order to really give business owners what they want, someone might have to tell them, “No, you do not need this project. Let me suggest a better one for you.” Owners may not necessarily want new suggestions and may not feel open to them at first. But it’s important to keep the channels of communication open and for dialogue on why those suggestions are likely to work. However, when they see that the plan created for them is working, that’s going to create a greater level of trust and help build a successful long-term relationship.
Step 4: Help Owners Understand What They Need
On the other hand, a marketer could just take the client’s money and give a company exactly what they say they want. In the short term, the company would be happy with the work they’ve done. But they may not necessarily want to work with that marketer again if that work doesn’t lead to more sales, better branding, a good online reputation or any of their primary business goals. Just giving what is requested will not help in building a long-term working relationship.