Have you reached a stage in your business where you sense there's more to achieve? You've followed a consistent path for years, perhaps with considerable success. You've established reliable contacts and done things the right way. Yet, as you consider your business's future, it seems like there's no clear path forward?
You realize it's time for a change and decide to adapt to the online world. Acknowledging that the business landscape in 2024 has evolved significantly from what it was in 2010, or even in 2020, you choose to embrace these new digital realities. Thus, you invest in creating a website, believing it's the answer to long term sales and marketing sustainability.
After successfully launching your new website with the help of a chosen agency, you expect it to attract online visitors. Yet weeks later, business calls remain unchanged, leading to doubts. Suddenly, an email arrives in your inbox, promising online visibility and top Google ranking for your website.
You arrange a meeting with the sender of that email. They assure you that they can boost your website to the top of Google search results, promising increased leads and website traffic. Eager for results, you agree to their terms and feel relieved that your transition to the digital age is in expert hands.
A few months later, you're working hard, wishing for more customers, when an email from the agency arrives. Reading it, you feel confused and anxious. What does all this jargon mean? Why aren't there any new leads? Then comes their invoice, and you realize you've spent thousands on your website and online marketing, with little understanding of what's happening.
Is your agency taking advantage of you? Before you react, let's take a step back. If this scenario sounds familiar, you might have fallen into a mentality that isn’t conducive for growing your business online. We’ve identified this as the ‘Just Do It’ mentality, and here's what it looks like.
The 'Just Do It' Mentality
This practical example illustrates the concept. Imagine you're running your own business, and you receive a message from your marketing agency:
"Dear Business Owner, Thank you for entrusting us with your online marketing needs. After researching your industry, we would like to schedule a quick meeting to discuss your target audience. Could we briefly connect via Zoom this Thursday?"
Upon reading this, you choose not to respond, continuing with your usual routine.
A month later, another message arrives:
"Dear Business Owner, We have updated several pages on your website and added a new page to showcase your services. To ensure we're on the right track, we have some questions about your business goals. Could you kindly answer these to help us understand your objectives?"
Again, you decide to ignore it. You may not know, but this is what operating in the 'just do it' mindset looks like. You expect your agency to automatically identify your ideal customer and make your website the top result on Google. This view treats sales and marketing as simple transactions: if you invest a certain amount, you expect a fixed return. However, this mindset is limiting and can hinder your business's potential. It restricts what your marketing agency can achieve for you and, even worse, can deplete your budget unnecessarily.
The 'Just Do It' mentality can cost you much more than just your outstanding marketing bills. As we head into 2024, this approach is becoming increasingly impractical. You cannot solely rely on your agency for results. To truly succeed, someone on your team should be actively attentive and overseeing your agency's activity. This active engagement is the ideal way to properly assess value, monitor results, and significantly impact your business's growth.
5 Keys To Maximizing Your Digital Marketing Investment 2024
In this ever-evolving business world, we understand the challenges faced by sales leaders and business owners like you. As we step into 2024, it's time to shift from a 'just do it' mentality to a more collaborative 'do it together' approach. We're here to put an end to aimless spending and baseless hopes. At Image Management, we aim to be more than just a service provider; we want to be your digital marketing partner, bringing years of expertise in key areas, such as website development, design, digital strategy, and digital management.
We want to work closely with you to understand your team, your industry, and your competition. We're committed to enhancing your online presence and positioning your business for success in a digital world. This partnership is about mutual effort and understanding, not working in isolation.
We developed these 5 essential keys to maximize your digital investments in 2024. They are designed with you in mind, focusing on practical, understandable strategies that align with your business's needs and goals.
1. Treat Digital Marketing as An Investment, Not A Gamble
Digital marketing can sometimes feel uncertain, almost like a gamble. Why is that? Often, digital marketing agencies exploit a knowledge gap, making promises based on a business’s needs, while keeping their results vague. This scenario can be financially beneficial for the agency, leaving businesses reliant on the initial promise. This creates frustration for businesses working with an agency. However, before assigning blame, it's important to reflect on your own approach. How can you ensure your agency works in your best interests?
The solution lies in how you perceive your initial investment in the agency and it starts with setting the right expectations, and building the foundation of your investment on trust, relationship, and collaboration. When you choose to work with an agency, express your expectation for transparent, honest updates on your digital marketing progress. This approach encourages the agency to deliver their best work, knowing their efforts are valued and not just measured against the financial cost.
What Gambling Looks Like:
Gambling happens when you approach an agency, demanding increased online traffic and leads, while also claiming to be too busy to get involved. You view your financial input alone as sufficient, and relinquish all responsibility for the results of your digital marketing. This is the ‘Just Do It’ mentality in action, and it creates a dynamic where the agency's work never meets your expectations.
In trying to control every aspect – your business, the agency, and the outcomes – you might inadvertently misunderstand the constantly evolving and complex nature of digital marketing. More importantly, this approach can strain your relationship with the agency and turn your investment into a risky gamble at best.
These observations may seem difficult to acknowledge if they apply to you. But we share it to encourage a reevaluation of your approach.
Recognizing that this area might be outside your expertise is not a weakness; it's a savvy business decision.
Make a wise investment in digital marketing, not a gamble. It's about finding the right partner to navigate this complex field and grow your business effectively.
2. Define Communication Rhythms With Your Agency
We emphasized the importance of setting clear expectations at the outset of your partnership with a digital marketing agency. We understand that as a business owner, approaching an agency can be daunting, especially when you're feeling stressed and overwhelmed. We've seen this time and again.
Unfortunately, some agencies might take advantage of your situation, promising to handle every digital need you have, while guaranteeing a flood of leads. While this sounds reassuring, it's crucial to look for agencies that dig deeper.
A good agency will ask questions that may seem unrelated at first. Examples of these may be:
- "What is consuming most of your time?"
- "Could you describe a typical week in your business?"
- "What is your most pressing need?"
These inquiries are not off-topic; they demonstrate the agency's commitment to helping you achieve your goals. Understanding your daily operations and challenges helps in crafting a tailored, strategic approach.
This conversation is also a chance for the agency to negotiate how they can fit into your busy schedule. Whether it's a quarterly check-in, bi-annual meetings, or more frequent discussions, knowing this upfront allows the agency to plan their efforts more effectively.
At Image Management, we adapt our approach to suit each client’s unique needs and schedule. We're not just focused on executing tasks; we prioritize understanding what works best for you.
So, the next time you meet with your agency, welcome their questions and engage in meaningful dialogue. This exchange isn't just about getting to know each other; it's about building a foundation of trust. As we mentioned earlier, this approach is far more reliable than gambling.
By establishing a rhythm of communication and making that the basis of your partnership, you're making a sound investment. It's about setting standards based on mutual understanding and trust, rather than just considering the cost per hour.
3. Sharing Organizational Structure
Understanding the flow of work in any organization is crucial, especially in the relationship between a business and a marketing agency. Let's explore this concept from both perspectives.
From Agency Side:
After identifying a client's needs and establishing an action plan, a vital question arises. "How is this information communicated and executed within your agency?"
It's reasonable for a business to inquire about who will be responsible for executing their plan. This question allows the agency to detail how they manage and deliver their services, fostering transparency and building trust.
From the Business Side:
Every business operates uniquely. In smaller businesses, staff often wear multiple hats. Yet understanding each person's role is key to organizational efficiency. For example, an admin who handles HR tasks and fields customer inquiries might not be the best contact for discussing marketing strategies. However, a sales manager overseeing a team could be a more suitable point of contact, potentially opening avenues for collaboration between the business and the agency.
Producing The Best Outcomes With Your Agency
A sales leader might wish to engage directly with the agency, or perhaps an assistant sales manager with an interest in digital marketing could step into this role. Knowing the structure of your business allows the agency to identify potential collaborative opportunities, leading to more effective and meaningful results. Sharing this information with your agency demonstrates openness to collaboration and motivates them to work towards achieving higher outcomes for your business.
4. Decoding the Bill: Understanding What You're Paying For In Digital Marketing
Navigating the realm of digital marketing can be complex, especially when it comes to understanding the services you're paying for. A digital marketing agency, like Image Management, differs from service providers that offer one single service. Our expertise lies in website development, design, digital strategy, and maintenance. In other words:
We develop, we manage, and we maintain.
Focusing on communication, trust, and relationship building — are crucial for understanding this aspect of digital marketing. Achieving top search engine rankings for a keyword, for example, involves a blend of different skills and tasks. It’s important to realize that what you might perceive as paying for link building could actually be an investment in content creation. Similarly, work that is done could be perceived as brand development, but instead, might actually be comprehensive data analysis.
At Image Management, we apply our combined skills and experience to each project, ensuring quality work. We encourage you to ask questions and seek clarity about our services. However, we advise against jumping to conclusions, as there’s often more to a project than meets the eye. Understanding the depth and scope of what goes into digital marketing services can help you see the value in your investment.
5. Prioritize Moving The Needle Through Meaningful Questions
Profitability is a top priority for any business. It has to be if the business is going to last! All digital efforts are centered around growth and profitability. They ensure the health of an organization, and allow sustainability for an organization's output. Fluff may have its time and place for good feelings, but loses its appeal when discussing the bottom line. So how do you make this agency relationship built on trust and transparency work? You keep the big picture in mind, by asking questions that prioritize moving the needle. Here are a few examples.
The "Big Why":
"Remind me why we're working on this again?"
This question communicates a desire to understand, not a questioning of intent or expertise. It's about ensuring alliance with the larger goal. Reconnecting with the "why" recharges commitment and fosters a sense of shared purpose.
Charting the Course:
"That's great. What is our plan of action for next month?"
Don't let the momentum fizzle. Proactively ask for the road map, the next steps in the campaign evolution. This keeps you informed, engaged, and ready to contribute your insights.
Refining the Narrative:
"I'm not sure my audience is hearing this, is there a better way to tell this story?"
Don't be afraid to offer your perspective. Your knowledge of your audience is invaluable. Challenge the messaging, suggest improvements, and work together with your agency to craft a story that resonates deeply.
Setting Realistic Goals:
"We've seen 500 website visitors over the last 3 months. What will it take to get us to 1000/month?"
This question pushes the limit, but that's what’s needed for growth. Asking these questions in a data driven way, not feelings driven, is always recommended.
Asking these courageous questions moves the needle and leads to growth. Once the collaborative environment between you and your agency has been formed, these questions will help you cultivate the results you are looking for.
In the world of digital marketing, the relationship between a business and its marketing agency is akin to someone saying they want to transform their health by hiring a personal trainer.
Imagine this individual hiring a top-rated trainer for guidance. Despite the trainer's expertise and custom-tailored advice, the individual fails to adhere to the dietary and lifestyle recommendations essential for success. This lack of commitment results in unmet fitness goals, leading the individual to unfairly blame the trainer for their lack of progress. This scenario reflects the pitfalls of a business employing a 'Just Do It' mindset with their marketing agency, expecting results without fully engaging in the collaborative process.
The lesson here is clear: success in both fitness and digital marketing requires active participation and a willingness to embrace expert advice. Just as a fitness journey demands a lifestyle change, achieving success in the digital landscape necessitates a shift from a solitary, hands-off approach to a collaborative, hands-on partnership with your marketing agency. It's about combining your business acumen with their marketing expertise to forge a path towards shared success.
As we move forward into 2024, it's imperative for businesses to adopt the 'Do It Together' mindset. By actively engaging with your marketing agency and implementing the five key strategies outlined, you can transform your digital marketing efforts from a risky gamble into a strategic investment. This collaborative approach is not just a choice, but a necessity to thrive in the ever-evolving digital marketplace. Let's work together to unlock the full potential of your digital marketing and steer your business towards a future of growth and innovation.
Published on December 27, 2023