This will probably burst a few people’s bubbles, but digital marketing is a long-term commitment. There is no quick fix. Or at least, not any that are legit. Digital marketing agencies that offer the earth and say they’ll serve it up tomorrow are ones to avoid.
Quick results tend to come from black-hat techniques, the kind of online mischief that will get your website hit with search engine penalties or banned entirely. That said, when you’re investing in a marketing campaign, you want to know when to expect results and how you can check in to make sure things are happening as they should. You’re likely to wait at least six months to see movement in your search rankings. But that doesn’t mean you can’t keep an eye on other things. There are many ways to tell if your digital marketing agency is doing what they’re meant to. Here are some of the best.
Define your target metrics before the start of your campaign.
How quickly you’ll start seeing results depends on these four factors:
- Your reputation before starting the campaign
- The dominance and strength of your competitors
- The industry you’re in
- Your budget
So, although there is no one-size-fits-all template for digital marketing, there are wise and not-so-wise ways to work with an agency. The first thing you should do is lay down the ground rules. You need to decide what metrics
you are hoping to change before you start your campaign. You’ve no hope of knowing if it’s working if you don’t know what it’s supposed to be achieving.
You and your agency should iron out these details at the start. They likely asked:
– What is your objective?
– Who is your target audience?
– What KPIs (key performance indicators) do you want to target?
For instance, do you want to increase your social media engagement by 55% throughout campaign? Or, are you an online shop looking to increase sales and reach specific income goals? Different businesses have different expectations and needs. So make sure you all know what these are from the off so you can agree when something is or is not working.
Set the stage for easy measurement
When you’ve nailed down your targets with your agency, put in place some crafty features to make it easier for you to all to track progress. You could:
– Place specific call-to-actions in your content and keep an eye on their success.
– Target a handful of landing pages and compare their metrics to non-target pages.
Expect to discuss ideas
A good digital marketing agency will regularly ask for your input. Throughout your campaign, they’ll want to check in with you on issues such as:
– Campaign tone of voice
– Brand identity
– Brand continuity
– Content topic focus
– Target URLs for backlinks
And, they’ll need access to your CMS (content management system) and social media accounts. If they haven’t asked for this information, it’s likely they’re not planning on doing their job.
Many black-hat techniques can be actioned without any specific information. If you’ve not provided much, but they’re saying they’ve started, you should ask what it is they’re up to.
Get to know your metrics
Once you know your targets you can identify which metrics should budge is all is going well. You can view the most important metrics (bounce rate, time on site, organic traffic etc.) by adding plugins like MonsterInsights and OptinMonster to your website builder or using external applications like Google Analytics.
Keep an eye on your target metrics. They will fluctuate day by day, but you should see a steady improvement over time. Watch out for consistent improvement in your organic traffic (the number of people finding your website through a search engine result).
You may also see an increase in referral traffic, or people who found you through links to your site (e.g. backlinks from other websites), but it can be slower to budge.
Beyond the statistics
To give your business a boost, most digital marketing campaigns will focus on:
– Addressing your website’s backlink profile
– Creating regular, high-quality content
– Improving your website’s user experience
– Addressing your social media profiles.
So, from the start, you should be able to see a change in:
– The quality of your content
– How much people are engaging with your content
– Your backlink profile
– Your on-site metrics like ‘time on page’
Interact with your followers
Any company can pay to generate hundreds or thousands of page likes, Twitter followers and other social media engagements. But you want to know the quality rather than the number.
Don’t just sit back and watch your figures grow. Interact with your newfound flock to get an idea of how genuinely interested they are in what you do. If they don’t seem keen, they could be fake.
As my former maths teachers always said, “it’s best to show your workings”. And this is equally true of your digital marketing agency.
It’s one thing to get to an endpoint and another to be able to show how you got there. As mentioned above, you want to know your agency is getting you results in the right way. A great way to be sure is to schedule regular updates in the form of reports.
Most agencies will already offer updates as part of their service, but you should check that they’ll be in a form you can understand. There’s no point you getting a regular email with spreadsheets full of figures and jargon you’ve never seen before.
Ask for summaries to be pitched at your level and be honest about what that is from the
Keep an eye on your ROI
Any reports your agency provides should include details of the current ROI (return on investment) of your campaign. You should be able to easily tell how much profit they’re generating per approach (per advert, per content campaign and so on).
During the setup of your campaign, let your agency know that you want this information included. If they are legitimate, they’ll offer it anyway. If they’re not, they’ll make excuses and you can run for the hills.
Taking the leap into the world of digital marketing agencies can be intimidating. Especially when you invest a sizable chunk of money for the pleasure. But a good team running an effective campaign can take your web business to another level and be worth far more to your future than this initial outlay. But, as with every big business decision, it pays to be vigilant. By following these tips, you’ll be able to keep stock of your money and make sure you get the most out of your investment.