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In most industries, growth is a requirement in order to stay in business. Year over year, customer lists need to expand and revenue needs to break last years records. Most business owners simply don’t have the time and expertise to keep their business competitive online. Managing social media, creating website content and internet advertising are all extremely time consuming. This is especially true for results that are anything above average. Digital marketing agencies that assist with this process are becoming more of a necessity than a luxury in today’s competitive marketplace. As a result, the competition for clients between marketers is stronger than ever.
As one of these such agencies, we’ve spent countless hours analyzing information to gain a competitive advantage in our own business. Learning from our own mistakes is crucial, but learning from the mistakes of others helps avoid ever making them. This helps us to attract more clients and ensure that they’re satisfied with our work. After all, it’s much easier to keep a client than to acquire a new one.
There are many reasons that clients could be disappointed with marketing performance. Even the most experienced digital marketers can’t control a slow economy or a dying product (no amount of advertising could revitalize cassette tape sales, sadly). But when accounting for factors that are uncontrollable, often times marketing isn’t getting the best results due to a common factor; it’s created for traffic rather than sales. This is why results can often be improved by taking a more sales minded approach.
Customer Focused Content
SEO professionals are responsible for a very large portion of what people view on the internet. Whether it was created by an outsourced agency, or an in-house professional, this is largely the case. Generally, if someone is reading a blog on a pediatrician’s website, it most likely wasn’t written by the doctor.
Professional content creators understand that writing something amazing doesn’t matter if no one ever reads it. This is why good SEO practices like keyword research and heading tags are so important. And the more competitive the industry, the harder it is to get to the front page of Google.
While professional content writers are constantly churning out high ranking work, they’re often missing the point of why it’s being written in the first place. To grow their client’s business.
Most people know that great content will increase the overall value of the entire website. But if a potential customer of your client ends up on that high ranking blog post, is that information going to help said client increase their business?
One example would be with a recent blog our agency created for a client. The article was written for a company that installs windows and the topic was ways to winterize your home. It was a fairly basic, “ten tips” style article, but at the bottom of each item, we included a “Pro Tip” from the client. The goal was to sell the value of company to viewers who were only searching for winterization tips. Judging by the bounce rate (number of viewers going to another page on the website after reading this one), there appears to be a positive effect.
Client Benefits from Ad Traffic
Another area where digital marketers often miss the mark is with PPC ads. While it can seem that, based on reports, everything is working correctly. Traffic from paid ads doesn’t always have a direct correlation with conversions. At least not the ones clients are looking for. This is why success from the marketing side needs to be measured by the effect it’s having on the client’s actual business, not just traffic.
We had a client awhile back that hired us after working with another agency for several years. That agency generated monthly performance reports detailing how their work was performing, as is common. In those reports, all the campaigns seemed to be achieving the same results they had been for years. The problem was, the client was booking less jobs than in the past while spending the same ad budget and fees.
The client brought this to the agency’s attention on more than one occasion. Each time, they would revert back to the reports as proof that their ads were generating traffic. In the end, their client ended up leaving them and signing with us.
The last example might have been resolved if the client and the agency were both on the same page. The client’s expectations from the PPC campaigns were only more jobs. The agency was more interested in generating traffic. In the end, both parties ended up losing.
Proper communication is going to be crucial to a strong foundation in any long term relationship (which should be the goal of any digital marketer). This starts with setting the proper expectations and sticking to them. Keeping a sales minded approach isn’t going to matter if your goals are different than the client’s. There needs to be a clear understanding of how they will define success. What needs to happen for them to get a good return on investment?
It’s very important to establish the necessity of good communication from the client side as well. Fluctuations in sales that aren’t cyclical need to be addressed as soon as they are noticed. It’s no secret that Google frequently performs massive updates that can severely disrupt well performing websites. While many of these smooth themselves out over time, it’s important to get in front of any issues that can be resolved internally.
The Benefits of Keeping a Sales Minded Approach
It can be easy to get caught up in the digital side of digital marketing, and sometimes forget that these efforts are directed towards humans and not computers. Everything marketers do needs to have the end user in mind, at least as much as page ranking or ad stats. This can sometimes be difficult to remember when working with multiple clients in varying industries.
Keeping a sales minded approach can help create content that will generate more revenue, as well as increase website traffic. The end result of everything a digital marketer does should be for the targeted audience, first and foremost. Doing this will increase revenue, grow companies, and greatly increase client satisfaction. Clients who know that marketers have their best interests at heart become lifelong accounts that refer others.
Author’s Bio: Eric N. Allen is the owner of Border West, a growing digital marketing agency based out of Austin, Texas. In addition to creating content and managing PPC for clients, he loves traveling with his wife and border collie and writing about their adventures.