No one makes it to the moon alone.
Even Scott Kelly, the first astronaut to spend a year at the International Space Station, had a support system behind him.
If your mission is to grow your company’s revenue by X percent over the next year, it might seem more insurmountable than a trip to space—if you’re trying to do it on your own. While you may know your company’s brand, products and customers better than anyone else on the planet, you need to know when to call in reinforcements.
That’s where a digital marketing agency comes in. Here are nine mission-critical tasks you should consider outsourcing.
Your website is the first impression most people will have of your company. It needs to not only look impressive, but also be easy for visitors to find what they need quickly. If they don’t find it, they’ll leave within seconds.
The most effective website design isn’t just a facelift, but in most cases, a major renovation. It starts with a thorough discovery process that includes interviews (with internal stakeholders and/or customers) to understand who is visiting your website and what they’re looking for. Discovery should also involve keyword research, reviewing analytics for your current site to see what pages perform best and evaluating your competitors’ websites.
Once you’ve done the research and have a plan in place, you need a design team to bring it all to life. A great design team will use creative elements while ensuring your brand is portrayed consistently throughout. They will also make sure your website is mobile-friendly and easy to navigate.
It doesn’t do much good to invest in a new website if no one can find it. Voice search is changing the way people look for information, so Google is constantly reinventing the algorithm it uses to display search results. Keeping up with all these changes is a full-time job you can’t afford to leave to chance.
Unless you have someone in-house with the time and skill to do that, hiring an agency with SEO expertise is the best way to ensure your customers can find your website when they have a need. A good agency will start with a discussion of your company’s goals and how SEO factors into the equation. For instance, if you’re a performance management software company and your goal is to improve organic traffic to your website, you’ll need to improve your ranking for relevant terms. “Performance management software” is the obvious starting point, but there’s a surprising amount of competition for that term. A simple Google search shows more than 400 million results. To stand out in that crowd, you need to look for other ranking opportunities—starting with long-tail keywords like “evaluating performance management software.”
You’ll also want to consider other questions your prospects will likely have throughout their buyer’s journey, even before they realize they need a software solution. They might search for “ways to improve employee engagement” or “how to conduct more effective performance reviews”.
An agency can identify which keywords have the highest volume and the lowest competition so you can improve your chances of ranking for them. They can also conduct an analysis to see what your competitors are ranking for and what strategies they’re using to beat you, from having better on-page SEO to getting more backlinks from authoritative websites.
A website that’s well-designed for the user experience and optimized for search is the foundation for any effective marketing strategy.
But unless you have quality content to drive people to your site, investing in a new website is like building a beautiful hotel on an island and then hoping people will somehow discover it on their own.
Content marketing is one of the best ways to drive high-quality traffic to your website. The average company that blogs generates 55 percent more website visitors, 97 percent more inbound links, and 434 percent more indexed pages. [Tweet this Stat]
Developing an effective content marketing strategy starts with a strong understanding of your buyers and ends with an ongoing plan to answer their questions at every stage in the sales cycle. (Actually, it never really ends, because there are always opportunities for improvement.)
A content marketing strategy includes a variety of elements, including:
The right combination of these assets will depend on your goals, but however you look at it, developing these resources takes time and effort. You’ll need to develop a campaign plan that identifies all the elements you’ll need to reach your goals, conduct interviews, write and edit the pieces, design them and develop them so they can live on your website. You’ll need to create email workflows based on logic, measure the results of your campaign and fine-tune it. Unless your team already has in-house writers, designers, developers and technologists, it’s much more cost-effective to hire an agency that can take an “all-hands-on-deck” approach.
Your company’s blog is one of the best ways to get your message out to your audience, but you can’t count on people to just show up there, either. Even if you’re creating content that’s written specifically to address what they’re searching for, you might only get their attention the one time they type something relevant into a search engine.
If you want them to actually get to know your brand, you have to engage them in a conversation that gets their attention and then keep their attention. That’s why social media is so powerful. These days, with millions of blogs being published daily and the average person receiving more than 200 emails each day, you can’t count on someone to just find your blog and subscribe to it. (If you get them to subscribe and take the time to leave a thoughtful comment, go out and buy a lottery ticket because you’ve just beaten the odds.) But if you’re promoting your blog posts—and your brand’s personality— on social media and tagging it appropriately, you can contribute to conversations that are already happening, rather than waiting for someone to start one on your blog.
People who get to know your brand on social media are more likely to think of you when they’re ready to buy. Research from Sprout Social shows 74 percent of consumers use social media networks to influence purchasing decisions.
That said, social media can also be a giant waste of time if you’re not using it strategically. You can’t just auto-publish your blogs to your social channels, schedule a few other posts and walk away. People expect a response when they ask a question or express frustration with your brand. A few bad reviews that aren’t handled properly can undo months’ worth of effort building up your brand. You need someone who can publish posts that spark conversations and has the time to actually follow up with them.
While your company ultimately needs to take ownership of your social media channels, a digital marketing agency can help you with many aspects of social media management, including:
Social media is constantly changing. Facebook continually updates its algorithm to show users more of what they want to see (like photos of friends and family) and less of what they don’t (like promotional posts from brands.) What worked for your company on social media a year or two ago probably isn’t working well today. To keep up with all these changes, you need someone who can give your brand’s social media presence the time and attention it deserves.
Building a social media presence takes time. Tapping into the power of social media influencers who already have an established presence is one of the quickest ways to make an impact.
Influencer marketing can pay off in a big way. One study by influencer marketing platform Tomoson found that companies earned $6.50 in revenue for every dollar they spent on influencer marketing.
When you’re a large brand, finding influencers might seem obvious. It’s celebrities with that “cool” factor, whether it’s Beyonce promoting Pepsi or LeBron James’s multi-million dollar contract with Nike.
If you don’t have a multi-million dollar advertising budget, there are plenty of other ways to reach influencers. You can search for them on Twitter and Instagram or within LinkedIn or Facebook groups. Once you’ve found influencers who are a good fit for your brand, you need to reach out to them with an intriguing offer. It could be a free trial, free admission to your next event or a fee based on their reach and what they charge other brands.
Managing all this takes time, of course—and an agency can help.
All the changes we’re seeing on social media mean fewer people are seeing your brand’s organic posts. Organic reach on social media has been declining for years, but most people don’t realize just how bad it’s gotten: Since the most recent Facebook algorithm change at the beginning of 2018, our data shows that less than one half of one percent of people are seeing organic Facebook posts.
That’s right—after all that time and energy you spent growing your brand’s Facebook following to 10,000 people, only five of them saw that awesome infographic you just posted today.
If you’re wondering why you should even bother posting anymore, that’s understandable. But before you give up, know that despite all these changes, Facebook is still one of the best ways for many brands to reach people. With more than 2 billion active users and the average person spending almost an hour a day on the platform, it’s your most captive audience. But to reach them, you’ll have to pay for it.
With Facebook’s advanced targeting options, you can advertise to users based not only on their demographics and location, but on more than 300 different attributes. Want to zero in on tech-savvy, Gen X HR directors in the Midwest who are new to their position (and happen to have pets?) You can do it! Compare that to placing an ad in a publication that’s only designed for HR professionals and it’s easy to see how powerful Facebook advertising can be.
That’s only one platform. If you want to truly make an impact and bring in leads, you need to have a cohesive demand generation strategy across multiple channels.
As easy as it is to waste massive amounts of time on social media, it’s even easier to waste money investing in the wrong paid channels or not using them correctly.
Whether you’re investing in Google AdWords, ads on Facebook or LinkedIn, native advertising or retargeting, demand generation isn’t something you can “set and forget.” You need someone to monitor results constantly and make adjustments as needed.
An agency that consistently achieves results for its clients month after month is going to have a much better idea of what works than someone who’s trying it out for the first time (or someone who has been using the same approach for years without trying anything new).
The right digital marketing agency can help you with every aspect of demand generation, including:
A dedicated demand generation team will help your organization identify the best opportunities for advertising so you can make every dollar go further. They will also continually monitor results and make improvements so you can focus on other priorities—like launching your amazing new product.
So you finally have a steady stream of people coming to your website, and they’re starting to explore. They’re downloading some of your resources, reading your case studies and maybe even asking for a demo or a free trial.
Then they seem to disappear for months—or for good. Was it something you said? It’s more likely what you didn’t say. You had their attention but couldn’t keep it because you were too busy trying to attract other prospects who weren’t even interested.
In other words, you didn’t have a strong lead nurturing strategy.
Lead nurturing works—research has shown that nurtured leads are 20 percent more likely to become sales opportunities.
Effective lead nurturing starts by identifying which leads are most likely to become sales opportunities, based on their demographics and behavior (such as visiting certain pages).
Once you’ve segmented these leads into groups, you can nurture them with content and conversations tailored for where they are in the sales cycle.
Marketing automation technology like software and chatbots makes lead nurturing easier, but without a lead nurturing strategy behind them, they won’t get you very far. A digital marketing agency can help you develop a lead nurturing strategy and also set up the tactical aspects of it (like email workflows) using marketing automation.
If you knew that just 20 percent of your marketing efforts were going to produce 80 percent of your revenue, wouldn’t you want to spend more time on that 20 percent?
That’s the idea behind account-based marketing. It’s an old tactic with a new twist, thanks to technology that makes it easier to identify companies you want to work with and then place ads directly in front of them.
Succeeding at account-based marketing requires more than just an eye-catching message. Once you have a prospect’s attention, you need to show them something that’s tailored not just to a general problem they might be having or to their industry, but to their company specifically.
Then, you need to build that relationship just like any other—which requires lead nurturing.
All these marketing tasks are critical to building awareness and converting visitors into leads, but unless your sales team closes those deals, they won’t lead to a single dollar in revenue.
That’s where inbound sales or sales enablement comes in.
Inbound sales means aligning your sales process with what you learn about your prospects as your sales and marketing teams communicate with them. For instance, if your sales reps are constantly fielding questions about your pricing model and hearing feedback that it’s confusing, both your sales and marketing teams should get together and figure out how to present it in a simpler format.
A digital marketing agency can support both your teams in these efforts in many ways, including:
As amazing as you are, you can’t do everything on your own, especially when it comes to your digital marketing strategy. Partnering with an agency that has expertise in all these areas is like having a team of superheroes that complement your own super powers. Together, you can face anything.
To learn more about what it's like to work with a digital marketing agency like ours, check out these stories based on some of our client relationships.