To increase sales internet agencies must first deal with operational strategy, not sell tactics.
“How can I pay you when I just spent $6,000 with an internet marketing agency but didn’t get any results?”
If I had a nickel for every time I encountered this argument with a potential client…Sometimes it’s worse. They’ve spent even more. With multiple agencies. And have nothing to show for it.
I get it. I really do. What do I have to offer that’s new? Here is the answer: nothing.
There are no truly new tactics. There’s no magic secret I can share. Everything has been done. Everything has been tested. And then tested again.
If you want to learn all the “secrets,” they’re out there for you to find yourself. In fact, here are a few to get you started…
That’s the easy part. And that’s likely what was sold to you by your last internet marketing agency. They have a list of services: blog posts, keyword research, social media content, guest posts, emails, and newsletters. They report back with keyword rankings, site traffic, and pageviews.
But in the end: no sales increase.
Does that sound familiar?
But online marketing tactics can and do produce results – big results. These agencies are just missing the most important component. Online marketing tactics in a vacuum don’t increase sales. You can put lipstick on a pig – but it’s still a pig.
That’s the most important component: the pig. And that pig is your business.
How to Increase Sales: Deal with the “Pig” First
To get results, you need a strategic approach. Examine what your company is offering and how it aligns (or often doesn’t align!) with what customers want.
That is the real power that the internet gives you. You no longer have to guess. You don’t even have to ask. You can see it in the actions of your customers. What are they searching for? Where are they searching for it? Who exactly is searching for it?
From there, you can formulate your communications, perform a marketing makeover, and also adjust your business operations. Unless there is an off-line strategy to improve how your company meets current market needs, all the advertising – internet marketing or otherwise – won’t work effectively. The problem is in how clients shop for agencies – and what they expect from them.
Clients ask for the wrong things.
You shouldn’t be shopping for someone to write a blog post, manage your Facebook posts, do SEO, or add you to business directories. Heck, you can hire someone from a third world country who can complete these tasks to a pittance, but it is unlikely to yield any results.
Instead, what you need is someone who can analyze where your business is today and where the marketplace is. Someone who can see what adjustments need to be made to your business and what to prioritize in terms of online marketing to connect your offerings with your customers.
Clients are measuring the wrong things – or not measuring at all.
You shouldn’t be shopping for someone who can give you a first page rank, double your website traffic, or post your social engagements. Those are the wrong things to measure.
You need someone who can bring you leads, conversions, and sales growth. You need someone who understands what data is important for the sustainable growth of your business.
This also means aligning your accounting systems to support your internet marketing makeover. I know that might sound crazy at first. But bear with me.
Let’s say a moving company is optimizing for the term “moving a piano.” To know if you are successful, you need to know how many pianos you move. That means coding sales accordingly, so you can pull out that data. That is the only way to tell if the results justify the marketing.
Clients are asking for traffic – but not planning for conversions.
You shouldn’t seek out new traffic until you are prepared to handle it. Do you have your landing pages set up with clear "calls-to-action"? Are all customer touchpoints optimized and ready to handle the increased traffic? Have you mapped search intent to the buyer journey?
The power of the internet is the ability to make data-driven decisions like you never have before. If an agency is boasting about the traffic they can bring you, bring it back to how that will translate into results for your business’s bottom line.
Clients are looking for the lowest cost.
Like I mentioned, you can get someone to deliver online marketing tactics for a very low cost. That sounds great… but who cares if you don’t get any results from it? You’re just throwing money away.
The truth is it takes almost as much effort to develop and implement an effective online strategy for a large company as a small one. Anyone can throw together an internet marketing plan in 10 minutes, tops. Here, I’ll write one for you now…
Weekly blog posts
Daily social media updates
A PPC budget
A monthly newsletter
That’s free of charge! (You’re welcome.)
But putting together an effective internet strategy takes hours. And hours. It means research. Reports. Presentations. Interviews. Getting to know a business inside and out.
This “invisible work” often isn’t understood by clients.
That two-hour kick-off meeting with you? It took me four hours to prepare for it.
You can’t form an effective strategy without data. Gathering data takes time. And that means a larger price tag.
Most Clients do NOT look at how the internet fits into their entire business.
What is the best time to send an email? What social media channels are most important? What will it take to increase my web traffic? Your internet marketing agency likely has some blanket responses to these questions. But the truth is the answers vary widely by industry and what works for another company isn’t necessarily what’s best for your company. Again, this is all tactics – not strategy.
It is important to consider how operational processes fit in. What is the offline process by which an email lead or call is handled? Is the process working efficiently now? Or could part of it be automated?
Let’s go back to that moving company. When a lead reaches the desk of a salesperson, what information are they given? Is it just contact information? Part of the process could be automated. Customers can prequalify themselves online by describing what they need. With just a brief form, that salesperson can already know the distance of the move, the number of floors involved, the size of the building, and much more. This would simplify the sales process and deliver a speedier, more accurate customer service experience.
The key is to stop buying tactics. Start seeking a strategic approach.
At Location Traffic, we prioritize what needs to get done (online and offline), measure incremental results, and build out an effort to generate leads and increase sales. We don’t approach marketing as a grab bag of one-off tactics. Instead, we take a whatever-means-necessary approach – looking at all aspects of your business. We work to aggregate an audience for your brand that converts into sustainable growth for your company. We help you adjust your business, so those online marketing tactics can work in a big way.
We don’t put lipstick on the pig. Instead, we bring home the bacon!