Dennis Grothus/Digital Media Matters
You often call me busiNice owners who are dissatisfied with their digital marketing efforts. The first reason I hear Over and over the phrase “my phone doesn’t ring”. The owners want more customers, and their marketing efforts do not achieve this goal.
I have identified three compelling reasons why this breakup occurred. If you’re spending money on digital marketing and your phone isn’t ringing, read on for a guide to getting more customers. As a corporate advocate, I hope to empower owners with independently sourced educational insights so they can make informed decisions with confidence.
The first reason: agencies that sell the required work
To understand the disconnect between the company/agency, we must explore the typical marketing agency business model. Most of them are organized around a team that includes website builders, social media marketers, graphic designers, and copywriters who often work on search engine optimization as well. Website builders are project oriented and need a constant supply of work to justify their salary. On the contrary, the work of social media is usually ongoing.
The most common event I see is creating a brand new website for a client when the least expensive update will suffice. If a website builder needs a new business, unscrupulous agencies will start promoting websites to all potential clients, and you will get statistical work. I personally discovered one agency that designed a website template that was programmed to drive extra billing and work. They’ve built in-house coding on the website that eliminates SEO from working so that they can bill the SEO work separately after the website is created. I had the uncomfortable task of informing the client of my discovery and the cost of recoding the website.
green light: An agency that produces documented reports showing that your website needs SEO work and provides a market share report showing that there is a lack of visitors to your website compared to those of your competitors is an indication that they have experience and have done research to support the suggestion. A communication that clearly shows deficiencies that need to be corrected is a good sign.
red light: When the agency relies solely on the visual appearance of the site, or you want to create a website that does photography without supporting analysis of your site. Websites that act as a photo album with little or no written content will not drive new visitors from Google searches.
Hint: You can check your website’s SEO score for free on many websites. This scores on a scale of 100: https://www.seobility.net/en/seocheck/. This is the perfect tool to use to double check the functioning of an integrity check agency website. This tool (or any similar third party) should also act as a delivery tool to be fulfilled prior to the final payment for the functioning of the website.
Hint: If you are rebuilding your website, insist that you have an ADA compliant website. This ensures disabled visitors have access to all information. Websites must be legally ADA compliant; In addition, ADA-compliant websites are more suitable for SEO, where ADA and SEO requirements overlap. Here is a link to a free ADA website checker: https://wave.webaim.org/
Reason #2: Owners believe that digital marketing is a limited process
Digital marketing is a continuous process of pivoting with the addition of experiences on social media. Instagram Live video feeds and Facebook Business Suite are some of the latest additions for 2021. In addition, driving traffic to a website is an ongoing process of intentional growth dictated by Google, Bing, and others. All of these display your content based on algorithm updates that change how your content is chosen and who it will be shown. To add to the complexity, your competitors are actively adding content to attract visitors in tandem.
I make this clear to clients by demonstrating their market share of the products they offer, as it is an effective benchmark. For example, the search terms “cabinet hardware” and “kitchen cabinet hardware” total 124,000 per month. If your website generates 4,000 visitors per month, you have 3% of the total market. By showing this data in digital form, it speaks a language that most owners can understand and can then create a budget. After creating a website, there is work to be done on SEO aspect, or digital advertising, or both, to drive people to it.
red light: Business owners who think a website just needs to exist to increase traffic, or they post sporadically on social media without a commercial campaign.
green light: Professionals with market share reports to identify growth potential and credentials needed for growth, and will provide references for website SEO initiatives. Post plans on social media that contain more than one post type, for example: stories, videos, feed posts.
Hint: Consistent blog posting is the perfect way to connect with your customers and deliver fresh content that search engines want.
The third reason: lack of marketing
Targeting the right audience is easier than ever with the amount of demographic and geographic data that each digital platform collects. When advertising on Google, Bing, or social media, success is in the details. If you are spending on digital advertising, then you need to be guided by reports that show the success rate by audience demographics and geographical location. If your phone isn’t ringing, dig deeper for the exact target person to view ads and adjust accordingly.
Hint: Request reports detailing audience, platforms on which ads have been shown, and geographic locations.
A consistent brand identity provides consumers with confidence in knowing the caliber of your products and the service associated with them. Does your social media brand reflect your website and print collateral? Does the customer experience hold up to the message? Are your employees taught your brand identity? Having a strong, well-defined brand identity that clearly articulates your unique value is critical. Ensures that customers get the brand experience they expect.
Hint: Train your employees to ask customer qualification questions. How did you find us? How was your first experience with us? How can we improve?
Smart business owners view marketing as an extension of their business, and managing it with loyal partners and responsible employees is a path to success. Trust your intuition if there is any hesitation on your part and educate yourself with the help of third party advice when needed. Digital marketing is complex and it’s a powerful tool to grow your business and make your phone ring. ▪
Denise Grothouse has an extensive background in international business, branding and marketing. It specializes in digital and social platforms and combines them with traditional marketing and branding strategies. No stranger to the kitchen and bathroom industry, she is best known for her work as CEO of the brand at Grothouse, Inc. She is the current president of Perfect Six Marketing Company.