The squeaky wheel gets the grease.
There is a reason that statement exists in our culture. It’s simple human nature. In the course of your day, you pay attention to the tasks that are the most pressing or the people who make the most noise (there’s that squeak) and your focus is diverted away from the items that are less critical. It makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?
How does this relate to your online marketing? Well, if you or your business have hired a professional online marketer or digital agency to handle your online marketing, it’s very relevant. Your agency suffers from the same dilemma. Amongst all their clients, the ones with the highest budgets or the ones that are the most demanding (squeakiest) get the most attention and the most effort. Conversely the low touch clients get the least. That is only logical. Which would you rather be?
The level of service you can expect from your agency is directly proportional to the level of service you demand. You may not have the highest budget, but you can still hold your agency’s feet to the fire and compel them to give you the 110% they promised you when you agreed to give them your business.
Here are 6 ways you can get more effort (and results) from your online marketer or agency:
- Stop being the low-touch client.
I know you’re busy and there might be more pressing tasks on your plate (there’s that theme again), but you need to make an effort to hold your agency or contractor accountable. You need to become engaged. If they send you emails, read them and respond if it’s appropriate. Return their calls promptly. If you have questions, call them and ask. Show them you’re paying attention and watching them. And expect them to be responsive to your attempts to reach out to them.
- Request monthly reporting.
Your agency or contractor should be providing you with detailed reporting that is based upon the KPIs (key performance indicators) that are most important to you and your business (increased traffic, conversions, telephone calls, sales, likes, subscribers, etc). Their reporting should be presented in a way that you can understand and it should make sense. Make sure they send you these reports at regular intervals, but no less than monthly. Most good agencies do this as part of their standard methodology. If you’re not receiving regular reports, this is a big red flag and you should skip to item 6 below.
- Insist on regular meetings.
Set up regularly occurring, monthly or quarterly meetings with your agency (in person or online), to review their reporting and get a status report. Require them to account for the time they’ve spent on each service they provide during that reporting period (SEO, paid media, social media or web development). It’s best if you can have the staff members in attendance who actually manage your day to day account in this meeting. They know the most about what is going on in your account and they are the ones who need your feedback the most. If your contractor is resistant to this, it’s another red flag. It’s probably because they have something to hide and you should probably have them audited (see item 6 below).
- Make them explain things in a way that you can understand.
Don’t allow them to throw a bunch of industry jargon at you. You pay them a lot of money. They work for you. Don’t be shy. Good agencies love to have clients who are engaged. At my previous agency, we found that the more our clients knew about what we did for them, the happier they were. This was one of our primary methods for client retention.
- Challenge them.
Tell them about your business goals and ask them how they can support those goals with their efforts. Find out what adjustments they plan to make for holidays or other special times relating to your business. Have a new product or service? Planning an event? Opening a new location? Tell them and ask them how they can help. Your agency or contractor should always be thinking of ways to help increase your business but they need your input on what they can promote.
- Audit your agency’s efforts semi-annually or annually.
Auditing by an independent third party auditing team should be a regular part of your online marketing strategy. Nothing holds your agency’s feet to the fire more effectively than a hired gun looking over their shoulders.The money you spend on an audit is a drop in the bucket compared to the benefit it provides. It can also confirm whether or not your agency is using best practices, and it can possibly uncover problems that may be costing you thousands of dollars or worse, your company’s online success.
When you audit your SEO, PPC or social media, avoid any conflict of interest by using an independent third party auditing company like OnMark Advisors. Avoid “Free Audits” from other agencies as they are typically looking to only point out the bad so that they can gain your business. Only an independent third party audit will tell you the good and the bad and help you to understand how your agency stacks up compared to industry standards.
Agencies love low-touch clients. They get your check every month and don’t have to spend any time justifying the work. You pay your online marketers a great deal of money. They need to earn it. Be the squeaky wheel. Take these steps to hold them accountable and you’ll be glad you did.