Whether you like it or not, marketing your business online is a tricky pay to play experiment. Lead generation campaigns require media spend and there should always be dedicated oversight to ensure the success of that campaign. Finding new customers and converting them into paying customers through paid media tactics requires an investment and they are often the most successful type of campaign when managed properly. To ensure that your paid media efforts are meeting your business goals, hire an external marketing agency who can devote their expertise to managing your campaign and budget.
The most common mistake that businesses make is launching a paid media campaign without asking their agency the right questions. It’s imperative that you ask the right questions to ensure your agency is setting the campaign up for success. If your agency can’t give you an answer that satisfies your question then start looking for another agency because you don’t want your campaign spending to spin out of control. Paid media campaigns can get expensive very quickly so it’s important to have peace of mind before you start spending your media dollars.
Here are the five most important questions that you should ask your agency before launching your paid media campaign.
#1 “Do you understand my business goals?”
Most digital agencies say that they’re “experts” in lead generation but what does that really mean? To be a true expert in lead generation the agency must be an expert in understanding their client’s problems, needs, and opportunities. Don’t be afraid to have your account manager reconfirm their understanding of your business goals with you before launch. If your business needs to get the phones ringing but your agency is focused on driving traffic to your blog, then you need to have your agency realign the campaign objectives. Make sure that you see every campaign asset and you know exactly how your customer’s journey flows into your pipeline. If the agency doesn’t understand your business model or your objectives, then your campaign is going to fall short of your goals.
It is also important to reconfirm their understanding of the campaign if you ever switch account managers and your lead generation is in a new set of hands. Keeping your business goals top of mind will be essential to your campaign’s success and don’t be afraid to ask your agency the right questions.
#2 “Where are my customers located based on your research?”
Whether you’ve been in businesses for ten weeks or ten years, it’s important to know everything about your customers. Identifying your target audience and their behavior is vital to know how you should engage with them. If you don’t know where your customers are, you need to have your agency perform audience research before the campaign starts.
Unfortunately, most agencies still use the spray and pray method, which means that they will select a random channel and hope that they produce a result. Chances are that you’re not going to see your return on investment that month and will be disappointed with your agency’s strategy.
Great agencies will use tools like Google Analytics, Adwords, and Facebook Insights to perform this research and monitor your existing social activity. The best way to identify your target audience is by looking at your competition. Have your agency analyze the top-performing competitor in your industry and tell you everything you never knew about your potential customer’s online behavior. Asking your agency to share their insight on your target audience and behavior prior to the campaign launch will hold them accountable for their strategy and your budget.
Before your campaign launches, ask your agency exactly what you should expect within the first 60 days.
#3 “What should I expect from my campaign in the first 60 days?”
The main advantage of working with a marketing agency is the fact that you can hit the ground running with your marketing strategy. Experienced agencies have a defined process that quickly onboard new clients and prepares your campaign for launch. But once the campaign takes off what is a client left to do?
Before your campaign launches, ask your agency exactly what you should expect within the first 60 days post-launch. This will prepare you and let you know how you need to follow their campaign iteration process. Post-launch client tasks may include, weekly reporting review meetings, additional content creation, creative approvals, and more but you won’t know until you ask.
Within the first 30-60 days of running a new campaign you can expect to see some pretty low engagement numbers but this shouldn’t be cause for alarm. Remember, advertising is an investment and it takes time to build awareness before the conversions start rolling in. Too often, clients will get frustrated and want to pull the plug on their campaign without giving it ample time to mature. Finding out what works in advertising is tricky but patience and time are your allies so make sure that your agency keeps you in the loop during the early days of your campaign launch.
#4 “How can I communicate with you if I need to change my ad spend?”
This question is incredibly important to ask before launch because your ad spend is the life-source of your campaign. If there is an error with your payment method and it is declined your campaign will not be able to run, resulting in you missing out on potential leads. Before your campaign gains momentum, establish a clear process for communication with your account manager around adjusting ad spend or changing payment methods. It’s important for your account manager to monitor your ad spend but it’s up to you to notify them about any changes in payment or budget.
#5 “How will I understand my reports and campaign data?”
We saved the most important question for last. Before you launch your campaign, ask your agency to explain their reporting structure to you in detail. This is the best thing that you can do for your business and it will give you more time to familiarize yourself with each metric and ask why each data point matters. No matter the results, receiving your first campaign report can be overwhelming so arm yourself with the knowledge you need to understand their reporting style.
If you’re working with an agency that dumps a mountain of confusing data into an excel sheet each month and calls it a report, then you need to find a new agency. Agencies who perform these data dumps are under-delivering or worse, burying you in data to confuse you into thinking that their strategy is working for your business. Look for experienced agencies that will be transparent about results and extract the most important metrics from your analytics for you. They should provide you with their insight, observations, and a proactive strategy each time you receive a report and walk you through their process. Think of it this way, if you have data without understanding, you just have a bunch of numbers. If you look at your reporting and understand how your campaign is working for your business then you have found a trusted agency partner.
Now You’re Ready
It’s important that you feel confident in your agency experience and trust the people responsible for your campaign’s success. When selecting an agency make sure that they have the capability to answer all of your questions and don’t engage in a campaign that makes you feel uncomfortable. If you feel that there’s instability in your campaign management, ask more questions and require answers before your campaign launches.