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Probably the most common thing that we hear is that a client isn’t “tech savvy”.  Although there is definitely a large learning curve to how digital marketing works, it really doesn’t mean you have to be an expert at technology to understand it.  This leads to all types of misunderstandings about what digital agencies do and what clients should be using to really drive conversions and ROI.  One of the most important things about agency-client relationships is getting past the stage where the marketing seems like a complex monster that’s going to destroy your business.  Once you establish that you are working with an agency that knows what they are doing and they have proven it, you can relax.  Until then, here’s 4 reasons why your marketing isn’t producing ROI.

1. You think successful marketing is like magic.

No matter what your agency or marketer tells you, there’s no magic to what they do.  Keeping the “secrets” behind the curtain is literally the same thing that happened in the wizard of oz.  Once you pull it back, you see that it’s really just someone pulling levers and pushing buttons.  Years ago, there were agencies who really did know some ways to trick Google and search engines into finding specific sites (called black hat tactics).  Early on, these tricks could make a potentially unknown site show as a top listing.  Since then, these practices have died but have had their place taken by other already non-ROI yielding practices (like pricing purely on CPM).  Unless someone has a huge group of clients that they specifically have access to (like an influencer) then we are all playing with the same tools in the same system.  Don’t let a marketer come into your business and claim that they have a system that no one else does that will boost your sales beyond your wildest dreams.  Those “magic” systems don’t exist, instead, the key is understanding how the system works and utilizing the right parts of it.

2.  Google AdWords Express.

AdWords is amazing.  Without it, many businesses would have to close their doors.  What isn’t amazing is AdWords Express.  Here’s the usual senario; a client says they have had a bad experience with SEM and it’s almost always either they tried AdWords Express themselves or they had a digital marketer who was using it. Express is very easy to use.  You just put in keywords, write a headline and set a budget.  The problem is, this is a sure way to spend all your money without getting any qualified leads.  There’s a reason that there are 6 different AdWords certifications.  If Express was often profitable and capable of producing great quality leads, there would be no need to have training and certifications on the platform.  Instead, it’s an easy way for Google to get you to spend money.


3. You’re way too concerned with form over function.

Yes it’s important to have a nice looking website.  It’s also important to have well done creative designs.  Still, you can get in your own way when everything needs to have a flourish or moving parts.  When you imagine your website, it’s much more important to develop it based on how clients WILL use it, not how you HOPE they use it.  This is where having an experienced agency can really help.  Building based on analytics is by far the best way to structure the site.  Clients should have a clear understanding of what they can do on your website, but more so should have a clear direction.  You’ve been there, you’ve visited a site only to feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of links and directions to go.  This is why landing pages work so well; they create a linear path from entry to your objective.  Notice I didn’t say “microsite”, those are ways for agencies to get your money without having to integrate a real landing page into your actual website.  Websites can also look visually pleasing but be a code mess under the surface.   Saving a few hundreds of dollars on your website will not be worth it when business comes to a complete stop because it breaks and you have to drop everything and address it.


4. You are unrealistic with your expectations.

Look at this article by smallbiztrends.com talking about advertising spend.  Your marketing budget cannot be the last thing on your list.  The more competitive your industry, the more you can expect to spend.  If it’s super competitive then you need to plan on spending closer to 5% of your total revenue.  That means if your total revenue is $350k and you want to try and get by on $600 a month in marketing spend, it probably won’t work out how you hope.  Here’s an example of the moving industry in Lexington alone.


This means that in the Lexington geographic area the keywords I specified show up an average of 17,000 times per month in searches.  The average click through rate for campaigns running these keywords is 5.6% when optimized.   This yields 980 clicks at an average cost of $7.21 each or $7065.80 total.  This is the total market, per month, on average.  So you can then determine how visible you will be based on what you spend.  $1000 a month will give you around 14% of the impression share.  Often, business owners will try out AdWords with a low amount to see if it works.  You can imagine that if this is your market and you try to start with $200 a month, that’s $6.67 a day or 1 click.  That level of service is a huge dice roll because the chances that the ONE person that clicks the link isn’t going to call you.  This strategy will lead to a huge disappointment while also leading you to believe that AdWords doesn’t work.  Instead, it’s a better idea to let an experienced agency craft a plan that has the best chance of success.


New client conversations often feel like a rabbit hole to them because we don’t just evaluate one piece of the puzzle, we look at all of them.  You simply cannot focus on one part and expect ROI.  There is nothing wrong with being cautious with your marketing spend, but every business owner needs to recognize that good marketing strategy produces more revenue than it costs.  We aren’t interested in making you feel good by telling you that you’re family, that we love marketing because it’s helping people or that every campaign we do always turns out perfect.  Instead, we want to make you money, so much money that you have to address expansion.  So let’s get started on the vision and get going.

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