“So what can I expect from working with a company like yours?”
It’s a common question I get asked. Sometimes it comes at the very start of the sales process and sometimes at the end – just before the person commits. I can understand why it gets asked. Most who ask it have never engaged an online marketing partner before and are unsure about what comes next.
From taking dozens of companies through the process I can answer by outlining four simple but key stages clients work through with their account manager. Get to the end and the chances of success are greatly enhanced. Faulter mid way through and – well – things become harder.
Here’s the list
Stage #1 – Lots of exciting new knowledge to understand.
Stage #2 – A similar volume of information delivered from the client to us.
Stage #3 – An even greater volume of information regarding their markets coming to both them and us.
Stage #4 – All three information sources producing a task list to be completed in a set sequence.
Let me go through each stage and add some detail.
#1 – Lots of exciting new knowledge to understand.
The process starts with creating a bedrock of reliable website analytics data. In some cases, we tune what already exists; other times we are producing something for the first time. Whichever path we take, one outcome is certain – a bucket load of information on what is happening within the current environment.
For instance, we may uncover paid advertising campaigns that have been running for a while, costing plenty but delivering few sales or leads. Or an email newsletter campaign that is contributing the most to e-commerce sales, but thanks to resource limitations is being sent only on an ad hoc basis.
Then there’s the fundamental issue: nobody has trained those that matter in how to read the relevant reports. So they may have noticed the 80% bounce rate on their website’s homepage, but not realised that it was such a big issue.
All this represents a steady stream of new information and insights coming at you from the Ark Advance team. Some insights may prompt quick action – for instance, pausing the advertising campaign that is producing nothing, or ensuring that newsletter is sent out each month.
Other issues may take longer to resolve – the 80% bounce issue, for example. Nevertheless, think of those first few months as lots of “stuff” coming your way as our team teaches you more and more about how the Internet is reacting to your website.
#2 – The tables turn – your turn to give back as good as you got.
The more we know about your business the better. That’s why at times during the kick off process we will shut up and listen while you answer questions we’ve posed in order to pull the good stuff out of your head and into our planning system.
Half an hour doing this across multiple meetings gives us a good understanding of what you offer to whom. But on its own, this time is rarely enough to make a sizable difference.
So as we dive deeper into your keyword selection, or work to uncover the real cause of a poorly performing landing page, we will need to know even more. For example, what are the benefits most people are looking for? Or, what problems are prospects trying to solve with these benefits? And even, how do you differ from your competitors?
These can be dastardly difficult and annoying questions to answer. Especially when all you want from us is a simple Google ad next to your competitors that will drum up some business NOW.
However, now is the time to flip the tables and send more information our way. This will allow ads to be re-written to include your point of difference for a particular service, or even landing pages to show why to purchase this product over another. We need to get through this stage so we can properly enter the next phase – where the fun really starts.
#3 – The market speaks – ready to listen?
So we have given it our best shot. Every piece of content is now in alignment with your key messages and is being presented to the right audiences. This just leaves us to sit back and “listen” to what the market has to say.
Silence is one possible result. A muted response is another.
Yep, prospects may not be as interested as you are in what you offer and how you do it. How your competitors present their services could be way more appealing. Insights like this can be a hard to take.
And some will believe that, given enough time and money, they will convince the market to want what they have for the reasons they believe are important. These people tend to have both lots of time and money.
Others might go into denial with statements like “online marketing is not for us,” or “let’s find another online marketing company so they can make this work”.
If you see your competitors using online marketing that’s tempting evidence that it works. And finding a new supplier? They will most likely bid on the same keywords as your current one, sending traffic to the same web page and providing you with a similar result.
Nope, now is the time to listen to the market and discover what needs to change in your marketing. Doing this also has you enter the final phase of the process.
#4 – All three information sources producing a list tasks that are completed sequentially.
So now the magic begins.
Information from all parties – you, ourselves, and your market – is mixed together. From this, a list of tasks is created. Some will be simple; for instance, we may stop bidding on one keyword because you get a better return from another.
Others will come with a challenge. Let’s say a specific service after much promotion through advertising just doesn’t generate any new business. Kill it, or rework it – what’s the best option? Working these tasks one by one – over the months ahead – is the focus of your online marketing.
If this sounds like a lot more work than you originally envisioned, you are probably right. But I can assure you it does get easier as you live in the final stage each and every month. With time, you will develop a sixth sense of how the online market reacts to your products, your messages and their engagements with you.