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How to get the most ROI from your digital marketing partners

As the global digital population grows an average of ten percent each year, activity on social and digital channels increases steadily as well. Businesses have responded to this growth by consistently increasing their resources for digital marketing — but in recent months, the COVID-19 landscape has resulted in a historic 74% spike in enterprise spending on social media alone.

With almost 4.57 billion active internet users social distancing at home, online tools like social media, pay per click ads (PPC) and search engine optimization (SEO) have become a necessary part of every effective marketing strategy, especially in an economic downturn. These multi-faceted and ever-changing tools often require the expertise of a digital agency partnership. And this uptick brings about an important question: how can you maximize your ROI and relationship with your marketing partners? To fortify a strong relationship with your business’s marketing team, consider these tactics.

Align your business and marketing strategies.

Before asking your agency partner to decide which digital marketing tactics are best for your company, revisit and clarify your business goals for the year. Furthermore, ensure your marketing plan directly supports and aligns with these overarching business goals.

For instance, in light of COVID-19, should the product or service set you feature be changed? Does your website have the functionality to support online sales, or do you need to direct traffic elsewhere? With a clear direction, a good agency partner can recommend tactics that are catered to your specific marketing goals and needs.

Clarify your brand style, voice and personality.

The COVID-19 landscape has dramatically highlighted the importance of creating an online customer experience that matches, or even exceeds, the quality and style of an in-person customer experience. This requires brand consistency in the colors, font scheme, language and tone used for every social media post, digital ad or pay-per-click (PPC) campaign.

To best manage this, consider providing your agency partner with a brand guide or style guide to communicate critical information on how they should represent your company online. If you don’t have an official guide, this may be an ideal time to create one. Be sure to include any guidance and preferred language on how your company is responding to COVID-19 and other current issues.

Establish clear goals and realistic expectations.

Beyond discussing big picture business and marketing strategy with your agency partner, initiate an honest conversation regarding specific goals, outcomes and expectations for the relationship. How will you measure success? How will you establish accountability?

Determine realistic goals for a given budget, align success metrics and assign responsibilities. For instance, the agency may be responsible to deliver on a certain number of clicks (to your website) per campaign, but your sales team will be responsible to deliver on a certain number of leads derived from the campaign. This fosters a true sense of partnership and accountability on both sides of the relationship.

Think beyond social media.

While social media tends to be a popular avenue for digital marketing, ask your agency partner which channels and tactics are best for your specific industry and goals. Social media “likes” and “follows” don’t always equate to new customers and conversions, so explore other digital options such as email marketing, content marketing, PPC, SEO and even creative options like pre-roll ads on YouTube or Spotify to ensure you’re getting the most out of your ad spend.

Deliver on the promised experience.

Ultimately, the responsibility for cultivating happy, satisfied customers lands on your organization’s shoulders. If you’ve challenged your agency partner to showcase your excellent service, for example, your job is to ensure that comes to life. If you’ve asked your marketing partner to highlight a promotional offer, your role is to ensure the discount code works properly with your online point-of-sale (POS) system. If the campaign’s call to action is “Call us today,” you must ensure your customer service team is staffed up and ready to respond. Simple steps like these can build a bridge between what your marketing partner has advertised and what your company can execute.

As the need for effective digital marketing continues to grow, it’s helpful to focus on these fundamentals to leverage the expertise of your digital marketing partners, make the most of your advertising budget and develop a seamless customer experience between your online and offline channels.

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