PSA: Free HubSpot CRM Now Includes Email + Ad Management Tools

PSA: Free HubSpot CRM Now Includes Email + Ad Management Tools

We’ve got big news to share here in the inbound marketing community:

 

HubSpot has just announced that they are now expanding their free CRM to include email marketing tools and expanded ad management tools.  

Wait, one more time?

  • HubSpot CRM = Free
  • 2,000 emails/month + post-send analytics = Free
  • $1,000 of managed ads on Facebook, Linkedin, and Google = Free

What Does This Mean For You?

Well, if you were on the fence about the HubSpot platform (learn more about HubSpot’s software here), it means you get to try a whole host of some of their very best inbound marketing tools for free. 

 

It also means that if you’ve been using four or five platforms to manage your email, your ad campaigns, and your contacts, you now have one, free solution to handle them all. 

 

For small to mid-size businesses, this is a huge deal. 

 

Constantly navigating between MailChimp, Salesforce, and whatever other tools you’ve been using to keep costs low, still costs you time. Your team has to log in to many different platforms, and they have to reconcile information from one platform to the next, which is frustrating, and can hog up precious work hours. 

 

With these new extensions to the HubSpot CRM, you get some of the most important tools to grow your business, all in one platform, and all for free. 

What’s the Catch?

Obviously, HubSpot is hoping that when you see how great their tools are, you might be interested to upgrade as your company grows. But, there’s no pressure to do so, especially if your company is small and just not quite ready to upgrade. 

 

The HubSpot CRM is always offered for free, for the lifetime of your subscription. There’s no free trial or expiration date on the CRM or any of the tools that HubSpot offers for free along with it. 

Okay, So How Does it Work?

Whether you have the HubSpot CRM already or not, you’re probably wondering about the specifics of these new tools. So, what exactly do you get with their new email marketing and ad management tools?

Email Marketing

HubSpot has long been known for its intuitive email marketing platform. In the email editor, you can easily make edits right in the email template, changing text, adding images, buttons, and CTAs. 

 

It also gives you the opportunity to preview your email on a variety of different devices, and lets you send unlimited test emails to yourself and your team before you’re really ready to schedule out the post. 

 

There are a ton of features to take advantage of just in the email editor, from their handy optimization guide to their A/B testing tool. But what’s really key about this new, free offering from HubSpot is the post-send analytics. 

 

Now, once you send an email, you can see who opened it, how many people clicked through to your website, and much, much more. These metrics are what make this free tool such a boon to companies starting to grow. 

 

With the email editor and post-send analytics, you can easily see which messages are resonating with your audience, and which aren’t quite hitting the mark, yet. You can also see which contacts continue to engage with your content as the move further down the buyer’s journey, closer to a sale. 

 

Best of all, every contact’s interactions with your emails are saved in the CRM, on the same platform. There’s no jumping back and forth between your email manager and your contact list; everything you need to know about every contact, whether it’s related to email or an ad they clicked on is saved and logged in the CRM for you, and updated in real-time.

Ad Management

In the past, the free HubSpot CRM has only included support for Facebook lead ads. With this new upgrade, the CRM comes free with ad management and tracking tools for up to $1,000 per month of ad spend across Facebook, Google, and Linkedin. Users are able to connect a maximum of two accounts, so you can measure performance across platforms to see which channel is best for your message. 

 

Like email marketing, connecting your ad accounts to your CRM helps you better understand your consumers. These new tools allow you to see exactly which contacts are interacting with your ads, and offer performance metrics to let you know which ads are bringing in the most qualified leads. Click To Tweet

What’s the Bottom Line?

The bottom-line benefit of these new additions to the free HubSpot CRM is that you can have all data from your email and ad campaigns filter through one central system. This allows you to track the long-term performance of your ads and email marketing campaigns, showing you the concrete ROI you’re seeing from both efforts, right from your CRM. 

 

The HubSpot CRM is helping eliminate the hassle that comes with using multiple tools from multiple providers. 

They’re offering a full suite of seriously powerful marketing tools plus a CRM that helps you track the results of your efforts in real-time, and makes it easy to reach out to those contacts who are responding best to your marketing campaigns. 

 

In the end, the HubSpot CRM, with these new free email marketing and ad management tools, are great for any company who is looking to expand their marketing and growth capabilities but doesn’t yet have the trust or the budget to go all-in on an expensive platform. 

 

This expansion of the HubSpot CRM is big news for us in the inbound and growth marketing community, and for any small businesses out there who are working hard to get ahead. If you’re interested in learning more about HubSpot’s free tools, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. 

 

As a HubSpot Gold Agency Partner, we live and breathe this software, and would be happy to help answer any questions you might have or help smooth out any growing pains as your team transitions over to HubSpot’s tools. Just let us know how we can help

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10 Inbound Marketing KPIs You Should Be Tracking

10 Inbound Marketing KPIs You Should Be Tracking

Even if you don’t know what the term inbound marketing KPIs means, you probably already know what they are. Here in the inbound marketing world, KPI is short for Key Performance Indicators. You might just know them as metrics. Tomato, tomahto.

via GIPHY

Just kidding — it doesn’t really matter what you call them, so long as you use them. 

 

Inbound marketing KPIs, or metrics, provide your best estimate of success. They tell you how well your marketing efforts are working and what results they’re producing. They can also tell you where your marketing strategy could use work. 

 

While there are dozens of KPIs to measure depending on what your marketing, sales, and growth goals are, here are a few of the KPIs that every team with an inbound marketing strategy should be keeping track of:

#1 Qualified Leads

You want leads. Who doesn’t?

 

But, not all leads are created equal. There are leads you’re actually interested in — leads who are a great fit for your product or service. And there are leads you’re not interested in — leads who aren’t a good price fit, don’t really need your product, or who aren’t ready to buy. 

 

The qualified leads KPI tells you exactly how many qualified leads you’re getting. Sounds basic, but qualified leads vs. plain ol’ leads is key.  

 

Even if your campaign is seeing a relatively low number of leads, but all of those leads are highly qualified and likely to close, then you know you’re doing something right.

 

That’s a much better sign of an effective campaign than one that delivers a ton of leads who never convert into prospects or sales. 

#2 Organic Traffic

Inbound marketing is built (loosely) on an “if you build it, they will come” mindset. At its core, the inbound marketing methodology believes that if you are putting out the right, helpful content that speaks to your target audience and that is optimized for the way your consumers search, then you will draw in the right leads. 

 

Organic traffic is one of the best inbound marketing KPIs to measure your website’s success in drawing in the right people

 

The organic traffic KPI is an oldie, but a goodie. It’s been around for a while because it’s relatively easy to track, it’s straightforward, and it can tell you a lot. The higher your organic traffic rate, the more your content is resonating with the right people. When you have a high organic traffic number, you know that your content marketing strategy is working to 1) place you ahead of the competition in search rankings, and 2) speak to your ideal audience. 

 

And when you’re drawing in big numbers of organic traffic, it means you’re getting a whole bunch of leads without paying for them. Major win.

#3 Social Media Traffic

Social media traffic is also a great inbound marketing KPI to watch because it can help you figure out which platforms are best to focus your efforts on. 

 

These days, there are tons of social media platforms. They’re all great for engaging new potential clients and keeping your existing clients in your inbound marketing flywheel. But, not every social media channel works for every company or industry. 

 

By monitoring the traffic coming to your website from social media, you can determine:

 

  • Which channels are driving the most traffic and the most leads to your site
  • How many conversions you’re seeing through social media channels
  • How much website traffic is coming to your website from social media

 

This inbound marketing KPI helps you determine which channels are delivering the most qualified visitors who stick around and tend to read your content or convert into leads. And when you know that Facebook is the one delivering you 15 new leads every month, while Pinterest has delivered none, you can invest more money in your Facebook strategy, and forget about Pinterest for now. That’s marketing optimization at its finest. 

#4 Time-on-Site

If inbound marketing is your focus, the time-on-site KPI is an important one to keep track of. Again, the point of inbound marketing is to teach and engage new potential clients and qualified leads with content that solves their pain points and answers their questions.

 

The time-on-site KPI tells you how much engagement your content is getting. 

 

If you have a long average time-on-site, then your visitors are browsing around. They’re reading your content and navigating deeper into your website.

 

 A short time-on-site is a good indication that it’s time to change something up. Consider adding a different image or a different content offer on your front page. Change up your calls-to-action and make sure you’re really working to answer the questions your ideal buyer is asking the most. 

#5 Time-on-Page

Time-on-page is just as important as time-on-site. Though it might sound obvious, the time-on-page metric measures how long a site visitor spends on a particular page of your website. 

 

This is an especially useful metric if you’ve been working to incorporate pillar pages, or are working on developing longer-form content. 

 

The time-on-page inbound marketing KPI can give you insight into which pages are keeping your readers' attention, and which might still need a little work to retain their concentration. Click To Tweet

 

It’s not easy to get readers in the digital age to stick around for long, so when you start to see pages with lengthy time-on-page metrics, you’ll know your content marketing strategy is working. 

#6 Bounce Rate

On the opposite side of the time-on-page coin, you have bounce rate. As an inbound marketing KPI, bounce rate means what percentage of people make it to a page on your site and bounce right off, or navigate away immediately. 

 

The bounce rate metric is useful for everything from a web design standpoint to understanding if your landing pages are working properly. 

 

If you have a high bounce rate, your visitors probably aren’t resonating with the particular page they’re being sent to. 

 

Are they bouncing off of a landing page? Consider taking out some of the required fields on your form. Maybe tighten up the content a little, and take away the navigation bar. 

 

High bounce rate on a piece of content? Your hook might not be strong enough, or your content might not seem like it’s offering enough information. Add in an exciting first paragraph, make sure you have plenty of eye-grabbing, but informational headers, and check to make sure that your content is actually saying something. 

 

High bounce rate on your home page? Maybe you’re not being clear enough about what you do. Consider changing up your headers, adding in new visual elements like images or video, and see if that KPI starts to improve. 

#7 Conversion Rate

Conversion rate is one of those KPIs you hear about all. the. time. 

 

That’s because it can tell you quite a lot about your inbound marketing strategy. 

 

Like bounce rate, conversion rate is used in a variety of contexts. It can be used when talking about a landing page, about an ad, or even about how many site visitors convert into leads. 

 

In its most basic form, a conversion is defined as a lead or prospect taking a desired action. Click To Tweet

 

That could be downloading a content offer, clicking over to your site from an ad, or even closing on a sale. 

 

No matter what version of the conversion rate metric we’re talking about, it’s always important to track, because it tells you how effective your campaign is. 

 

If your weekly newsletter has a high number of content offer conversions, for example, that shows that you’re doing a great job of nurturing those email subscribers closer to a sale. 

 

If your landing page has a low conversion rate, that might be a sign that what you’re offering isn’t attractive enough, or that you’re asking too much in return for what you’re offering. 

 

Conversion rates are always important to follow because they tell you more than just how many people are seeing an ad or a page or a content offer. They tell you how many people are actually interacting with that item. And engaged visitors are leads

#8 Customer Acquisition Cost

Your customer acquisition cost KPI is a measurement of how much it actually costs your company to acquire a new customer. For most companies, it’s more expensive to pick up a new client than it is to retain an old one. But your customer acquisition cost (CAC) can tell you more than that. 

 

It can also tell you if your marketing strategy is effective. If you’re spending thousands of dollars on Facebook and Google Ads, but you’re only bringing in one or two new customers, then you’ve got a pretty high CAC, and it’s probably time to change something up. 

 

For example, if your outbound marketing strategy isn’t converting at the right CAC, you might want to invest more heavily in inbound marketing. 

 

Your CAC can also be used to help calculate the overall ROI of your marketing campaign. We’ll talk more about that later, but read this blog about Calculating Marketing ROI for more info. 

#9 Lifetime Value of A Customer

Just as your CAC tells you how much it costs to acquire a customer, the Lifetime Value of a Customer tells you how much you earn from a customer over the term of their engagement with you. To figure out the overall value of a customer, check out the following equation:

 

(Amount of average sale per customer) x (Average number of times a customer buys per year) x (Average retention time for a typical customer (whether that’s a year, a month, or more))

 

Typically, the lifetime value of the customer shows you how important it is to keep nurturing leads, even after they’ve closed on a sale. On average, most companies find that it’s more expensive to acquire a new client than it is to retain consistent business with an existing client.

#10 Return on Investment

Return on Investment (ROI) is the KPI that everyone wants to know. We probably don’t have to tell you that you need to be tracking it, because who isn’t?

 

But, we do have to include it on this list because it truly is one of the most telling inbound marketing KPIs that exists. 

 

Your return on investment tells you how much you're actually making, compared to how much you're spending on your inbound marketing campaign. Click To Tweet

 

This is an important metric if you’re trying to convince your boss that inbound marketing is legit, but it’s equally important after you start using inbound marketing. 

 

The ROI metric tells you when your efforts are paying off, and when you might be spending too much on an effort that’s not performing. 

 

Let’s say, for example, you still take out a Yellow Pages ad. That costs you a few hundred dollars each time you place the ad. For the sake of simplicity, let’s say you never get any referrals from that Yellow Pages ad. In this situation, there is virtually no ROI. You’re spending money on a marketing effort that isn’t returning any revenue. 

 

So, you see that your Yellow Pages ad isn’t working out. You decide to take the money you would’ve spent on that ad, and use it to hire a content writer to start your blog. After a few months, you have a ton of leads calling in, and they’re all referencing information they saw on your blog. 

 

When you close on some of those sales, for more than you spent on the content writer, you have a positive ROI. 


In the end, if you’ve got a great ROI percentage, then you know your marketing strategy is working. If you’re spending more than you’re making, or if you’re not seeing a great return on your marketing strategy, it’s probably time for a change. 

 

Check out this blog from Impact for more information about calculating your marketing ROI. 

Deciding Which Inbound Marketing KPIs to Track


As you probably know, there are way more than just 10 inbound marketing KPIs to track. But, if you’re just getting started with the inbound methodology, these 10 are some of the most important, and the easiest to make sense of. 

If you’d like to learn about more inbound marketing KPIs you can track to better optimize your marketing strategy, or if you’re interested in an inbound marketing agency, let us know. We can help you determine which KPIs make the most sense for your goals, and we’d be happy to explain a little bit more about the inbound marketing methodology, too.

 

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What is a HubSpot Partner Agency, and What Can They Do For You?

What is a HubSpot Partner Agency, and What Can They Do For You?

If you’ve been considering investing in HubSpot’s CRM for your business, you know it’s a huge, robust tool. If your company can implement those tools effectively, you’ll definitely start to see results in the length of your sales cycle and the growth of your company. But, that’s the problem.

The HubSpot platform offers so many tools, and if you’re thinking about choosing one of their paid subscriptions, you might be worried that your team won’t be able to learn and implement them correctly, and in a reasonable period of time.

That’s a realistic concern. That’s also where a HubSpot Partner Agency comes in.  

What is a HubSpot Partner Agency?

If you know what HubSpot is, you might know a little about their Partner Program. Essentially, it’s a program offered to marketing agencies who already use the HubSpot platform and who are dedicated to the inbound marketing methodology.

Marketing agencies apply to be a partner, and once HubSpot accepts them, they’re given additional sales and marketing training, direct account managers through HubSpot, and a bunch of other tools they can use to provide better service to their clients.

Each HubSpot Partner Agency is ranked according to HubSpot’s tier system. The higher a company’s tier, the better the services they provide, and the more clients they have helped to use HubSpot successfully for themselves.  

Are There Different Types of HubSpot Partner Agencies?

Yes.

As you probably already know, there are tons of different types of marketing agencies. As long as they use HubSpot and approach marketing with an inbound mindset, an agency can apply to be a HubSpot Partner. That means that there are all different kinds of HubSpot Partner Agencies available to you.

Some, like us, are full-service agencies who handle inbound marketing, web design, email marketing, content marketing, paid search, social media advertising, and more.

Others might have a focus in one specific area — they might just design websites, they might just offer inbound marketing consulting, they might specialize in sales support, etc.

So, if you’re considering choosing a HubSpot Agency Partner it’s good to remember that we’re not all the same. You’ll have to do a little digging, and probably a  bit of interviewing to find an agency that fits with your culture and with your company’s overall goals.

But before we get to choosing a HubSpot Partner Agency, which we’ll talk about in a later blog post, let’s talk about what a HubSpot Partner Agency can actually do for you.

What Can A HubSpot Partner Agency Do For You?

Since HubSpot has more than 2,500 partner agencies, there must be some benefit to hiring them. But if you’re new to HubSpot, or if you’re already using HubSpot, you might not know exactly what a HubSpot Partner Agency can do for you, and how their services can benefit your company. Let’s talk about that. Here are 3 benefits that come from hiring a HubSpot Partner Agency:

HubSpot CRM Support

This one might seem obvious, but it’s important. As a HubSpot partner agency, your marketing agency can help your team better use the HubSpot CRM and all of its bundled tools.

If you don’t have HubSpot, a partner agency will help you onboard, will teach your team about all of the tools, and will walk each member of your team through the CRM, step by step.

If your team is already using HubSpot, a partner agency will help you figure out how to optimize that use. They’ll look at your analytics, talk to your sales and marketing teams, and implement new strategies that help you perform even better, across the entire platform.

The HubSpot CRM is an impressive tool, but it does take a little bit of work to master. Partnering with a HubSpot Agency minimizes that work, and essentially gives you a HubSpot coach who’s on-call anytime you need help.

The other bonus of working with a HubSpot Partner Agency is that you have a direct line to HubSpot support.

When you’re having trouble figuring out a new tool, or are troubleshooting an issue in the system, your agency can either help you fix the problem themselves, or talk directly to their HubSpot account managers for a quick resolution. This is a lot easier than working through customer service on your own, as partner agencies are one of the few who have their own direct line to HubSpot itself.

Exceptional Inbound Marketing Service

The benefit of using HubSpot in the first place is its impressive, powerful tools. The HubSpot CRM offers advanced analytics tracking and reporting, email tracking, blog publishing, social media publishing, and more. With all of these tools and the metrics that go with them, your marketing agency can offer you a much better overall marketing service.

Essentially, hiring a HubSpot Partner Agency is a two for one deal. Click To Tweet

You get the expertise of a marketing agency — their web design support, their unique inbound marketing strategies, the tools they use to deliver quality inbound marketing service, and their team of experts — plus all of the additional tools and organization that the HubSpot CRM offers.

Sales Alignment Support

When you work with a full-service HubSpot Agency Partner, you get more than just a bunch of cool tools and marketing advice. You also get sales support, which isn’t something you see from every marketing agency out there.

Inbound marketing methodology relies on the idea that for the best possible results for overall company growth, your sales and marketing teams have to be aligned.

To address that fact, the HubSpot CRM offers a vast suite of sales tools that work hand-in-hand with marketing tools, to help you get both teams on the same page, and working towards your company’s growth goals.

Working with a HubSpot Agency Partner takes those benefits just a step further. The HubSpot Partner Program offers partners training in both sales and marketing. That means your HubSpot Agency Partner (if you choose a full-service agency) is trained to coach not only your marketing team, but your sales team as well.

They can provide tools, content offers, and training that help your sales team shorten the overall sales cycle, and close on more, qualified leads. Combined with HubSpot Sales tools like lead and deal tracking, automatic notifications when a lead opens an email or lands on your website, and targeted email workflows, that’s a huge step towards company growth.

Our Experience As A HubSpot Gold Partner Agency

On a personal note, we’ve found this piece of sales and marketing alignment, specifically, to be one of the most helpful, and most popular services that we now offer our clients. As a HubSpot Gold Partner Agency, our clients love that we’re able to help with their marketing strategy, but they’re finding even more success now that we’re able to coach their sales team and teach them how to use the marketing content that we’ve been developing for years.

This really is one of the biggest benefits for our clients, and we’re seeing it produce some real results. Instead of just helping our clients get found, and get the qualified leads they want, this sales support has helped us teach our clients what to do once we deliver those qualified leads. And with that information and training, plus HubSpot’s user-friendly sales tools, they’re able to grow incredibly.

WHAT YOU GET:

HubSpot, HubSpot Support, the Marketing Agency You Were Looking For, and the Sales Coaching You Weren’t

In the end, the reason companies choose to partner with HubSpot agencies is because you get a whole lot of tools and expertise rolled into one deal. Here’s what you get:

  • The HubSpot CRM, plus all of its tools. That means blogging, social media publishing, landing pages, content offers, marketing campaign metrics, traffic metrics, lead tracking, email tracking, and more, all in one platform.
  • HubSpot Support. A company who can walk you through each and every one of HubSpot’s tools. They can use the tools for your benefit, and they’ll teach your team how to use them, too.
  • A Marketing Agency. This is what you were looking for in the first place, right? A marketing agency who can handle the more complicated aspects of digital marketing, from developing a new inbound-focused website to writing your blog posts and content offers, and setting up your ad campaigns.
  • Marketing and Sales Support. This is usually the benefit people are most surprised by. When you hire the right HubSpot Partner Agency, you get more than just a marketing team. You also get sales support that can completely turn around the way your company nurtures and closes leads. If you’re looking for company growth, this is the benefit that should be most important, and most exciting, to you.

Is a HubSpot Partner Agency Right for You?

While a HubSpot Partner Agency isn’t right for everyone, it is a great choice for companies who don’t have a marketing team, who need help finessing marketing strategy, and who are looking to streamline overall business operations, from marketing through to sales.

If you’re interested to learn a little bit more about whether a HubSpot Partner Agency is right for your company, don’t hesitate to reach out. As a HubSpot Gold Partner Agency, we’ve got plenty of info and would be happy to share with you more about how the partnership works.

And if you’re ready to hire a partner agency? We’ve got the experience and the expertise to help your company onboard to the HubSpot platform, and keep your business growing with marketing and sales support.

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8 Questions to Ask A Digital Marketing Agency Before You Sign On

8 Questions to Ask A Digital Marketing Agency Before You Sign On

So you’re thinking about hiring a digital marketing agency?

Great! A digital marketing agency can do wonders for your company, from helping you develop a website that works for you to building a strategic inbound marketing strategy that will draw in and convert the leads you want most.

When you hire a digital marketing agency, you’re partnering with a team of experts who are all focused on growing your business. That’s a pretty cool partnership, but it’s also one that takes a lot of work.

If you’re considering hiring a digital marketing agency, or if you’re in the process of hiring a digital marketing agency but aren’t sure how to make a final decision, this blog should help. Here are 8 questions you should ask a digital marketing agency before you sign on and hire them:

Can You Show Me Case Studies or Examples of Previous Work?

When you’re looking at digital marketing agencies, your first step should always be to ask for references, case studies, and examples of previous work.

It’s important to see what they’ve done so you can gauge if they have enough experience in your industry and if their strategy can deliver the results you’re looking for.

Digital marketing agencies are everywhere, and no two are exactly the same. Some just design websites. Others focus specifically on social media or PPC. Still others offer a comprehensive marketing strategy that can tie your website, email marketing, paid advertising and inbound and content marketing strategies all together into one.

But all of these digital marketing agencies will tell you they can get you the leads you want, for less. Make sure you’re hiring an agency that walks the walk. Ask to take a look at some of their previous work through case studies, or see if they’ll walk you through some of the projects they’ve done in the past.

The more you know, the more comfortable you’ll be making a decision to sign a contract with that agency.

What Tools Do You Use?

Digital marketing is a tool-centric industry. Even the best marketers rely on third-party optimization tools to improve campaigns and ensure their strategies are delivering the very best results possible.

Before you hire a digital agency, ask what tools they’re using and what tools they plan to use to develop your digital marketing strategy further. Then ask yourself if those tools make sense for your overall digital marketing goals.

For example: If your goal in working with a digital marketing agency is to align your sales and marketing teams, and your digital marketing agency doesn’t use a CRM, isn’t familiar with CRMs, or doesn’t plan to teach your team how to better use a CRM, they might not have the best tools to achieve your specific digital marketing goals.

If you’re looking for SEO help, your digital marketing agency should have a team of Google Ads, Keyword Planner, and Bing Ads professionals, who also use supplementary third-party tools like SEMRush, Moz, Buzzsumo, Ubersuggest, or Infinite Suggest to build quality campaigns.

Even if you’re not familiar with some of the tools that the agency mentions, it’s still important to ask. You can always look them up later to make sure they’re legit. It’s more important to know that your digital marketing agency isn’t flying by the seat of their pants than it is to admit that you’re not familiar with every tool on their list.

Can You Get Me On the First Page of Google?

This is an important question for one reason — any agency who answers “yes” to this question is one you might want to step away from.

No matter how good your digital marketing agency is, only Google understands how Google’s algorithm works, which means a first-page ranking isn’t something a digital marketing agency can guarantee.

If they respond with an answer like, “well, this is what we’re going to do to try and get you on the first page,” and go on to give you specific strategies they’ll use to boost your company’s ranking potential, you’re probably in good hands.

No one can guarantee a first-page ranking, but there are a lot of quality digital marketing agencies who have strategies that will certainly try. It’s just good to know that any agency who promises you a first-page ranking is starting your relationship with a promise they can’t keep.

What Goals Are You Setting for My Project?

There’s nothing more telling about a digital marketing agency than their goals for your project. What you’re looking for are SMART goals. SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely.

Here at HA Digital Marketing, we like to break our client’s goals down based on thorough research we’ve completed by analyzing their site, their site traffic, and their industry. We look at existing traffic, existing conversion rates, and more, to determine how much we can reasonably improve in a specific period of time.

One of our SMART goals for a client might sound something like this:

Increase organic site traffic to 2,000 monthly visits by 2020

  • Specific: we want to increase organic site traffic, specifically.
  • Measurable: our goal is set at a number of at least 2,000 monthly visits. It’s easy to tell when we reach and when we pass that goal.
  • Attainable: the attainability of a goal will change depending on the client’s existing site traffic. If this client was averaging 1,000 to 1,500 monthly organic site visits, then 2,000 is definitely an attainable goal.
  • Relevant: If the client’s overall goal is to increase web conversions and leads, then a boost in site traffic is how we can make that goal achievable. That makes it a relevant goal.
  • Timely: We’ve specified exactly when we’d like to achieve this goal.

When you’re talking to digital marketing agencies, these are the types of goals you want to see.

Any company who says, “we’ll grow your traffic and get you qualified leads”, might do that, but without SMART goals, it’s hard to say if they’ll actually deliver the quantity and quality results that you’re looking for. To effectively measure your progress and theirs, you need SMART goals.

When Can I Expect to See Results?

This is another question where the way an agency answers the question is more important than how they answer it.

If you’re hiring a digital marketing agency to do any kind of content marketing or SEO work to boost your organic ranking, you have to remember that you’re not going to see immediate results. If you’re working with a digital marketing agency who advises otherwise, you might want to take another close look at their strategies.

Because of the way that organic search results work, there’s no way to guarantee quick results. Search engines need time to crawl your site, and then index it based on the information they find. That means your organic search results can take weeks and even months to seriously improve.

That said, if you’re hiring a digital marketing agency to handle both organic and paid search efforts, they can leverage paid search and social media advertising campaigns to deliver you more qualified traffic immediately. But it’s important to remember that these are different results than organic search results.

With paid ads, you'll start seeing the traffic you want immediately, but you'll be paying for it. This is a great short-term strategy, while you wait for your organic search rankings to catch up, but it's not a complete solution. Click To Tweet

Bottom Line: Ask the digital marketing agencies you’re considering hiring how soon you can expect to see results. If they say “immediately”, ask what they mean by that, and also consider walking away.

If your digital marketing agency takes the time to explain how exactly you’ll see results, and why your organic search results will take a little time to come to fruition, you’re probably in pretty good hands.

What KPIs Do You Track, And What Reporting Will You Offer?

A digital marketing agency is a business partner. They’re not a set and forget solution. Since you’re going to keep sending them money for a monthly retainer, you want to know where your money is going, and what it is doing for you.

That’s why you need to ask this question: you need to figure out what KPIs (key performance indicators or metrics) they’re tracking, and how often they’re sharing those results with you.

Most quality digital marketing agencies track a variety of KPIs ranging from metrics on your site to your search engine rankings to your PPC campaign’s overall performance. The metrics they measure will depend on your company’s unique goals, but you have to make sure, before you hire them on, that they’ll be measuring KPIs that are relevant to those goals.

For example: Let’s say your biggest goal is conversions. You already have the traffic you need, but you’re not seeing the conversion rates you want.

While your digital marketing agency will still be tracking your site traffic, they should place a higher priority on monitoring KPIs like click-through-rate, landing page traffic, content offer downloads, and, of course, your conversion rate.

If they’re focusing on things like your social media engagement and awareness, while those are important metrics, they aren’t the most relevant KPIs for your specific goals.

The second part of this question is what reporting will you offer?

You need to see your results regularly, so you understand what’s happening, what wins you’re seeing with your new digital marketing agency, and what challenges your agency and your strategy might still be facing.

In most cases, a regular monthly report is best. It gives you a clear picture of how your strategy is performing without overwhelming you with daily traffic stats of a year’s worth of data. A great digital marketing agency will also include suggestions and insights for moving forward in your reports, too.

Regular reports keep all teams on the same page, which is a huge part of partnering with a digital marketing agency. Speaking of, here’s your next question:

Who Will I Be Working With?

No matter what digital marketing agency you’re working with, you need to have at least one contact person for your digital marketing project, and it’s probably not going to be the salesperson you’ve been working with so far.

Every digital marketing agency is different. Some will have account managers, some will have project managers, and some favor a more all-hands-on-deck approach where you have a direct and immediate line to most of the team members working on your project.

No matter what digital marketing agency you’re considering hiring, you can ask to meet with, or at least get an introduction to, all of the people who will be working on your project.

This question does a few key things: it gives you a better idea about the type of company you’re working with, it establishes a relationship with the team handling your project going forward, and it gives your digital marketing agency’s team a better idea of what you and your business are all about.

If for some reason an agency doesn’t want you to meet the team or seems cagey about who exactly will be working on your project, you might want to dig a little deeper. Transparency is the key to hiring a successful digital marketing partner.

What Will You Need From Me?

We’ve made it to the final question. “What will you need from me?”

This is far and away one of the most important questions to ask before you hire a digital marketing agency. It gives you and the agency a better picture of what working on this project will like for both parties.

Your digital marketing agency is a team of experts in digital marketing. Though they should have a good working knowledge of your industry, they're not the experts in that — you are. Click To Tweet

A great digital marketing agency will tell you that they’ll need your feedback. They’ll need to know that they’ve correctly identified your target buyers, they’ll need to know that the content they write for your website is right for you, and ultimately, they’ll want your participation.

A digital marketing agency that says you can totally forget about marketing for the rest of your engagement isn’t a digital marketing agency.

Your feedback is essential to the success of your newly implemented marketing strategy, and without open communication between both teams, you won’t be able to optimize your strategy and positioning to reach those goals you set at the beginning of your engagement.

If you’re looking for a hands-off digital marketing agency, that’s awesome. It’s just good to remember that no agency can function completely without your input and feedback. And if a digital marketing agency says you won’t hear from them again after you sign the contract, you might want to dig a little deeper.

A digital marketing agency, on the whole, wants to partner with your company to help you grow. Their goals are your goals —  they want to increase the number of qualified leads you’re getting, so you can increase conversions, make more sales, and increase your revenue.

If you’re having trouble finding an agency who will work with you to achieve these goals, let’s talk. Evenbound is a true digital marketing agency —  we handle everything from web design, SEO and content marketing to paid advertising, email marketing, and social media. If you’re looking for a partner who will work on your behalf to grow your company strategically, we can help.

Get in touch with our team today!

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