4 Rookie Mistakes Made by the Best Digital Marketing Agencies

Reading Time: 7 minutes
Jason Patel
By Jason Patel

September 11, 2017

Running a successful digital marketing agency on track to grow at a healthy rate is by no means easy. According to Forbes, 90% of marketing startups crash and burn. Any novice with an Internet connection and a computer in his garage can tell you that a successful marketing agency needs to offer great customer service, take care of its employees, and offer services that people actually need. This is common sense logic they teach you in undergraduate business courses, yet even some of the largest agencies drop the ball. Any top Google-partner digital marketing agency will tell you they are offering great services and initiating smart decisions to ensure growth. In reality, most are at least one (if not more) of these four rookie mistakes addressed in this article. Avoid these errors and you will see big improvements in your growth, client acquisition, and retention numbers.

best seo services


Offering Cookie Cutter Services Like the Cable Company

So many marketing agencies are still offering the cookie cutter one-size-fits-all packaging model. Regardless of the fact that all clients have different brands, different products, and even different sales goals, many digital marketers offer the same service to all of their customers as if they are selling cable TV packages. Smarter agencies aren’t doing this; they use value-based pricing where no two strategies are the same and each is crafted around the client’s needs and the details of the project itself.  The cost to the client will be determined on what he actually needs to hit his goals, internal expenses to hit all targets, and not on some blind run-of-the-mill offering. Cookie cutter pricing simply signifies cookie cutter people behind the marketing curtain.

SEO writers

Slave Labor Content Mills

A lot of marketing agencies hire content mills to crank out articles for their client’s blogs, off-site content and even for their own internal. They use these resources because they are inexpensive and scalable. However, they wind up costing agencies more than they think. For starters, these “bottom of the barrel writers” don’t know how to write for SEO or specific buyer personas (they have little to zero marketing experience), so right away the main points are amiss. Then consider the time it takes to manage these writers and proof-read their work once it comes back. In most cases these articles require edits, and once the piece is ready to go out, a good hour of company time has been wasted. It is worth it to just hire internally for content, or to hire a respected content marketing company that knows how to write for SEO and target buyers.

agency HR tips

The Wrong Hire for the Right Job

Too many agencies lack direction in what skills they need in new hires. Although they have a clear idea for the position itself, they often get sidetracked unique skills people bring to the table but that don’t apply to the role they are trying to fill. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve seen agencies hire flopped film students or rejects from the movie industry because they think they will get a hot YouTube channel or some creative magic; these are people who have little education and zero marketing experience. When agencies interview these types they tend to be at that breaking point where they are running out of patience and will hire some creative type with the goal to rain them on essential SEO tasks. But search optimization is no longer an easy thing to carve into; it requires a marketing mind, advanced language skills, academic research skills, and a lot more than any guy off the street can learn in a community college summer course. So what happens when agencies hire these “uber creatives”? The new hire will begin to hate his job and start looking for another one, or he will get comfortable and remain miserable while not being allowed to use the creative skills he is passionate about,. Instead he is being trained to do something that isn’t even his forte. Time and manpower is being wasted, and with it money.

don't hire bad clients

You Keep Signing Up Bad Clients and Embrace Revolving Doors

Many agencies face growth problems by continuously signing bad clients. These are the customers who go through a revolving door and disable the agency’s ability to actually grow. On one hand they simply cannibalize one another from a revenue standpoint, or the marketing agency has a system set in place where they bring on four new clients for every two they lose. Sure, they may be doubling their growth from a head-count perspective, but they are diluting services by doing this while other agencies are offering custom strategies to a client base with a lengthy retention rate AND they still grow their client base at a steady and manageable pace. So why are client retention rates generally lower for larger agencies as opposed to the mid-size and smaller boutique firms? Big agencies sign bad clients, and bad clients are defined by many characteristics including not understanding their services, or the methodology behind digital marketing. The main reason a client quits is simple: they don’t understand what their agency is doing for them. When customers don’t understand what you are doing, you offer zero value. When agencies onboard clients they need to educate them in the process see any value. If clients say they don’t care or don’t want to learn, then don’t work with them because they won’t stick around for more than a few months, and by the time they leave you, will have wasted precious time onboarding them. Offer custom service to educated clients who understand your process. Nurture them, show the client your value, and bid adieu to the revolving door system of growing at the expense of recycling one bad client for another.

Were these Words of Wisdom?

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