5 ways to get the most from your agency

Jessica

Among the many overused marketing terms, “strategy” must be in the top five.  What’s scary is not how often the word is used, but how often it is misused. Here are some common examples:

“Our strategy is to use more digital media”
“Yes, our strategy is to increase sales”
“Let’s use our strategery to make this happen”

Not kidding, that last one is real. A strategy is not about making a list of tactics and media. A strategy is certainly not the goal itself, such as to increase sales. So what is strategy?

Merriam-Webster defines strategy as “a careful plan or method for achieving a particular goal usually over a long period of time.”

Is Your Agency Really Giving You Strategy?

As many brand marketing teams are being forced to scale back in an increasingly fragmented media landscape – it’s essential to partner with an agency that understands how to build effective strategies that are not dependent on one particular channel or tactic.

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Here are five ways to spot strategic thinking in action:

1. Planning and preparation
The definition of strategy is a “careful plan” – yet in reality it can be a struggle to get budgets and sign-offs in a timely fashion for an annual marketing plan. Still, it’s better to have a strategy in place that can be altered based on budgets versus waiting for final budget information and then cherry-picking tactics at the last minute.

2. Challenging the status quo
Many brands engage in certain legacy tactics simply because “it’s what we always do.” A smart agency will challenge these types of tactics if they are not on strategy or seem to be ineffective at reaching your goals.

3. Understanding market dynamics
According to Forbes’ 5th annual Client and Agency Relationship survey, 53% of CMOs feel that agencies have a poor level of knowledge of issues that impact their business.

Ouch.

It’s true that despite the best of efforts, an agency may never be as in-tune with your industry as you are. The key here is to work with partners who strive daily to understand your business model, markets and competition – and most importantly how they shape your marketing objectives.

4. Flexibility
Knowing when it makes sense to halt a campaign or shift gears is extremely important in today’s world due to the nature of social media and digital marketing. We have the opportunity to change course on a frequent basis and create relevance in real-time. Work with a partner who can adapt to changing situations and is on the lookout for your brand’s “Oreo moment.”

5. Asking questions
Sometimes, even with an amazing strategy in place, additional needs arise that may leave your agency . . . puzzled. What may seem like an annoying email coming across your desk at six o’clock is likely a reflection of your agency team trying to understand the variables behind your request.

Trust us: this is a good thing.

5 Ways to Boost Your Email List

Grace

Email has never been more relevant.  Ninety-one percent of consumers check their email daily. As marketers, it’s important to take full advantage of this resource to create customizable messages, build one-to-one relationships and use the awesome tools provided by email marketing providers to measure campaign effectiveness.

Some interesting email statistics via Hubspot:

  • 74 percent of consumers prefer to receive commercial communications via email
  • Email marketing has an ROI of 4,300 percent
  • 17 percent of marketers don’t track or analyze email metrics for their organization

 

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Are you ready to boost your email list? Here are five tips:

1. Offer a valuable incentive.

People are hesitant to give out their email address to just anyone (aren’t you?). Offer them something worthwhile in return for their information. Think like your consumer: what would you want? Some ideas:

  • Blog content, ebooks, whitepages, tutorials
  • Coupons, exclusive sales, free product/service, gift cards
  • Insider information: first to know about sales, new products, etc.
  • A chance to win a contest

 

2. Utilize your website

Create compelling call-to-actions in high-traffic areas of your website. Optimize your CTAs by  following these best practices:

  • Visually striking designs with copy that compels you to click the offer
  • Action-oriented: Begin with a verb like “download” or “register”
  • Located in an easy-to-find spot that follows organically from the flow of the webpage
  • Easy to understand: State exactly what the visitor will get if she clicks on the CTA and goes to the landing page

 

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You can also use a lightbox tool that floats over your website asking readers to sign up for email notifications. SumoMe.com, for example, has a popular suite of free tools that includes this plugin for a variety of websites.

3. Create landing pages

According to Search Engine Land, using a dedicated landing page for your marketing list can lift conversion rates up to 50 percent. Get the most out of your landing pages!

  • Include customer testimonials to show credibility
  • Remove distractions, such as navigation, extra links and unnecessary copy. This will allow the reader to focus on your offer
  • Use A/B testing to see what words and designs improve conversion rates
  • Don’t require visitors to input too much information — In general, fewer fields lead to more subscriptions

 

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4. Engage with your existing subscribers

KISSmetrics explains that 60 percent of email lists are inactive subscribers — which is bad news for your email marketing campaigns.

While improving your email list, it’s important to focus on engagement. Happy subscribers will want to share your content, hopefully attracting their social followers — or, at the very least, at least they are actually looking at it. We recommend:

  • Sending regular emails explaining what content is available to them. This will remind them why they signed up in the first place, hopefully leading them to engage with your brand!
  • Segmenting your email list. Readers are less likely to opt-out if they are receiving information that is relevant to them.
  • Letting subscribers choose how often they receive emails. Offering a weekly or monthly recap will help retain people who may be annoyed with daily updates.

5. Watch your numbers

In order to tell if your email campaigns are actually successful, you must analyze the metrics. Luckily, email marketing providers offer some of the deepest and easiest-to-use data-collecting tools you’ll find in the content marketing world. Some things to monitor:

  • Bounce rate: amount of emails that could not be delivered. There are two types of bounces, soft (inbox is full) and hard (email address is invalid/no longer in use.) Get rid of all hard bounces –they make you look like spam to the Internet Service Providers!
  • Delivery rate: the percentage of emails that were actually delivered. Subtract all soft and hard bounces from the amount of emails that were sent, and then divide that by the original amount of emails sent. Make sure this delivery rate isn’t slipping!
  • Click-through rate: the portion of people who clicked through links in your email. Divide unique clicks by the number of emails delivered. CTR is important because it shows how relevant your information was.

 

How do you boost your email list? Tweet us at @QuinlanCompany.