5 Critical Elements for Running a Successful Digital Marketing Agency

By Jason Hawkins on September 9, 2015

5 Critical Elements for Running a Successful Digital Marketing Agency2The dynamic world of digital advertising is prompting marketing agencies in Miami like ours (and others nationwide) to be more things to clients, in fact most business owner’s look for a single source partner for all things marketing for consolidating their efforts to a single partner.  Digital agencies are not your typical businesses, they are much more like sports teams with each player having a unique skill set and role with emphasis on further developing the team’s diversity by training in other areas of digital advertising. The most important factor of any agencies success is not only the expertise of the team, but how the clients are managed and supported.  This should include transparency for reporting, and a central communication portal to consolidate all collaboration within a specific project, this is easily accomplished with a CRM or Project Management suite like Basecamp. There are a lot of factors that shape client relationships and missing any of the key elements can potentially make or break your success in acquiring and retaining your client’s long term.

Here below in my opinion are the 5 critical elements to a successful and prosperous agency:

Setting The Right Expectations

This is mission critical and starts with the first contact by your sales team. In order to build long term partnerships the expectations must be set correctly from the start.

Misaligned or falsely generated expectations are probably the No. 1 reason that an agency-client relationship fails–and, frankly, both sides are usually to blame. The client starts out expecting unrealistic outcomes, and the agency fails to correct that expectation, for fear of losing the business. It’s a recipe for failure.

Fully Transparent Communication

Using a centralized platform to manage client communication is critical, not to mention it hold all parties accountable for assigning/completing tasks within that project. It will also allow for referencing conversations or requests which take place throughout the campaign.

I can’t stress enough how important communication is to a great agency-client relationship. Both parties have an obligation to have open and direct communications. When it comes to digital, remember, it’s important to bring all the players to the table when needed; marketing, sales, and IT, as well as other agency contacts. Everyone should be aligned with the goals and the initiatives and understand their role in the plan.


Educating Yourself & Your Employees

Each member of the team should not only have good experience and exposure using the tools associated with the role, but also formal certifications confirm the credibility of the team. Things like Google Adwords or Google Analytics along with attending relevant seminars and workshops all of which contribute to the overall expertise of your agency team. Digital marketing is one of the most multi-faceted types of B2B services and it is constantly evolving with technology so if you’re not continuously educating yourself and your employees, there is a good chance that you are going to fall behind the times. Staying up to date with the latest SEM/SEO tricks, techniques, software features and best practices is what makes us successful in many ways. In fact, just this month (September 2015) Google announced that they are offering a “Specialist” certification which is given to individuals who obtain every certification that Google offers. Once you obtain every certification that Google offers, you receive a framed “Specialist Certification” which our entire team is signed up for. At the end of this month, we will all hang out specialist certification on our wall proudly 🙂

You should also be educating yourself about your industry & market and sharing that information with your agency partner. You can improve decision-making efficiency and avoid wasting time by providing your client with upfront research about your market, target audience, and competitors.


Building a Strong Trust

This must be earned over time and starts with the follow through of commitments and timelines during the setup process even prior to generating any results. Proper expectations of results can make or break you from the start. Once the setup process is completed in a timely manner, the next phase is proof of concept for the technology and tools used to generate the ROI for your client’s campaign.  Trust is also vital within your own organization, people who trust one another work well together and feel more at ease when delegating specific tasks to team members. Most importantly, trust in the leadership or ownership to guide the ship must be upheld to promote the well-being of the office environment and productivity.  If you do not have faith or believe in what your coach is asking you to do on the court, then you are not likely to have a winning formula for success.  Leaders lead by example!

Employee Development

You must continue to train and further educate your staff in all facets of their role and of the industry they work in. “Inspect what you Expect”, if you expect a member of your staff to handle specific tasks within their role, ask yourself, Have you prepared them to do what you expect of them? Have you provided the tools to do the job? Or are you assuming they know what they know? Every team member wants to learn more about what they do, and it feels good to learn new things each day.  The more training one receives the better they feel about performing in their role.  Don’t assume!

In summary, there are many moving parts with today’s Digital Marketing Agency and all are important to your success. Consider asking yourself if your team is ready for the big game today, and have you done a good job in preparing them to fight the good fight and win the clients long term partnership.

About The Author

Jason Hawkins
Jason Hawkins / http://www.themiamiseocompany.com

Jason Hawkins is the CEO & Co-Founder of The Miami SEO Company. He has over ten years of experience in search engine optimization, conversion rate optimization and lead generation. His core responsibilities include identifying ways to increase value of services rendered, training staff on advanced SEO topics, and A/B testing internal processes to consistently improve client return on investment.