My phone is ringing and here’s why
I am frequently contacted by business owners who are unhappy with their digital marketing efforts. The number one reason I hear over and over again is “My phone does not ring”. Owners want more customers and their marketing efforts fall short.
I have identified three categorical reasons why this disconnection occurs. If you’re spending money on digital marketing and your phone isn’t ringing, read on for a guide to getting more customers. As a business advocate, my hope is to empower owners with educational information from independent sources so they can make informed decisions with confidence.
Reason # 1: Agencies selling the wanted work
To understand the business / agency disconnect, we need to explore the typical business model of a marketing agency. Most are structured around a team that includes website builders, social media marketers, graphic designers, and copywriters who often work on search engine optimization as well. Website builders are project driven and need continuous work to justify their pay. Conversely, work on social media is generally continuous.
The most common event I see is the creation of an entirely new website for a customer when a cheaper update would suffice. If a website builder needs new work, unscrupulous agencies will start pitching websites to all of their prospects, and statistically they will get work. I personally discovered an agency that designed a website template programmed to increase billings and extra work. They created internal coding on the website that overrides the automatic search engine optimization (SEO) workings so that they can charge for the SEO work separately after the website is created. I had the heavy task of informing the client of my discovery and the cost of recoding the site.
Green light: An agency that produces documented reports that show that your website is in need of SEO work and provides a market share report that shows your website visitors underperformance of your competitors’ visitors is an indicator that ‘They have the expertise and have done some research to back up the suggestion. A report that clearly shows the shortcomings that need to be corrected is a good sign.
Red light: When the agency relies solely on the visual appearance of the website, or wishes to produce a website based on the photograph without analysis to support your site. Websites that serve as a photo album with little or no written content will not increase the number of new visitors to Google searches.
Index: You can check your website’s SEO score for free on many websites. This one notes on a scale of 100: https://www.seobility.net/en/seocheck/. It is the perfect tool to use to verify the integrity of the work of the agency website. This tool (or a similar third party) should also serve as a deliverable to be completed before final payment for website work.
Index: If you are rebuilding your website, insist on an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant website. This ensures that visitors with disabilities can access all information. Websites are legally required to be ADA compliant; Additionally, ADA compliant websites are more SEO friendly because the ADA and SEO requirements overlap. Here is a link to a free ADA website checker: https://wave.webaim.org/
Reason # 2: Owners Think Digital Marketing Is A Finished Process
Digital Marketing is an ongoing pivotal process with the addition of social media experiences. Instagram Live and Facebook Business Suite video feeds are some of the latest 2021 additions. Additionally, driving traffic to a website is an ongoing process of deliberate growth dictated by Google, Bing, and others. All of these display your content based on algorithmic updates that change the way they choose and who to view your content. To add to the complexity, your competitors are actively adding content to attract visitors in tandem.
I demonstrate this to clients by showing them their market share of the products they offer, because it is an effective benchmark. For example, the search terms “cabinet hardware” and “kitchen cabinet hardware” add up to 124,000 per month. If your website gets 4,000 monthly visitors, you have 3% of the total market. By displaying this data in digital form, it speaks language most homeowners can understand and they can then budget. After building a website, there is work to be done on SEO aside, digital advertising, or both, to attract people to it.
Red light: Business owners who think a website just needs to exist to increase the number of visitors, or they post on social media sporadically without a brand campaign.
Green light: Professionals who have market share reports to determine growth potential and referrals to develop, and will provide referrals for website SEO initiatives. Social media post plans that encapsulate more than one post type i.e: stories, videos AND feed posts.
Index: Consistent blogging is the perfect way to connect with your customers and deliver the new content that search engines are looking for.
Reason 3: Marketing is lacking
Targeting the right audience is easier than ever with the amount of demographic and geographic data that each digital platform collects. When you advertise on Google, Bing, or social media, success is in the details. If you are spending on digital advertising, you should be guided by the reports that show the success rate based on the demographics and geography of your audience. If your phone is not ringing, determine who exactly is targeted to show ads and adjust accordingly.
Index: Request reports that show audience detail, the platforms the ads served on, and geographic locations.
A consistent brand identity gives consumers the confidence to know the caliber of your products and the service associated with them. Does your social media brand reflect your website and print media? Does the customer experience live up to the message? Are your employees aware of your brand identity? Having a strong, well-defined brand identity that clearly demonstrates your unique value is crucial. It ensures that customers get the brand experience they expect.
Index: Train your employees to ask customer qualifying questions. How did you find us? How was your first experience with us? How can we improve?
Savvy business owners see marketing as an extension of their business, and running it with loyal partners and responsible staff is a path to success. Trust your gut if you are hesitant and educate yourself with the help of third-party advice if needed. Digital marketing is complex and a powerful tool for growing your business and making your phone ring. ▪
Denise Grothouse has extensive experience in international trade, branding and marketing. She specializes in digital and social platforms and their integration with traditional marketing and branding strategies. A regular in the kitchen and bathroom industry, she is best known for her work as a Brand Chef at Grothouse, Inc., and is the current president of marketing firm Perfect Six.