How to Trust an E-Commerce Marketing Agency

Prospects often come and say, “We’ve been burned before; we’ve had problems with our previous agency, marketing agency, or developers. They made promises they couldn’t keep.” and the results of a decision like this always come to the same place. Prospects can arrive from inbound leads or an outreach process with this burn.

Due Diligence For Content Marketing Agencies And More

What do businesses need to ask about services from an agency or a development partner?

They should conduct due diligence. This includes researching agencies online and on LinkedIn. How many employees do they have? What are the employee job titles? How many marketers are employed? How many developers do they have in-house? The answers help you understand the business and agency’s respective infrastructures.

Sometimes only one person runs an agency, or the managers outsource services. Then you’re not getting the level of quality that you think you’re paying for monthly. Always run a Google and social media search on your desired agency. Check references that you can review and contact: new clients, existing clients or case studies, portfolios. So, they need to do their homework.

Owners and managers need to ask the right questions. Don’t stick with “Hey, how much traffic do you want to generate?” That’s the wrong angle. Generic questions are useless.

Traffic is a vanity metric. What is your bottom line? What are your margins on these products? To increase your visibility, traffic, and conversion rates to this product line or this category, what can you expect to see in return in six months or 12 months?

Business owners get burned because they go with an agency that’s saying, “I’m increasing your traffic by 10x, 5x”. Then they don’t inquire sufficiently. That’s another red flag

Good questions include, “What products are your best sellers? What products do you have the best margins on? What products, if you’re introducing a new product line, do you have an inventory and sitting on 100,000 units that you have to move?” If they’re not asking those questions, you’ve partnered with the wrong agency.

It all has to do with strategy. e-Commerce business owners need to ask questions regarding strategy. Check small elements for red flags.

Look at the employee count on LinkedIn. Make sure that they’re not outsourcing their work. Optimum7 does not outsource marketing campaigns. Everyone that works on your project is an employee of Optimum7, with multiple offices and remote people.

Other considerations exist. Make sure that the agency practices what they preach. Optimum7 is visible for thousands of keywords organically on Google. How can an agency that says they specialize in SEO prove it if they can’t do SEO for themselves? How can they do Facebook marketing, AdWords, or YouTube without promoting themselves?

Agencies Should Be Prepared For Dissatisfied Customers

Existing clients will say, “I just got solicited this email from this agency saying that they can do X, Y, Z for me, or these are areas of opportunity.” They want to evaluate if switching agencies is worth the risk.

The marketers respond, “This is the company’s website that just reached out to you, telling you that you had errors within your SEO.” They will compare the competitor’s website to yours, and show the drastic change in quality.

Do not trust a stranger who just tells you X, Y, Z. Conduct your due diligence. As a business owner, you have no way of knowing if they have a good backlink profile if they’re ranking for thousands of terms, or what their domain authority is. A reliable marketer does.

Consult with someone else that can tell you and guide you. Optimum7 does that consulting business owners. Even if they refuse to sign a contract, they need guidance in the right direction.

Guidance has to do with the value proposition, the agency, or the development partner. This applies to services such as migration or custom functionality for your e-Commerce site.

Are they trying to provide value or just get your business? Are they doing an advanced audit for you? Are they actually highlighting true and accurate improvement points, like something that would improve your bottom line, your conversion rates, the different KPIs, the secondary calls to action? So, it’s very important that you look at all of this.

Finding A Good Fit For A Client

How do you evaluate prospect requests?

Prospect requests can prove awkward. People may not understand the magnitude or tone of their desired services.

For example, one may ask for migration and custom functionalities. Their email reads, “How much is it? Reach out to me only by email. Do not call me. How fast can you finish?”

This is not the right kind of request. The tone shows a lack of serious dedication to quality. Have the statement of work, not even a scope of work, and a window in your schedule for a phone call with marketing or sales.

How about when a prospect requests references?

Why would marketers give you references? Just because you’re trying to hire somebody does not mean that it’s a good match for the agency. Good ones pick their clients as well.

The relationship is a two-way street. Optimum7 has fired clients before if the client does not understand the process or attempts micromanaging, unofficial outsourcing, and so forth. An agency wants to be an extension of your marketing department and development capabilities. That’s where the true value lies.

In terms of the references, the agency can have a statement of work, a phone call, or an in-person discussion with masks and hand sanitizer. With a cost and a timeline in place, and then Optimum7 is happy to provide references as many as you need.

This happens the other way around as well. When you go to a marketing agency and when you send them a request and they’re ready to give you a quote via email without speaking with you, they’re amateurish. They’re not a real marketing or development agency. Human interaction is important in both B2B and B2C marketing.

Find one expert that makes sense, and check their LinkedIn. Evaluate red flags that could prevent a working relationship. Check their resources, Google profile, videos, and content.

Make sure that that company is visible and is in the marketplace because they promise to make you visible and earn money for clients. If they can’t do it for themselves, they can’t do it for you.

If you have any more questions, reach out to the Optimum7 staff. The marketers and account managers are happy to answer further about long-term agency relationships.