(Read Time: 8 minutes)

Digital marketing isn’t easy – that’s why you hired a digital marketing agency in the first place, right?

In a sense, your agency has one job: to help you grow your business.

When your agency does its job, you get to focus on the things that really matter, both at work and at home.

Everybody wins.

Unfortunately, not all digital marketing agencies are created equal.

Many agencies rely on a “one size fits all” approach. Instead of creating a specific strategy designed to help you meet your goals, they start spending money left and right.

…and take it from us: no strategy = no results, no matter what you’re trying to achieve.

If you’re worried that your digital marketing agency is underperforming – or it seems like you’re spending a lot and not seeing the returns you expected…

It’s time to take a step back and answer a big question:

Before they used a single dollar of your ad budget, did your digital marketing agency follow these 5 important steps?


As you started, developed, and grew your business, you set goals, whether you knew it at the time or not!

Some examples of business goals include:

  • Releasing a new product in time for the holiday season
  • Making $20,000 more this quarter than last quarter
  • Finding 25 great clients in 2017

There’s another set of goals, however, that you need to be thinking about: marketing goals.

At this point, you may ask… “Why do I need to think about those? Isn’t that why I hired a digital marketing agency?”

It’s simple: without them, how will you know if your marketing is working – and if your agency is doing a good job?

You need to be as specific as possible – with both yourself and your agency – about what you want your marketing to achieve.

If your marketing goals are simply:

  • More customers
  • More revenue
  • Better conversion rates

…Then your goals are too vague – and can lead to wasteful spending.

Of course, all these goals sound great at first … but they’re not detailed enough. If results like these are all your agency promised you, you may have a problem.

More customers? How many more? 1? 2? 10? 100? … You get the point.

If the goal is just “more customers,” 1 new customer is, in fact, “more” … but you’re probably expecting better than that.

Ask yourself questions and work to come up with solid answers – like how many new customers you actually need for your marketing campaign to be considered a success.

A few examples of good, concrete marketing goals:

  • An additional 100 leads over the course of the ad campaign
  • $10,000 extra in monthly revenue
  • 2% increase in on-site conversions

These goals work because they’re definite objectives you’re working toward … like any other type of realistic, achievable goal!

If you’re struggling to come up with marketing goals for yourself, remember this: all you have to do is make sure that your goals are SMART:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Time-Bound.

SMART goals provide you with real metrics for success. They also help you identify problems and help you improve and refine your processes.

If your digital marketing agency doesn’t think similarly, or sets only broad goals, like “Growth,” they’ve only shown you one thing …

They don’t know what to aim for … and your advertising budget is thus being spent aimlessly.

2 – Does Your Agency Clearly Understand Your USP?

Your USP is your Unique Selling Proposition – it’s simply what makes you and your business stand out from everyone else.

It’s why your customers – and your prospects – pick you over the competition.

In many fields, there are hundreds – if not thousands – of businesses that, in some sense, all do the same things.

Think about the fact that there are well over 10,000 places in the world where you can get a hamburger.

Some people choose to eat at McDonalds because they know they’ll be able to get the same burger anywhere in the world in just a couple of minutes. Others choose a neighborhood burger shop because that particular burger isn’t available anywhere else.

Others still will travel to a restaurant thousands of kilometers from home to try a burger with three different meats, three different cheeses, a ton of toppings – and the possibility of having their photo on the wall if they can finish it in an hour – if that’s what they want!

Customers choose different kinds of burger joints for different reasons. All three of them have completely different USPs, even though they all sell (sort of) the same thing!

Each of these businesses has dialed in its USP. You need to do the same – and your digital agency needs to understand it in order to effectively market your business!

If you want your business to succeed, you need to be able to answer two questions:

  1. Why do people buy from you?
  2. If your customers don’t buy from you now, why should they?

If you can’t answer these questions, neither can your customer – and they’ll almost certainly give their business to someone else.

Once you have good answers, you have the power to show your target audience why they should choose you over your competition.

Your digital marketing agency needs to know not just who, what, and where, but also why – and your USP is the key to understanding why.

Your agency needs to be able to take that USP, fine tune it, and turn it into direct language that resonates with your ideal customers.

If you can’t articulate your USP in just a handful of words, you run the risk of saying a whole lot of nothing…

…and if your agency didn’t spend some serious time working on this with you, there’s a very good chance that they’re spending a LOT of money on ineffective ads!

3 – Does Your Agency Know Who Your Ideal Customers Are?

You and your marketing agency are working together to help you meet your business goals, as discussed earlier.

Along the way, any advertising they run has to target someone, which means they need to answer another big question: who is that someone?

Lots of potentially great ads don’t succeed because they target the wrong audience.

For example, if you sell fitness plans to beginners just starting to learn about exercise, you’re unlikely to have any success if your agency targets experienced bodybuilders. They already know what you have to teach them, so they’re unlikely to buy!

If you try to be everything to everyone, you’re equally unlikely to succeed. It’s impossible to solve everyone’s problems all at once … and you’re unlikely to attract a premium audience or sell at your best possible rates when you try to do that.

Think of it this way: you’re not looking for just more customers. You’re looking for more ideal customers.

But what, exactly, is an ideal customer?

Your ideal customer may be someone who will give to your business for years to come, will refer you to their friends, and will provide you with tons of word of mouth advertising – all of which they’ll do for free because they love what you do!

Once you’ve determined who your ideal customers are – and what problem of theirs you’re uniquely qualified to solve (this is where your USP comes into play) – you can start producing laser-focused ad campaigns that require less work from you, but produce a significantly greater ROI.

Your agency should have taken you through this process … speaking with you to build out your ideal ‘customer avatars’. Once you have those clearly defined and you can work your USP into the campaign targeting these specific avatars, it helps you focus your campaigns on smart, selective growth.

If they haven’t, they’re likely wasting your money on general-purpose ads, essentially trying to be all things to all people … and that won’t lead you to financial freedom – or anywhere at all!

4 – Has Your Agency Helped You Create an Irresistible Offer?

If you know your ideal customer, you also know their problems – and you’re ready to show them that your business is uniquely qualified to provide the solution.

When you present this audience with your USP, they should be convinced that you – and only you – can solve their problems easily and effortlessly.

However, there’s one last piece: the offer.

Without a great offer, you’re unlikely to make the sale – or grow your business.

Now an offer isn’t sending someone to your website and telling them how good you are and why they should by from you … the days of being able to market and sell to people like that are long gone!

Instead, your offer needs to be something to show your prospects why you’re the best choice for them, by providing them something of value.

If you stop selling and start offering something of value … something that actually helps solve their problem, then your prospects will start to sell themselves on your products or services, so you won’t have to.

So, what makes an offer great – as opposed to merely okay?

A great offer provides real value for your customers. It is unique – and helps you stand out from your competition online.

If your offer speaks to your audience’s needs at the right time, they’re more likely to take the action you want – and in turn, help your business grow.

Depending on your business type an offer could be:

  • eBooks
  • Guides
  • Webinars
  • Kits
  • Free Tools
  • Free Trials
  • Product Demos
  • Coupons
  • Consultations
  • New Industry Research

Basically, anything that adds value to your ideal customer so they can learn more about your business and realise you’re the perfect solution for them.

If your agency hasn’t discussed this in detail with you, or helped you create an offer that will help your business stand out, take another step back…

Your agency is almost certainly not running your ads anywhere near as efficiently, or effectively as they should … and could be!

5 – Has Your Agency Discussed What Your ROI Should Be?

If you’re spending money on advertising, you need to be able to clearly measure if your investment is producing returns.

Are you spending $1 and making $3 for example?

To dig a little deeper, if you’re spending $5,000 per month on marketing and advertising based on costs, profit margins, and other variables … are you generating $15,000 in revenue? If you are, then you’re seeing a positive ROI.

It’s important to keep a close eye on these numbers, as they provide you with clear benchmarks – and will help you determine whether your campaign was a success or a failure.

If your agency isn’t thinking in terms of numbers – and sets unmeasurable goals – that’s a huge red flag that your money is being wasted.

A good agency doesn’t just help you grow – they help you grow intelligently. Most importantly, they don’t waste your hard-earned advertising dollars!

To Wrap This Up …

If your marketing agency hasn’t:

  • Set clearly defined, measurable marketing goals
  • Identified your USP and built a strategy around it
  • Determined your ideal customer – and where to find them
  • Created an offer that they can’t resist
  • Ensured that you’re seeing a realistic, sustainable ROI

There’s a good chance that you need to re-evaluate your digital marketing – and, perhaps, your agency!

These are the key steps that lead to big results – and choosing to ignore them can lead to unsustainable development, wasteful spending, and a lack of growth!

Perhaps we can be of service here and clear things up for you. We offer a few free 30-minutes strategy sessions each month, so feel free to see if there’s any space available and we’ll happily give you some direction to clear this stuff up.

About Paul Hanney

Paul is the Founder and Chief Marketing Strategist at Phorge. With over 10 years experience in digital marketing and having generated over $27million in revenue. Paul's focus is on helping businesses grow and scale using sustainable and automated digital marketing strategies.
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