Digital marketing, advertising, app development, websites, Ecommerce, and pretty much everything else online can feel overwhelming. Below we’ve put together five of the most common questions we get from prospective clients.
At Blayzer, it’s important for us to match clients with solutions that add actual value. This could be warehousing, payment processing, integrating your online store into a better-performing platform, email campaigns, paid ads, social media, branding, or something less quantifiable like consulting.
We want your company to succeed as much as we want to succeed. Success is directly related to yours.
We took an office poll and asked what are the most common questions they frequently answer from potential (and existing) clients.
*Note that the questions are answered in the primary author’s voice and these responses have been created for your enjoyment.
How much does a website cost?
What do you want to do with it? Are you selling stuff, branding yourself, pushing information?
The cost of anything is the sum of its parts.
I’ll tell you right now that websites (especially from scratch) should be done in stages. Start with a foundation (like an online business card), and plan out how you want to build value with SEO, branding, and more information about your company. I don’t know what you need yet. How much legwork do you want your site to do? What’s your budget?
There are so many factors to consider when it comes to quoting a website or marketing strategy.
Here are a few fees you may not have thought of:
- Hosting/Domain Registration
- Branding Guides
- Site Maintenance
- Quote Cration
- Transaction Fees
- Ad Spend
- *Tech Features
*Anything from live chat and email blasts to customer support and Ecommerce development. Our partners help us keep these costs down and are good friends to have.
Those bullet points above are the TIP of the iceberg. A better way to answer “how much does a website cost” is with a question: “What do you want accomplish online?”
If you’re shopping for a marketing agency, you will be asked very specific questions about budget and expectations. What ROI do you want by the end of 2023? What constitutes success? Are we doing this in stages? Here’s the website build cost, but do you need a follow-through marketing plan?
Anyone can build a website in 10 minutes. But this is like building a sandcastle when the tide’s coming in.
How much does success cost? What is a lead or conversion worth to you? How important is your digital footprint? Consider some of these questions and the value you can add with a stronger digital presence.
I should be on TikTok, shouldn't I?
This comes up in lots of conversations and unexpected places. TikTok marketing is undoubtedly very new and just barely in its adolescence. It’s super popular, that’s for sure, but not everything that’s popular is necessarily good for your business.
Should you or – more importantly in this context – should your company be on TikTok? I don’t know. Maybe?
You need to take a hard look at your product/service before jumping into the latest social media trend, or you might end up being one of those people who walked off a cliff because everyone else was doing it.
Does it make sense for your brand? Are your customers expecting to see you on TikTok? Would your presence there be a welcome surprise? Most importantly, is your content going to benefit your business and generate ROI, or is it just noise you’re throwing out there to be part of the zeitgeist? The worst thing you can do is come across as a company saying “How do you do, fellow kids?”
Here are some made up examples of companies that would probably benefit from TikTok:
- Jim’s Gym
- Jill’s Cooking Show
- Sam’s Outdoor Club
- Custom Furniture by Bill
- Sandy’s Dance Studio
- Mike’s Investment Tips/Tricks for Millenials
Sure, it might seem complicated. That’s because it is. But here’s a simple way of determining whether your stuff belongs on TikTok (or any social media platform, really): If you came across your content, would you value it?
Digital Marketing Seems...involved. How do I keep up?
Find a good agency.
Really though – digital marketing is very involved and changes every day. Keeping up with every trend (see above) is close to impossible, and you could be losing out on valuable opportunities if you’re scrambling to do everything at once.
In fact, trying to do everything at once (and on your own) could be damaging. This happens a lot in the Ecommerce industry. (Check out this great piece about omnichannel marketing.)
Say you have a sporting goods store and you list an item on Amazon and Target. Then you promote the item on Facebook, run some search ads, make content on your site, push social media ads, make YouTube videos, add it to your newsletter, update photography and prices at every point of purchase, have a giveaway, promote discounts… Do you see how this can get out of hand pretty quickly?
A better way to decide what channels to pursue, and what demographics you want to target, is to develop a strategy. Maybe the sporting goods store owner finds they sell way more canoes online via Facebook ads. Great! Let’s keep that train rolling. Maybe sales are nonexistent with email blasts. But why? Are they executed poorly? Maybe you don’t need to spend any of your energy and budget on PPC campaigns – maybe you need to double down.
You have to ask: Does what I’m doing make sense and add value?
A good agency will investigate your competition and evaluate what you consider to be valuable.
Our philosophy revolves around creating a Strategy that makes sense. This involves research, exploring opportunities and options that may not be apparent, and making intelligent decisions moving forward.
Here, for example, we have the luxury of a versatile group of in-house experts. We’ve all filled many roles over the years. This cross-training shows when we create marketing strategies and development plans for clients. Example: The person writing this knows pretty much nothing about how PPC works on the back-end. The person sitting across the room has a decade of experience.
I did this stuff before and nothing happened.
Good statement. I hear this All Of The Time. A company gets burned, tries again with a different agency, gets neglected, tries again…
Get any two people like me in a room and we’ll share war stories about this exact situation.
Here’s the answer: A negative experience with any service can negatively impact the good actors out there.
We (and I know others) spend a lot of time repairing marketing programs. Pro tip: Vet. Vet at least three agencies. What to watch out for, you ask? Packaged deals. Long-term contracts. Not owning all of the assets someone creates for you (read your contracts!). Anyone that says they “outsource” more than once. Vet your solutions provider…please. Ask for a client reference. Or heck – find their portfolio and cold call one of their active clients. Or a bunch of them. Pay attention to how they treat you as they answer those questions and requests. Do they respond quickly and with transparency, or do you feel them scrambling behind the scenes?
A lot of this frustration leads to misunderstanding what you’re paying for. “They do SEO” or
“They run my Facebook” are common ones. Ok…what are they doing for your SEO? (They probably installed a plugin and called it a day.) What are they doing with Facebook? (They probably grabbed something off Shutterstock and put some text on it, then bought likes.) It’s too easy for shot-callers to nod and say “Sure, I’ll buy us marketing,” and they’re shocked when nothing happens.
Make sure an agency vets YOU, too. They should be asking you about your target markets, your products, about your digital footprint’s history, about revenue expectations, about your staff, about success priorities, about what goals you want to meet.
One of my favorite and often unanticipated questions to ask a potential client is about pain points. What are they for your customers and – more importantly – for your employees? Do your field agents struggle logging into some portal to access an estimator tool? That’s a pain point. Are you having issues with customer service? That’s a pain point. Is your entire back-of-office a mess? Pain point. Are you getting ripped off in processing fees? Are you losing sales due to poor inventory management? Do you dread going to trade shows? Are taxes more annoying than they should be? What payroll software do you use? Do you have really strong and really weak salespeople? Why?
You might not even KNOW about a systemic glitch in your business. I’m not saying it’s an agency’s job to just point out problems (I used to do this way too much) – it’s the agency’s job to direct you toward potential solutions.
Bob's HVAC Company is way bigger than me. How do I compete with a smaller budget?
Do you need to?
If your HVAC company is half the size as Bob’s HVAC, the odds are you aren’t really going after the same customer base.
Let’s picture my hometown of St. Louis. Does Bob do more commercial work? Is Bob going after government contracts? Is Bob targeting high-end residential clients? Is Bob dropping tens of thousands on paid ads, billboards, and mailers? Well, let him! Let him drive awareness and demand for the kind of services you both provide.
I’ve seen this happen a lot to service providers. They get into a “who spends more money” mindset. Sure, it’s great for agencies. More money is cool. But long-term? Think about your ideal customers. Who are they? Where are they? What’s their wallet look like? Use your time and money to shake up valuable business – not just throw flyers out the window.
This is something I’ve learned in my own industry. Sure, certain agencies offer social media, app design, web development, and other services that the guys up the street might also offer. But that doesn’t mean agencies want the same kind (or caliber) of client. Just like with Bob’s HVAC, business owners need to consider the difference between specialization and generalization.
A really good example would be, “I need an app built by the end of the month.” Well…OK. Some agencies can do that (and probably only do that). I’d ask: Do you have a functionality list? Do you have design mockups? What’s your budget? Do you want me to build you a follow-through marketing plan? Do you want to go the PWA route? Do you know what a PWA is? Do you need a demo to secure VC funding or the full product? What’s your competition? Do you have a company? Do you have branding? Do you want to do this or do it right? How honest do you want me to be right now?
This is a long-winded way of saying: “Do what makes sense and what you’re good at doing.” Markets shift and change all of the time. One advantage to having a solid tech stack and marketing plan in place is that you’re able to be more agile and efficient when these shifts occur.
Marketing Trends in 2023
A few predictions and things to watch and expect to become even more important in 2023:
- Video Branding
- Online Security
- Meaningful PPC
- Legitimate content
- UX (user experience)
You have questions – we have answers. Take control of your digital space and make it do something meaningful.
We hope these answers help!