Ask most small business owners how they feel about online advertising and you’ll get a pretty consistent response: Overwhelmed. They know they need to be investing in it, they know they can’t ignore it, and they suspect they don’t know how to do it right.
The facts are on their side: A 2013 study of 500 small and medium-sized businesses who managed their own AdWords accounts showed that less than half had conversion tracking on their websites or landing pages. While the majority were running campaigns to generate phone leads, 95% of SMBs had yet to activate call extensions on their ads. No wonder so many SMBs say online advertising “doesn’t work” for them! Digital marketing agencies provide these overwhelmed small businesses a valuable lifeline, handling the complexities of Google AdWords and Bing Ads so the SMBs can focus on running their businesses.
But digital agencies with growing client lists also get overwhelmed. Google AdWords and Bing Ads are designed for individual businesses, not for campaign managers handling dozens or hundreds of SMB campaigns at once.
Big publishers and media companies invest in digital marketing technology (our AdVantage platform is one example) to make the daily tasks of campaign management more efficient and to drive better campaign results. Agencies need to do the same — here’s why:
1. To save money. Agency math is pretty simple: When each campaign manager can handle more advertiser accounts without sacrificing campaign results, the agency’s overhead goes down and profits go up. Digital marketing platforms are designed to consolidate repetitive tasks, making them easier to replicate within one account and/or across similar accounts. For example, the detailed taxonomy of business categories built into MatchCraft’s AdVantage platform – including related high-performance keywords and ad copy – makes setting up new accounts and campaigns extremely fast and accurate. Not only do these tools give campaign managers back hours of their day, but they also cut down on human error.
2. To deliver superior ROI. The right digital marketing technology makes performing campaign optimizations easier and more efficient, which means these tasks will get done thoughtfully and on schedule. The best digital marketing platforms also offer automated bidding, campaign pacing, integrated call tracking, and/or other high-performance features that maximize each advertiser’s investment. SMBs need to know they’re spending their money wisely. The more ROI-boosting tools in your arsenal, the better.
3. To handle growth. Agencies in expansion mode need to be able to say yes to every new client without worrying about whether they have the resources to service that advertiser. The right technology makes account creation and campaign setup quick and painless, and new clients will be up and running almost immediately. (Note: Some platforms are designed to work exclusively with larger monthly budgets; be sure to ask about recommended minimum media spends if your agency works with lower-spending advertisers.)
4. To stay competitive. SMBs lack patience; small business owners put their own wallets on the line and (rightfully) expect prompt service and tangible results. A good digital marketing platform makes the agency’s team über-efficient, flexible, and effective. Happy clients who see great ROI will stay longer and increase their advertising budgets — meaning lower client turnover and higher profits for the agency. In today’s cutthroat market, every little lift counts.
5. To show advertisers results. Generating monthly or quarterly client reports is one of the most time-consuming tasks agencies face when they’re working directly in Google AdWords or Bing Ads. It gets worse if the client is running social, display, and/or remarketing in addition to search. Digital marketing platforms aggregate the SMB’s advertising campaigns in one place, usually an always-accessible dashboard with the option to download fully formatted, client-ready reports. Advertisers often demand data on a moment’s notice — the right technology makes those last-minute requests as painless as possible.
Don’t wait until you’re drowning to learn to swim. MatchCraft works with some of the fastest growing digital marketing agencies in the industry; having the right technology in place is what allows these agencies to bring on new clients at such a rapid pace. Invest in the technology that does what you need it to do; it pays off in all aspects of your business, from sales to operations to customer service.
Geoff Michener heads agency relations at MatchCraft. He originally authored this post for the Yext Certified Partner Community.