Drop the bot for a minute, <br>we need to talk
We’ve focused a lot on bots, automation, communication tools, and other ways to grow your business in an efficient manner. But let’s face it, we’re not just money-making, conversion tracking, web-building machines: we’re also humans. We have weaknesses, desires, and let me proverbially look you in the eye in the most meaningful way – we have emotions.
All of you are familiar with Agora, if not already heavily involved with us. One of the first things you learn (along with the famous bullseye) is that Agora is a relationship business. We plan futures over drinks, have brainstorming sessions that lead to inside jokes, and make close confidants in coworkers, clients, and service providers. Even here at AIM, our weekly e-letter is sent out to build a relationship with you and to share our expertise in marketing pains and triumphs. We hope to not only help you learn, but to grow with us along the way.
If you have worked with AIM, attended our amazing Digital Innovation Summit last month, or if you simply read our blog every week, we have a relationship. The conference last month showed me that we have a lot of potential with our current clients as well as the attendees that haven’t made it official with us… yet. Sure we have the Agora network at our disposal, but it didn’t quite hit until we met with each and every one of the attendees, and discussed issues and exciting opportunities in the marketing world, that we were actually at a speed dating party.
You’re most likely thinking, “Slow down… I don’t even KNOW you.”
Allow me to elaborate: Our happy hours, side conversations, LinkedIn connections, and lunch meetings have all been friendly business transactions. So why should our relationship be treated any differently than one with a significant other? They both have similar stages:
It’s just the beginning, and there is nothing definite about our future on the table. If it’s physically possible, maybe we go on a lunch date or schedule a meeting to discuss your needs. This is the most important stage of the relationship, we’re able to see how the other person handles him or herself, and the nitty gritty details of our businesses. We talk to you about what we can offer after delving into what you’d like to accomplish and how you think you can get there.
When dating goes well, and we’re ready to take that next step, we need to have the serious talk about our future. That’s when the contract discussion comes up, and we have to put our business hats back on in order to get the most value on both sides of the table.
This stage is where you determine your next 3, 6, or 12 months with your marketing partner, and where you make the official decision of how much value we can give you as an agency:
- Are we the right experts? With any agency, it’s great to have some general knowledge about what the team does, but you need to have the most experienced people in their chosen specialty to be able to help you.
- Are we in tune with your business? Don’t expect us to know every fine detail (that’s for YOU to know), but make sure an agency knows what you care the most about, so that we can talk to you about the holes we find just as easily as we can tell you the successes along the way.
- Is there time for you? If we’ve flirted this long, after a few preliminary phone calls, we want your business. This is where you make sure we have the bandwidth to suit your needs.
- So… how much? I’ll make this easy – bringing on a new agency isn’t a cheap venture. But this isn’t the time to scrape two pennies together and try to get the least expensive vendor. With us specificially – this is your marketing, how your business will make money. Nine times out of 10, the cheaper company could cost you more down the road – whether it’s spending more time on a project, correcting an issue the vendor caused, or having to hire a more experienced person to handle a certain issue they haven’t come across yet.
It’s Facebook Official
Okay! The awkwardness of signing that contract is over, you’re positive in your decision, and you’re ready to show off your shiny new relationship by getting things going. Speaking for AIM, when we fall for a client, we fall hard, and like to become involved. This could be anything from watercooler chat to strategic meetings. We’re an extension of your marketing team, and sometimes even knowing the smallest detail about a possible image ad could trigger a solid foundation for a PPC campaign. We typically like to meet with our clients weekly, but some who are more hands-off, it’s bi-weekly, or whenever they need it. Regardless of the check-ins – it’s important to not let this relationship go stale. Keep up the passion, whether it’s a descriptive email exchange or a short trip to have an in-office brainstorming session. Close relationships mean better communication, and a better result for both sides: you help us gather more information about what else we can possibly do to make your business successful. We’re geeks in our respective fields, and we want to keep you just as motivated to grow.
Even though we have contracts in place to keep the boundaries clear, we are flexible and will do whatever it takes to achieve your goals. If certain areas of PPC aren’t working, and we’ve noticed a dent or two in how your website functions to getting your name out there, we move along to strengthening your SEO strategy, can move into native advertising, and so on. A smart agency knows to always have something up our sleeve, whether it’s religiously checking other message boards in specialized Facebook groups to hammer down solutions to finicky problems, or creating easy-to-use products of our own to help you manage your day to day.
Say it ain’t so… but yes, sometimes, things just don’t work out. We’re not the right fit, or neither side has what the other is looking for in a significant other (or business partner). That’s okay! Either we will remarket to you later on when we think we’ve got a chance, or we both cut our losses to find better matches along the way. Simply put, we can’t please everyone, but there are plenty of marketing fish in the sea.
If you feel disconnected with your service provider, it’s time to read these stages over, and see what’s missing. It could be something as simple as shooting them an email, and letting them in on what’s happening with your business.
PS – Are you a client? How are WE doing as a service provider? Do we need to have a DTR? Let me know.
*DTR – Define The Relationship (it’s what all the kids are saying nowadays)