It was 3 months ago when we could close a client, and unfortunately, we were not clear with them on the expectations of the reality of digital marketing. Too often, we find companies who have worked with different agencies and were sold the dream of digital marketing and a fairy tale of 20x returns on investment.
Digital Marketing Expectations
Let’s snap back to reality.
A couple of hard facts that can be difficult to accept.
- Digital marketing, whether it’s on Instagram, Facebook, or Google, is more flooded than ever
- As a result, it’s more expensive than ever.
- The results are not immediate. Sometimes, there aren’t even midterm returns
The reality is harsh.
For a digital marketing company to appropriately outline the expectations of a marketing strategy to you, a couple of critical factors need to be addressed almost immediately.
1. Firstly, the results don’t come from the start of making ads live.
The complexity of Meta and Google’s platforms means that even we, as digital marketers, are learning as we go. The skills behind how digital marketing is completed are evolving every month. So, that strategy that worked for one client isn’t translated in 6 months to a new client with the same product.
As a result, it takes time to discover the strategy that will work for each client. If you are lucky enough, you do nail the strategy the first time. But this isn’t consistent across the entire industry or even one agency.
A marketing agency to make informed decisions about your marketing on these platforms requires information that they can only get from running ads. That is the dark reality of digital marketing: you can measure performance, but you must spend money to make money in efficient ways. It doesn’t just magically come out of our fingers as magic dust and translate into 20x ROIs
2. Secondly, using data to drive decisions is a sound process but cannot be done off a week’s worth of data.
No trends can be distinguished in that period, especially with those businesses on smaller budgets like start-ups and small businesses. It needs to be made inextricably clear whenever clients are brought on that results take time and testing. This doesn’t mean days; it means months. Data is an expensive commodity no matter what industry you are in, and thus creates a complex problem for businesses that don’t have the war chest of your more prominent brands like Manscaped and Kayak.
These brands have the budget to run mass awareness campaigns, create engaging music to use on video ads on YouTube (notoriously expensive) and use big names to promote the brand through sports, podcasts, or social media.
Data takes time, and making sound decisions with enough data takes money. Therefore, when putting together the plan and expectations, small businesses should be aware of the equation that needs to happen for appropriate outcomes to be made.
Time + Money = Data, which then gives us data-backed strategies.
3. Thirdly, digital marketing strategies should be well-informed, creative, and adaptive.
Even with all the possible marketing tips and tricks included with years of experience, the strategy might need to be revised. It’s not an exact science. It’s more like a doctor practicing medicine, making informed decisions based on the information we have. The task of an agency and why they exist is to help every industry because small businesses do not have time to consider the creativity of graphics and videos or do research to discover the industry trends and how they can affect consumer behavior on these platforms. Finally, the data they gather allows them to adapt to the information, optimize the strategies already in play, and potentially develop news based on that data.
Digital Marketing Outcomes
Finally, the outcomes of what expectations are created with the client are the downfall of agencies. Selling the world is accessible in digital marketing because the outcomes seem easy to reach. They are just a button away.
Yet, most digital marketing businesses achieve an average of 1% clicks. This means that for one hundred people viewing your ad, only one clicks on it.
That expectation needs to be set with your client because that’s the average. A good campaign will achieve more than that, even if we get a better result at 4%. That’s still only four people out of one hundred.
Sure, we have some campaigns with an 11% CTR, which is excellent, but not always the outcome.
When we spend time selling the dream and not taking the client on the journey with us, we are left with an industry standard of businesses being unhappy with how they were treated and feeling cheated out of thousands of dollars.
Again, we come back to the reality of the situation.
Your agency might’ve done a heap of work to gain better traction.
They might have spent hours on your landing page to optimize it
They might’ve created different graphics every month that were in line with the information given to them by the platforms.
But because it was sold to them as this one marketing funnel fixes all, we are left with an industry regarded as untrustworthy.
How can this be when we are the torch holders for companies in the stone age of websites and marketing, guiding all those falling behind because they refuse to adapt when we have the tools and knowledge to help them improve?
That is the responsibility this industry has.
Yes, tech companies deliver new services and ways for us to make life easier.
Social media, YouTube, and universities teach us new ways to do things.
But suppose we do not help those who don’t go through these mediums in 10 years. In that case, we will have a cohort of businesses that refuse to work with digital marketing companies out of principles and fail because no one took the time to explain the reality of marketing on different platforms.