What your Agency Isn’t Telling You (But You Really Need to Know)

“This is a story about Billy Joe and Bobby Sue…” well, not really but now that song is in your head. 

Nope, this is a story about my (personal) frustrations with the services many of the clients I counsel are getting from various marketing activities sources like “social media managers; blogger; branding, lead generation, localization specialist.” Professional services are important.

However, I’m flabbergasted by some of the gaps in—what I deem necessary— integrations and information/data/insights I’m seeing from potential clients,  and am concerned by some of the mobile friendly reductions in web design. 

Here are some of the things I’m finding.

Frequently, when I onboard a client we discover they have been working using Instagram as their scheduler. Seriously, I get that “I’ll-start-with Insta-then-cross-post-to-facebook” vibe from their social media channels. I also have constant website concerns from font choice to color contrast, and don’t get me started on ADA requirements for low-vision readers. I love fighting this cause so much, I have an app that I run all my client website pages through called Accessible. Check it out and see if YOUR site is really reader friendly. 

In addition to things like readability for your website (and social), a full range of marketing tools need to work in tandem to provide you – or your agency – the right information to make educated and strategic decisions on your ongoing marketing efforts. If the tools are incorrectly functioning, not maximized to their full potential, or (gasp) not even integrated and utilized, you could be really missing an opportunity

With that being said, here is my pet peeve list. This list was gathered from just my own clients, webinars I gave, consulting I did, and SCORE Kalamazoo/SW Michigan clients I volunteer with.

  1. Google Analytics—If you have designed and launched your website, and you don’t have Google Analytics (GA) attached, you are missing a critical opportunity for feedback and strategic planning data for your ongoing marketing and website needs. Measure everything from what pages are the most visited to remarketing to people who click on your link.
  2. Google My Business—Toss a coin. Is GMB a social media channel or an advertising channel (you have to play with GBM to get a Google Ad, but the platform is free). Either way, if you have a brick and mortar store, GMB is required! It’s going to bring you more results than FB, IG, or any other “social channel” because of its posting function with a built-in Call to Action (CTA). You WILL select Learn Now, Call Now, Get Directions, Sign Up or another CTA to make the GMB work its magic! Oh, and wait! This is where your BEST public reviews can live.
  3. Facebook Events—Does your business have events? Any events? Then open up the Events tab on your FB Page and use it! Check your template to see if Events is available; if not, get a different template. You then can drag the Events button up to the top of your template order so people can find it. Schedule every event, add registration information if you need to collect reservations.
  4. Desktop friendly website—The wave has turned (if you read last month’s blog you know how I feel about this) to minimalistic mobile-priority sites with little to no long content and lots of confusing icons/emojis. Without that longer content (that mobile designers hate so much) you have little chance for effective SEO and content that will convince Google you’re a legit business that deserves to be shown to searchers!
  5. Mobile Friendly website—Yes, it’s quicker to navigate on mobile (sometimes) but not if you didn’t take the user journey through your buttons into consideration. Is your CTA top, front, and center and easy to find? Rarely do people click into your site to see the About section or Mission first thing (maybe if you’re a nonprofit). Show them something they can Do/buy/click and make it OBVIOUS what you want them to do.
  6. Tagging—FB, IG, GMB. Know the difference. @businessname will Tag a business you want to give a shoutout to. Event partners, profiled businesses, shared content. You have to follow that Page sometimes to get an autofill when tagging, but it can be done.
  7. Hashtags—A # (commonly called hashtag but we also know it as lb.) is used to identify a TOPIC or subject matter so it’s searchable when/if someone searches using that hashtag. For example, if you used #newbizkalamazoo (and someone searches #Coffee Shop Kalamazoo), your post/hashtag will show to them. It’s not for calling out CoffeeShopKalamazoo (use @ Tag for that). You also want to capitalize each initial for those pesky ADA readers! I’m 50/50 on whether to use a hashtag for your own business name (#hannah gold communications) but I suppose it can’t hurt. Just don’t focus all your efforts on brand awareness (buzzword!). You’re in business to sell, so take the quickest route to that path.
  8. SEO—Is your site missing localization for when people search geographically? Someone searching “coffee shop near kalamazoo” might well be led directly to your website page with the content similar to “Looking for a coffee shop near Kalamazoo, MI Benton Harbor, Niles, St Joseph?” Keywords/phrases/SEO will reel them right in! Is a pretty simple way to get SEO and localization both on your site.
  9. Website readability issues (and this is a short list of my concerns) impact reader understanding and user experience.  FYI, a little over 1% of the U.S. population has a visual disability and will not be able to read the info. These bother me; a lot:
    1. Centered text—drops reader comprehension to 60%
    2. 70% black font—reduces visibility to low-vision readers
    3. Decorative or light stroke fonts—unless it’s a wedding invitation, use decorative fonts sparingly, if at all. Choose Sans Serif (Verdana is most readable) fonts on websites.
    4. Menus—or lists (anything with more than 2 lines of text) should be left aligned for greater reader understanding.Yes, really. Centered text interrupts the speed and understanding of reading a paragraph or long sentence. Just don’t do it with more than 2 lines. And while we’re on Menus, make sure your products, services, etc. are actually written out on your website in addition to a graphic of a menu, since graphic images (jpg, png, etc) cannot be read by ADA readers. If you use an event image, alt tag and caption it so everyone can enjoy your promotion.
  10. FB utilization—if you’re going to use a FB Page (and you really have to have one) make sure to use it effectively and to its fullest advantage including:
    1. Get FB Business Manager installed to manage your Page; don’t let someone else set up and own your FB page.  This makes steam come out my ears. YES, it’s fine to give agencies or other folks Admin or Moderator status, but YOU need to be the owner. 
    2. Scheduling posts—Use FB to post to IG so you can use a call to action or URL. Duplicate and revise the post for IG from the FB Business Manager to customize. I’m not a fan of doing it the other way around because you’re stuck with IG sizing for images. Do they separate or start from FB.
    3. Events—Got activities or events going on? Especially FREE events? Put every one of your events on FB along with a photo and description. Don’t create huge graphics with all the event data The graphic colors, fonts, and contrast also need to be considered for in-general ease of viewing. More and engaging content on every post. Photo on every post. Use a good ($ generating) call to action on at least 25% of posts
    4. Content—posts with videos, images, or links are all better than those with just text or just an image with words on it. Have conversations with people. Post activities with explanations of what’s going on. Ask questions. Tag others.
  11. Is your audience on Instagram? Are they really? Or is someone telling you that you have to be on IG so they can use the scheduler to auto post to FB? More channels isn’t necessarily better; it’s just more channels, and more effort on your part. Find your target audience and spend your time and efforts asking them to buy something from you!

If you see your business here (or maybe you don’t know if these things are in effect for your business) ask your agency or web designer to explain things. Ask for an accounting of your Google Analytics and the month’s website traffic. Ask them to give you FB Insights for what your best performing posts were on FB and most popular viewing times. Ask them to report search results on the Google My Business page and whether those clicks brought in any money! 

And that’s sort of what it’s all about isn’t it? 

Get your tools tuned up to maximum capacity using some of the suggestions above, and I’m pretty sure you can see action within weeks if not days. If you need a hand or want more explanation, email Cheri Bales.

 

This is me actually looking at what another marketer set up for a local client.

Try Constant Contact for FREE!

How can I help you?

I am a 30-year veteran of the marketing and communications community.

My contribution to SCORE lies in my experiences in marketing and social and digital media strategy across small business, nonprofit, and educational clients. I regularly present workshops on social media management and organize our capstone event, Entrepreneurship Day for SCORE SW Michigan.

Marketing strategies that work

We have helped small businesses, nonprofit organizations and educational institutions meet their total marketing needs with a Five-Step Marketing Strategy that works.

Sign up for updates!

Marketing strategies that work • Copyright © 2021 Hannah/Gold Communications