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Tag: Agency

Agency lead generation: How to create white papers that convert

October 13, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Agency lead generation strategies are top of mind right now and attracting more leads regularly has become a challenge with more and more content being available online now.
  • Agile marketers are paving the path forward combining technology and talent.
  • You can boost lead generation using content that adds value to your prospects—content such as white papers.
  • Venngage’s Content Marketer, Ronita Mohan shares a five-step guide to design papers that will generate leads for your agency.

Agency lead generation strategies are top of mind right now. Attracting more leads regularly has become a challenge—the world is more online, but that also means that there is more content available.

Rising above the noise to draw in the right leads can seem like an impossible task. But we’re here to tell you that it isn’t.

You can boost lead generation using content that adds value to your prospects—content such as white papers.

While designing white papers from scratch can be tricky, there are online resources to create attractive white paper designs that boost brand awareness and increase conversions.

So, how do you create white papers that convert? We share a five-step guide to design papers that will generate leads for your agency.

1. Target agency lead generation audiences

Before you design a white paper, you need to define the audiences who will read it.

While your agency may have a diverse set of clients, when you’re trying to generate leads, you need to narrow down your focus.

You don’t want to create content that aims to please everyone—the chances are, you will end up attracting no one.

Generic content is easier to create—there’s a proliferation of it online. But you want your content to stand out in the crowd. That is how prospective clients will notice your agency.

To do this, you should study your market segments and answer these questions:

  • What pain points do your clients have?
  • How can your agency resolve those issues?
  • Is your current market large enough for your service?
  • Are there market gaps that you should explore?
  • What kind of content has already been successful?

Following this process will help you understand your audience’s needs better. This will make it easier to choose topics and designs for your white paper and boost conversions.

2. Define topics for agency lead generation white papers

Now that you’ve defined your audience—and you know your goal is agency lead generation—you need to pick a topic that is suitable for your prospects.

Remember, your aim with your content is to provide solutions to your clients’ pain points—that should be the driving factor behind creating any kind of content.

There are a few ways to find topics of interest for your prospects.

One method is to send survey questions to your existing clients asking them what kind of content they would like to see from you.

You can also look at content that has already done well on social media, past white papers, and blog posts. This will help you decide which topics attract the most views.

Consider searching online for keywords related to your clients. Google’s longtail keyword suggestions are a great place to find new content ideas.

Plus, SERP results give you an idea of what content is being searched for and why.

It is best to get granular with your white paper topics. Instead of creating a paper on the wider topic of brand awareness, the below example focuses on brand positioning.

defining topics for your agency lead generation white paperSource: Venngage

If you’re writing about email marketing—which is a broad topic—consider focusing on something narrower.

Write about incorporating user-generated content in emails, or how email marketing can be used to improve hiring rates.

You can also focus on specific aspects of your industry, such as the impact of phishing scams on company cybersecurity, or how to outsource IT departments.

The more targeted your topics are for your audience, the more likely they are to engage with your content.

3. Agency lead generation content creation

When you’re creating content designed for agency lead generation, your mind is on sales and conversions.

However, that shouldn’t be the primary thrust of your content. If you create white papers solely to sell your agency to leads, you might end up losing them instead of converting them.

Nobody wants to be sold to—especially when they’re investing time and energy into reading a white paper.

Additionally, white papers are gated content—they require interested parties to fill up a form to obtain access to the paper.

You can’t ask prospects to put in that much effort to get a piece of content that doesn’t enrich their lives or educate them about a topic.

But you do still need to convert prospects into clients. How can you do that?

Your white papers should be educational and informative about the subject matter, like in this example about employee engagement.

content creation for your agency lead generation white paper

Source: Venngage

Do original research into the topic and include data that backs up your assertions.

Share case studies and illustrated use cases from your agency. Not only do case studies make for interesting content but they also act as testimonials for your work.

The process of attracting prospects should be organic—encourage them with well-researched and well-written white papers.

4. Designing white papers for agency lead generation

Your white paper needs to be interesting and engaging, but it also should be attractive to prospects.

You could create a Word document, export it as a PDF, and share that with your audience. But is that going to get prospects’ attention like this example below?

Neon Digital Hiring Strategy White Paper_Venngaeg

Source: Venngage

It is possible to design a white paper that is colorful and detailed with templates and even from scratch.

We outline how to design great white papers to improve your agency lead generation efforts.

Be on-trend with your agency lead generation white paper design

Your white paper needs to follow present graphic design trends. This is important because, while you want to stand out from a crowd, you don’t want to stick out like a sore thumb.

In the foreseeable future, these are some of the design trends agency marketers need to be aware of:

  • Muted colors, not bold or neon colors
  • Flat icons and illustrations, as opposed to 3D icons
  • Geometric shapes, instead of the abstract, flowing shapes of 2019
  • Classic Serif fonts, which are coming back into fashion

All these design elements will influence how you create your white paper and how successfully they draw in prospective clients.

Use visuals to design attractive lead-generating white papers

Visual communication has become one of the pillars of content marketing—which is why visuals need to be incorporated into your white paper design.

Start by designing an attractive cover page for your paper. 

Similar to book covers, the top page of your paper has the power to draw people to read further, like in this example.

using visuals for your agency lead generation white paper

Source: Venngage

Your cover page should also convey what leads will find within the pages of the paper—don’t mislead them with visuals that are attractive but irrelevant.

Though papers are largely text-based, that doesn’t mean that visuals don’t help engage readers further.

You can use visuals like icons, illustrations, photos, and charts to add depth to your white paper. They also make the content more readable and scannable.

When using photos, look for imagery that reflects your target audience—that will make the white paper feel more relevant to your readers.

Structuring your agency lead generation white paper

We have already mentioned the importance of having a cover page for your paper. But you also need to include an index that outlines the chapters of the paper.

To make the process easier, always include page numbers in your white papers. 

Readers will be able to return to sections they are interested in if they have an index to refer to, like in this example.

structuring your agency lead generation white paper

Source: Venngage

When you can, try to include quotes from experts in your field—this will give your paper more gravitas. Quotes should be highlighted with a bigger font size to vary the design.

In the same vein, include tables and text boxes that focus readers’ attention on specific facts and data.

Highlight key takeaways in the summary section of your paper—it is best to summarize your findings only after the paper is written.

Add a CTA in your agency lead generation white papers

What is the purpose of your paper? You want your prospects to perform some action.

That is why you need to include a call-to-action in your white paper—so that you can convert prospects into leads, and eventually into clients.

Here are some calls-to-action you can add to your papers:

  • Subscribing to your newsletter
  • Trying out your service
  • Scheduling a call
  • Learning more about your business

Ensure your CTA is visible and stands out on your page—this will encourage leads to click on it and travel further through your sales pipeline. 

Repurpose content into agency lead generation white papers

Creating content for agency lead generation can be a tough task—especially when you have to build content from scratch.

But there is a workaround for agency marketing teams—repurposing existing content. Instead of creating the text and visuals for papers, breathe new life into what you already have.

For example, your company blog may have multiple posts around one topic. These can be collated into chapters for a paper. 

Similarly, a webinar can be used to create a white paper, or a long eBook can be broken down into several white papers.

The possibilities for repurposing content are endless—keep an open mind and you can create papers that will generate more leads. 

5. Agency lead generation white paper promotion

Congratulations, you’ve created a white paper! Now, what do you do?

Leads aren’t going to find your paper on their own. You need to actively promote your content.

There are numerous ways to get eyeballs on your paper. Here are a few promotion methods to follow:

Blog posts

Create blog posts around your white paper content and include a call-to-action to download the paper, like in this example.

using blog posts to market your white paper for agency lead generation

Source: Pardot

Leads are more likely to access gated content if it has some context around it.

Email marketing

Promoting your white paper through an email campaign can boost downloads.

Share previews, statistics, or facts from the paper to entice your email list to click through to your paper’s landing page.

Write a follow-up email to everyone who downloads the paper to continue a conversation—this will increase conversions. 

Social media marketing (SMM)

Leads use social media to find content and future partners all the time. Sharing white papers on your channels will increase visibility for your content and your brand.

Use social media tools to schedule posts about your white paper at relevant times to your audience.

Website marketing

You can build a landing page for your paper that includes a summary and key learnings—enough information to encourage leads to download your content. 

Your page should include a simple form that prospective clients can fill in to access the paper—don’t ask for too much information, or they may be deterred from filling the form.

Promoting your content is a necessary step if you want to create agency lead generation strategies that convert.

Key takeaways: Prioritize audience needs to boost agency lead generation

Creating a white paper is a long process but a fruitful one that brings in more clients. To be successful, you need to follow a few crucial steps:

  • Target your white paper audience
  • Choose topics that are relevant to your leads
  • Create content that will encourage leads to partner with you
  • Design the white paper to attract leads
  • Promote your content on multiple platforms

These steps will help you create white papers that will boost your agency lead generation efforts.

Ronita Mohan is a content marketer at the online infographic and design platform, Venngage.

The post Agency lead generation: How to create white papers that convert appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


What Every Startup Needs to Know Before They Select a PPC Marketing Agency

July 24, 2020 No Comments

As someone who has been fortunate enough to be a part both the Startup and Digital Agency World, it pains me to witness the many recurring mistakes that are happening by bringing these two worlds together. The Agency wants the business and the Startup wants the best and smartest people to “grow their baby”. It all sounds like a “no-brainer’ right? Well, this perfect situation can sometimes be clouded by one of the most bastardized words in the client-agency relationship – Expectations. In this post, I will highlight some of the misconceptions that could, at the very least, help the next Startup as they prepare to show their product/service to the world.

How to Play the Digital Agency Game:

Don’t get me wrong. There are many highly reputable Marketing Agencies in the world that do not fit this description. On the other hand, there are some other Agencies that work on a different playing field that is not financially supportive of Startups. Most agencies take a 15% commission of Ad Spend regardless of performance or the companies financial situation. These agencies often provide a “Production Line” level level of service that question the actual time spend which leads to the overall client performance. Beware of agencies that promise GOLD and deliver pennies.

What Startups really need from an Agency:

  • 100% transparency of where and how their money is being spent.
  • Daily Direct communication with the Strategist/Marketer.
  • Less than 24 hour turn-around times for typical updates.
  • Level of ongoing Education on how the digital advertising world works.

Big Agency Regurgitation

I have witnessed many horror stories over the years from prospects/clients from either a performance or client relationship with a previous agency. The one thing that all of them had in common was the lack of achievable expectations. Situations such as poor communication, lackluster performance and just an overall bad experience have not only left a bitter taste in their mouth but also question the entire agency experience. Moreover, this feeling of being “burned” has motivated their thinking to bring the marketing “in-house” as the only alternative to reaching success. This is not a good thing….

Conference Intoxication

As a big fan of conferences, they often open your eyes to a whole new world of innovation, prosperity and vision for business owners and that’s a great thing. However, it can sometimes backfire to the point of confusion and anxiety of what to focus on first. It is very easy for Entrepreneurs to get “over-excited” about the latest bells and whistles in software, automation and analytics. They are told that once they have these tools in their toolbox, they can turn their business into a fortune 100 company instantly.

Unfortunately, a reality check is needed to bring everyone down from this “high” and re-focus on the core issue at hand which is identifying, engaging and converting with their core audiences within a sensible budget. Remember, investing in Shiny Objects make you vulnerable, not successful.

The Misunderstanding of Monetization

In some instances, both advertisers and agencies, often forget to track every interaction point and that little oversight can be an unfortunate mistake. This assumed “low-hanging” fruit for tracking things other than traditional eCommerce/Lead Gen Forms such as (below) can completely skew overall performance and future optimization which could be devastating to startups as they hunger for continual growth.

  • Contact Forms
  • Email Newsletter Signups
  • Live Chats
  • Phone Calls
  • Pageviews of a particular page can lead to

Mistrust of the Case Study

Case Studies are a great source for understanding the successes of a particular experience that allow the reader to adapt to new ideas and strategies. However, you need to be careful not put to put too much emphasis on the successes of these studies because of the substantiated factors which often lead inaccuracy. Here are some examples:

  • Geography (Some of these studies reference a specific GEO area and not the wider population)
  • Singular view and opinion. Often, these studies are done by a small group of people which may have biased opinions based on data collected.
  • Case Studies are often used as a “Toot your own horn” strategy to generate more business. (Google is pretty good at that)

Don’t Bet the Farm

I can understand the anxieties of Startups where they want to launch their business with a big bang. However, spending too much too fast (especially in the PPC marketing world) can completely ruin their chances for steady sustainable growth. It’s imperative to start testing “right out of the gate” as well as identifying the quick wins and losses. Moreover, you will need to develop strategies to generate relevent traffic and awareness through alternative methods such as Social Media, SEO and quite frankly “word of mouth”. To prove this theory, just a take a look at these screenshots from SpyFu’s Monthly Trend function.

ppc startups

Outside Opinion Overload

Yes, it’s important to get as much feedback as possible when launching a new company. However, getting advice from people who think they know certain aspects of online marketing because they read an article or attended a conference, can be a slippery slope. Taking advice and/or criticism from someone “on the outside” that completely contradicts the vision of both your business partners and hired experts can be harmful to the business. This 3rd party opinion is often made without any understanding of what it takes to implement as well as its expected outcome. Whether it’s strategies about Landing Pages, Brand vs. Non-Brand, or even simple things such as Promotions and Offers can have a negative effect on revenue if not discussed by everyone on the team.

Solution: Soak up all of the feedback you can get, discuss with your team and agree to label these new ideas as “TEST” Campaigns and analyze the heck out of them.

Forecast Projection Failures

How many times have you seen someone simply create excel formulas which magically forecast the future of online marketing revenue based on a single monetary amount. (For example, if we increase our budget from $ 10,000 to $ 100,000 we will generate an additional $ 1 million dollars.) Yeah, I wish that were all true. However, that is not the case. The math may sound great to a Venture Capitalist/Investor, but it’s just not realistic.

  • Take in account the following scenarios:
  • Market Saturation Levels
  • Seasonality Highs/Lows
  • Potential Technical issues
  • Search Engine Algorithm changes
  • Increased Competitor landscape

“Off the Mark” Target Audiences

Hate to say this, but I have witnessed startup companies that thought they new their audiences and it wasn’t until they over-spent their PPC dollars and countless Landing Page A/B test to come to that realization. Selling a product or service requires more than just a few hours of typical market research. When it comes to online marketing, either hire a PPC Consultant or purchase PPC Competitive Research Software such as SpyFu.com to see some of these invaluable competitor information:

  • Monthly Budget Trends
  • PPC and SEO Keywords
  • Top Text Ads
  • Their own PPC and SEO Competitors
  • Review monthly and seasonality trends
  • Compare up to (3) three competitors and see which terms they are all bidding on.

Here’s an example:

PPC Competitive Analysis

In Conclusion

Whether you are building a Startup company or growing an existing one, the agency experience should be a positive one. However, dealing with the “dog eat dog” agency world when it comes to trust, expectations and continual growth is unfortunate and should never happen. I hope this blog post, at the very least, has provided some insight into preventing these situations as well as learning from them. Finding the right agency partner is just as important as finding the right target audience.


Digital Marketing Agency | Google Ads Consultant


What Every Startup Needs to Know Before They Select a PPC Marketing Agency

July 10, 2019 No Comments

As someone who has been fortunate enough to be a part both the Startup and Digital Agency World, it pains me to witness the many recurring mistakes that are happening by bringing these two worlds together. The Agency wants the business and the Startup wants the best and smartest people to “grow their baby”. It all sounds like a “no-brainer’ right? Well, this perfect situation can sometimes be clouded by one of the most bastardized words in the client-agency relationship – Expectations. In this post, I will highlight some of the misconceptions that could, at the very least, help the next Startup as they prepare to show their product/service to the world.

How to Play the Digital Agency Game:

Don’t get me wrong. There are many highly reputable Marketing Agencies in the world that do not fit this description. On the other hand, there are some other Agencies that work on a different playing field that is not financially supportive of Startups. Most agencies take a 15% commission of Ad Spend regardless of performance or the companies financial situation. These agencies often provide a “Production Line” level level of service that question the actual time spend which leads to the overall client performance. Beware of agencies that promise GOLD and deliver pennies.

What Startups really need from an Agency:

  • 100% transparency of where and how their money is being spent.
  • Daily Direct communication with the Strategist/Marketer.
  • Less than 24 hour turn-around times for typical updates.
  • Level of ongoing Education on how the digital advertising world works.

Big Agency Regurgitation

I have witnessed many horror stories over the years from prospects/clients from either a performance or client relationship with a previous agency. The one thing that all of them had in common was the lack of achievable expectations. Situations such as poor communication, lackluster performance and just an overall bad experience have not only left a bitter taste in their mouth but also question the entire agency experience. Moreover, this feeling of being “burned” has motivated their thinking to bring the marketing “in-house” as the only alternative to reaching success. This is not a good thing….

Conference Intoxication

As a big fan of conferences, they often open your eyes to a whole new world of innovation, prosperity and vision for business owners and that’s a great thing. However, it can sometimes backfire to the point of confusion and anxiety of what to focus on first. It is very easy for Entrepreneurs to get “over-excited” about the latest bells and whistles in software, automation and analytics. They are told that once they have these tools in their toolbox, they can turn their business into a fortune 100 company instantly.

Unfortunately, a reality check is needed to bring everyone down from this “high” and re-focus on the core issue at hand which is identifying, engaging and converting with their core audiences within a sensible budget. Remember, investing in Shiny Objects make you vulnerable, not successful.

The Misunderstanding of Monetization

In some instances, both advertisers and agencies, often forget to track every interaction point and that little oversight can be an unfortunate mistake. This assumed “low-hanging” fruit for tracking things other than traditional eCommerce/Lead Gen Forms such as (below) can completely skew overall performance and future optimization which could be devastating to startups as they hunger for continual growth.

  • Contact Forms
  • Email Newsletter Signups
  • Live Chats
  • Phone Calls
  • Pageviews of a particular page can lead to

Mistrust of the Case Study

Case Studies are a great source for understanding the successes of a particular experience that allow the reader to adapt to new ideas and strategies. However, you need to be careful not put to put too much emphasis on the successes of these studies because of the substantiated factors which often lead inaccuracy. Here are some examples:

  • Geography (Some of these studies reference a specific GEO area and not the wider population)
  • Singular view and opinion. Often, these studies are done by a small group of people which may have biased opinions based on data collected.
  • Case Studies are often used as a “Toot your own horn” strategy to generate more business. (Google is pretty good at that)

Don’t Bet the Farm

I can understand the anxieties of Startups where they want to launch their business with a big bang. However, spending too much too fast (especially in the PPC marketing world) can completely ruin their chances for steady sustainable growth. It’s imperative to start testing “right out of the gate” as well as identifying the quick wins and losses. Moreover, you will need to develop strategies to generate relevent traffic and awareness through alternative methods such as Social Media, SEO and quite frankly “word of mouth”. To prove this theory, just a take a look at these screenshots from SpyFu’s Monthly Trend function.

ppc startups

Outside Opinion Overload

Yes, it’s important to get as much feedback as possible when launching a new company. However, getting advice from people who think they know certain aspects of online marketing because they read an article or attended a conference, can be a slippery slope. Taking advice and/or criticism from someone “on the outside” that completely contradicts the vision of both your business partners and hired experts can be harmful to the business. This 3rd party opinion is often made without any understanding of what it takes to implement as well as its expected outcome. Whether it’s strategies about Landing Pages, Brand vs. Non-Brand, or even simple things such as Promotions and Offers can have a negative effect on revenue if not discussed by everyone on the team.

Solution: Soak up all of the feedback you can get, discuss with your team and agree to label these new ideas as “TEST” Campaigns and analyze the heck out of them.

Forecast Projection Failures

How many times have you seen someone simply create excel formulas which magically forecast the future of online marketing revenue based on a single monetary amount. (For example, if we increase our budget from $ 10,000 to $ 100,000 we will generate an additional $ 1 million dollars.) Yeah, I wish that were all true. However, that is not the case. The math may sound great to a Venture Capitalist/Investor, but it’s just not realistic.

  • Take in account the following scenarios:
  • Market Saturation Levels
  • Seasonality Highs/Lows
  • Potential Technical issues
  • Search Engine Algorithm changes
  • Increased Competitor landscape

“Off the Mark” Target Audiences

Hate to say this, but I have witnessed startup companies that thought they new their audiences and it wasn’t until they over-spent their PPC dollars and countless Landing Page A/B test to come to that realization. Selling a product or service requires more than just a few hours of typical market research. When it comes to online marketing, either hire a PPC Consultant or purchase PPC Competitive Research Software such as SpyFu.com to see some of these invaluable competitor information:

  • Monthly Budget Trends
  • PPC and SEO Keywords
  • Top Text Ads
  • Their own PPC and SEO Competitors
  • Review monthly and seasonality trends
  • Compare up to (3) three competitors and see which terms they are all bidding on.

Here’s an example:

PPC Competitive Analysis

In Conclusion

Whether you are building a Startup company or growing an existing one, the agency experience should be a positive one. However, dealing with the “dog eat dog” agency world when it comes to trust, expectations and continual growth is unfortunate and should never happen. I hope this blog post, at the very least, has provided some insight into preventing these situations as well as learning from them. Finding the right agency partner is just as important as finding the right target audience.


PPC Marketing Consultant | Google Ads Agency


Free PPC Training for the Noobs at Your Agency

July 3, 2019 No Comments

Hero Academy offers short, entry-level how-to training videos for marketers new to paid media at no cost. Perfect for an employee that just started working at your digital marketing agency.

Read more at PPCHero.com
PPC Hero


Verified Expert Growth Marketing Agency: Growth Pilots

June 11, 2019 No Comments

Growth Pilots is one of the more exclusive performance marketing agencies in San Francisco, but they know how to help high-growth startups excel at paid marketing. CEO and founder Soso Sazesh credits his personal experiences as an entrepreneur along with his team’s deep understanding of high-growth company needs and challenges as to what sets Growth Pilots apart. Whether you’re a founder of a seed or Series D stage startup, learn more about Growth Pilots’ approach to growth and partnerships.

Advice to early-stage founders

“I think a lot of times, especially at the early stage, founders don’t have a lot of time so they’re willing to find the path of least resistance to get their paid acquisition channels up and running. If things are not properly set up and managed, this can lead to a false negative in terms of writing off a channel’s effectiveness or scalability. It’s worth talking to an expert, even if it’s just for advice, to ensure you don’t fall into this trap.”

On Growth Pilots’ operations

“They have good business acumen, move fast and work as an extension to your internal team.” Guillaume McIntyre, SF, Head of Acquisition Marketing, Instacart

“Something we pride ourselves on is working with relatively few clients at a time so we can really focus all of our team’s efforts and energy on doing the highest quality work. Each of our team members works on a maximum of two to three accounts, and therefore they’re able to get very invested in each client’s business and integrated into their team. We really try to simulate the internal team dynamics as much as possible and pairing that with our external capabilities and expertise.”

Below, you’ll find the rest of the founder reviews, the full interview, and more details like pricing and fee structures. This profile is part of our ongoing series covering startup growth marketing agencies with whom founders love to work, based on this survey and our own research. The survey is open indefinitely, so please fill it out if you haven’t already.


Interview with Growth Pilots Founder and CEO Soso Sazesh

Yvonne Leow: Tell me a little bit about your background and how you got into growth.

Soso Sazesh: I grew up in northern Minnesota where there is no tech industry whatsoever and then after high school, I came out to Silicon Valley and got exposed to the epicenter of the technology industry. I became very interested in startups and hustled to find startup internships so I could get experience and learn how they operated.

After a couple of startup internships, I got accepted to UC Berkeley and that gave me even more exposure to the startup ecosystem with all of the startup events and resources that UC Berkeley had to offer. I worked on a couple of startup projects while I was at UC Berkeley, and I taught myself scrappy product management and how to get software built using contract developers.


Startups – TechCrunch


What Every Startup Needs to Know Before They Select a PPC Marketing Agency

February 10, 2019 No Comments

As someone who has been fortunate enough to be a part both the Startup and Digital Agency World, it pains me to witness the many recurring mistakes that are happening by bringing these two worlds together. The Agency wants the business and the Startup wants the best and smartest people to “grow their baby”. It all sounds like a “no-brainer’ right? Well, this perfect situation can sometimes be clouded by one of the most bastardized words in the client-agency relationship – Expectations. In this post, I will highlight some of the misconceptions that could, at the very least, help the next Startup as they prepare to show their product/service to the world.

How to Play the Digital Agency Game:

Don’t get me wrong. There are many highly reputable Marketing Agencies in the world that do not fit this description. On the other hand, there are some other Agencies that work on a different playing field that is not financially supportive of Startups. Most agencies take a 15% commission of Ad Spend regardless of performance or the companies financial situation. These agencies often provide a “Production Line” level level of service that question the actual time spend which leads to the overall client performance. Beware of agencies that promise GOLD and deliver pennies.

What Startups really need from an Agency:

  • 100% transparency of where and how their money is being spent.
  • Daily Direct communication with the Strategist/Marketer.
  • Less than 24 hour turn-around times for typical updates.
  • Level of ongoing Education on how the digital advertising world works.

Big Agency Regurgitation

I have witnessed many horror stories over the years from prospects/clients from either a performance or client relationship with a previous agency. The one thing that all of them had in common was the lack of achievable expectations. Situations such as poor communication, lackluster performance and just an overall bad experience have not only left a bitter taste in their mouth but also question the entire agency experience. Moreover, this feeling of being “burned” has motivated their thinking to bring the marketing “in-house” as the only alternative to reaching success. This is not a good thing….

Conference Intoxication

As a big fan of conferences, they often open your eyes to a whole new world of innovation, prosperity and vision for business owners and that’s a great thing. However, it can sometimes backfire to the point of confusion and anxiety of what to focus on first. It is very easy for Entrepreneurs to get “over-excited” about the latest bells and whistles in software, automation and analytics. They are told that once they have these tools in their toolbox, they can turn their business into a fortune 100 company instantly.

Unfortunately, a reality check is needed to bring everyone down from this “high” and re-focus on the core issue at hand which is identifying, engaging and converting with their core audiences within a sensible budget. Remember, investing in Shiny Objects make you vulnerable, not successful.

The Misunderstanding of Monetization

In some instances, both advertisers and agencies, often forget to track every interaction point and that little oversight can be an unfortunate mistake. This assumed “low-hanging” fruit for tracking things other than traditional eCommerce/Lead Gen Forms such as (below) can completely skew overall performance and future optimization which could be devastating to startups as they hunger for continual growth.

  • Contact Forms
  • Email Newsletter Signups
  • Live Chats
  • Phone Calls
  • Pageviews of a particular page can lead to

Mistrust of the Case Study

Case Studies are a great source for understanding the successes of a particular experience that allow the reader to adapt to new ideas and strategies. However, you need to be careful not put to put too much emphasis on the successes of these studies because of the substantiated factors which often lead inaccuracy. Here are some examples:

  • Geography (Some of these studies reference a specific GEO area and not the wider population)
  • Singular view and opinion. Often, these studies are done by a small group of people which may have biased opinions based on data collected.
  • Case Studies are often used as a “Toot your own horn” strategy to generate more business. (Google is pretty good at that)

Don’t Bet the Farm

I can understand the anxieties of Startups where they want to launch their business with a big bang. However, spending too much too fast (especially in the PPC marketing world) can completely ruin their chances for steady sustainable growth. It’s imperative to start testing “right out of the gate” as well as identifying the quick wins and losses. Moreover, you will need to develop strategies to generate relevent traffic and awareness through alternative methods such as Social Media, SEO and quite frankly “word of mouth”. To prove this theory, just a take a look at these screenshots from SpyFu’s Monthly Trend function.

ppc startups

Outside Opinion Overload

Yes, it’s important to get as much feedback as possible when launching a new company. However, getting advice from people who think they know certain aspects of online marketing because they read an article or attended a conference, can be a slippery slope. Taking advice and/or criticism from someone “on the outside” that completely contradicts the vision of both your business partners and hired experts can be harmful to the business. This 3rd party opinion is often made without any understanding of what it takes to implement as well as its expected outcome. Whether it’s strategies about Landing Pages, Brand vs. Non-Brand, or even simple things such as Promotions and Offers can have a negative effect on revenue if not discussed by everyone on the team.

Solution: Soak up all of the feedback you can get, discuss with your team and agree to label these new ideas as “TEST” Campaigns and analyze the heck out of them.

Forecast Projection Failures

How many times have you seen someone simply create excel formulas which magically forecast the future of online marketing revenue based on a single monetary amount. (For example, if we increase our budget from $ 10,000 to $ 100,000 we will generate an additional $ 1 million dollars.) Yeah, I wish that were all true. However, that is not the case. The math may sound great to a Venture Capitalist/Investor, but it’s just not realistic.

  • Take in account the following scenarios:
  • Market Saturation Levels
  • Seasonality Highs/Lows
  • Potential Technical issues
  • Search Engine Algorithm changes
  • Increased Competitor landscape

“Off the Mark” Target Audiences

Hate to say this, but I have witnessed startup companies that thought they new their audiences and it wasn’t until they over-spent their PPC dollars and countless Landing Page A/B test to come to that realization. Selling a product or service requires more than just a few hours of typical market research. When it comes to online marketing, either hire a PPC Consultant or purchase PPC Competitive Research Software such as SpyFu.com to see some of these invaluable competitor information:

  • Monthly Budget Trends
  • PPC and SEO Keywords
  • Top Text Ads
  • Their own PPC and SEO Competitors
  • Review monthly and seasonality trends
  • Compare up to (3) three competitors and see which terms they are all bidding on.

Here’s an example:

PPC Competitive Analysis

In Conclusion

Whether you are building a Startup company or growing an existing one, the agency experience should be a positive one. However, dealing with the “dog eat dog” agency world when it comes to trust, expectations and continual growth is unfortunate and should never happen. I hope this blog post, at the very least, has provided some insight into preventing these situations as well as learning from them. Finding the right agency partner is just as important as finding the right target audience.


PPC Marketing Agency | Search Marketing Firm | Adwords Certified Consultant


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