Choosing the best marketing channels for your agency, in 4 easy steps
Multichannel marketing is considered a top-of-the-line advertising method, but finding the best marketing channels for your agency can be a daunting prospect. With your precious marketing budget on the line, you naturally want to avoid missteps and keep waste at a minimum.
Fortunately, finding the best marketing channels can be achieved by following a simple, four-step process. Let’s review those steps, and explore how you can use multichannel marketing to bring in serious revenue for your business.
Step 1: Take a holistic look at your data
If your agency already has its own marketing efforts in place, take a look at both your pre- and post-sale data to set baselines for your marketing efforts. If you find that some channels are successful, don’t just throw more money at them — figure out why they’re doing so well, and then take that information into consideration when researching other channels.
For example, let’s say your CRM data tells you that clients earned from trade shows generate the most revenue. This could mean that you should invest in more trade show sponsorships, but it could also suggest that the language used in your booth marketing materials is compelling. You could apply that language to paid ads or content marketing, or you could get even more granular with this approach and research whether certain trade show locations, sizes, or themes were more effective than others.
Similarly, if other channels are operating at a financial deficit, dig deeper to find out why and adjust accordingly. If your paid ads generate plenty of clicks but not much revenue, your landing page messaging may not be registering with prospects. Perhaps your ‘Talk to a sales representative’ CTA comes across as too much of a hard sell in today’s anti-hard-sell landscape. In this case, softer copy like ‘Sign up for a free consultation’ could yield better results.
On the other hand, if you’re starting your marketing completely from scratch you’ll definitely want to perform due diligence on industry best practices and other general trends. In general, you’d be well-advised to start with organic channels like SEO and content marketing, plus a modest paid media presence on Google or social media channels (most likely LinkedIn for B2B companies).
Keep in mind that organic channels do require more time to yield results, and typically function as touchpoints on the way to a conversion. Paid channels cost more money up front, of course, but have a higher chance of leading to more immediate results. Depending on your agency’s goals or stakeholder expectations, one marketing channel may make more sense than the other.
Step 2: Research the market and your current clients
Market changes can (and should!) influence your marketing strategy. The best marketing channels for your agency depend on several variable factors, such as market expectations, industry-specific changes, technological shifts, and more.
For example, the manufacturing industry is often under-served when it comes to advanced marketing techniques, like multichannel marketing. Using this information, you could adapt your service offerings and marketing strategy to appeal to this industry.
Or, consider how Facebook advertising is mostly a pay-to-play platform these days — organic posts typically don’t do very well. Knowing this, you may choose to focus less on Facebook, and more on LinkedIn or other channels specific to the types of clients you work with.
Which brings up another key best practice: Do extensive research not just on your client’s industry, but their actual business operations too. Pay attention to which job titles are involved in the sales process — while managers and executives may be signing the checks, employees with lower-level titles are still key players the sales process. Keep them in mind when determining which marketing channels and content types to pursue.
You should also look at industry trends within your client base. If you notice certain industries appear frequently, consider making your marketing channels industry-specific. For example, if you have success with healthcare clients, you would be wise to consider a content marketing strategy that includes a healthcare-specific segment.
Step 3: Determine your resources and hiring capabilities
‘Quality over quantity’ rings true for many things in life, and marketing is no exception. While it may be tempting to hop on board the latest trendy channels, it’s usually not in your best interest to spread yourself too thin (especially if you’re a smaller agency).
Before expanding an existing marketing channel or adding a new one, crunch the numbers and determine whether the projected revenue from these ventures is worth the additional cost. That cost should include things like software subscriptions and ad spend, but also the cost of freelancers and outsourcing, or salaries if you decide to bring someone in-house.
You’ll also need to consider your sales bandwidth. Nothing frustrates a marketer more than crafting a high-volume lead generation engine, only for the sales team to not have the time or resources to follow up with them. Not only does this create unnecessary tension between your marketing and sales teams, but it also means you’re throwing marketing dollars down the drain.
If you determine you have the sales resources to keep up with all your marketing channels, keep at it! But if you’re limited on sales resources, take that into account strategically.
An agency with limited sales resources could benefit from prioritizing email marketing: As long as you have a strong system for lead scoring in your CRM or automation tool, your cold leads can be added to an automated marketing email list, instead of not being contacted at all. You could also invest in an AI sales tool like Conversica if you want something a little more sales-like.
In either case, you’ll free up time for your sales team to focus on hot leads while colder leads self-select into demos or or sales calls as needed.
Step 4: Look at your data (again)
Once you’ve figured out which channels to cut, expand, and create, it’s crucial to continue measuring your results. The metrics you’ll need for this depend on which channels you end up using, but it’s important to always avoid vanity metrics in favor of actionable ones.
In terms of measurement frequency, this depends on both the average length of your sales cycle and the channels you use. Agencies tend to have sales cycles that are several months, or sometimes up to a year or more, particularly if you work with enterprise companies. Take this extended timeframe into account when reporting your analytics to make sure your attribution is as accurate as possible.
You’ll also need to consider the marketing channels themselves. As mentioned earlier, organic channels like SEO and content marketing don’t bring success overnight. You should expect to wait several months — if not up to a full year — before feeling confident about whether a content channel is successful.
Keep in mind that a multichannel strategy that works one year may not work the next year. Digital marketing is a fast-changing industry, and even B2B services clients change their buying habits over time. It’s important to carefully monitor your analytics so you can stay on top of these changes, and adapt strategically where necessary.
There are plenty of marketing channels to choose from, but finding the best ones isn’t as difficult as it sounds. With the right combination of analytics, market and user research, and budgeting, you’ll be on your way to finding the best marketing channels for your agency.