14 Common Mistakes I See Marketing Agencies Make

Marketing agencies come in all shapes and sizes. And with that diversity comes a wide range of expertise. But, at their core, they all have one job: to help their clients grow and scale their businesses. While their approaches may differ, most agencies have businesses that share a lot in common. They face the same challenges, and they make the same mistakes. So we put together this list of the fourteen most common mistakes we see agencies make. You might be making some of these too. 

If you’re someone looking for a marketing agency, this list will help you find a marketing agency that can help you reach your goals without wasting your time and money.

1. Being Too Expensive

The digital marketing industry is one of the most competitive business-to-business niches in the modern economy. There are thousands of companies out there that claim to offer the best digital marketing services, but often these companies provide these services at premium prices that are too expensive for the average business. 

Although being too expensive isn’t bad, it’s first and foremost about positioning yourself as a premium service-provider AND an industry leader. If you can do that, you can indeed charge premium prices too. But I see a lot of new digital marketing agencies charge premium prices without proper positioning.

2. Being Too Cheap

This one might come as a surprise after reading point number one. But trust me, this is another mistake I see a lot of marketing agencies make.

There’s a fine line between being frugal and being cheap. While saving money is a good thing, it’s essential to draw the line in the right place. What may seem like a good deal could come back to bite you and have a negative impact on your business.

Ok, we got you. Now you’re asking, how do we recognize the line between being frugal and being too cheap? Easy. You cut corners on quality.

You start by offering discounts to customers whenever you can. Soon, you find yourself spending more and more time looking for ways to cut costs. Now your focus has shifted from your customers and their growth to saving money. Over time, your customers find that you’re playing too cheap and compromising on quality, which shows that you’re not serious about growing your business, and they quickly find someone else.

3. Not Understanding Their Target Market

Although most businesses have an idea of who their target market is, they focus on demographics and generalizations and take other things like needs, awareness, and problems for granted.

Another problem is that agencies know many, many buzzwords, but they don’t really understand what each one means, and then they try to apply them to everything.

Are you doing the same? Generalizing everything and taking things for granted? Maybe you are.

But if you’re serious about growing your business, you should understand your target market very well. Pinpoint your customers, and then tailor your services to them.

Additionally, take time to examine what makes your business unique in order to position yourself as the obvious choice for your target market.

4. Not Having A Social Media Strategy

Social media is an integral part of any digital business. Without a social media strategy, you’re missing out on a large goldmine of customers.

Instead, you’re relying heavily on conventional marketing approaches to attract clients, which may be asking for referrals or looking in your social circle. But sooner or later, you’ll realize it’s not going to work.

Having a well-structured social media plan that allows you to meet your marketing goals is crucial for any business these days—especially for digital marketing agencies. Yet, I see many agencies ignoring their social media strategy like a plague.

5. Not Being Active Enough On Social Media

Like most things in life, being active enough on social media isn’t as easy as it sounds. You need a strategy that’s more than just posting on the platforms every once in a while, and a plan that goes beyond hoping people will notice your posts.

Again, you need to pinpoint your target audience and focus on using the right social media channels to share quality content that leads to conversions.

Fun fact: Did you know that the average person checks their phone 46 times a day? This might not sound like a lot, but with a 16 hour day, this means you are pretty much looking at your phone every hour. Just pause for a moment and think how large the pool of opportunities is for people who understand how to use social media to help spread the word about businesses.

6. Inability To Get New Customers

It’s evident that a business doesn’t survive by doing business with existing clients all the time. Getting new customers is a massive part of any business’s strategy, and a great digital marketing agency should understand how to acquire new customers with the least efforts.

You surely can’t rely on referrals alone and conventional approaches alone. There are several ways to grow your client list, and as a marketing agency, you should know which ones to use and when.

7. Not Having A Clear Cut Plan

Again, the first thing is to figure out your target market. Look at the marketplace, and find gaps that are not yet filled. There will always be problems that need to be solved.

Once you find a problem that is worth solving and for which people are willing to pay, the next step is to have a clear and detailed plan of action.

If you look carefully, the top marketing agencies have plans that are very detailed and specific. They know their market and ideal customers inside out. They also know how and where to find them.

So how do you find out whether you have a clear plan or not? Easy. Ask the right questions:

  • Do you know what problem you are solving?
  • Do you know who exactly your target customers are?
  • Do you know where they are and how to reach them? 

8. Lack Of Customer Retention

One of the toughest challenges in today’s business is the lack of customer retention. While many companies understand that customer acquisition is a challenge, they also understand that customer retention is an even bigger challenge.

U.S. companies lose $136.8 billion per year due to avoidable consumer switching[5]. So, if you can retain just a quarter of your customers, you are already miles ahead of your competition. 

When it comes to retaining customers, you need to look beyond the initial sale and pay attention to other metrics — the service you provided, the relationship you built & the experience your customer had working with you.

Pro Tip: Find a way to get customers invested in your brand. Customers invested in the brand are more likely to recommend it to their friends and family, influence others through social media, and make repeat purchases.

9. Not Building Relationships

If you’re trying to build a loyal customer base for your brand or business, you have to be willing to invest time and energy into engagement. Yes, you have to give to get, and that doesn’t always mean making a sale. Designing a landing page that gets people to sign-up for a mailing list is one thing, and sending them into a sales funnel is another.

The best way to build relationships with your audience is to have human communication, and create a place where they can feel comfortable.

Pro Tip: Changing your attitude from “A customer is a tool for creating profit” to “We’re here to serve our customers” could go a long way in building relationships that last.

10. Not Accurately Tracking Conversions and Not Using Analytics

The average website conversion rate is 2.35%, yet the best websites have conversion rates of 11% or more, almost five times the average[1].

But most marketing companies don’t see it this way. Forget about 5x; just a 2% increase in conversions can make a huge difference. And how do you do that? By identifying areas of friction.

The problem is that many marketing agencies don’t pay enough attention to analytics. Failing to understand analytics implies failing to understand how well you’re doing and what needs to be improved.

This is particularly common when the company is using a marketing automation platform, and is not getting the results they expect. Instead of finding out areas of friction, they quickly change platforms, only to find that it still doesn’t work.

Pro Tip: Focus less on the tools. Tools can surely help you in myriad ways, but as with everything in life, you need to understand them first.

11. Not Optimizing Landing Pages

Are you guilty of not optimizing your landing pages? You’re not alone. A new survey of members of the American Marketing Association found that only about one-in-five marketers say they optimize their landing pages. The survey found that, among marketers who don’t optimize their landing pages, the most common reason cited was that they “don’t know how to/haven’t got time to do it”.

As a marketing agency, you need to understand that optimizing your landing pages isn’t a chore that needs to be done. Optimized landing pages can bring in twice (or more) leads.

12. Writing Blog Posts Without A Purpose

It is essential to understand what the purpose of your blog is before you start posting content. If your blog does not have a goal, you are setting yourself up for failure. Every post you will write will be a shot in the dark, without any metrics to measure.

Know that blog posts are a great way to share your thoughts on a topic and provide advice to interested people. Businesses can use blog posts to generate leads and to improve their reputation. Additionally, blog posts are also an excellent way to drive traffic to your website. But you need to know what you want from them.

An easy question you can ask yourself is — what do you want to achieve with your blog? Is it sharing your thoughts? Is it building a loyal following? Do you want authority in an industry? Or do you want to generate traffic and sales?

13. Not Keeping Up With The Latest Changes

As a digital marketing agency, it is your job to keep your finger on the pulse of new technologies, changes in the industry, and the daily doings of your clients. What I have noticed is that many digital marketing agencies assume that if they do not keep up with all of the latest changes, they will be fine. However, in reality, many of our clients look to us to be their guide, and they are very smart to do so!

It’s not enough to merely rely on old methods and strategies. In fact, obsolete methods will hurt your business rather than help it. Keeping up with the latest changes is a challenge that your company and every other company will eventually face.

14. Not Using Retargeting Ads

This might come as a surprise, but retargeting ads is one of the most cost-effective ways to get more sales for your business. Don’t trust me? Here are some stats:

  • 46% of Search Engine Marketing professionals believe retargeting is the most underused online marketing technology.[2]
  • 26% of customers will return to a site through retargeting.[3]
  • Website visitors retargeted with display ads are 70% more likely to convert on the retailer’s website.[4]

If done the right way, retargeting ads can be a great way to nurture potential leads to becoming customers. Every digital marketing agency can use it to get more customers.

We hope you found this list helpful. We, too, have made some of these mistakes down the line, and may this list help you avoid making the same mistakes.

Check out our handy infographic on the 14 most common mistakes marketing agencies make. You’ll learn how to avoid many mistakes that might cost you your reputation and your clients.

Comment below and let us know if you made any of these mistakes too!

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[1] – https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2014/03/17/what-is-a-good-conversion-rate

[2][3][4] – https://www.invespcro.com/blog/ad-retargeting-2/

[5] – https://learn.callminer.com/whitepapers/callminerindex-us-consumers-switch-by-sector

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Himanshu Ganoliya
Himanshu Ganoliya
Articles: 14

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