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If you sold your business to Amazon for $1 billion—what would your advice to other entrepreneurs be?
You’re always going to feel like you’re drowning—even when you’re succeeding. Which makes being an entrepreneur incredibly confusing.
Are you doing a great job or a terrible job?
This is an entrepreneur’s, like a digital marketing agency founder’s, existential life crisis. The numbers can look great, but does that mean their customers and employees are happy? What happens when you’ve missed the mark on every single metric you set at the beginning of the quarter…but your employees and customers have never talked so positively about you before?
As Justin explains, these are questions you’ll be asking yourself for a very long time as a marketing agency owner. You’ll learn to love them and to challenge yourself in trying to make the hard times a little more enjoyable by leaning into the unknown.
But that’s easier said than done.
What does that actually look like?
For agency owners, it’s the answers to these 3 questions.
You’ve realized by now that your agency lives on spreadsheets and reflection. If you’ve read Traction, you’ve already set up your weekly meetings, figured out what your biggest obstacles to success are, and narrowed down your 3-year and 10-year plans. If not, you’ve probably put something like this together on your own. Now, you’re staring at a beautiful sheet of numbers that tell you how your business is doing.
But what do all those numbers mean?
Great revenue doesn’t always mean happy customers. You could have your best quarter in sales, but your clients are feeling left behind and like they can’t ever get a hold of your team. That’s not the work of an agency doing a good job.
Or, your revenue could be on the floor. Yet, you have extra time to help your clients, and they’ve never been happier with your agency.
Part of figuring out if you’re doing a good job (despite feeling like you’re drowning) is to look at the numbers and the words.
Let’s explain what that looks like with 3 questions you can ask yourself to figure out if your digital marketing agency is doing a good job.
First, let’s look at the basics. The foundation of your digital marketing agency is creating deliverables that lead to traffic and conversions for your clients. Your clients can’t get results if they don’t have those deliverables because:
What deliverables were promised to your clients—and have they received all of them? Go into the spreadsheets you have to organize your accounts and see if your clients have all their deliverables. Also, take a look at when those deliverables made their way over to your clients. Were they on time, or do you see a pattern in them in late delivery?
You’re finding one of three answers:
#1: All deliverables received on time = Good job!
#2: Some deliverables were on time, and some were late = ‘Meh’ job.
#3: Deliverables are not received on time = Bad job.
**If you answered #2 or #3—keep reading but make sure you *start* here when you fix this problem. This is Step 1 in making sure your agency is doing a great job, so you won’t be able to move on to the next step without this foundation in place.**
Knowing how well your “products” are making their way to your client’s virtual doors, it’s time to see how well they’re working.
When your clients signed on to work with your agency, you made promises. Every agency owner does—so does every entrepreneur. From the founder and CEO of a vitamin brand promising health and vitality to your promise of traffic and conversions, it’s time to make sure you’re living up to expectations.
The results of each agency will depend on what your focus is, but chances are you’ve promised some form of traffic and conversions. Whether you’re an email marketer, a Facebook ads expert, or an SEO guru, your clients are paying you to help them get more customers and revenue.
Are you living up to that promise?
Time for another spreadsheet (because spreadsheets are an entrepreneur’s best friend).
In this spreadsheet, you’re going to look at how well each client’s accounts are performing. Add another column for what was guaranteed when you started working together. And, one more column next to that to give you a percentage of how well you’re doing (divide your client’s results by the promised results).
This will show you how well you’re living up to your promises. You’re aiming for a minimum of 100% in that third column, which tells you that you’re reaching the results you promised your clients initially. Of course, you’d love to see that percentage go far beyond that promise (underpromise and overdeliver, friends!), but to see if your agency’s doing a good job aiming for 100% is fine.
Here are the possible answers you find:
#1: You’re above 100% = *Great* job!
#2: You’re at 100% = Good job!
#3: You’re below 100% = Bad job.
Now you know how well your products are working for your clients. If you’re seeing that your client’s results are lower than what you promised—unfortunately, your agency is doing a bad job. It’s time to fix the holes in your bucket, whether it be in your processes or marketing strategies, immediately.
So far we’ve paid attention to the numbers and let them tell us the story of your agency. But, that story isn’t complete without human feedback…
It’s tempting to think that business is all in the numbers. Certainly, a large part of it is, but what about the humans your business interacts with on a daily or weekly basis? These humans are emotional, thinking beings that can’t be categorized through the numbers we talked about previously.
Your agency might be on time with each deliverable and have a 100%+ result in comparison to expectations—but you’re not doing a good job if your clients feel like getting a response from you takes longer than a carrier pigeon relaying a message. In this case, your clients are happy with their results but unhappy with the experience.
Does that mean you’re doing a good job?
Unfortunately not. Clients unhappy with their experience, feeling like you could run off with their money at any moment, are going to churn for the next best option. We don’t want you to experience churn. We want your clients to work with your agency for years, giving you as close to MRR income as an agency can get.
So how do you find out what your clients think of working with you?
Which option you choose depends on your agency, and what you’re already doing. For some agencies, it makes sense to ask clients for feedback at the one-month mark, three-month mark, and six-month mark. For other agencies, have a 1:1 call with clients every month to make sure you’re all on the same page is a necessity.
The one thing all these agencies, yours included, need to ask is: what 3 words would you use to describe working with my agency?
These three words will give you the insight you need to figure out what you’re doing great and where you need to improve.
Here are a few examples of the feedback you might get:
Feedback like this deserves a pat on the back and drinks with the team. Your agency is doing a great job, and if you have the numbers from above to back this up, you should feel proud of the business you’ve built. You’re doing a great job.
Feedback like this means you need to take a look at your team, processes, promises, and results:
Even though you have one positive piece of feedback (that you’re strategic and your clients can see it), being told you’re hard to contact and are overpromising is bad news. Watch out for your churn rate…and agency reputation.
Being a digital marketing agency owner is hard work. You’re not supposed to have it all figured out, as Justin Kan reminds us. You’ll always be frolicking in the field of the unknown—and figuring out if you’re doing a great job will always be top of mind.
That’s why these questions are here for you. They’re the foundation you’re looking for to figure out if you’re *actually* doing a good job or if you just *think* you’re doing a terrible job, but really your agency is nailing it.
Agency owners doing a great job regularly ask themselves these questions:
#1: What deliverables did you promise your clients and have you sent all of those over?
#2: Are the results you promised your clients on par with what they see for traffic and conversions?
#3: What three words do your clients use to describe working with you?
And they invest in their education. They know that they don’t have to figure it all out on their own. They can tap into the brilliant minds of the world’s best marketers to learn their strategies and get their advice about building a successful, scalable agency.
Digital marketing agency owners are inside DigitalMarketer Lab, getting Insider Trainings from top marketers, watching actionable Workshops, and studying Playbooks that give them the edge against their competition.
Join your fellow digital marketing agency owners becoming better marketers and entrepreneurs by signing up for DigitalMarketer Lab today.