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How to Build Your Search Marketing Agency for the Future

Uri Bar-Joseph
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back-to-the-future-marketing-agencies

Digital marketing services are growing. As more companies enter the digital age and look to generate demand for their products and services online, the need for digital marketing services is growing exponentially.

Agencies are looking for new ways to leverage web 2.0 and offer additional services to their existing and new clients. A study published last week by Digital Marketing Depot and Optify sheds more light on how digital marketing agencies are thinking about the near future.

Here are seven things every agency should consider now to ensure future success.

1. Integrate Services

No more siloed, standalone services that later need to be incorporated and configured to "talk" to other marketing channels and services. Businesses today are looking for cross-channel, integrated solutions.

If you only offer one type of service (PPC, SEO, display), you're missing out on potential revenue that will be taken by your competitors. Make sure you can offer all/any search marketing services and even venture into other digital marketing services, like social media advertising.

The study found that almost 72 percent of agency clients prefer a full service-approach and that 71 percent of marketers believe integration between earned, paid and owned media is important. However, the report also states that 79 percent of marketers still run their social campaigns in silos and that 2 out of 3 marketers say that integration of email marketing with other channels is either manual or non-existent.

If you're looking for services to start adding and integrating, start with social (see #3: SOLoMo is a must). The study also found that the most popular service bundles include social media services (89 percent), followed by website services (86 percent) and design & creative services (85 percent). Content (84 percent) and SEO (83 percent) are close behind.

popular-service-bundles-future-of-agencies

Image Credit: Optify

2. Be Multi-Device Friendly

Consumers as well as B2B buyers are using on average 2.9 devices. Search marketing is no longer just on a desktop and Google recently made sure that mobile compatibility affects search rankings.

Your search marketing services have to account for these recent developments and must communicate the importance of multi-device compatibility and focus to your clients and prospects.

3. SoLoMo is a Must

solomo-must

If you have any doubt that the future of digital marketing (and search marketing especially) is in the trifecta of social, local and mobile, you are in the wrong profession. As a search marketing agency, every element of your services has to include something that supports at least one of these elements.

Social media is the number one requested service by agency clients (62 percent of agencies ranked it as #1) and fortunately enough, it is also the easiest to add, in some fashion, to your current offerings.

4. Have a Software Solution

As a search agency you won't be able to keep showing up to client meetings armed with only Excel files and PowerPoint presentations. Software suites are the manifestation of digital marketing and to offer your services fully, you have to have one.

There are multiple marketing solutions that support agencies. They vary in price, features and sophistication as well as compatibility with the market you serve. Pick one (or a few) that fit your needs and wallet and make sure you use them during prospecting and sales engagements. It will add credibility to your services and allow you to charge more.

5. Use Both Your Left and Right Brain

Gone are the days of the creative director who only brainstorms ideas and sips whiskey on his thinking couch. Don Draper now needs to run the campaigns, have an analytical mind, and be able to prove how creative drives results.

But as creative agencies are required to adopt technical-analytical skills to serve their clients, search-marketing agencies are required to adopt creative skills as well. Ad copy and design, landing page creation and content marketing are becoming a crucial part of the search marketing agency tool set.

6. Exemplify the Future and Operate Like a Marketer

Your prospects come to you for help with digital marketing so you have to show them that you can deliver and lead by example. Have a website, manage a blog, be on top of the recent trends and news in your vertical and speak about these topics constantly.

Since digital marketing is still considered an innovation by the majority of the mass market (the late majority and laggards), you need to exemplify that innovation and look, sound and behave like an early adopter.

7. Make Content Marketing a Core Competency

I'm not going to say that "content is king" but I will say that if you don't have a way to create content you have no business in search marketing. Content is more than just white papers and guides, it's becoming the official digital currency (and no, I'm not referring to bitcoin), or at least the most common commodity.

Content is videos, infographics, presentations and podcasts. Content is landing pages, images, graphics and photos. It's everything that can be shared, viewed and visited and it's the core of every digital marketing campaign.

If you aren't already offering content marketing services in conjunction with your search marketing, please do yourself a favor and start now.

Summary

What does this all mean? Clients don't want a channel – they want results. As an agency, you better respond to client needs if you want to remain relevant in 2014 and beyond.


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