Today, an interview with Matt Bertram, the co-owner of EWR Digital, a digital marketing agency based out of Houston that has 18 employees, including the two co-owners. Here he answers some questions that can help other agencies grow and succeed at a time when the competition is fierce.
Q. How are you staying afloat with clients during this pandemic?
A. We lost 77% of our business at the beginning of this pandemic. and were forced to cut salaries. But due to the quality of our work and the relationships we had built, 50% of clients came back. Digital marketing is more important than everything, and everything has bounced back with demand. We had to change, though, and adapt our marketing, pricing, and product mix to better feed the needs of our returning clients.
Q. How about employees? Are you embracing a remote workforce? And if so, what are some tips for other agencies in terms of managing a remote workforce?
A. Out of 18, four of us are working in our offices – though with obvious COVID restrictions. The other 14 work remotely, and eight of those are off-shore. We embrace the remote workforce, but it does arrive with some managing issues. The best tips I can provide for other agencies is to keep an open line of communication daily – such as Slack or Google Chat – and make sure you keep super tidy project management documents that are shared with everyone so zero workflow goes unnoticed. And all senior members should meet remotely early in the week to discuss that week’s workflow.
Q. How essential are reviews for a digital marketing agency’s success?
A. For true success, reviews are extremely essential. People place their trust in positive reviews, and it pays to not only build your reviews – especially on Google – but also constantly moderate them. The quickest way to get a positive review? First, provide high-quality services. Then simply ask. If you’ve been showing a client positive results, there is little reason they should refuse to review you. To date, EWR Digital has over 122, 5-star reviews on Google. This is the ultimate confidence builder before the close of any sale.
Q. How about 2021 – what trends do you send in digital marketing?
A. Everyone needs to take a closer look at mapping their sales process from the first visit to the eventual transaction. For e-commerce websites, this is much simpler because a cart is available on the page, and you can then map the sales process quite easily. But for others, such as a service-based business, you have to rethink the mapping process and map from the first click through to whatever CTA is available, whether contact us for additional info or newsletter signup that eventually turns into a customer. Knowing the trajectory of a converting customer through actions on your website will allow you to optimize what is not working, and grow your sales. It’s tough work, but it’s a must to stand out in 2021.
Another trend that will surface for truly successful companies is honing in more closely on their buyer personas. Basically, this is the perfect customer or client that your business would want to attract. These are the types that become loyal brand fans, buy off you again and again, and help with the most dominant form of marketing ever – word of mouth.
One of the simplest ways to create your ideal buyer persona is to look closely at the demographics of your most loyal customer base. Do this by providing surveys to your current customers, and ask for honest feedback. Another way is through social media and online review sources. Who is taking the time to engage with your brand on channels like Facebook, Yelp, and Google Reviews? Focus on these customers, and survey them.
Don’t have a strong customer base yet? Look at your largest competitor’s social media profiles and online reviews. Find out who and what those customers are like, and create a buyer persona with those traits. Then, market to that ideal customer through various channels, including paid advertising through social media ads where you can get super granular with your target demographics.
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