So you’ve started a business and are ready to venture into the world of working with an agency. Either you’re overworked, unclear of best practices in the current market or just want someone else to take care of it. That’s where we come in.
Hawke sees every type of business under the sun, each with a varying level of preparedness for the agency transition – and while we’re happy to help get our clients where they need to be to launch effective marketing strategies (we do it all the time), when approaching agency work, there are some simple steps you can take to ensure you’ll hit the ground running. These tips bear the added bonus of being great ideas for any business, whether or not you’re getting ready to work with an agency.
1 – Define Your Brand
First things first, you need to be absolutely clear on your brand, your branding and what you hope to accomplish. This may sound silly, but it is imperative to have clearly defined visual and messaging guidelines (logo, voice, primary descriptive keywords, and more) when engaging any service provider to help take your company to the next level.
Having a logo is important from both a logistics and a brand nuance standpoint. Logistically, it is crucial to establish baseline legitimacy with a consistent logo across all of your content, from web pages to products to collateral. A logo is the visual anchor for your brand and what your consumers will most associate with your company – design accordingly.
Brand voice and keywords go hand in hand when building a brand to guarantee that your service providers are telling your story correctly. Understanding your brand as sarcastic, witty, serious, or any other personality style, along with some specific words on how you describe yourself (or don’t describe yourself) improves consistency when others both inside and outside your company begin to implement brand strategy.
Check out our Creative services for help building your brand.
2 – Build a Good Website
What would happen if a potential customer came into a store where their experience inside didn’t match the signage out front, the items they were looking for were poorly organized or they just got a weird vibe? They’d leave. Build your site with your ideal customer in mind. Start by articulating who that ideal customer is before visualizing their ideal site experience – what content will resonate with them? What UX will encourage them to purchase? Think critically about user flow and program your site for the lowest common denominator (aka play dumb).
Picking your website platform with your goals in mind can be the difference between having a pleasant build experience and a messy one. We recommend Shopify (or Shopify Plus) for ecommerce companies because of its wide array of resources (like plugins and apps), integrations with other platforms, and customization options. Do your homework, and pick the platform that makes sense for your business.
Check out our Web Design services for help building a beautiful, conversion-focused site.
3 – Set up Data Tracking
If we believe in one thing, it’s that you must measure everything. Your site, your brand, and your marketing efforts are only as good as the data that drives them. Without data, you’re effectively blind as to what works, what doesn’t, and how to make improvements. Set yourself up for success by capturing every single piece of data you can.
The most important metric is, of course, revenue – most ecomm platforms have a built-in revenue measurement system. With that box checked, we can move onto other key data sources: Google Analytics (GA), Facebook pixel tracking, and Google Ads. GA tracks holistic data on your website’s users and their behavior, the Facebook pixel tracks consumer interaction with your advertising efforts across Facebook and Instagram, and you can track the efficacy of your Googe campaigns through your Google Ads account.
First, set up a GA account, and connect your domain. Then, create a property based on your domain. Finally, add the specific tracking code to your site. This last piece can be very straightforward with many ecomm structured sites, but may require the help of support or a designer. Either way, it’s imperative to track the activity on your site.
Make sure that enhanced ecommerce tracking is turned on to allow to for in-depth consideration of your traffic, conversions, and insights.
First, set up your business page from your own, personal, Facebook. Then, set up Facebook Ads Manager by going to business.facebook.com. Use the primary email associated with your personal Facebook account and the business page, as this will help keep everything simple.
From here, create your pixel to track the efficacy of your Facebook ads and implement targeting based on actions that users have taken on your site after interacting with your ads. Navigate to your business settings, select Data Sources, then Pixel, then Create Pixel. Within a minute, you’ll have either the Pixel ID to implement into an existing site framework, or a walkthrough of how to set up the backend if you’re working with a developer or team.
Start by creating your Google Ads account using the same email that you used for Google Analytics. From here, determine what a conversion means to you (for example: a purchase, app download, form submission, etc.) and set up Conversion Tracking in your account.
4 – Set up Nurturing & Retention Strategies
This is where you begin to put rubber to the road! Social media and email are great ways to nurture potential customers after they’ve visited your site and keep them coming back for more after they make a purchase.
Grab the accounts on the various social channels you need. Every ecommerce brand needs a Facebook and Instagram, but Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn can also be important, depending on your audience. Think through your strategy for each channel. For instance, Instagram is image-forward, so make sure you’re armed and ready with quality visuals, while Facebook is good for building a community through shared content. Whatever you decide, be consistent on these channels so people know what to expect. Make sure your social accounts are linked from your website (and that the links work!).
The most important choice you can make when it comes to email marketing is your email service provider (ESP). We recommend Klaviyo and MailChimp to help organize your email lists and set up sequences and automated workflows to help you make money while you sleep. We also suggest you install an email capture pop-up (like Justuno) on your website to grow your email list with new subscribers.
With your brand, website, analytics and conversion/retention systems in place, you’re set to either wade into the ecommerce waters on your own or go from 0-60 with an agency as quickly as possible.
Looking for an agency partner? Hit us up – your growth is our mission!
Bryce is a Strategist at Hawke Media. When he’s not guiding clients along their growth paths, he’s front-squatting with excellent form.