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Whether you’re planning to work with an  agency or a  freelancer, one good rule of thumb is to always choose an organization or person that has a partnership perspective.

It’s one thing for a web developer or agency to build a beautiful website or launch an online ad campaign; it’s another thing entirely for them to value your business success and know your organization well enough to advise you on the best course of action.

An important component of effective communication is clarifying questions. Indeed.com defines clarifying questions as “questions that the listener asks the speaker in an attempt to eliminate or prevent any misunderstanding, confusion, or ambiguity.” While you should certainly be asking clarifying questions of your marketing partner, your marketing partner should also be asking clarifying questions of you.

The following questions are critical questions your agency should ask you to ensure that you both understand your organization’s goals and definitions of success.

1. “Do you have an internal system for tracking how leads and customers first heard about you?”

While digital marketing is highly measurable, there are certain limitations to the information you can collect. For example, someone might first hear about your business by searching for you on Google, clicking on an ad, and visiting your website. They then, however, hold off on making a decision until three months later, when they decide to place an order over the phone.

If you don’t ask how the customer first heard about you, it will be difficult to attribute the value of that sale to your online advertising (and nearly impossible for your web developer or agency to justify the cost of the services they provide you). Keeping track of this information will help you understand what marketing and sales efforts are driving awareness of your brand, allowing you to invest in the highest-performing services with confidence.

2. “What is the value of a lead to your business?”

For many B2B companies, the products and services they provide can’t be purchased through an online store. The website acts as a hub of information to educate the prospect, in the hopes that the user will reach out to learn more, schedule a meeting, get a quote, etc.

For that reason, the only measurable conversion on the website will often be some type of form-fill or phone call. After that, the sale is entirely out of the web developer’s control. That’s why it’s good to set your marketing budget around the value of a lead, not necessarily the value of a sale.

If you don’t know the value of a lead, maybe you know your standard lead-to-sales rate. If so, your web developer or agency should be able to:

  • Calculate the percentage of leads that will likely turn into customers.
  • Multiply that percentage by the average value of a new customer.
  • Use the average value of a lead to inform budget decisions.

This will tell you whether or not you’re getting a positive ROI on your marketing efforts. If you don’t have that information, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to accurately measure the value of your digital marketing.

3. “What key performance indicators (KPIs) are your highest priority?”

Whatever service you’re paying for should be geared toward achieving some goal you’ve set for your business. If you’re building a website, that goal may be as simple as having an updated site that properly reflects the progress your business has made in the last few years. If you’re running ads, it may be to maintain a certain level of traffic on your site.

Whatever goals you’ve set for yourself, your web developer or agency should hone in on them so they can determine what metrics to track and optimize. It also allows them to set proper expectations. If you want to run Facebook ads with the goal of “increasing revenue by 50%,” that’s not something your web developer can promise to achieve. They can, however, work to drive a certain amount of traffic to your website, and after they’ve collected some data, they can tell you how much traffic you need to acquire a certain number of leads.

Ensuring you know what information they can accurately track and what factors they control sets you and the developer up for success. You won’t be expecting business to skyrocket simply because you’re running some online ads, and your developer can prove the value of their services using realistic, agreed-upon KPIs.

4. “What other marketing efforts, digital or traditional, do you plan on implementing?”

If you plan on marketing on multiple channels using a variety of strategies, that’s something your web developer will want to know. While they may not have the ability to ensure these different tactics work together cohesively, they can make an effort to make the most of your marketing dollars.

For example, many companies use both traditional and digital marketing efforts without thinking about how they can complement one another. If you’re building a website but only plan on promoting it through radio and print ads, your web developer can use that information to craft a website that better aligns with your other marketing messages.

If you plan on building a website but don’t know how you’ll drive traffic to it, that’s also helpful to tell your marketing partner. Your web developer or agency should be able to provide useful recommendations that you can use further down the road.

Your Web Developer Should Build Something Beautiful… And Functional

Ultimately, your marketing efforts should match your organization and be effective for your goals. Modern marketers espouse the benefits of digital marketing, but it’s not as easy as it’s made out to be. Certain factors are beyond control, and developers must work closely with clients in order to be properly informed and make the best decisions.

That’s why the above questions are so important—they illustrate that your marketing partner is actively thinking about how to marry your organization’s goals with what is achievable and measurable.

Not everyone is looking to prove the value of their digital efforts in a tangible way. You may just want a beautiful website that supplements your sales team. That’s okay! Your web developer or agency partner, however, should strive to build a partnership with you and help you get the most out of your money. Anything less is a disservice to you and your clientele.

At Engenius, our top priority is to help you reach your business goals. That could range from less measurable objectives, like building a website that has an accurate portfolio of your work, to more measurable targets, like driving traffic to your website in order to acquire a certain number of leads every quarter. By digging into the questions above and many others, we get to the heart of what you need and find the best solution possible for driving revenue for your company.

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