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Play Video about The Raw Truth: Agencies Aren't Perfect
Communication is key. If we had a dollar for every time we’ve heard this in our lives, we wouldn’t need to win the Power Ball. The thing is, we hear it but never practice it. So, hi. It’s me, Communication telling you that I’m the key to every relationship you have.
The key to your friendships, your marriage, your office culture and your business partnerships. And yep, you guessed it. It’s even the key to the relationship with your marketing agency.
In our latest episode of the Trades Secrets podcast, we get real. We talk mistakes, partnerships and most importantly communication and how they all impact your relationship.
Episode Covers:
  1. Common mistakes between businesses and their agency
  2. Why communication is so crucial to the success of a partnership
  3. Tips on scheduling time with your marketing agency
  4. Why throwing the baby out with the bath water isn’t always the best decision
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Hello, I’m Devon Hayes.

Amanda Joyce: And I’m Amanda Joyce. And today’s topic is The Raw Truth Agencies Aren’t Perfect, and here’s why you should care. No agency is perfect. Try as we may, but not all errors or inefficiencies are the same. And here’s how to assess the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Devon Hayes: Welcome to trade secrets where we demystify digital marketing to help contractors get the most bang for their marketing bucks.

Amanda Joyce: This is for you if you’re a contractor looking for actionable marketing insights.

Devon Hayes: Learn from home services industry experts to elevate your business through simplified marketing strategies.

Amanda Joyce: Let’s dive into today’s trade secret. Let’s dive in on this one. This one hits a little close to home for the two of us.

Devon Hayes: Yeah, we definitely, no business is perfect and as mistakes happen and we don’t love that they happen. I know with our agency, we definitely do our best to make it right. I’m sure in your businesses you’ve had jobs and projects where you’re just like shit and you know better.

Amanda Joyce: It’s not reflective of who you are as a company, and it really gets under your skin and it’s a hard pill to swallow. But just like in your businesses as an agency, there’s ways that we can clean things up and make sure that everyone feels happy and heard and move on from the mistake. But you might find yourself, if you’re working with an agency and maybe they have a pretty big error, and you’re finding yourself in that moment of, are they good for my business? Do I want to keep them around? So we’re hoping diving in today, we can help maybe give you guys some new perspective. But also help you figure out how to really analyze the situation and decide what’s the best decision for your own company.

Devon Hayes: Yeah. Well also just giving you a piece of raw truth, an episode completely inspired by actual events.

Amanda Joyce: Dun, dun, dun.

Devon Hayes: Yeah, dun dun dun. So let’s get into this. First of all, I think we can all relate, it does not feel good when you make a mistake or when you discover a mistake that you have… You’ve been paying someone to handle something, and you as a business owner, you notice something that is wrong. So let’s talk about this, some of the common mistakes that we’ve seen as kind of an agency. Yeah, let’s talk about it.

Amanda Joyce: Yeah, let’s dive. I’d say one of the areas that is really rocked with issue that can really open you up for problems is if you are hiring a digital agency and you have an existing website and you hand it over to them and then you just, there isn’t much handover. Maybe you just give them access and you move on. One of the things that we run into a lot is maybe we’ll inherit a 20-page website. We’ve got all the troops on the ground, we’re doing all the things to get them set up from an SEO perspective and figure out what content i’s missing from the site, what content they want updated. But as an agency, we don’t even put it in our scope of work to go through and read every line of existing copy on a website. You might find an agency that’s willing to do it, but they’re probably going to charge you a lot of money to do it.

So it is on you as a business owner to know what’s on your website and whether you have an existing agency that’s just managing your stuff right now, or you’re engaging someone new. At the end of the day, you need to make sure that every page of your website is reflective of the services you offer. And that might sound like duh, but there’s things that change in your business that you probably don’t stop yourself and think, oh, I need to email my agency and let them know that that project manager’s no longer here and they’re on our about page. Or we suddenly changed our manufacturer and we have tons of copy throughout the website that speaks to our old manufacturer. That’s stuff that just needs to be effectively communicated with your agency, or they’re not going to read your mind and know to suddenly go make all these sweeping updates to your website.

So that’s just one example of something that we commonly see when we’re onboarding or just going through the pain points of really getting to know one another when we have a new client come on board. That’s one to really keep in mind as you’re assessing your current situation.

Devon Hayes: Yeah, definitely. And I think when you’re going through, I think sometimes in real time we’ll be on a call with a client and going over each, the navigation on the website. Those are those main pages that are really obvious and stand out and that you can see, and it’s like, oh, we don’t offer that anymore. You can take that away. That’s really easy. But yeah, sometimes there’s just other hidden nooks and crannies where maybe something that you removed might live somewhere else on the site. And so at the end of the day when those little nooks and crannies are uncovered, take some ownership there because your agency, if they’re new, they didn’t build the site. And so it’s just one of those, it’s just an example of something. We have a lot of roofing contractors, I think anyone who listens to us knows that.

But if you went from OC Platinum to now your GAF Master Select or Master, then you got to have some grace if the old logo appears on a page somewhere because it’s a lot of work. And sometimes you guys have massive websites and digging through and finding the place where all those old logos exist and getting them swapped out. Rome wasn’t built in a day. And so I think that’s just something to not expect perfection on. I think that at the end of the day, having the wrong logo isn’t going to cost you a project, and it’s more of an annoyance. Not all mistakes are created the same, but the point of this bullet point is to really be familiar with the content, your service offerings, your product offerings, any staff listed on your website, be familiar with that.

And if you have an existing relationship with an agency, maybe make it a point to touch base every quarter on the services and the products and the staff just to make sure it’s all relevant. It is just a great practice.

Amanda Joyce: It’s a great touch point.

Devon Hayes: Yeah, it’s a great touch point. It’ll keep your content relevant and make sure you don’t have any surprises maybe somewhere down the line.

Amanda Joyce: Exactly. And I do just want to point out, we do regular content interviews with our clients, and I can’t tell you how often we’re on there chatting and something comes up that we’re like, oh my gosh, we’re so glad you told us that. But had we not just been on the phone having an organic conversation with the business owner, we wouldn’t have found it out. So just keep your marketing partner in the back of your head when stuff’s just happening around the business. If you just have it in the back of your head that you want to make sure that what’s going on is reflected on the website, it’ll trigger that for you to remember like, oh, we just made this big move away from this, or we’re doing this. Does my website reflect it? And if you have that kind of mindset, you’ll remember to pull them in, but they’re not going to know by osmosis that you suddenly changed your service model.

And a lot of stuff needs to be addressed. An example of a client we worked with previously that we found out one day on a content interview that there were three or four commercial roofing materials that they just no longer offered. And they actually really coached people away from using any of them, and they had never told us that. And it was just in their site map. We actually got strategic with it because they were ranking for those and went in and updated the copy to explain why they actually don’t recommend it and help people understand the product that they were recommending at the time. So we’d still rank for it and then we could educate people away from it. But having that information was invaluable to us as an agency. It gave us a ton of great content to write, and we were able to help them in their pursuits as a business. But without us knowing that our hands are tied and we’re just proud that we’re ranking for the keywords we were originally discussing at the beginning of the engagement, and we didn’t know any better.

Devon Hayes: And then something else too, so we’re talking about maybe specific services, manufacturers, like product offerings staff, but something else that recently happened too is we had a contractor completely change their business model. So while the service offerings were the same, the way they were offering them was completely changed. And a lot of the supporting content around what we were first informed about and how we researched this entire strategy, digital strategy, it changed within 30 days of all of this research and analysis happening. And so if you change your business model, maybe some new law enacted in your state and you’re like, you know what? I’m going to change the way I set things up and change the way to do things, but still offer the same services.

That’s something you really should communicate and then sit there online together and go through each area that’s impacted on what you currently have yourself positioned as online. That’s probably going to change the way you describe your business on your Facebook page and let alone all the different pages on your website. All the different downloadables, the graphics that you had created, all of these things are going to change any supporting content.

So if your business model changes, to some, it might seem obvious to communicate that to your agency, but maybe not because your service offerings aren’t changing, so you don’t maybe see the correlation and see how they connect. So that’s something to really keep in mind as well. And I think at the end of the day, Amanda, everything we’re going to talk about is solved with more communication with your agency.

Amanda Joyce: 100%.

Devon Hayes: As I am saying all this stuff and we’re talking about it truly is. And it seems this is why you partner with somebody. It’s not a button pusher. You shouldn’t hire someone to just push the buttons to increase your visibility online. Whether that’s through paid media, content marketing, SEO. You don’t want to hire a button pusher because all of these things that we’re talking about today, they impact your business and the people that are pushing the buttons and hopefully created a strategy and aren’t just pushing buttons, they need to have this communicated with them. So I think, yeah, communication is key. I think we all know that, but sometimes when you hire and you outsource something, you don’t see the need as much for those constant touch points, but.

Amanda Joyce: Absolutely. For some it just feels like you’re passing the baton and it couldn’t be further from the truth. You want to just look at it like you’ve brought someone onto the team and you’re opening up a line of communication and really letting them have a consistent view into what’s happening in your business. The pain points that people, that your clients are facing, all those things, because a true partner can really help you better position your company and tell your story. And to that point as well, Devon, I think we oftentimes see business owners feel like you launch your website and you’d be like, okay, we’ve got a 16 page website. Checkbox, you move on. Your website should be a living, breathing part of your company. It is not copy you wrote two and a half years ago. If you go back and read it and really assess it, you’re probably going to find that a lot of it needs to be updated. It doesn’t necessarily need a complete overhaul, but it’s probably going to need some love. So we really encourage-

Devon Hayes: Copy images.

Amanda Joyce: Exactly.

Devon Hayes: You probably have much cooler projects, better imagery. Maybe at the time you couldn’t afford a professional photographer on your projects, but maybe you did something really cool and you want to get those on the site. Yeah. It’s not like, okay, done. Websites live. Yeah,

Amanda Joyce: Exactly. So if you make it a point every six months to just go through your entire website, click on every page, maybe you’re not going to read every last sentence, but get pretty darn close, you’re going to do yourself a huge favor. And then that way when you maybe have a big opportunity on your hands and you send them to your website, you’re not going to be embarrassed when they say, oh wait, I thought you were Owens Corning and you haven’t updated your website from when you were with a different manufacturer.

So you can avoid those little bits of embarrassment by having some ownership as the business owner and as the website owner. We just cannot encourage that enough. No matter what kind of agency partnership you have, the insight you have into your business, it’s critical that you’re the one doing that research. It doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be looking at it too, but you really need to go through it with a fine tooth comb and make sure it all looks good. And if you want, have a meeting, make them get on the phone with you. They can take the notes and make the updates, but make it a priority.

Devon Hayes: Yeah, absolutely. And that would be one of those partnership things like, hey, because maybe when you make it a meeting, then you are being accountable to one another to go through and do it together. And again, that’s when your marketing partner is going to glean more insights just by the conversation clicking through, hearing your thought process when you’re like…

Amanda Joyce: We don’t really say that in the sales process anymore. We don’t-

Devon Hayes: Yeah, we don’t really offer that. We would take that business, but it’s not a priority. We don’t need it on the homepage. Let’s nest it, whatever it might be. So yeah, that’s great advice. So, all right, we’ve talked about the common mistakes and this bigger one, but let’s talk about when a mistake happens, assessing the damage. Did you lose a project? Did you lose work? Let’s assess the damage. Who saw it? Who saw the mistake?

And we can speak on the digital side of things like a typo on a direct mail postcard. You can guess how many people maybe read it, how many just threw it away. But digitally, if there’s a page on your website that you’re like, we don’t even offer that service anymore, how many people saw it? You can know how many people saw that. You can see if you’re ranking for a keyword on that page that you don’t want to rank for, you can see all of that. So if it’s a mistake via digital marketing, you can absolutely assess how far-reaching it was. So it’s backing into it. So I think having the right, I guess response to…

Amanda Joyce: The error.

Devon Hayes: The mistake. Yes, the error. Look for some supporting data instead of yes, you can get pissed off. Like if it was something wrong, sure. Are you allowed to be mad about it? Sure. But overall, what’s the impact on your business? Realign yourself there. Let’s take a look at the forest, not the trees here, and just ask some smart questions. Well, how many people saw this? How long was it like this? Is it easy to fix? Did we lose business off of it?

Amanda Joyce: Yeah. Are there other places on the site that this mistake is also being made? Let’s fix it. Let’s take it. Don’t just if you find the one issue, talk about a time to be like, let’s get on the phone and look through the website. There’s some ownership on both sides to that. And on that same note, while you’re assessing maybe the error, it’s also a good opportunity to assess the benefit that the agency’s bringing to you at the time. So maybe you’re super upset because they didn’t pull something down, they should have. But then maybe it’s time to look under the curtain. Maybe you’re in between reviews and you haven’t seen numbers in a minute, take a look at what strides they’ve made.

Devon Hayes: Performance.

Amanda Joyce: Exactly. What goals they’re hitting that were in the original strategy you guys put together. And you might end up finding out that they’re bringing a lot more to the table than that one error took away.

So if you could be looking at organic traffic or keyword positioning, if you’re hiring people in our world or whatever key metrics you really lean on. Maybe they’re booking sales appointments for you. How many of those have they booked? Whatever it may be, where are they excelling? And maybe if you look at the metrics, and not only do they make some mistakes, they’re not excelling, then it’s time to be a little bit more critical about the future of your partnership. But don’t just allow maybe a knee-jerk reaction from a member of the leadership team to have you cut ties or make a decision that could actually negatively impact your business a lot more if you were to suddenly lose all the momentum that this agency’s actually bringing to the table.

Devon Hayes: Yeah, I think that’s great advice. Assess the actual performance, because I think on a human level, none of us are perfect, but does the benefit outweigh whatever the opposite of that is? I can’t think straight, this is an emotional topic for me. But are the benefits that the agency is providing to you and their performance, does it far outweigh the one shit mistake that was made? Well…

Amanda Joyce: Hopefully.

Devon Hayes: Maybe. Hopefully. Right? And over what time span. So yeah, I think that’s our best advice. And then is it avoidable in the future? What can you do differently? What can they do differently?

Amanda Joyce: Exactly.

Devon Hayes: I think with our agency to a fault, we’re like, oh God, you know what? You’re right. And we fall on the sword, but at the same time we’re like, wait, how are we supposed to know that though? Nobody ever told us that.

Amanda Joyce: Exactly. So you can figure out, I mean, every company is different, every company owner is different, every agency is different. Figure out what your communication style needs to be to make sure that both parties are fully informed about what’s going on and everyone has the information they need to avoid mistakes. When we were kind of chatting about this before we even got on here, the underlying theme that we kept coming to it was just communication.

Devon Hayes: It really is.

Amanda Joyce: You cannot over communicate with your agency. So if you have a weekly, biweekly, monthly, whatever it is, sales meeting, maybe shoot them a quick email when you come out of it. These are our highest focuses, this is what we’re going to be doing. Let them know that can also, from an agency perspective, we can get that and suddenly have five new content ideas. Some smart questions we’re going to ask you about like, oh, maybe we need to add this new field to your form, if that’s a big focus for you, or whatever it may be. As your partner, we can help you guys get there faster, but if we don’t know what’s going on behind the curtain, we can only do so much.

Devon Hayes: And I know I’m guilty of that too though. I will put my head down and I will work, and then I will not send an update. And that’s something that these past couple months I’ve learned that I didn’t do enough of. I have this fear of over-communicating where we all know how many emails we receive all the time every day. And so I have this, should I bother him? No. Head down, we’ve got a trusting relationship. I’m just going to keep my head down and work. But realistically with, I don’t know, for my kind of niche, SEO, you kind of want to know what’s going on a little bit more. And so admittedly, that’s something that I’m like, I should send more emails and just let them decide what they want to do with all of them that come through instead of just trying to save it all for one big report.

Amanda Joyce: And from the perspective of an agency, we can assure you guys that you can’t email us too much. I promise you, as someone who plans content for our clients, I am so thankful every time something comes through that it gives me an idea for an ebook and a blog post. And I’m like, ooh, I know that there’s an old piece of content we need to go update that is reflective in that information is so valuable and you are going to, everyone benefits from it. You have better content in your website. Sales guys are happy to send people to your websites when they’re way more reflective of who you are as a company and it’s not just generic. I promise you can’t over communicate with your agency, so blast them with all the emails, tell them all the things, and your strategy overall is going to be better as a result.

Devon Hayes: Even if you’re like, hey, you’re not emailing me enough. I want to know more. All those things.

Amanda Joyce: Exactly.

Devon Hayes: Yeah. When we interview clients, we try to understand what’s your preferred communication? Do you want a summary at the end of the month? Do you want to touch base once a week? Because we know you’re busy, but we also know it’s a partnership. So I think establishing that from the jump will be helpful and beneficial in building your long-term relationship. I know for us, and I think for any agency out there, I think there’s so many good agencies that truly, truly care and truly want to get it right for you. I think what we all have in common is that passion and caring and wanting that relationship. So it’s just a matter of fine-tuning preferred communication styles between the agency and the client, or, you know what I mean? You see what I’m saying?

Amanda Joyce: I get it.

Devon Hayes: Oh my goodness. Well, I think we covered a lot of good stuff here overall. Let’s see, we always try to do a nice and neat, actionable, actionable conclusion here on our podcast. Actionable review your website quarterly or semi-annually, depending on how large your site is and how much your business is growing and changing. You might want to do it more frequently if you’ve had a lot of changes, but less frequently if you’re kind of in that maintenance mode and just steady flow and just, but yeah, I think that’s a major takeaway, right? Reviewing your site, knowing the content, knowing your offerings, and being very aware of what’s live and what your customers are seeing before they talk to you.

Amanda Joyce: Absolutely. And treating it like a breathing brochure of your company. Keep it in the back of your mind every time you’re making a big business decision or you guys are making a strategic decision with the sales team or whatever direction. If you’re changing course even a little bit, remember that the website needs to be updated in tandem with those big business decisions.

Devon Hayes: Number two, as a takeaway, assess any financial damage, I guess. Assess the depth of a mistake.

Amanda Joyce: Yeah, exactly.

Devon Hayes: Right. How far-reaching it is. Maybe assess that to help align what maybe the reaction should be to the mistake. And then number three, communication. There’s never too much of it, right?

Amanda Joyce: It’s just like in anything. Marriage, friendship, business, just communicate.

Devon Hayes: Yeah. Yes. Lessons learned here. Well, thank you so much for listening to our podcast. This episode was a pretty raw-

Amanda Joyce: It was kind of cathartic. Yeah, it was pretty raw.

Devon Hayes: Yeah. Yeah. One thing, I think we appreciate you listening, and I hope that if anything, what you’re taking away from this, in addition to our great actionable items there is that we care. And we can certainly own that we aren’t perfect, but I think as you as contractors understand, it’s how you handle the problem or mistake that shows the true character and doing the right thing is always the best practice. So anyways, thank you for listening. Check out future podcasts, share them with anyone who you think might gain value from these. We appreciate you following.

Amanda Joyce: Catch you next time, guys. That was today’s trade secret. Thanks for listening.

Devon Hayes: Did you find this helpful? We’re just getting started.

Amanda Joyce: Subscribe, and don’t miss our next reveal.

Devon Hayes: Until next time.