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Evolving Your Agency for Online Marketing – Part 4

This is the fourth installment in a series. In Part 1 – Let’s Get Started, I sketched a map of where we’re going on this journey, and I assigned some homework, which I encourage you to do before you read on. In Part 3 – What’s Out There?, I presented an overview of the essential components of online marketing and recommended some daily habits for becoming an online savant. You don’t want to miss those. Now, on to Part 4.

Let’s Set Some Goals

I’ll confess that I hate setting goals. The artist/free spirit in me knows that things are never going to work out as planned, so why bother? Conversely, the planner/navigator in me insists on checklists, procedures, maps, and written directions before I’ll even back the car out of the driveway. To survive with these two characters wrestling for control in my brain, I’ve worked out a compromise: I set broad, general long-term goals that don’t freak out the artist, then I let the planner loose on drawing up the tactics to get me there.

You may be more of a goal-setter go-getter, or you may be more of a “go with the flow” personality. Either way, to get your agency where you want it to be, you’ll want to take stock of your resources, your assets, and your inclinations, and align them with the opportunities that are out there. Let’s get to it.

What Do You Want to Be?

This question is even more difficult than it was when you were a high school senior. So do whatever it is you need to do to get yourself into a quiet, reflective state of mind – lock yourself in your office with a Bach concerto on your iPod, light some incense, or take the day off and hit the golf course. Then ask yourself these questions, and spend some time really listening to your own answers:

  • Who do you want to be like? Think of the online marketing agencies you admire for their work, for their reputation, for their size, for their success.
  • What areas of online marketing hold the greatest allure for you? If your background is PR, perhaps it’s social media. A writer might be attracted to search engine optimization or paid search. A designer would naturally gravitate to web design and online display. Be honest about what excites you in online marketing.
  • What will get your team excited? Evolving your service offering will bring loads of challenges and anxiety, so you’ll want to make sure everyone on your team can get on board.

Harvest the Low-Hanging Fruit

Now that you’ve calibrated your personal compass, let’s take a look at your agency’s current skills to see for which online marketing services you’re currently best suited. Download the Online Evolution Planner, and fill it out as you follow along.

First, use Step 1 of the Planner to rate your agency on your current capabilities in these core online marketing skills, awarding a 3 for super-strong down to a 0 for non-existent:

  • Analysis
  • Concept
  • Content
  • Design
  • Media buying
  • Project management
  • Public relations / word-of-mouth marketing
  • Research
  • Web development

Focus on your current staff and perhaps your frequent, dependable freelancers. Be relentlessly honest and critical in your evaluation of each of the core skills listed on the Planner: If you’re in doubt, score yourself a point lower.

Now, using the table in Step 2 of the Planner, circle each of the skills for which you rated a 3 or 2. Any online marketing service for which you circled ALL of the skills represents your low-hanging fruit. These are the services that will be good options for the first phase of your online marketing evolution.

Identify Opportunities on the Horizon

At the same time, you’ll want to start building your team, expanding your knowledge, and shoring up your skills for the second phase of your evolution. Use Step 3 of the Planner to identify the top candidates, which are the services for which you’re almost qualified or which offer the greatest market opportunity.

Hold on to your completed Planner. We’ll review it in detail in Part 4 of this series. Check back here on Agencyside.net in two weeks when I’ll bring you Part 4 – What Do You Need to Get There?

Have You Adopted the Habits of an Online Marketer?

In Part 3 of this series, I recommended five key habits to keep you informed on the ever-changing landscape of online marketing. Here’s a brief reminder to keep you on track. (If any of these points seem unfamiliar to you, go back and read Part 3. Keeping up on online marketing requires dedicated time and effort.)

  • Make It a Priority
  • Schedule Time Every Day
  • Make The Information Come To You
  • Activate Your Network
  • Be Open To Discovery

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