Building a digital marketing team is no easy feat. Afterall, teamwork and cooperation does play a huge role in whether any business will succeed or fail.
But before you start looking for those new recruits of creatives for your digital marketing campaigns, it is vital that you first define what you want for your business.
Digital marketing has two main pillars: online and offline marketing. You’ll also need to further break them down into seven main components and they are as follow:
- SEO – Search Engine Optimization is the process of getting traffic or increasing the visibility of your website through search results on search engines.
- Social Media Marketing – Can be summarized as making use of social media platforms to connect with your audiences and build your brand and drive traffic to your website.
- Email Marketing – The act of sending commercial messages to a group of people who are potential or current customers.
- Search engine marketing (SEM) – If SEO is earning traffic through unpaid or organic listings. SEM is buying traffic through paid search listings.
- Content marketing – Content marketing is more than blogs, social media sites, and videos. It is about storytelling and grabbing the attention of your audience. It is a long-term strategy that focuses on building a strong relationship with the target audience by giving them high-quality and relevant content on a consistent basis.
- Pay-per-click advertising (PPC) – As the name suggests, a PPC campaign means that every time your ad is clicked and sends a visitor to the website, the owner has to pay the search engine a small fee. This campaign will ask you to research and select the right keywords into well-organized campaigns and ad groups so that your ad will be useful to its users.
- Affiliate marketing – A performance-based marketing process where you earn commission by promoting other people’s products.
So as you search for those talents, you might want to look out for those indicators stating if they have experience or knowledge in those areas.
IMPACT OF COVID-19 TO DIGITAL MARKETING INDUSTRY
The demand for digital marketing services has increased in the past few years especially with COVID-19 speeding up the process for business owners to embrace the digital changes and opportunities that have always been available to them but were rarely explored up until now.
However, there may be a lot of tools in the market but the supply of the talent that it needs to fulfill and use them is still less than half.
And, in order to create fully functional and exceptional digital marketers to propel your business, you will need to create a strategy of your own and a team that you can work with.
And we’ll soon learn more of that from the Filipino Digital Marketing Expert and CEO of ESTRAT Digital Marketing, Ruben Licera, who won the coveted “Communication Professional of the Year” BRONZE Stevie® Award in the 16th Annual International Business Awards® of 2019.
STARTING A DIGITAL MARKETING AGENCY
Mr. Ruben Licera started his business with confidence in his experience and skills. He did grow from the ranks as an online freelancer to becoming a full-time home-based project manager.
Until finally in 2017, he established a fast-responding and efficient digital marketing team to address the need of a thriving and growing business, ESTRAT Digital Marketing.
The need for a digital marketing team arises when a client asked Ruben if he knew someone who could handle their social media marketing campaigns.
And, he would always suggest his friends or other freelancers to do the job. However, he does have some complications with them.
“Freelancers mostly entertain a job offering only if it has a high pay. Second, if they have free time. And third, if they can benefit something out of it,” says Ruben.
And it is exactly those reasons that they are deemed unsustainable for a business. For example, if a freelancer suddenly stops handling the projects then it’ll come back to him as the one who referred them in the first place.
And in a market where your clients are halfway around the world, they are the type of businessmen/women that will prioritize and value people who can commit to the job.
With this, a client suggested that he should just make his own team or agency.
MANAGING YOUR OWN TEAM
Ruben shared that before ESTRAT, he had his fair share of failures when establishing a strong team of creatives. He learned that it was difficult to work with people who didn’t have the same office values as he did.
“This is why you need to establish what your company is all about,” says Ruben.
Those values aren’t just for show, they dictate and guide the behavior and the mindset of your employees. And keep in mind that they are not set in stone as you can always change them as the need arises.
The idea presented here is to help your clients to avail your services not just because of your reputation, but that they know and can trust the values in which your company stands on.
In earnest, Ruben was confident that he could really manage a team of his own. However, he soon realized that it was a whole new “animal” to tame.
At first, he saw it as an easy street as he had the right connections, he had plenty of clients so what could be the problem?
However, unlike home-based freelancers where one could divide one’s income and share it with other freelancers. You are actually creating a whole new entity wherein you need to provide a steady stream of revenue in order to keep those employees.
In short, Ruben says that “If your rope (funds) is short, your business will surely die.”
ESTRAT’s HIRING PROCESS
Ruben also mentioned that he used to hire people based on their skill set and experience. However, the problem with that kind of mindset is that it is not a sustainable work culture.
He subscribes to the idea that if your employees are not passionate about what they do. They will undeniably leave and that can put a strain on the development of the business.
Attitude is most important as Ruben chided that digital marketing needs creative individuals and those types of people are usually “challenging”.
“You don’t need skilled people at the start, because they can always improve. But are their attitudes fit to the values of your company?” asks Ruben.
The more that they are aligned to the “why’s” of your company, the higher your retention rates are. And if you retain the right culture and the right performance, your customer’s will continue to be satisfied.
3 THINGS TO REMEMBER WHEN STARTING A BUSINESS
Moving forward, Ruben did admit that although he also failed when forming his team and a business the first time. But he was still able to establish an internationally awarded digital marketing agency and team after much work and diligence.
But how did he do it?
Ruben mentioned three important points that he shared when starting a business.
1. If you want to succeed. You must be ready to fail.
“Your mindset must be to accept failure,” says Ruben.
He elaborated that if you can’t handle those emotions and understand that it’s all part of the process, then he is afraid that you will never be able to go too far with your efforts.
For one thing, it is because you will never stop failing. You can only make smart decisions to avoid most of them. But it never stops even after you’ve built your business.
The question to ask is not if you are “good enough” but if you will allow the situation to affect and block you from moving forward.
Or will you pick yourself up and use it as a stepping stone of learning?
However, Ruben wants us to be aware that even if you must accept failure, you must still avoid making the same mistakes. Or you would have learned nothing from the previous falls.
“It’s not enough to accept that you’ve failed, you must accept it as an action point,” says the CEO.
2. Businesses are about building relationships.
How can you build a relationship with a customer?
For ESTRAT, Ruben shared that it was all about transparency. What you are doing should be relayed directly to the client and you must also be open in communicating your issues and hurdles.
Transparency means to be authentic. Not to share company secrets or problems with one another.
To clarify, in this digital world, it is easy to create a false persona so business owners are always on their guard and skeptical about your business. And we all know that this is not the way to start a relationship.
If you want to have a long retention rate, the people and companies you are working with will need to feel that natural connection and ease of communication with the things you both have in common.
And it’ll be easier if you seek out clients and partners who share similar goals and values with you as that can help you develop mutual respect.
Unless someone, or your clients, are referred to you by a trusted connection. You’ll find yourself in the position that you will need to prove yourself each time with the different activities and experiences that both of you will handle.
3. Build Reputation
It is not enough that you communicate and build a relationship with your clients. The important thing is that you are also able to build the reputation you need to further your success in the industry.
As an influencer or an individual who practices that skill in your industry, are you actually doing what you are saying, or are you just saying what you are doing?
“My goal has always been to educate, not sell,” says Ruben. “Teaching others has always been one of the best ways to establish yourself as an authority,” he added.
However, Ruben also wants us to be aware of the content that we provide our audiences. And, to keep in mind that likes and shares aren’t important things in digital marketing.
You are investing in these online campaigns to be able to generate leads or the right people who will do business with you.
So you will need to ask yourself, are your audiences willing to accept your ideas? Are they able to afford your services?
And are they also convinced that you are the right person to listen to and pay for to provide them the solutions you offer?
HOW DO YOU SELL DIGITAL MARKETING SERVICES
After you’ve understood and laid out the values of your business and the people you want to work with. We are left to talk about how a digital marketing agency convinces audiences or clients to listen and pay for the solutions they offer.
Ruben responded with questions such as what type of business is your prospect doing? And what is their purpose?
You cannot just do business with everyone as digital marketing is a tailored strategy, and there is no one size fits all solution.
As a digital marketing agency, you will need to get to know your client. You need to understand their purpose beyond their own descriptions.
“We need to look at the existing data and logic,” says Ruben. “When clients come to us, they usually portray themselves that they are first in the market and that they are the best,” he added.
But are they really?
“You must always think like a customer to help these clients,” says Ruben. It is important to do research if they know:
- Who their target customers are?
- Do they have an existing market?
- Do you have the demographics and data?
- What is their Unique Selling Point?
- What social media platforms should they use?
From the data that we get from these questions, we place that into a dashboard and process them to create targeted ads. Or advertisements that generate the right leads and sales.
Most of our clients have yet to understand that likes, reactions and shares aren’t everything. It doesn’t matter if you have 2,000 friends but the only ones reacting are your closest social group like your mom, best friend and such.
“You have to get to the bottom of what makes you sellable and remarket it. But the campaign that you use will depend on your situation and product” says Ruben.
But how does this process usually start?
For one, Ruben goes around to do talks and conferences on the benefits of digital marketing for businesses. Hence, when someone asks him on how he sells his services, he always comes back to the goal that he aims to educate and not sell.
If a client asks “So what are you really trying to offer me?” There is no direct answer as to the service until the Ruben, or a digital marketing expert can diagnose your service.
“What we want before we work with you is to understand how digital marketing works. And if they really need our services,” he says.
For example, a customer asked Ruben if he is able to create a website for them. The answer would be yes, but the digital marketing expert usually follows up with a question on the purpose of your website.
If the customer simply replies that they want a website, and they want an online presence.
Ruben further explains and helps them realize that a website needs quality content for their website to rank in search engine results.
“The great thing about this type of industry is that we get to listen, talk and provide solutions to our clients depending on their needs. Rather than offering our services to them,” says Ruben.
And Ruben mentioned that he is not scared about sharing important details to the clients. As once they’ve understood the effort and process of how digital marketing works. The more they can value the money they’ve spent on you.
“Always show them the value and never sell. Educate!” says Ruben.
To end the discussion, Ruben wants the reader to understand that digital marketing is still growing and diversifying.
If you are a freelancer, Ruben wants you to go back to your purpose.
It might be cliche to say this but the problem with people is that they keep on doing things that they don’t like and without a purpose.
To really move forward in your career and life, you need to understand why you are doing what you do.
After knowing what you want, upskill! Look for the things that you need to do in order to achieve your goal.
Don’t stop learning content creation and try other specialties too. Try to become a digital marketing strategist. And if you can expand and grow your own business, think about how you can handle multiple people.
“What got you here, won’t get you there.” says Ruben.
This is to say that you will need to work hard until you reach your goal. But those efforts you’ve done to get where you are won’t get you further.
But this is how life works. You finish one obstacle course, another one will be given to you. This is the importance of your why and purpose.
Lastly, always work with the right people and connect with the higher being. Ruben has a strong faith especially since he works and is actively participating in the activities provided by the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC).
Always believe that a higher being that is guiding you. Meditate, connect, and have faith.
“As an entrepreneur, feeling down, depressed and at fault is no stranger for us. But believe that a higher being is putting you there, testing you and planning for something greater than what you are currently seeing,” says Ruben.