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Finding a marketing agency is one of the major considerations that online brands must look into. Teaming up with an agency usually starts with a review of the ecommerce marketing proposal that they present. Knowing what a good proposal vs a bad proposal can spell the difference between growth or failure in the business.
According to “The Comprehensive Modern Consumer Shopping Habits Study” by BigCommerce, 48% of online shoppers simply head straight to shop on a large ecommerce marketplace. This statistic shows how competitive ecommerce is and how big companies usually win the race. To fully penetrate this sector, a reliable and experienced marketing agency can help a brand grow.
Becoming familiar with a marketing proposal will help brands understand which agency is best to work with.
What is a marketing agency?
A marketing agency offers a broad range of services to help businesses apply a combined marketing strategy for all brand goals.
For example, a brand may get the services of an agency to assess the current marketing strategy of the business. They will work with the business to create a connection with a larger audience or develop a strong brand voice. Agencies may use a combination of strategies and tactics such as SEO, social media, advertising, and PR to ensure that the business goals are met.
The anatomy of an ecommerce marketing proposal
A marketing proposal is a document that is used by marketers to communicate a plan to a client for consideration. It can include delivery time frames, strategy ideas, tactics on how to accomplish goals and estimated costs of marketing.
A proposal is designed to satisfy business goals. It is prepared by a marketing agency for a brand with the intention to persuade and convert you to become a customer. It can be specific to a type of marketing, such as a digital marketing proposal or a social media marketing proposal.
Once you receive a marketing proposal, the initial page will usually include information about your brand. The information stated will show the issues that your brand is facing and the general solutions that the agency is proposing.
The executive summary will include details about the initial session that you and the agency discussed. This includes the details of your brand’s goals, budget and timing. The agency should be able to highlight any research conducted and provide several key points on how to solve the most important problems that your brand is facing.
Goals and challenges
This section typically outlines the goals, plans, challenges and timeframe that have been discussed with the agency. This part must show basic but important information about your brand and how the agency plans to provide the perfect solution.
It must be able to answer questions and issues such as:
- How can the services of the agency improve revenue goals for the upcoming quarter or year?
- What metrics are they measuring?
- How can the agency help your brand achieve these metrics?
- What are the resources and tools to be used to achieve these goals?
- Are they willing to revise the goals or the timeline if the goals are not being met?
Deliverables, approach and success metrics
This section will outline what the agency can do for your business. It includes detailed strategies that must be used to achieve the goals.
If the marketing proposal is for project-based work, it should also clearly show the phases of the project, your brand’s responsibilities and the timeframe.
For retainer-based relationships, the agency must outline initial projects and the services that are being provided every month. A great proposal must outline a roadmap for the first few months.
These are the common deliverables included in a marketing proposal. Each deliverable should be explained in detail, with the proposed benefit clearly outlined.
Ramp Up Projects (Month 1 or Month 1-3)
- Initial Assessment
- Inbound Marketing Planning & Strategy
- Keyword Research
- Competitor Research
- Editorial Calendar Planning
- Onsite and Offsite SEO Audit & Planning
- Social Media Strategy Planning
- Creation of Buyer Personas
Deliverables Per Month/Quarter
X Number of campaigns per quarter
- X Number of blog posts
- Landing page and thank you page
- Email marketing launch
- Email nurturing sequence
- Content Promotion through social media platforms
Monthly retainer deliverables
- X Number of blog posts
- Optimization projects or A/B testing
- X Ebook per quarter
- Keyword analysis
- Link building
- Email Newsletter
- Lead Management
- Social Media Marketing
- Workflows and List Segmentation
- Monthly Reporting
Add-On deliverables available outside of retainer fee
- PPC Advertising
- Ecommerce Integration
- Call Tracking & Nurturing
- Predictive Lead Scoring
- Guest Blogging Opportunities/Media Relations
- Video Production & Promotion
- Content Promotion
- SlideShare Creation & Promotion
Summary or scope of work
A one-page summary which will include all the important parts of the proposal.
This will detail some benchmark that your brand and the agency wants to accomplish. Some of the information included could be:
- Increase Leads by X%
- Increase Website Visits by X%
- Improve Email Performance
- Increase Conversion Rates by X%
- Increase Email Subscribers by X%
- Decrease Customer Acquisition Cost by X%
- Increase Sales Qualified Leads
- Increase Marketing Qualified Leads
Common marketing proposal mistakes
One of the easiest ways to know if you are dealing with a professional company is to nit-pick on the marketing proposal that they offer. Here are some of the most common mistakes in a marketing proposal that should be considered red flags.
A proposal should primarily be about the client
A marketing proposal should be more about what the agency can offer to the brand, not the other way around. This means the proposal may include crucial information like case studies and how results were achieved in the past but the main focus should be on how to attain better marketing solutions for your brand.
Finding too much industry jargon
Agencies are marketing experts and, understandably, they know more marketing terms than you do. They must provide information that is not too difficult to understand. Words, metrics, acronyms and abbreviations must be made in simple language. This shows that they understand where you are coming from and that they want to provide the best kind of information. Necessary terms should include brief definitions to help you understand the content and context.
No project benchmarks
The purpose of a marketing proposal is to help you visualize how the relationship will work. It should also show what your brand will get from the partnership. The agency should be clear what they can do by showing benchmarks and how goals will be reached. It should also show how progress will be measured.
Benchmarks must show how the agency will measure progress, quantify goals, and set due dates. Review top key performance indicators (KPIs) that will be used and time frames so that you know what and when to expect results.
No industry research incorporated
Another place to look into is how the agency presents the industry as a whole. You must be given enough information on what you need to do to create an impact in the market where your brand belongs. Agencies should include crucial reports and research to help you understand the competitive landscape.
Criteria for choosing a marketing agency
Check how the agency runs its business
The best sign that an agency that will show what they can do for your business will be seen through the results that they’ve earned for themselves. So aside from reviewing their ecommerce marketing proposal it will help if you also review their accomplishments. For example, if you are searching for an agency to help with blog management – make sure to review how they run their blog. If you are looking for help in improving your SEO, consider looking at how they rank in search terms within their industry.
What are their KPIs?
Many ecommerce businesses track vanity metrics. These are numbers that seemed important but do not have value to generate income for the business. The last thing you want is to work with an agency that charges premium rates every month and will only deliver more likes on your posts but no boosts in sales. Take the time to review what metrics are important and what is not. And ask your agency what they can do about this.
Consider the results that they promised
A good way to filter out low-quality agencies is to review what they offer. Since eCommerce is a very competitive industry, it is easy to find a lot of people who will claim to know what they are doing, but actually, have no idea.
While it is nice to imagine a huge ROI, agencies that guarantee bottom-of-the-funnel results should be a huge red flag. Remember, there are just too many factors involved that are specific to each company that might result in differing ROI.
How much do they charge?
Price is another way to quickly eliminate low-quality agencies. While it is nice to think that brands can save on the cost by hiring an agency offering low prices, there is a huge chance that they will also deliver low-quality results. An agency that prices itself too low will also likely to lower margins on the services they offer. It is also less likely that they will go the extra mile for the business because it does not provide much incentive.
The perfect marketing agency can provide steady revenue for your business. It will also give you peace of mind as they will handle everything, including the technical parts of marketing that you may not understand. Working with an agency starts by evaluating and understanding the eCommerce marketing proposal that they offer. You must understand each part so that you sign up with the best one.