Hiring a digital marketing agency isn’t the work of a quick couple of hours. You need to do your due diligence and ensure you’re getting not only what you’re paying for, but also what you need.
Many digital agencies provide excellent support and help to their clients. Hiring an agency can be the next step toward seeing your CPA firm become even more successful. However, digital agencies vary in quality, and there can be some pitfalls and frustrations when using one.
Read on to discover ten of the most common frustrations CPAs can have with marketing agencies. Then we’ll get into an alternative solution to the traditional marketing agency.
10 CPA Firm Frustrations with Marketing Agencies
1. Cookie Cutter Marketing
Long-established digital agencies tend to have their own strategies and ways of doing things. This can be helpful in some ways as there is a well-worn path to follow, but not every business fits neatly into already set strategies.
If you’re going to hire a digital marketing agency, you need a flexible agency that’s going to listen to you, learn about your business, and provide strategies that work for you.
Any agency that doesn’t take the time to get to know you isn’t worth sticking with. At the very least, a digital agency should learn how your business works, what your goals and aims are, your KPIs, your values, and your ‘why’ – your big reason for pushing forward with your business and achieving your goals.
Cookie cutter strategies aren’t what you need.
2. You’re Not a Priority
Of course, you can’t expect that you’ll be the only client at your chosen digital agency, but you should expect that they actually care about you and the results they’re getting for you.
You need an agency that listens more than they talk, someone that’s genuinely interested in you and your business. You need the kind of agency that acknowledges your feedback and opinions and take action on it.
Working with a digital agency should be a real partnership of equals. You shouldn’t feel that you’re going to them begging, with cap in hand, just because they’re the marketing experts. That’s why you hired them, but that doesn’t mean they can dismiss you and your ideas.
Find an agency that genuinely cares about you and isn’t just interested in your budget.
3. No Transparency
You need to be able to trust your chosen digital agency. You need to be able to trust that they know what they’re doing, but also that they are doing their best for you specifically.
To us, that means your agency should be regularly providing updates, statistics, data, KPIs, and reports. You shouldn’t be left guessing about what your agency is doing for you and how they are spending your budget.
You do need to get involved and put in the work on your side. You’ll need to work with your agency to provide the information they need and to keep them updated. You may even need to get involved with writing blog posts, managing your business listings and Google Business Profile, and more, depending on your budget, but the agency should be there to help you.
Working with an agency really should be a two-way street. It should be a conversation, not a lecture from the agency.
4. Where is the Data?
Digital marketing must be data-driven or there’s really no point. You can’t run a successful digital campaign of any kind without knowing your starting point and end goals. You need tracking, KPIs, and suitable metrics to measure success and your digital agency is the one who should be providing this information for you.
Check the reports you’re getting from your agency carefully. Ensure there’s some real substance there, and not just fluff and filler. Can you easily see what is happening in the current campaigns? Do you know the results of previous campaigns and what your agency is planning to work on next?
Is every decision they make based on solid, real data?
If you don’t know what your results are and your marketing isn’t data-driven, you could be throwing money away on things that simply don’t work.
5. High-Cost Marketing
As a CPA or an accountant, you know that you deserve to be paid what you’re worth for your knowledge and expertise. In the same way, you understand that other experts in their field deserve to be paid properly for their knowledge. You’re not expecting freebies and cheap deals, but you should be expecting a reasonable fee that is tied to results.
Most digital agencies will either work on retainer with a monthly fee, or they may charge you per project depending on your needs. This is standard stuff and nothing to be alarmed about.
However, you should be seeing real results from your fees. Your digital agency should be able to show you that what they are doing is working for you. They should be able to demonstrate that any increase in leads and sales is down to their efforts.
If they can’t prove they’re worth it, it’s time to look for a new agency.
6. Does Your Agency Seek Out New Opportunities?
Marketing changes each and every year and it’s important that your marketing agency stays up to date.
If you think back even five years, TikTok was only a year or two old, marketers weren’t focusing as much on customer experience, and B2B businesses, for the most part, weren’t buying online without face-to-face meetings.
If your marketing agency didn’t keep up with those changes, they might be giving you the wrong advice or worse, spending your precious budget on things that don’t work anymore.
7. Lack of Industry Specific Knowledge
Many digital agencies market themselves as general agencies that can handle any type of business. They don’t specify what businesses or industries they cover. This can work, but it works even better if your agency is familiar with financial services. You don’t have to explain all the ins and outs of being an accountant or a CPA. Your marketing agency will have the knowledge to shortcut those explanations and get straight to focusing on your specific business.
A good agency should also be able to understand the audience for your business and drive quality, qualified leads.
Though bear in mind that you are still the expert on your business, and a good agency should expect that you will want to be engaged and involved with your own marketing.
8. What Are You Paying For?
While you’ll probably have a fixed price each month for your marketing, you may also have a budget set aside for pay per click ads and other expenses. Your agency should tell you what they are spending your money on and why. They should easily be able to justify their decisions and tell you why their spend is necessary.
You should also be sure that you’re paying for the level of marketing you expect. Look for a clear service level agreement that defines what you’re going to get but allows for flexibility to take advantage of good opportunities.
Also, ensure that you really are getting the senior marketer you are paying for and not the intern.
9. Poor Customer Service
Your service level agreement should also include information on customer service, including opening hours, out of hours service, if needed, and response times.
While your agency will have other clients to attend to, you shouldn’t be waiting a week or more for a simple returned phone call.
10. You Don’t Control Your Own Marketing
While you don’t want to have to do all of the day-to-day marketing yourself, you do want to control what happens and how fast you grow.
With an unresponsive agency, you might not even have information on your results in order to control any part of your marketing.
Far better to be in control of your own marketing and grow at the right pace for your CPA business.
This brings us neatly to the alternative, and we think far better, way of doing things:
Why Surefire Local is the Agency Antidote
We’ve gone through some serious frustrations with digital agencies above, and no doubt you can see why a digital agency might not be the best fit for your CPA business.
However, it doesn’t have to be like that at all. You can stay in charge of your own marketing, with regular reports run as and when you want them. You can get help with your marketing and grow your business at the right pace for you.
The Surefire Local Difference:
With Surefire’s all-in-one marketing platform, your marketing is firmly in your hands. You can manage everything with one log-in, from one straightforward dashboard. And our Surefire specialists are here to help you at every step of the way.
You have the flexibility of running your own marketing with a platform and a team behind you that will help and guide you. Or you can add one of our Digital Marketing Strategists to your team and let them take the lead day to day, while you stay firmly in control.
You’ll have access to all the data and reports you could wish for and you can run them as often as you like. No more wondering where your marketing dollars are going, just full transparency, with clear, straightforward reporting that keeps you in the know.
For us, it’s about giving you control over every aspect of your marketing, but with the right level of help for you and your business.
With our local marketing platform, you’ll gain:
1) Expert reporting
You’ll be able to see all your marketing data at any point, whether you’re running everything yourself or you’re using one of our experts to do it for you.
You’ll be able to set and track metrics and KPIs, track your goals, and keep an eye on your campaigns. You’ll easily be able to check whether each campaign is performing or not, and stop any campaigns that aren’t bringing in the results.
With our reporting, you’ll get a clear picture of your ROI and you’ll see exactly where your budget is going.
Keep your marketing dollars for campaigns that really work and stop spending money on activities that don’t.
2) Control of Your Brand Identity
You don’t have to pry access to your website and your brand materials from a digital agency that doesn’t do the work. You’re in control of every asset you have.
What we do is give you the platform that allows you to plan, strategize and make the most of your brand identity.
The final decisions are always yours.
3) Manage Everything Wherever You Are
You don’t have to be in the office to check in on your marketing.
Whether you’re at your desk or out and about, you can handle lead generation, content marketing, social media, and more.
You can update and manage your Google Business Profile and make changes to over 80 business listings with just a few keystrokes.
Everything really is at your fingertips.
4) Keep Track of Your Customers
Our platform lets you take notes while you’re on a customer call and keep all your client information together. You’ll know if someone else has spoken to your client and what was said, and you’ll have full contact information in hand whenever you need it.
You can also analyze your information to find trends, shape your marketing strategies, inform your content marketing and your sales, and so much more.
Even better, as you grow, we grow. You don’t have to log into multiple sites to manage your marketing. Our powerful, agile technology allows you to integrate with other tools and manage your business in one place.
We currently integrate with Google Business Profile, WordPress, Yext, Salesforce, Google Analytics, Quickbooks Online, Facebook, and more for a smooth, easy, yet highly functional experience.
For us, it really is all about you.
Why not request a demo of the industry-leading all-in-one marketing intelligence platform and see how we can help your finance business really take off?