Proven Ways to Dramatically Increase Your Chance of Success with an Ad Agency (HINT: It doesn’t have to do with your ad account).
At EK Creative, we have the privilege of running ads for several of the fastest-growing boutiques in the industry. Last year alone we managed 17 Million in ad spend at a 6X return! Not every client is a home run though…
So what’s the difference between the client that thrives and the client that’s just trying to survive?
Let’s take a step back first. Advertising exists to drive new customers to your site, store, lives, and apps. The main job of an ad agency is to drive traffic. It’s important to remember that there are factors outside of the agency, that play a huge role in if your traffic converts.
Partnerships only work when both parties understand what is expected of them and then SHOW UP! You could hire the best personal trainer in the world, but if every night is “Netflix and chill” with Uber Eats, you are not going to see the results! I’m sure you’ve seen ads touting agency results but what if those stats only tell half the story? What are agencies not telling you about the habits of their highest achieving clients?
It’s important to understand how the ads work with your existing operations to help identify where the problem is when you’re not growing the way you want.
Ads drive traffic and this traffic is different than the traffic you might be used to. A user who discovers you from ads is not the same as one that was sent to your store by a friend. You have to optimize each area of the operation to make the most of your ads.
The good news?
Our team (and any good agency) will go above and beyond to identify these holes in your operation and give you actionable items to improve them so that you can make the most of your ad spend and new traffic.
We can even do a deep dive (which I show you below) to identify where the problem lies, what we can do better, and what the client needs to change.
The following are the biggest keys to making the most out of an ad agency:
Improve Your Website Experience
If you’re a boutique owner, even one that focuses heavily on live sales or your Facebook group, you can often overlook your website. The fact is people who know you, know your brick and mortar, or who were referred by a friend, care less about your website compared to new users who are first exposed to you via an ad. To these new users, the FIRST and most important trust-building hurdle is the website.
Here’s an example: We recently had a client ask what they could do better, and even though we’ve mentioned it before, there were clear holes in their website. It had way too much text, way too many collections, and was cluttered with irrelevant items. Their website conversion rate reflected this at below 1%… and worst of all, their site took over 4 seconds to load!
We’ve also had clients post items with zero descriptions and one stock photo.
These are the often overlooked things that are going to play a HUGE role in your results with ads.
Here are some things we look at to help pinpoint bottlenecks on your website:
- Does your homepage speak to new users? If you knew NOTHING about the store, would you shop?
- Are the collections on your website relevant and organized? I’ve done audits where the client still has a holiday section on their site in March. That’s not a recipe for success.
- Check your load time: the longer they wait, the higher likelihood that customers will bounce.
- Remove any 401 or dead pages. I’ve seen home pages where you click into a collection only to find zero products and blank pages. You can bet people are leaving and not coming back if they see that!
- Feature your best-performing collections first. Don’t feature “sales” or “Clearance” at the top unless you want discount shoppers.
- Make sure your product images are consistent: no stock photos! Use professional, unique, in-house photos. This includes the sizing, crops, and backgrounds. They don’t need to be insane studio quality, but they should NOT be so random that it literally hurts the eyes.
- Shipping speed or high shipping costs can kill your conversation rate. Especially when they only reveal themselves at checkout.
So now that your website is fully optimized, what else do you need to succeed when you hire an ad agency?
Commit to Communication
True story, we had a client take a 3-week vacation and we found out two weeks in!
If you’re planning something big, taking time off, or launching a new collection and you don’t tell your ad agency, you’re not holding up your end of the agreement.
We are here to serve YOU, but we can’t do that if we don’t know what’s going on.
Unfortunately, as much as we try, we cannot read minds (yet). We’ve all seen teams that communicate and teams that don’t and there is no mystery why the ones with good communication outperform the ones with bad communication 10/10 times. Your ad agency is on your team. Make the most of them with great communication!
I truly can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked the team “Hey, I saw this account trending down, what’s up?” to be told “we haven’t heard back from the client for weeks” with texts and screenshots of calls requesting specific creatives with no response. It doesn’t matter what team you’re on, if you’re not communicating you’re not going to hit your goals.
If our biggest accounts can find time to communicate with us multiple times weekly, everyone should be able to!
If you can’t find the time to put in the work, you’re probably not ready to scale your store.
This doesn’t have to fall on you as the owner either, hire someone and delegate to them! It can do wonders for your results.
Here are some things to look at to know if your communication is healthy or needs to be improved:
- Has it been a week since you talked to your account manager? If so, that’s not good. Set up weekly or bi-weekly calls. It’s ok if you miss them from time to time but don’t get in the habit of doing it often.
- Get group texts going with your team and ours so you can send over insights often.
- Create a shared slack channel!
- Set a google alert to reach out once weekly so you don’t forget.
- Delegate updates from your team who can let us know what is happening at your operation without you needing to do it.
- Respond to your weekly insights emails with what you’re planning for next week.
Ok, so you’ve got your site down and you’re committed to communication with your agency, nail the inventory, and you’ll be scaling your monthly revenue in no time.
Monitor Your Inventory
Inventory is crucial for your ads and if you don’t order deep enough on specific SKUs, you’ll never grow the way you want.
We know things change fast and we have clients that order wide more than deep, but they still get certain items deeper just for ads. That way we can focus on them! If they work, we can scale them.
The clients that crush it are always sending product-specific information with deep stock items/collections mentioned referenced. Customers, want to be told what to buy, and if we can’t tell them what to buy because you only have a few of each or you’re not telling us what to push, things aren’t going to perform as best they can.
As a store owner, your insights are gold to our team.
The more we know about inventory, the better we can strategize short and long-term.
Here are some tips to make sure your inventory and ordering are optimized for scaling with ads:
- Order specific SKUs for ads and order them deeper. Think about leaving them OFF your live sales so they don’t sell out too quickly.
- Create a recurring task to have you or someone on your team send products to focus on every other week.
- Keep your collections organized and seasonal on your site so our team can feature collections along with specific products.
- Send over your top-performing brands.
- Check your add to cart vs waitlist ratio inside CommentSold or the number of users abandoning a product page inside Shopify.
We (and any ad agency) want you to make the most of our services, and I can promise that if you focus on improvements to your website, communicating with our team, and your inventory, we can get you the results we both want!
10/10 times when a client is scaling month over month, they are doing a great job with the things mentioned above.
We want YOU to succeed. It’s how WE succeed. So let’s nail this together!
And yes, there are always clients who can get away without doing some of this stuff but they are the exception and not the normal.
So, if you’re thinking about getting started with an ads agency and you are nervous or not seeing the results you want, evaluate these things and I promise you’ll put yourself in a better position to see the results you want.
Interested in learning more? Check out this video we did on our Deep Dives! These help to evaluate every step of the shopping experience and find where things can be improved.
We do these for all accounts as soon as we see a decrease in revenue or hear from the client that they are concerned with results. It’s amazing how you can use the data to pinpoint the issue and then get things back on track!