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MARKETING

The #1 Reason Your Marketing Agency Is Failing

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The #1 Reason Your Marketing Agency Is Failing

Running a marketing agency isn’t easy. It’s not even *slightly* hard. It’s really hard.

The challenges you face will have you questioning why you chose to build an agency in the first place, and if it’s time to throw in the towel. Difficult clients, employees, and deliverables turn the romanticized dream of agency life into a one-way ticket to personal development land.

This is the land that requires you to level up your mindset—or fall flat in your business.

We’re not recommending any books or courses that will change the way you look at your agency (and life). Instead, we want you to take a look at how you’re running your agency…and why that’s keeping you in a perpetual cycle that feels like this:

1649105584 919 The 1 Reason Your Marketing Agency Is Failing

And this advice comes straight from Ryan Deiss, co-founder and CEO of DigitalMarketer and serial entrepreneur running over a dozen other businesses. At one point, Ryan fired himself as CEO of DigitalMarketer because he thought the problem was him—the company would only survive if he left the captain’s seat.

In a way…that wasn’t entirely wrong. What Ryan discovered after firing himself, hiring a new CEO, having to fire the new CEO, and rehiring himself was that his business wasn’t built the right way.

It was operating on the wrong system.

Every Business Has an Operating System

Your operating system is how your business runs—just like an operating system is how a software program runs. A software program needs a set of algorithms, a common language, and desired outputs. Your agency needs processes and SOPs, communication and alignment, and goals and objectives. 

And whether you put them in place or not, they’re there. That’s why your agency is frustrating, complicated, and you’re facing constant decision fatigue. It’s running on the wrong operating system. 

There are two situations that tell your agency you need to upgrade your current operating system:

#1: You’re experiencing system overload

Sound the alarms because things are not going well. In system overload, plans are loosely defined and rarely followed (making 90% of your meeting a waste of time and money). Work is pure chaos and nothing important seems to get done except when something is actually on fire. Team members constantly need to be told what to do, nobody seems to know what’s going on and profits are lower even with higher sales.

#2: You have founder burnout

Welcome to the club, it’s nice to have you here! Founder burnout is normal…and solvable. You don’t need to spend your days stressed and feeling trapped in your agency. You can’t be the sole creator of everything that happens inside your business (from hires, to content, to lead generation). That’s the speed train to burnout, and even shutting down a business that’s one step away from being all you’d hoped.

Every business has an operating system and agency owners tend to create a YouOS. In YouOS, YOU are the operating system. The agency operates around you because you’re the center of its universe.

And that means your agency owns you. 

User Story Maps Can Help Make You Your Team and

Install an OS that Scales Your Agency

Your marketing agency is failing because you accidentally installed YouOS instead of sOS (The Scalable Operating Framework). YouOS requires you to be working in your business from morning to night…or else you don’t move forward. You end up in the perpetual loop of putting out fire after fire and suddenly, it’s the end of the year and you didn’t even come close to reaching your profit goals, working with the clients you hoped, and creating Version 2.0 of your agency.

The Scalable Operating Framework (sOS):

  1. Documents and optimizes your agency’s deliverable creation process and assigns clear roles and responsibilities reinforcing team accountability
  2. Communicates progress, pivots, and priority shifts in as close to real-time as possible
  3. Provides clarity around the company’s vision, mission, values, and goals

That sounds like a refreshing change from YouOS, huh?

Here’s how to shift your agency from the YouOS Framework that’s the #1 reason your marketing agency is failing and towards the Scalable operating system (sOS) Framework.

Step 1: Define Scale For Your Agency

There are 4 growth targets to choose from:

  • Hypergrowth: 3x, 3x, 2x, 75% per year (7 years = $100mm company, true disruption, usually VC-funded)
  • Rapid growth: 2x, 2x, 75%, 50% (very fast growth, usually difficult to achieve without some kind of outside funding or in very fast-growth markets)
  • Steady growth: 50-75% YoY (great growth goal for bootstrapped companies)
  • Mature growth: 10-25% (fine as long as margins are strong, just make sure you aren’t lagging behind the market. If the market is flat, 10% growth is fine. If the market is growing at 10%, then you are falling behind)

Ryan suggests figuring out your current top-line revenue and seeing if you can make it your bottom-line revenue in 3 years.

Step 2: Map the Value Engines of Your Agency

The goal of this step is to visually map out how your agency creates its deliverables. There are 3 types of value engines:

  1. Growth engine (attract and convert new customers)
  2. Fulfillment engine (deliver the promised value)
  3. Innovation engine (create, update, and improve offerings)

In Ryan’s words, “Never underestimate the power of simply documenting how value is created in your business.”

Step 3: Create Functional SOPs (Your Employees Actually Use)

You only need to document what’s actually important. If you try to document everything, your employees and freelancers won’t look at them. Figure out what SOPs to create by looking at the value engines of your business. You’ll create two types of documentation as needed:

  1. Checklists for SOPs
  2. Audits for areas of your business where people make a decision (they buy your basic package vs. premium package)

Make sure to store your SOPs and audits in an extremely convenient place. You can use fancy software or just use Excel (that’s what DigitalMarketer uses).

Step 4: Assign a Team Member to Every Task

If you don’t assign a team member to tasks…guess who that task will fall on? You’ll be in charge of keeping the accountability to the goals and SOPs and before you know it, you’ve downgraded back to YouOS. 

To stay in your upgraded sOS, your agency needs to assign a team member to each value engine, so nothing can slip through the cracks.

You’ll notice some of your employees and freelancers aren’t part of this, and that’s okay. This is your support. They’re the people helping those in charge of each value engine.

Step 5: Create scorecards to stay on track

Every week, you’ll look at your scorecards to make sure everything is on track. Your scorecard is just a fancy spreadsheet that tells you:

  1. Your North Star metrics
  2. Products
  3. Marketing
  4. Etc.

And for each, you have a team member assigned, a monthly target, and the actual metric you hit. You’ll also add a status column that immediately tells you where that project stands. Is it doing great? Is it falling off a cliff?

Better yet—who’s in charge and what questions do you need to ask them (or do you just need to get out of the way) to keep things moving towards your goals?

What Operating System is Your Agency Running?

It’s normal to feel like your agency is on fire…always. But, it’s not normal to stay there. As you figure out your role as an agency owner, it’s imperative that you don’t build a YouOS operating system.

If you do, you’ll stay stuck in a perpetual cycle of frustration where your agency owns you. Sure, you might fit in a vacation or two a year—but you’ll feel obligated to bring your laptop or have your phone on the entire time. If you don’t, things could crumble at any second because your operating system is giving you a shaky foundation.

Instead, upgrade to a scalable operating system. The kind that lets you go on vacation, turn your phone off, and come back to sunshine, rainbows, and butterflies (a.k.a profit, happy customers, and happy employees).

And remember—you’re not supposed to know it all. There are some agency lessons you have to learn from experience, but there are others you can learn from mentors. The people who have built multi-million dollar agencies have wisdom that can save you unnecessary blood, sweat, and tears.

We’ve brought those agency experts into DigitalMarketer Academy to give you Insider Trainings, Workshops, write Playbooks, and give you their Toolkit so you can learn from their mistakes, and grow your agency more efficiently (and enjoyably).
Check out DigitalMarketer Academy to see everything else included in your membership (like our community of marketers!).

User Story Maps Can Help Make You Your Team and




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YouTube Ad Specs, Sizes, and Examples [2024 Update]

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YouTube Ad Specs, Sizes, and Examples

Introduction

With billions of users each month, YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine and top website for video content. This makes it a great place for advertising. To succeed, advertisers need to follow the correct YouTube ad specifications. These rules help your ad reach more viewers, increasing the chance of gaining new customers and boosting brand awareness.

Types of YouTube Ads

Video Ads

  • Description: These play before, during, or after a YouTube video on computers or mobile devices.
  • Types:
    • In-stream ads: Can be skippable or non-skippable.
    • Bumper ads: Non-skippable, short ads that play before, during, or after a video.

Display Ads

  • Description: These appear in different spots on YouTube and usually use text or static images.
  • Note: YouTube does not support display image ads directly on its app, but these can be targeted to YouTube.com through Google Display Network (GDN).

Companion Banners

  • Description: Appears to the right of the YouTube player on desktop.
  • Requirement: Must be purchased alongside In-stream ads, Bumper ads, or In-feed ads.

In-feed Ads

  • Description: Resemble videos with images, headlines, and text. They link to a public or unlisted YouTube video.

Outstream Ads

  • Description: Mobile-only video ads that play outside of YouTube, on websites and apps within the Google video partner network.

Masthead Ads

  • Description: Premium, high-visibility banner ads displayed at the top of the YouTube homepage for both desktop and mobile users.

YouTube Ad Specs by Type

Skippable In-stream Video Ads

  • Placement: Before, during, or after a YouTube video.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Vertical: 9:16
    • Square: 1:1
  • Length:
    • Awareness: 15-20 seconds
    • Consideration: 2-3 minutes
    • Action: 15-20 seconds

Non-skippable In-stream Video Ads

  • Description: Must be watched completely before the main video.
  • Length: 15 seconds (or 20 seconds in certain markets).
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Vertical: 9:16
    • Square: 1:1

Bumper Ads

  • Length: Maximum 6 seconds.
  • File Format: MP4, Quicktime, AVI, ASF, Windows Media, or MPEG.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 640 x 360px
    • Vertical: 480 x 360px

In-feed Ads

  • Description: Show alongside YouTube content, like search results or the Home feed.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Square: 1:1
  • Length:
    • Awareness: 15-20 seconds
    • Consideration: 2-3 minutes
  • Headline/Description:
    • Headline: Up to 2 lines, 40 characters per line
    • Description: Up to 2 lines, 35 characters per line

Display Ads

  • Description: Static images or animated media that appear on YouTube next to video suggestions, in search results, or on the homepage.
  • Image Size: 300×60 pixels.
  • File Type: GIF, JPG, PNG.
  • File Size: Max 150KB.
  • Max Animation Length: 30 seconds.

Outstream Ads

  • Description: Mobile-only video ads that appear on websites and apps within the Google video partner network, not on YouTube itself.
  • Logo Specs:
    • Square: 1:1 (200 x 200px).
    • File Type: JPG, GIF, PNG.
    • Max Size: 200KB.

Masthead Ads

  • Description: High-visibility ads at the top of the YouTube homepage.
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 or higher.
  • File Type: JPG or PNG (without transparency).

Conclusion

YouTube offers a variety of ad formats to reach audiences effectively in 2024. Whether you want to build brand awareness, drive conversions, or target specific demographics, YouTube provides a dynamic platform for your advertising needs. Always follow Google’s advertising policies and the technical ad specs to ensure your ads perform their best. Ready to start using YouTube ads? Contact us today to get started!

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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

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Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

Amazon pillows.

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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