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The Agency of the Future is Remote Working

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The Agency of the Future is Remote Working


When you think of an office, you’re probably picturing something like this:

Or if you’re feeling fancy (and worth billions of dollars) like Google is, so you’re thinking something like this: 

These days you can even think of an office as a rented, shared space like WeWork:

Thanks to 2021, more offices than ever before are looking like this, home offices that we’ve set up in the quietest corner of our homes:

Although let’s be realistic…how many of your home offices actually look like this:

Yep, I’m raising my hand too.

When you think about work in 2021 and beyond—we’re no longer just thinking of this:

We’re thinking about a hybrid or totally remote model:

And that changes how we build our agencies.

Our offerings and products can stay the same—but the way our agency works internally…can completely shift.

There are 3 organized models that you get to choose to run your agency from nowadays:

#1: Gig Model

Short-term tasks that can be managed by one, or at most, a handful of people. With the Gig Model, you’re the opposite of a stage 5 clinger. Your business runs project-to-project and you’re focused on excelling at each of those projects—and then moving on.

There’s no need for water stations or happy hours because your team is distributed. You’re entirely remote and all of your workers are freelancers. Chances are you’re the only person on your payroll.

This model works great for startups that can’t afford full-time employees yet and are still getting themselves off the ground.

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#2: Corporate Model

Hire a team to work on long-term open-ended jobs that can last for years. This is what you picture when you think of an office—lots of computers and people. We’re thinking of water station conversations and in-person team happy hours (remember those?!).

This is how DigitalMarketer ran pre-March of 2020. We had some freelancers, but the majority of our workforce was in-person, full-time employees. And it worked!

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This model used to be an inevitable transition once your business required some full-time staff. It usually starts by bringing on some sort of operations or marketer—and quickly turns into full-time HR people, office managers, and interns.

But there’s a model in-between that most of us have missed—and it wasn’t our fault. We missed it because pre-March of 2020…we just weren’t thinking this way.

We were all thinking home offices and gig workers → rented office space and full-time employees. That was success in terms of an agency. Especially if you could afford the *good* coffee and the fancy snacks for your team.

Having to figure out how to run our businesses entirely remotely for months and in some cases over a year has taught us that we don’t need all of that fancy stuff. 

  • Do we really need every employee to be full-time?
  • Do we really need the fancy, expensive office space?
  • Do our employees even WANT to spend 40 hours of their week in person with us?

The answer is no, and I’m not even offended!

Forbes found that 61% of employees prefer being fully remote. 

And Fast Company found the number of people who considered freelancing as a long-term career option increased from 18.5 million to 28.5 million between 2014 and 2019.

I know I’m not the only one thinking that with all these changes coming to market…there’s no way a new business model can’t emerge from them.

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And I’m calling this new model…The Hollywood Model.

The Hollywood Model

Stay lean and bring in the best on a project basis. This means that you have some full-time employees and the rest of your workforce are contractors/freelancers/gig workers (all the same thing).

Chances are your full-time employees are your decision-makers, they’re your executives and the people who report directly to the CEO. There might be a set of employees under them as well, depending on the size of your business and your service offerings. 

See also  5 Tips for Agency Owners to Win with Cold Leads

The rest of your employees get brought in on a project-by-project basis. 

  • Your copywriters are on retainer to write your email campaigns as needed
  • Your graphic designers are on retainer to create your social media graphics
  • Your Facebook ad expert is on retainer on a per-client basis

“A project is identified, a team is assembled, it works together for precisely as long as is needed to complete the task, and then … the team disbands.” – Adam Davidson, Co-founder of NPR’s “Planet Money

If the majority of employees want to continue remote work…and we have more people than ever starting to freelance—the Hollywood Model was made for times like these.

Times when businesses most want to stay lean thanks to the unpredictability of the markets, and employees are A-okay with switching up how they used to work.

How The Hollywood Model Works

The thing about the Hollywood Model is that it has to be done right. If you don’t do it right, your life can easily become:

  • A perpetual state of hiring as you look for gig workers who have the experience and availability for your projects
  • A mess of workflow as your full-time employees fail to efficiently teach your gig workers what platforms to use, how to send in deliverables, and how to communicate with the team
  • Tight, impossible deadlines due to lack of communication between full-time employees and freelancers leading to delayed launches, campaigns, and products

You can learn more about the Hollywood Model here. 

Business has changed—and in some ways, it’s for the better.

Maybe we weren’t being as efficient as we could have been by having our employees come into the office and spending all this money on rent, utilities, and snacks when people are happier working from home.

But that doesn’t mean we have to go back to the Gig Model—DigitalMarketer, Scalable…they wouldn’t succeed with that model. They’re past the stage of being able to survive with just gig workers.

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But they don’t need an entire full-time team.

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The Hollywood Model is the lean business model that works in 2021 and the foreseeable future. It creates consistency with our full-time employees and the opportunity to tap into highly qualified talent through our freelancers.

It’s the model we’re running at Scalable and DigitalMarketer—and it’s working.

Time to turn this around for your business.

You can generate $3,500/month retainer clients and build a marketing agency that sets you apart from the competition.

Not just because you’re better at marketing…

…But because your business runs lean, is highly adaptable, and uses high-quality talent to get the job done.

And that’s something your competitors using the Corporate Model or the Gig Model can’t compete with.

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Grab our free Fractional CMO Playbook so you get the exact, 4-step client attract, convert, and onboard process we teach our agency partners at DigitalMarketer as well as:

  • Understand the math behind a $336,000 a year, part-time “Fractional CMO” practice
  • The one-sentence “pivot script” that has prospects begging to book a meeting
  • A simple little “trick” that filters out virtually all the “lookie-loos” and crazy clients with unrealistic expectations…
  • When to sell retainers (and when NOT to sell retainers)

This training is for:

Coaches & consultants thinking about expanding into marketing services.

Freelancers & solopreneurs sick and tired of giving away their time for free.

Marketing professionals thinking about making the leap and launching their own marketing coaching or consultancy.

Anyone thinking about making the leap and launching their own marketing agency or consultancy.

And I’m teaching it.

Register here for The Fractional CMO Playbook to learn how to generate $3,500/mo retainer clients and build a marketing consultancy that sets you apart (thanks to the Hollywood Model).



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MARKETING

Using Google Analytics 4 integrations for insights and media activations

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Using Google Analytics 4 integrations for insights and media activations

No matter which stage of Google Analytics 4 implementation you’re currently involved in, the opportunities to integrate with other products shouldn’t be overlooked. The best part is that the basic versions are free for everyone, so there are quick wins to be had if you aren’t using these yet.

Other features and reporting experiences aside, an edge that Google Analytics has over other analytics platforms is that it fits well with the Google Marketing Platform (GMP). If you’re using Google Ads, Search Ads 360, DV360, or other media tools in the suite, GA can be a hub, as well as a source in the media activation process.

GA integrations as a hub

The paid media platforms in GMP have advanced, automated reporting. These platforms are powerful tools to analyze the beginning of the user journey by drawing people to the site and to the end of the experience by converting. 

What about the middle? A solid Google Analytics implementation offers multi-step conversions, custom user behavior data and rich segment data to build and share audiences.

GA integrations as sources for insights

Google Analytics 4 isn’t just about analyzing data, it’s about acting on it. For example, the Audience feature leverages your analytics implementation — you can use the data to segment users and create audiences for remarketing, targeting, A/B testing, and personalization. 

Through settings in GA, you can also link other products and share audience and conversion data.

Below are the integrations currently available for Google Analytics 4 as of June 2022. Notice that it’s already quite a lengthy list.

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  • Google Ads.
  • BigQuery (extra costs are incurred in Google Cloud).
  • Display & Video 360 (DV360).
  • Google Ad Manager  (GAM).
  • Google Merchant Center.
  • Google Optimize. 
  • Salesforce Marketing Cloud (SFMC) (this one requires the Salesforce Journey Builder). 
  • Search Console.
  • Play integration.
  • Search Ads 360 (SA360).

The first step to building out your analytics insights is taking inventory of your GMP stack. Which products are you using right now? The products will depend on what type of site or app you have and the products in which you are investing. However, three of those integrations can apply to all properties — BigQuery, Search Console and Optimize. It doesn’t matter if you’re an advertiser, publisher, retail or service site — each of these integrations is a possibility to use today for free in Google Analytics 4. 

Let’s take a closer look at these three fundamental integrations.

BigQuery

What is BigQuery? A Google Cloud data warehouse that’s not exclusively for Google Analytics or GMP.

Who is it for? Teams and leaders that will benefit from this connection are involved in areas like BI, data science, and data administration.

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With BigQuery, you’ll have all of your data exported to a data warehouse that you own and control. Once the data is in Google Cloud, there’s freedom to send to another database, blend with data outside of Google Analytics, and perform advanced reporting in other tools. The GA BigQuery data has other benefits, including integration with CRM data.

How to integrate. The integration is self-serve within the interface, but there needs to be a BigQuery project available to link the Google Analytics tool. If you do not have a project yet, go to the Google APIs Resources page to create a new one. On the page, it looks technical and there’s code references, but that part isn’t necessary and you can skip it. The instructions for doing it through the interface are in modules in the “Console” tab. Below are the simplified steps:

  1. Select the option to create a project on the upper left of the page.
  1. Name your project, select the “Create” button, and there’s now a new project in Google Cloud. 
  2. The last step is turning on a setting to use BigQuery. There are a lot of technical options in the menu, but the only area you need to go to for this is “Library” under “APIs & Services,” where you can search for BigQuery and enable it.

After the project is created, it’s ready to be integrated with Google Analytics 4. Back in the GA interface, the option to link it is under property settings. 

Now your raw GA4 data will start collecting into the project to be available for immediate use. Out of the integrations listed here, this one has the most steps. However, the other products are just a few clicks. (Note: BigQuery comes at an extra cost. However, for most accounts it will not be significant — it is sometimes just a few dollars.) 


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Search Console

What is Search Console? It’s a platform for monitoring in-depth metrics and reports related to organic Google search performance and site speed.

Who is it for? Most teams will benefit in some way from analyzing search data. This includes content creators, SEO teams, and web developers.

How to integrate. A Search Console property must be created, and it must be verified. Sometimes this is as simple as selecting a few buttons in the interface.

Once there is a Search Console property, or once there is access to an existing property, the link is in the same menu as the BigQuery link under Property Settings.

After, organic metrics and reports that are not out-of-the-box will be available in Google Analytics 4. Once the product linking is complete and working, there’s a last step to enable GA users to benefit from the enhanced data. It may be noticeable (and possibly confusing) that the Search Console data isn’t within the default interface navigation. To see the reports, the reporting collections in the menu should be edited.

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To modify the navigation, select “Library” at the bottom of the screen:

Next, begin the process to create a collection, under Collections. The template for Search Console will be located as the bottom right option. The option to start from scratch without a template is also available.

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After saving, go back to the library area and publish your collection. The report should now be accessible from the left navigation:

Optimize

What is Optimize? Optimize is an A/B testing and personalization tool.

Who is it for? It’s for marketers, conversion rate optimization (CRO) teams, content creators, or UX leads.

How to integrate. This one isn’t as apparent as the other links. Right now, the integration option does not show up in the Google Analytics property settings. That doesn’t mean that it’s not available, it means that the linking hasn’t been done yet. 

So, instead of starting in Google Analytics, the process begins in the Optimize interface. Under Settings, navigate to the Measurement section and edit. A dropdown will be available with a list of all the properties that you have access to. Unlike the previous version of Google Analytics, the integration links to a GA data stream instead of the GA property.

Once it’s linked, the icon will show up in Google Analytics:

When the link is active, Google Analytics 4 data can be used for audience targeting, conversion optimization, and objectives.

Note: If you are already linked to a legacy Google Analytics property, check with your team to make sure that it is ok to switch it to the Google Analytics 4 data.

Read next: Is Google Analytics going away? What marketers need to know

With the integration of BigQuery, Search Console, and Optimize, anyone can advance their analytics capabilities for current or future initiatives.

Below are brief explanations of the media platforms that Google Analytics 4 can integrate with. Most of these depend on what products are in use, what vertical an organization falls under, or other specific contexts and devices. 

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Google Ads

What is Google Ads? It’s the most popular and well-known search advertising tool, formerly known as AdWords.

Who is it for? It’s for marketers, advertisers and paid media specialists.

What it does. Google Ads was one of the first products to have GA4 linking capabilities. It’s built to provide value both ways – by getting Ads metrics and reporting from Google Ads to GA and by sending audiences and getting conversions from GA to Google Ads.

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Google Analytics 4 to Google Ads linking information and instructions here.

Display & Video 360

What is DV360? It’s a programmatic advertising platform. Also referred to as a DSP, DV360 is used to bid on display ad placements on publisher/content sites.

Who is it for? It’s for marketers, advertisers and paid media specialists within enterprise organizations.

Google Analytics 4 to DV360 linking information and instructions here.

Search Ads 360

What is SA360? This is like Google Ads, but super-charged. It’s a management and bidding tool to run ads across multiple channels and search engines.

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Who is it for? It’s for marketers, advertisers and paid media specialists within enterprise organizations.

Google Analytics 4 to SA360 linking information and instructions here.

Google Ads Manager 

What is GAM? It’s an enterprise platform for publishers to manage and serve ads on their site or app.

Who is it for? Marketers, advertisers and paid media specialists within enterprise organizations.

Google Analytics 4 to GAM linking information and instructions here.

Google Merchant Center

What is Google Merchant Center? A separate platform from Google Ads to promote products, mainly on Google Shopping.

Who is it for? It’s for marketers and advertisers within an e-commerce organization.

Google Analytics 4 to Google Merchant Center linking information and instructions here.

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Salesforce Marketing Cloud

SFMC is for cross-channel digital marketers. This integration is meant for use in the SFMC Journey Builder and can bring in Google Analytics data.

Google Analytics 4 to SFMC information and instructions here (through Salesforce).

Google Play

Google Play is Google’s app store and it’s for digital marketers who analyze in-app purchases and subscriptions.

Google Analytics 4 to Google Play linking information and instructions here.

If your organization is using any of those media tools, it’s a great time to start the strategy and process of leveraging Google Analytics 4 data to enhance analysis across multiple products and teams. There’s no reason not to start since they are available to all GA4 properties.


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.


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About The Author

Samantha has been working with web analytics and implementation for over 10 years. She is a data advocate and consultant for companies ranging from small businesses to Fortune 100 corporations. As a trainer, she has led courses for over 1000 attendees over the past 6 years across the United States. Whether it’s tag management, analytics strategy, data visualization, or coding, she loves the excitement of developing bespoke solutions across a vast variety of verticals.

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