Digital Marketing, specifically SEO, has had a reputation for being proprietary, overly technical, and off-limits to anyone on the outside for decades at this point. The veil of mystery has been pulled years ago, at least with our agency, with tracking tools such as CallRail, Google Analytics, and transparency in Chat and Texting platforms.

Though we don’t always need to “see how the sausage is made” (i.e., the steps that go into implementing FAQ structured data or building a round of Web 2.0 links), we do want to know what is being delivered, the result of the work, and what we are getting in return.

Understanding How You Can Measure Your Success

The following metrics, normally referred to as “Key Performance Indicators” (KPIs), are generally provided by your digital marketing agency:

  • All website traffic
  • Organic traffic
  • Time on site
  • Bounce Rate
  • Keyword Rankings

These are meant to be metrics used to show if you’re on track for having success. They are by no means an actual measure of success. Those metrics would be the following, and are the priority in what’s communicated by your marketing partner:

  • Qualified Contacts

What is deemed a qualified contact is generally the lowest portion of the funnel to which a marketing agency will have access without gaining entry to anything your firm has internally, such as a Customer Relationship Management tool (CRM), or your own methodology of tracking lead-to-client conversions. If you can sync up an established dollar amount, that’s even better, but the most important metric will always be your calls, form submissions, chat sessions, and every format in which a potential client contacted you. Anything that’s going to translate into revenue that, in turn, can hold your marketing to an official return on investment.

It’s important to remember that at this point past the halfway point of 2022, you can track all your marketing by Organic, Social, Paid, Directories, LSAs, and just about everything in between. In fact, it has generally been this way for well over five years, so there may be value in this type of project being done retroactively. Every single data point is available because there’s nothing to hide; The campaign is either working, or it’s not. SEO agencies shouldn’t be fronting KPI data to hide behind if the end result—your qualified contacts—are not where they should be at the timeline projected.

How Transparent is Transparent?

As the titular question asks, the initial answer is really as transparent as you’d like. If you want additional information on the steps, actions, rationale, and results of every task being performed, you should be entitled to this information. At some point, the excess of the details may stymie progress or take time away from execution, and not out of spite, simply out of reality. It’d be similar to a client calling you every day asking about the status of their case and for you to go into detail on every motion you were filing, front to back. There is a willingness to provide this information, of course, but only so much time can be dedicated before it bogs down the big picture. Trust is still a two-way street.

That being said, you should absolutely ask for clarity on any aspects of a campaign that sound overly technical or vague. You deserve explanations when a lack of clarity is occurring, especially when it seems contrived.

Back to Qualified Contacts

We were calling Qualified Contacts “Qualified Leads” up until a couple of months ago. The reason being, we don’t want to insinuate everyone is an eligible lead based off of the criteria we’re able to filter by on our end. There is a degree of responsibility an agency has in providing this key metric accurately, though. The following should be steps a marketing agency takes in order to provide what they believe are truly accurate contacts generated from their efforts:

  • Removing any contact forms or chats that are clearly solicitations from marketing companies, or spam.
  • Removing duplicate contacts, so the same potential lead isn’t counted 2-10+ times. These inflate numbers very quickly.
  • Taking steps to verify the call/email/form submission is a first-time call/email/form submission
  • Doing a quick manual check to see if calls aren’t coming from other law firms and medical offices.
  • For calls, having a threshold of call duration to be counted as a qualified contact. If someone calls and hangs up after five seconds, it is very unlikely that they were qualified.
  • Ensuring leads aren’t getting attribution from more than one source. Marketing attribution should always be designated to one source unless you have a more complicated process for partial attribution.

These steps should be on a marketing company so they can provide much more accurate insight into campaign performance. By not taking any of these steps and providing all raw data, you may easily see 50%+ of your supposed qualified contacts as non-qualified, heavily skewing the perception of your marketing performance.

Looking at the Proper Level of Transparency

In summary, an appropriate balance of transparency from your marketing partner should look like the following:

  • A thorough, documented scope of work being done on a monthly basis with the comfort of knowing you can ask questions about anything you don’t understand.
  • Continual access to KPIs so you are always aware of intramonthly progress. It should be in the form of a dashboard you have access to at any time and mention many of the metrics included in the beginning of the article.
  • Qualified contacts/leads provided at least on a monthly basis, scrubbed/cleaned in advance for accuracy.

If one of these key points is currently missing, it wouldn’t be alarming, but it would be encouraged to get on the same page about having it provided. If two are missing, I’d be considering why so much information and transparency is being withheld and consider this a fairly big issue. If all are missing, it’s time to start looking for a new partner yesterday.

Contact Market My Market for Ultimate Transparency

When it comes to issues of clarity and candidness, we believe transparency between agency and client is the foundation of trust. After all, transparency is less about honesty than it is about efficiency. When you invest significant resources into your digital marketing goals, you need to know whether you’re meeting your company’s targets and seeing a good return on investment.

At Market My Market, we serve to help you reach your objectives through transparency and honesty. For more information on how we can help you, call us at (866) 935-3719 or complete our online contact form today!