When hiring an agency to help your business market itself online, you want to know you can trust that the right work will be done. You might start off with assumptions about what results you should see, how long a campaign should take, and how much you’re willing to spend. However, you should also keep in mind some cautions to make sure you’re properly approaching a campaign.

Know Your Timeline

When you’re investing hard-earned money into an online campaign, of course you want to see results. But you also need to realize that results usually take time. A site can take a while to rank organically. An advertising campaign needs to run for a significant period of time and spend a minimum amount of money before you collect enough data to determine whether or not it’s working.

How much should you spend? How long should you wait? The answers to those questions vary based on the campaign. First, ensure you are getting the right data, and then look at that data to determine the effectiveness of a campaign. Don’t react too soon and turn off a campaign that hasn’t run long enough.

Once an online campaign has run its course, you’ll be able to review results to get an accurate picture of what worked and what didn’t. Depending on the scale of a campaign, you might look at social media engagement, website analytics and PPC leads, among other stats.

Know Your Metrics

Many clients come to us with questions like the following:

“What’s a good bounce rate?”

“What’s a good conversion rate?”

When first learning about online campaigns, a good first step is understanding the major metrics involved. Naturally, people often want to know optimal numbers to aim for. However, these vary extensively based on a number of factors, including industry, the purpose of a particular site, the channels being used to drive traffic, and more. While we can estimate averages, we should adapt goals as we review data from a campaign.

For example, a basic landing page with the specific goal of getting people to sign up for a free trial may see 70% of visitors bounce off. However, the 30% of non-bounce visitors actually sign up for the trial, resulting in an excellent conversion rate. Don’t assume that what someone says is a “good” bounce rate of 40% for an extensive online store applies to a minimalist landing page.

In summary, the target metrics that may work for one industry and one company may be different than what you should set as targets. You can use general averages and benchmarks as guidelines, but ideally you should determine your own target metrics based on the nature of your campaign.

Know Your Reasons

Before working with anyone on building an online campaign, first think about the reasons you’re choosing to invest in specific mediums. Are you considering PPC simply because it seems cheaper than buying cable TV spots? Or because you know you can reach a much more pinpointed audience?

Are you paying for display ads simply to get eyes on your brand? Or to promote a specific offer that is going to directly drive up sales?

Are you planning a remarketing campaign just because you read an article about how every major advertiser says it works for them? Or because you’ve specifically identified a segment of potential customers whom you’re currently losing from your site but know you can draw back with targeted messaging?

If you’re a small business owner, or even a marketing professional in a larger business, you may not know all these answers. However, a responsible agency will work with you on answering these questions and identify the marketing services that will be most beneficial for your brand before starting a campaign.

Partnering with an agency to develop an integrated marketing campaign can drive excellent results for your business. However, any campaign is going to work best when you take the time to understand a realistic timeline, the relevant metrics, and the reasons for each marketing channel. Make sure you prepare with a solid understanding of your goals and the right questions to ask about how to achieve them.