Hiring an ad agency to generate leads is a tempting prospect. Think of the creative genuises who will transform your business! Think of the prestige! So you pull the trigger, only to find that they fail to create tangible results. Maybe they make you a flashy commercial or give your website a slick redesign, but there’s no actual increase in leads (and you definitely need more leads if you’re going to pay an ad agency). What’s the deal?
There’s only one industry that ad agencies truly know, and that industry is advertising. Their goal is to make money by selling marketing campaigns, and that doesn’t necessarily align with how the home improvement business works. Few industries – including advertising – are as lead driven as home improvement, and an agency that’s never worked with a home improvement company is only going to be vaguely aware of that. If you hire an agency, you need to be willing to teach them how your industry works, and they need to be willing to listen.
Home improvement leads are mostly generated through direct marketing, while agencies tend to specialize in TV, radio, print ads and other more traditional media purchases. While many also offer internet marketing services, they aren’t necessarily great at online lead generation.
Why? Because there’s a disconnect between what you need and what they think you need. And because you’re paying them either way, they don’t have a tremendous amount of motivation to bridge that gap. While there are some good agencies out there, most have a tendency to view all industries as the same and try to apply a one size fits all Band-Aid solution to lead problem. I found an agency that says “it isn’t essential for the agency to have hands-on experience in the kind of products or services you sell,” which should raise so many red flags that even communist countries would consider it excessive.
Home industry professionals have become proficient at using the Internet to generate leads, but ad agencies are struggling to change with the times. Often the last place you want to look for someone with modern experience is at an agency. That’s not to say that agencies will never succeed at generating leads, but if you decide to go with one you need to do your homework first to avoid buyer’s remorse.
Look for agencies that have experience in your field. And by experience, I don’t just mean that they’ve worked with a home improvement company – look for agencies that did industry-relevant work. Look for agencies that know home improvement is about generating leads. Look for agencies that know what they’re doing when it comes to the Internet. Otherwise you’re going to spend money on a service with vastly different goals than your own.