How is a Digital Marketing Agency Like a Personal Trainer?

It’s January, time for some sweet new resolutions! So with my newfound dedication to the gym and to my job, I’ve noticed a few similarities between a prospective client’s relationship to their digital marketing agency and a new Year resolutioners relationship to a  personal trainer.

1. Promises to “Pump You Up!”

I have never met an Agency or a Personal Trainer that didn’t promise gains. Whether an agency is guaranteeing that your brand will start ranking organically for non-branded keywords or that you can in fact lose that holiday weight, the value of either venture is measured to the client in terms of reaching achievable goals.

2. Seriously Considers Your Goals

The goals of an ecommerce site compared to a nonprofit are completely different and as such their plan of attack involves different strategies. Just like a personal trainer wouldn’t make a client looking to run a marathon follow the same plan as a bodybuilder. The plan created by the professional should be tailored to your goals.

3. Provides Comprehensive Planning

Ask anyone that has a legitimate “beach body”, and they more than likely combine a healthy diet, cardio, and some muscle building. The same should apply to your marketing efforts. Just because you pump money into the media, without a balance of SEO and social, odds are your company won’t see the expected returns. Along those lines, depending on my goals, how I devote time to each aspect of my overall marketing strategy will affect my returns. If my goal is to build lots of muscle fast, I can’t expect a cardio heavy workout plan without any lifting to pay off. If my goal is to build up word of mouth around my brand fast, I can’t expect an SEO heavy plan that lacks any sort of paid advertising to pay off.

4. Everyone’s an Expert

There’s lots of ways to find a personal trainer. Maybe it’s through word of mouth, maybe it’s through the gym, or maybe it’s Craigslist. There’s plenty of ways to find a digital marketing “expert” too. I realize that in our industry, the majority of digital marketers don’t necessarily have a degree in SEO or even Marketing, but most of the good ones have lots of experience and keep up to date with trends and new information as it unfolds. There are fly by night agencies that can promise all sorts of growth but don’t have the breadth of knowledge or the experience to actually influence change. I feel like hiring a cold call SEO agency without doing any research is the same as hiring a trainer off of craigslist. Maybe they know things about nutrition. Maybe they have a health background. Maybe their site/body is rocking. But when it comes to something like my health and my company, I really want someone that knows how to help me reach my specific goals.

5. Everyone Thinks They Know What They’re Doing

The majority of the people you see in the gym aren’t with a personal trainer, but to a trained professional, a majority of the people at the gym are also pretty stupid.

– I read it online –

These are the ones who, on January 1st googled “how to exercise”, found a wikihow page and think they’re on the fast track to a six pack. Expecting a cut and paste formula put together by someone that we sincerely hope was an expert probably isn’t the safest route with things as important as my (brand’s) health. Reading a handful of articles does not make a client an SEO expert or media manager anymore than it would make them a dietician or yogi.

– Free trial expired –

These people saw an Event Flyers at the gym offering a fitness evaluation and decided to give it a whirl. They candidly established their goals, talked about shortcomings to a legitimate professional, and listened to the serious evaluation provided by the experts. But then they didn’t buy any sessions. Obviously based on one session (or maybe even a few) and a little bit of advice, these people legitimately believe they can strike out on their own and see success.

– Miracle Pill! –

These people aren’t at the gym. They didn’t make it there. They’re sitting on their couch with a tub of ice cream watching infomercials for some miracle pill that will make having to actually work out obsolete. All they have to do is find out what it is! Yeah…. good luck with that.

6. Black Hats and Steroids (Hint: Neither are good)

I said something about a magic pill, didn’t I? Well there’s lots of black hat agencies out there that would like you to believe they’ve found it and that they will sell it to you for the low cost of $29.99 a month, but it’s like buying steroids. You’re going to see quick results and it’s going to be exciting. But if at the end of it all, if your brand is sterile and Google takes away your gold medal for having violated drug testing protocols, will it really have been worth it?

7. Health Concerns

Why does it matter who puts my workout plan together so long as I’m working out? Well, when I walk into my gym there are rows and rows of workout machines and each one has a diagram of how to correctly do the exercise. But unless I have correct form, I’m significantly more likely to pull a muscle or dislocate my wrist. The same applies to your online marketing, hiring a shady agency could legitimately damage my brand in a way that could be permanent and seriously hinder my efforts towards better health in the future.

Results may vary. Some people just are blessed with a fast metabolism and some people just are fortunate to have their brand take off. There’s plenty of people that think just logging into their AdWords and putting it on is sufficient to see return on their media buy. Maybe it is, but probably not. So whether it’s a flexible streamlined site, or a beefy robust vision you have in mind, do some research, find someone qualified that can help you achieve your goals, and get to it! The one thing that healthy brands and healthy bodies have in common is that both of them worked to get there.

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