Why you’re not getting results: How to get more from your digital marketing agency

digital marketing, marketing agency, return on investment, ROI, return on ad spend, ROAS, conversion rate optimisation, CRO

It’s time to tackle the elephant in the room – why you’re not getting results from your digital marketing agency. After spending a significant amount of your hard-earned cash investing in digital marketing, you naturally want to see a return on your investment.

After all, marketing is an investment and has the potential to deliver amazing returns.

However, time and again, I get businesses seeking my insights on why they are receiving little to no return after sinking hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars into their digital marketing. Despite the lofty promises, all they’ve received is a lighter bank balance and little to no leads.

Obviously, not the return they expected.

There are many reasons why digital marketing can fail to deliver but there is one main factor that usually holds the key – a lack of strategy.

Why strategy holds the key

Let me ask you a question. When you invest in marketing, what are you looking to achieve? What are you hoping to gain from working with an agency? I’m guessing you’d be interested in getting more sales, more reach, more subscribers, more leads, etc.

Here’s the thing. If you don’t have a clear marketing strategy guiding you (that aligns with your overall business plan), you won’t have a clear path forward. You’ll struggle to measure your progress; you won’t know which of the many channels and tactics to use and you’ll find yourself wasting time and money on digital marketing efforts that won’t deliver the results you want.

I’ve said this many, many times before but let me say it once more. Without a clear marketing strategy, you have no chance of optimising your digital marketing investment. With no strategy you have no purpose or direction – you are literally flying blind.

To get real results you first need to:

  • Have a goal and a clear objective – use the SMART framework to set Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound goals so you know exactly where you’re heading and why.
  • Understand how marketing fits into your business plan – join the dots to ensure your marketing strategy supports your overall business goals and is not distracting you from the real focus of your business.

Once you have the business and marketing foundations in place, you’ll have a clear path to follow, and you’ll understand where to put your digital marketing efforts to support your planning. It also makes it possible for you to start measuring results to see if you are getting the most bang for your buck.

ACTION: if you haven’t yet gone through a planning process with your agency, stop what you are doing and get back to basics before you waste any more of your digital marketing budget.

How to stay on track

Once you have your plans in place, you need to understand how you are going to achieve them. A lack of accountability and poor communication is another reason why you might not be getting the results you expect from your agency.

How often do you get reports and updates from your agency? Do the reports you receive tell you what’s going on? Are you 100% clear on who is responsible for what?

Without accountability and clear communication, it’s impossible to achieve results. As you and your agency both have important roles in a marketing campaign, it’s vital you agree on deliverables and create an effective communication plan from the very start to ensure your campaign stays focused and on track.

As you’ll be working closely together, you and your agency need to clarify:

  • the end-goal – including the timeframe for achieving it
  • milestones – check-in points along the way that mark your progress
  • stakeholders – the people on both sides who need to be kept informed
  • responsibilities – identifying who is going to be responsible for tasks along the way
  • reporting – what information will be shared, how it will look and the frequency of deliver

It’s essential to build accountability both in your marketing plan and in your campaign project. Without it, you’ll find it difficult to get results, especially when trying to wrangle multiple people from different organisations in a bid to get the most from your digital marketing investment.

ACTION: meet with your agency to review your campaign and discuss accountability. Request clear campaign deliverables, clarify responsibilities and identify the key stakeholders.


As a Business Connect partner, Marketing Sense can offer you 2 x 2-hour business advisory/coaching session 100% subsidised by NSW Government Business Connect. Learn how to take advantage of this fantastic offer!

What should you be measuring?

Do you get a list of metrics that you don’t quite understand from your agency as proof of progress? In the world of digital marketing, results can come in many forms. That’s because there are multiple marketing goals and more than one way to measure them.

Take email marketing. If your goal is to grow your email list, you’ll be interested in your subscriber numbers. If your goal is to reach more people, you’ll want to pay close attention to your email open rates. Meanwhile, if you want to increase sales, you’ll be glued to your click-through numbers.

That’s why you need to get all your ducks in a row (i.e., planning, strategy and accountability) before you even think about measuring progress. There’s no point wasting time on metrics that are not relevant to your short-term or long-term goals. Understand what you are trying to achieve first, then select the metrics that will best indicate progress towards your goal.

ACTION: ask your agency to explain the metrics they’re using to track progress and how it relates to your end goal, so you understand how your results are calculated.

Digital marketing metrics you should track

Before we go any further, I want to stress that while there might seem like a lot of different metrics listed here, these are just the fundamentals. There are many others that can be used to dig deeper into campaign performance, depending on your end goal.

Many of these metrics are used to evaluate conversion rate optimisation (CRO). Good CRO helps make it as simple as possible for visitors to take action (convert), whether that’s buying a product, subscribing to a list, taking up a free offer or visiting a specific page.

Another important metric is traffic. You should always measure traffic coming to a site to see if visitors are arriving due to your campaign activity, search engine optimisation (SEO) efforts or due to another reason. This is easy using Google Analytics.

Once you understand the source and amount of traffic coming to your site, you can then calculate the conversion rate. This is done by dividing the number of conversions by the total number of people who visited your site, multiplied by 100%. This will give you the % of people who took action (converted) during your campaign.

Another metric of interest to ecommerce owners is shopping cart abandonment – the number of visitors who add products to a cart but leave before completing the transaction. Calculate this by dividing the total number of completed transactions by the number of initiated transactions. Subtract the result from one and then multiply by 100 to find your abandonment rate.

Here are examples of various website, email and social media metrics that your agency may use to measure the success of your marketing campaign.

Website metrics

If your goal is related to improving conversion rate optimisation (CRO) on your website, then these are some of the metrics you should pay attention to.

  • Overall website traffic – the total number of people visiting your site which provides a great baseline metric if increasing website traffic is your goal.
  • Traffic by source – where visitors are coming from (paid ads, organic search, etc.) This is a key metric for understanding which channels and campaigns are working.
  • Average session duration – the length of time visitors spend on your site can point to issues with navigation and useability, especially if visits are very short.
  • Most visited pages – see which pages are getting the most views to understand the content that is attracting visitors or the products that are most popular.
  • Bounce rate – a high bounce rate means people are coming to your site and leaving pretty much straight away which is bad news if you want to boost sales.
  • Conversion rate – you can set up different conversion events in Google Analytics to measure your conversion rate and see if it’s trending up or down.


With our 1 hour coaching package, we will help you create a marketing system that works for you, to overcome your sales and marketing challenges to confidently manage your marketing.

Email marketing metrics

If your goal is to boost your email marketing results, then these are some of the metrics you need to know to accurately monitor the progress of your campaign.

  • Open rate – the number of people opening your email as a percentage of total subscribers. You want a healthy open rate to move onto other email goals.
  • Click through rate – the number of people who click on a link in your email. If your goal is to drive revenue from your list, then this is a number to watch.
  • Number of unsubscribes – how many people are unsubscribing from your list after you send an email blast? This could indicate your content is not relevant to their needs.
  • List growth rate – if growing your list is a big part of your marketing strategy then it makes sense to monitor how fast your list is growing over time.
  • Revenue per subscriber – this calculates the amount of money you make per subscriber, allowing you to tweak your campaign to target a particular group or demographic.
  • Revenue per email – this calculates how much money you make per email, helping you identify the email tactics that deliver the best ROI for your business.

Social media metrics

When your digital marketing strategy relies heavily on social media and paid advertising, these are some of the metrics you want to focus on.

  • Impressions – the total number of times your ad or post is seen on social media. As users may see your content multiple times, this is usually a larger number than reach.
  • Reach – the number of potential unique viewers a post or ad has. This is generally your follower count plus other accounts that shared the post’s follower counts.
  • Engagement – the number of likes, shares, tags and comments your post or ad receives. A higher engagement rate means your content is of more interest to your followers.
  • Cost per click – CPC measures the amount you pay per individual click on your sponsored social media posts. The lower your CPC, the cheaper your campaign.
  • Cost per thousand impressions – CPM is the amount you pay every time a thousand people scroll past your sponsored post. Again, the lower the rate, the better.
  • Social media conversion rate – this percentage identifies how successful your social media campaign was as part of your overall marketing drive.

As you can see, there are lots of metrics you can use to measure marketing effectiveness. The important thing is to concentrate on the metrics that are relevant to your goal as these will determine ROI. Check with your agency to identify the metrics they will use as part of your marketing campaign.

ACTION: if you haven’t already, install Google Analytics and identify at least 3 metrics that are relevant to your digital marketing strategy.


Take advantage of our free 15-minute discovery call and discover what your business needs to grow.

The tools required for effective monitoring

While the sheer number of metrics you can use to measure the success of your digital marketing is astounding, you don’t just get these figures automatically. You need to draw on specific tools to capture this information and analyse what it means for your campaign.

Tracking pixels are the most common tool used to measure CRO, ROI and ROAS (return on advertising spend). The secret weapon of marketers everywhere, pixels are small snippets of code that are loaded onto your website to track the actions of visitors to your site.

The pixel fires when a visitor takes an action (called an event) on your site and starts collecting data that you can then use to refine your marketing. Tracking pixels help with retargeting by delivering ads related to the action a visitor took (e.g., adding an item to their shopping cart). They also give you valuable insight into customer behaviour to increase conversions.

Google Analytics and Google Search Console rely on pixels to monitor the health of your site, provide data analysis and alert you to potential issues. While virtually invisible, pixels wield great power and provide valuable data to help you get more from your digital marketing agency.

From an advertising point of view, there are two main types of tracking pixels:

  • Retargeting pixels – used to monitor the behaviour of visitors to tailor paid advertising to them on other sites to increase conversions (e.g., Facebook Pixel).
  • Conversion pixels – used to track data once the conversion has occurred, helping you identify the source of the conversion and measure campaigns (e.g., Google Ads).

It’s important that you understand which pixels are installed on your website, how the data they gather is being used and who has access to this information.

ACTION: request details of the tracking pixels being used by your agency and how pixel data is being used to formulate marketing tactics to support your overall marketing strategy.

It’s never too late to request an audit

If you are not getting the results you expect from your agency, you can always ask for an audit of your digital marketing campaign. Professional marketers should welcome the chance to sit with you and go through the particulars of your marketing investment. You are their client, and you deserve to know where your money is going.

While you don’t have to understand the nitty gritty of the process, every business owner should be involved in the planning, strategy, implementation and review stages of a marketing campaign. If you are not being invited to be a part of the process, speak up and ask to be included.

Remember, you are the most important stakeholder – your input is key to ensuring you get a return on your investment.

Marketing Sense is here to guide your small business toward marketing success and help you create a marketing strategy to supercharge your business. Give us a call to discuss your needs and download your FREE copy of our Brand Statement Worksheet to get crystal clear on your business, your offering, your audience, and your competition.

Grow your business

Download your free copy of the brand statement template and get crystal clear on your market, your customer, and boost your sales and cashflow 2024!

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!

Related Posts

Get your FREE Brand Statement Template Now


Download your FREE copy of the Brand Statement Template and get crystal clear on your market & your customer and boost your sales and cashflow!