If you own a business, chances are you've found out that one of the biggest problems you can have is not knowing how to take things to the next level.
You may either be scraping by every month without enough sales, or you could be stuck making the same amount of money and don't know how to make more of it.
From working directly with 100s of business owners from several industries, we understand it can get extremely stressful.
“What if my products don’t sell as well in the next few months? What if my competitors know something I don’t? Am I really doing what’s best for my business?”—These are just some of the questions that you’ve likely already asked yourself.
And if you’re reading this, you probably know that digital marketing is the solution to getting more sales for any modern business. It’s at least a base-level requirement for every company in this age.
The good news is you’re right about all of this. The bad news is that marketing is a competition, and only a few businesses actually nail their marketing and get the sales revenue they need.
The rest get it wrong, and lose out to the ones with better marketing.
And that’s where you’ll find an opportunity to stay ahead while you still can.
With the right marketing, construction company Son of Wood increased their monthly sales revenue by 60%, in literally months.
And all the CEO had to do was make the decision to start working with a proven marketing agency instead of doing all the marketing herself.
In this case study you’ll learn exactly how it worked for Son of Wood, and how you can pick the right people to work with you to ensure your business’ marketing can really compete in your industry.
Like many business owners, Son of Wood’s CEO started out with offline marketing. She later started doing her own online marketing on Facebook in 2019 to get a competitive edge over her competitors, by boosting her own posts.
The company sells plastic construction moulds for pouring and setting concrete for building foundations. Their products are a smart alternative to the more common wooden formwork, and help contractors save their clients’ budget without compromising the quality of their work.
Because they already had a great product, Son of Wood gained a large online following for industry standards:
But after running her own ads for a year, the CEO realized two things:
She also had at least 2 active competitors that offered similar products. So every moment she was wasting without a way out, she was risking her company’s well-being by both not being able to increase sales and having no time to innovate for the future.
Like other companies at this stage, she then took the next logical step a year later, and hired an agency to take most of the marketing work off her hands.
But she didn’t see enough results from the marketing agency to call the campaigns successful either.
A big problem for business owners at this stage is that many agencies look like a good fit for them on paper.
It’s always harder for someone outside the industry to judge whether a marketing agency will really solve their challenges.
Everyone says they’re the leading agency, but you never know whether they can make you more money until you actually start working with them.
That’s why it often ends in a loss for the business owner, because you’re stuck with them and you won’t get to learn how differently agencies work until it’s too late.
So after trying to do her marketing in-house, and hiring a marketing agency, things still weren’t working out for Son of Wood’s CEO.
This is where many businesses end up getting stuck, and becoming stagnant. And the worst thing that owners can do at this point is go back to doing the marketing themselves, because it takes them right back to where they started.
If all of this sounds familiar to you, then this strategy on how to choose the right marketing partner will apply directly to your business too.
When business owners start thinking about hiring an agency or partner to help with their marketing work, they’ve reached the point where they don’t have time to be their own marketing director anymore.
And that’s exactly where your mind should be. If you continue doing your own marketing, it’s next to impossible to compete with businesses who are already working with top marketing agencies and staying ahead of their competitors.
That’s why we made the following list to help you identify the type of marketing agency/partner you need to drive more sales revenue for your business.
This information is based on our team’s meetings with 400+ business owners who have experienced similar challenges before. So after learning about the key reasons why they needed marketing help in the first place, we’ve narrowed it down to 3 key steps to finding the right agency:
1. Choose someone who is willing to be accountable for your sales revenue.
One of the biggest issues our team found among these business owners was that it was incredibly hard for them to find an agency who actually takes responsibility for making them more money.
Marketing KPIs can get confusing. Many agencies will promise you more brand awareness, clicks, website visits, reach, impressions, etc. And it’s true that these KPIs can get you more sales.
But at the end of the day, if you need more sales revenue, you have to cut out the what-ifs. Whatever the agreed KPIs may be, you need to make sure that they are directly tied back to increasing your sales revenue.
The link between increasing the number of impressions and getting more sales, for instance, has to be clear from the start.
Here’s an example of an objective from an agency that won’t work for you vs. one that will work:
✗ The objective of the campaign is to drive 2 million impressions to increase brand awareness, which will likely increase sales.
✓ The objective of the campaign is to drive 2 million baht by the end of the campaign by increasing the number of impressions for your business.
To be fair, there’s nothing wrong with the first objective. It just doesn’t put everyone involved in the right mindset to actually drive sales, because everyone is scrambling to drive impressions instead.
If your business needs sales, then millions of impressions will mean nothing if very few people actually end up buying.
That’s why you’ll need an agency who defines goals based on increased sales revenue and can tell you how to get there. Otherwise they’re not worth your time or money.
2. Choose someone who has already driven success for businesses like yours.
The first thing many business owners look for in a marketing agency is a strong portfolio: who they’ve worked with in the past, their case studies and testimonials.
And if you do this too, you’re on the right track.
An agency’s portfolio is a good indicator of how successful they are. But a big mistake that business owners make during this step is they may get caught up in the agency’s work with big-name brands, or any other brand in their industry.
So when we say you should pick a marketing agency who has already succeeded in driving sales for businesses like yours, we mean you should look at the following 3 aspects:
A. Industry - Have they worked with businesses in your industry or similar industries in the past? How were the results?
B. Company size - How big are most of the companies they’ve worked with? Are they lean, 30-person teams or do they have hundreds of employees across several locations? How big is your company, and what similarities can you draw with the companies in their portfolio?
C. Budget - What was the budget for most of their successful campaigns? Is it more than you can afford, or too little to be considered a success for your business? Do they have expertise in growing and scaling budgets to make you even more money?
Keeping these three aspects in mind will help you draw better conclusions about whether a marketing agency’s success will apply to your business too. Ask them these questions during your selection process or when you meet them.
However, while it’s better to have all 3 aspects checked, it doesn’t always mean agencies that only have 2 out of 3 down will be a bad fit for you.
Link it to the first step too. If they can be held accountable for increasing your sales, it’ll be much easier to spot whether the answers to points A-C make sense for your business.
3. Choose someone who is willing to share your business’ successes with you.
Most agencies protect their intellectual property, and that means their strategy, campaign setup and all valuable market insights belong to them.
This is actually harmful to your business, because everything they’ve done to help you grow gets taken back the moment you leave them.
While that’s how business mostly goes down in the agency game, it means you’re generally held at knifepoint whenever you want to leave. And no one likes feeling trapped.
This is what frustrated most of the business owners we’ve worked with. And much of the time they believed there was no way out.
But here’s the thing: When you pay premium fees for agency work, you shouldn’t only be paying for the services.
While the marketing agency owns the strategy, remember that you should own your business’ data no matter what, even if the data was generated by an agency.
The data from your marketing campaigns helps you learn how to get more money as a business. Agencies know this, so naturally they wouldn’t share the nitty gritty with you, because you could just leave with all the data and strategy.
But an agency’s job shouldn’t be to protect its assets: It should be to keep finding new ways to innovate and improve their tactics.
Marketing agencies with a progressive mindset know that their value lies in doing what business owners can’t, which is staying on the cutting edge of marketing.
And they should do that by finding new ways to stay ahead of what everyone else is doing, not by protecting their secrets until someone else finds a better approach.
The easiest way to spot marketing agency partnerships that aren’t fair for you are if:
A. They won’t allow you into any ad accounts and won’t let you see your own campaign setup
B. Their contracts are long-term: 6 to 12-month contracts or even longer
C. All they give you are reports with vanity numbers that don’t tell you exactly what went right, wrong and how the strategy can be improved
D. They say “Yes” to everything you ask for
Out of all these points, point D seems the most harmless. But it’s actually the opposite. Why?
Because if the agency does whatever you tell them to do, you’ll often forget about the effects of points A-C on your business. And it becomes easy to lose sight of why you hired them in the first place.
The marketing people you hire are supposed to be your professionals. You’re not paying them to agree with you: You’re paying them to tell you the truth.
And that means they need to tell you when and why things are going badly, and consult you on how to improve results.
If they keep you in the dark about everything while agreeing to everything you say, you won’t grow from the partnership.
That’s why you need to look for agencies who are willing to be as transparent with you as possible.
Ideally choose agency partners who still allow you to access your own accounts after they take over, don’t lock you in long-term contracts and are honest with you.
So far we’ve discussed how to pick the right agency based on their mindset towards driving more sales for your business. But another key component for you to learn in choosing the perfect marketing partner for your business is how to spot key errors in their strategy.
This will guide you to understand why our approach worked for Son of Wood, and for all of our other success stories here.
You don’t have to be an expert in marketing to identify these steps. All you need is this simple mindset change to make sure you and your agency partner are always working towards something that’s getting you results.
When you have no time to do the marketing yourself anymore, or the agency you hired isn’t doing a good enough job, it’s best to take a step back and understand why you’ve gone through the trouble of trying to make your marketing work.
Taking your business to the ‘next level’ can mean different things for each business owner. It could mean getting enough cash to pay the bills every month, making a profit, or even expanding to different countries.
And the fact is you know that you need money to do all of that.
Your money comes from sales, and sales ultimately come from your audience, who buy your products or services.
We mentioned earlier that marketing is a competition. But that doesn’t only mean you need to be the first to reach your audience.
To stay on the cutting edge of marketing in your industry, you will need to know these three things about your audience:
1. Who they are
2. Where they’re spending their time, and
3. When they’re buying
Most marketing strategies fail because they aren’t nailing at least 1 of these 3 factors, whether it’s your own efforts or your agency’s.
We’ve generated over 1,104,000,000 THB in online sales revenue for our clients by doing everything we can to ensure these 3 questions are always answered and updated. So while nothing is absolute, this approach has definitely been working well for us so far.
This can be a helpful guide for when you’re evaluating your marketing approach, or picking who you want to work with. Because if they can’t give you a clear process on how to find the answers to those 3 questions, then they’re not worth your time.
The first two points, Who your audience is and Where they’re spending their time, vary from industry to industry.
Your customers could be young or old, or prefer to spend their time on Facebook instead of watching Netflix or YouTube, for instance.
But the solution to the third one, When they’re buying, is something you can apply to your marketing strategy right now.
Because you need to put your audience first, you have to be able to figure out when they would want to buy your product, since not everybody is ready to buy then and there.
In fact, only 3% of your audience is ready to buy your product right now. That’s 3 out of 100 people.
To make things easier, here’s the general Sales Pyramid that applies to most audiences:
Because there are billions of people online, it’s hard to grasp just how many of them are actually in your target market.
But this simple triangle referenced from renowned business consultant Chet Holmes’ book, The Ultimate Sales Machine, is one of the best ways to make sense of who you want to reach.
It’s part of what we based all of our successes in audience targeting on. Not because it was written in a book: It’s because we tried several approaches before, and this made our clients the most sales revenue.
But saying that only 3% of your audience is ready to buy doesn’t mean you should forget the remaining 97% of the market.
The 3% are people whom you already know are likely to buy, such as people who liked and followed your Facebook page, sent a message asking about your product before or added something to their cart on your website.
The remaining 97% are a mix of people who (1) have problems that your product can solve but are still searching for what to buy, (2) those who are problem-aware but not actively searching and (3) those who aren’t problem-aware at all.
The goal of your marketing campaigns should be to find a way to for-sure get purchases from your top 3%, and gradually turn the remaining 97% into your buying audience in the future.
This foundation ensures your marketing strategy will continuously be making you money. Here’s what your high-level model should look like:
Let’s use Son of Wood as an example for this, since we applied this approach to their record-breaking strategy.
Their top 3% audience—and part of the 17% who are gathering information before making a decision—would be contractors who already know who Son of Wood are, and are actively searching for a solution to their old and brittle wooden construction moulds.
Their problem-aware 20% would be contractors who have issues with their wooden formwork, but haven’t had the time or need to find a solution yet.
And the remaining 60% don’t notice a problem at all, until they get convinced in the future that there is a better alternative.
So to recap, the first step to taking your marketing campaigns to the next level is to understand who your audience is, where they spend their time and when they’re buying.
The bottom line is if your marketing strategy or your agency isn’t clear about how to make the most out of your audience groups, then it might just be why results haven’t been picking up.
Now we’re going to show you exactly how we applied all of what we’ve discussed so far into our performance marketing campaigns for Son of Wood.
One of the most powerful tools in Facebook marketing is the platform’s ability to separate those who already know who you are from those who have never heard of you before.
This is perfect for targeting people at different levels of the sales pyramid, and that’s precisely what we did for Son of Wood.
For their Facebook ads, we split audience targeting based on 2 types of audiences:
Facebook’s current targeting capabilities allow you to reach all sorts of people within these groups.
Remarketing audiences would ideally be people who visited your website, followed your page or interacted with you before. Even on a basic level, Facebook already gives you these options to re-target people:
These people who have shown interest in your products before are most likely to be your top 3% audience.
And as for Cold audiences, Facebook lets you target people based on their interests, demographics, and even by degree of similarity to your existing customer list, like this:
Detailed targeting gets a little more complicated than that, and that’s when you’ll need a cutting-edge marketing team to help you. But even without the help you can already start connecting with your audience with these existing tools.
And any strategy that doesn’t make use of these tools needs to, because they’re already there and we’ve found them to be incredibly effective in our campaigns.
So that’s a basic overview of how to target your audience. Now it’s time to find out what to target them with: your ads.
The strategy we used for Son of Wood was simple: We showed Facebook ads with Cold approaches to people who didn’t know about Son of Wood.
And if they still didn’t buy, we targeted them with ads that used Remarketing approaches to ensure these people would buy.
In doing that, we would be continuously turning the majority of the audience into the 3% who are willing to buy then and there.
And here’s the difference between cold and remarketing ads:
Cold ads focus more on an educational angle to inform and persuade the audience why they should care about your products.
So they generally contain everything they need to know before making a buying decision, or just enough to make them want to learn more.
Here’s what a Cold ad for Son of Wood looked like:
The text in the copy itself is short, and gets straight to the point on Son of Wood’s features: its ease of assembly, light-weight frames and durability.
The ad also shows the audience exactly how the products are going to be used on the construction site.
Normally when creating ads, it’s a best practice to talk about the benefits of how your product is going to help the audience, instead of leading with the features.
That means talking about how your product is going to save them money, time or end their suffering, instead of straight-up telling them that the product is good and high in quality.
However, this ad from Son of Wood’s previous marketing efforts was one of the most popular, even though it led with a features-based approach.
This goes back to you having the mindset of putting your audience first. Test different approaches, and go with the ones that get the most purchases from the audience, instead of assuming that any approach will work just because it’s supposed to.
Moving on to Remarketing ads, these ads are designed to convince people who have already seen your product, but aren’t entirely convinced yet.
Here’s an example of a promotion ad from Son of Wood:
This ad focused mainly on the seasonal promotion, targeted to people who didn’t buy from the cold ads stage. It communicated to the audience with urgency, telling them that they’re about to miss out on Son of Wood’s biggest discount of the year.
While this ad performed very well, successful Remarketing ads don’t always have to be about promotions.
You can test different approaches to see which ones your audience likes more, like testimonials from past customers, or explaining how much better their lives would be with your product.
As for the image, we leveraged the best practice of using product pictures assembled as they will be used on-site, because they worked so well with the cold ad.
And that’s the beautiful thing about online advertising. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, and you shouldn’t.
The data and feedback from your audience already tells you how you can improve on what didn’t work. All you need to do is use the data!
Again, if your marketing efforts aren’t fully using all of these capabilities—and even beyond that, because businesses are already using them as we speak—then this could be another reason why you haven’t gotten to the next level yet.
We’ve talked a lot about what it takes to be on the cutting edge of online marketing. But it’s a whole different story when it comes to whether your efforts will actually make you the money you need.
Before Son of Wood started working with us, they were stuck with the same peak revenue for several months.
The CEO set a goal with us to see a 30% increase in sales revenue, for this whole strategy to be considered a success.
So here is Son of Wood’s real sales revenue growth within the first 6 months of working with us:
We ended up increasing Son of Wood’s average monthly sales revenue by 60%, doubling the original sales goal.
And the sales revenue increase was achieved under the same marketing budget across 6 months.
Results are also consistently improving, which means the company is getting real, tangible increases in sales revenue by applying everything we’ve discussed above.
Every decision was tied back to maintaining and increasing sales. Even in the second month where results started dropping, we collaborated with the founder to launch a promotion (the seasonal promo from the remarketing ad example above).
We increased the budget in month 2 to learn more about Son of Wood’s key buying audiences for the promotion, so that in future months we would ensure that the budget would be spent wisely.
And after the second month, we brought the budget back to normal while sales revenue gradually increased.
Son of Wood had never experienced this much online revenue growth before. But that wasn’t the only achievement that helped them get to the next level.
In addition to increasing their monthly sales revenue by 60%, this strategy also saved the CEO an even more valuable commodity: time.
By finding the right marketing partner and implementing a strategy that works, Son of Wood’s CEO no longer has to worry about her marketing campaigns.
All she has to do is check our KPI sheets to see whether the company is moving in the right direction.
Now she can finally step out of the campaigns and focus on growing her company instead. And that’s how things should be for any owner who wants to see their business succeed in both the short and long term.
1. If you want to take your business to the next level, then your goal should be to ultimately rank in the top 10% of companies in your industry.
That means your marketing has to generate the top 10% of results in your industry too. Like we discussed in the case study, applying a marketing approach centered around your audience is crucial to your business’ success, because at the end of the day, they’re the ones buying your product.
2. Find a marketing partner who has experience growing companies like yours.
Aspiring to reach the top 10% means you will need a proven team of experts to take over your marketing: both because they have the expertise, and because you can’t spare the time to do your own marketing anymore.
The fact is great marketing makes you more money. But even then, few are willing to pay the price for strategic experience and to be on the cutting edge.
Many end up choosing their marketing teams based on price and quantity instead. The results are then often frustrating, and that’s why most businesses never experience what is actually possible for them.
Don’t pick an agency just because they’re well-known, or because they’re on the cheaper side. Look for marketing agencies/partners who have succeeded in driving more sales for companies in your industry, or companies with a similar scale and size to yours.
It’s the best way to ensure they’ll know exactly what you need to succeed, speak on your terms and can deliver what they promise.
3. Do steps 1 and 2 Fast.
The more time you waste without a solution, the more potential market share you’re going to lose.
More and more companies are turning to digital marketing as their solution to success. And the companies who do more of what makes them successful, become more successful before the rest.