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Have you been burned by marketing vendors in the past? It can be hard to build trust again. What should you look for when deciding between options? Should you use a marketing service or a software? What’s going to give you the best ROI?  Here are some ideas on how you can choose which marketing strategy is right for you.

A few tips on not getting burned by marketing vendors.

There are so many different marketing vendors to choose from so it’s important to do your due diligence. Consider creating a checklist of qualifications that each potential vendor must have. Make sure you understand exactly what each vendor does and have a clear idea of what you’re trying to accomplish by working with them. Clear expectations from the start are so important if your partnership is going to succeed. Here are a few other tips to keep in mind when partnering with a vendor:

– Read through the vendor agreement thoroughly.

– Ask all the questions. What costs are involved? Are my expectations clear? What are your expectations of me? What is the timeline for achieving results? 

– Check out their customer reviews. This is an easy, fool-proof way to determine how well a vendor may work for your needs. 

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Should I choose a service or a software? 

In this digital age, the importance of interacting with customers can’t be overstated. A fully fleshed out digital presence using a marketing service or software is the only way to effectively do business these days. There are essentially two main ways that customer engagement marketing vendors can be broken down:  software and services.

Software options like Podium, BirdEye and Trustpilot tend to be a popular choice because they seem simple and efficient. The reality is though, there’s much more to consider than initially meets the eye. It’s important to understand the ins and outs of each of these options. This way, you can make the best choice for your business.

Understanding Software

In order to be effective when using a software, employees must become very familiar and comfortable with the program. What’s more, they must actually use it. If the software isn’t widely adopted across the business, then it’s doing next to nothing for the company. Consequently, customer engagement will go largely unnoticed.

Some companies remedy this potential issue by putting a digital coordinator in charge of responding to customers. That’s fine, but this person is likely to be someone with a marketing background. Their specific sales knowledge is bound to be somewhat limited, and they’re probably not well-versed in the logistics of the company. You also have to consider the fact that you’re paying for both the software AND a full-time employee.

Another glaring issue with using a software is that it limits interactions with only those that seem happy or positive. If a company only ever received positive reviews or feedback that would be great. However, this isn’t generally the case and it’s better to be aware of negative comments circulating.

Perhaps most glaringly of all, a software can’t offer a company specialized feedback. It can’t give the company a net promoter score (NPS). It also can’t offer any insight into consistently built relationships or recurring issues. There are certainly ways to make a software perform well as a customer engagement method, but it’s important not to view software as the automatic best option.

How A Marketing Service Stacks Up

Sometimes the flash of a software can be exciting, but in application it turns out to be a little bit lackluster. The answer to this issue is somewhat obvious: a service. Of course, the main difference between a software and a service is the human element. There’s no machine on Earth that can be programmed quite so uniquely as the human brain, and the success of customer engagement services is a testament to that fact.

How exactly is a marketing service different than a software, though? Beyond utilizing people instead of algorithms, a service can simply offer a wider range of services.

In this sense, a service serves as a sort of command center. While a software can provide a central platform where all of potential interactions are housed, a service is more like a post office. It can dispatch the interactions to their proper receivers. Even better, a service can often take care of these inquiries themselves.

Service Benefits

A marketing service can more fully monitor a business’ online presence. For example, a business’s presence on Google has never been more important than it is today. A service can actively boost online presence, optimize a Google listing and drive targeted traffic to a website. A huge perk of a service is that there is a real-life person monitoring your online presence. Think of a service as an extension of your office.

Perhaps best of all, a service gives businesses the option to take a totally hands off approach if they want. Not interested in having anything to do with managing digital accounts? No problem, a service can take care of it on their own. Only want to hear about the accounts through monthly status reports? Easy enough, a service can oblige.

Basically, the work of a service is highly customizable. They can take into account a business’s priorities and practices rather than using generic standards to operate as a software might. Services are like a wholly autonomous appendage operating on its own. Whereas software is more like having an extra arm without an extra brain to make it work on its own.

Why Engagement Matters

Exerting time and resources to boost engagement isn’t just a means of pandering to a younger crowd. Nearly every demographic is using the Internet to make choices about the products and services they’re going to buy, so businesses ensuring that they’re engaged in that dialogue makes smart financial sense. The more positive reviews, encouraging messages, and general visibility that can be found online in association with a company, the more likely that company is to see sales increase.

What’s more, customers who engage with a brand are much more likely to remain loyal to it, and much more likely to buy more in the future. When looking at it from a statistical standpoint, it only makes sense to do everything possible to increase engagement. This is why it’s so important to collect customer feedback and work on mending any broken relationships.

More often than not, a business will observe much more staggering effects when they choose to enlist the help of a marketing service. We’d love to help you out and get things started with our services here at Lift Local. Let’s talk.