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This is dedicated to all clients and prospects old and new, as well as agencies trying to make some headway with a woolly brief.

A marketing brief, digital or otherwise helps lay the foundation for a working partnership. This framework is key in helping shape a strategy to reaching your objectives.

Top tips to writing a digital marketing brief that gets the best proposal

Start with Why

Simon Sinek gave one of the most watched Ted Talks in history. The talk was entitled ‘Start with Why’ and looked at what makes companies stand out and successful in a commoditized market.

When preparing a brief, finding your ‘why’ can help in shaping your thought process.

You can view the talk here:

Simon Sinek - start with why


1) What are you trying to achieve?

Think hard about this question. Now think even harder. It is possibly the hardest question to answer as you have been stuck in a monotonous cycle for years. You know you need help and now is your chance to really make an impact on your business.

2) What are the overall business goals?

Before diving into the detail, go back to basics. What is the overall business goal? To be the best, biggest, cheapest, most niche, to offer a solution, to fill a gap, to enrich people’s lives, save people time, show increased value? By pinning this down you can refocus on how to work up to that goal.

Set your Goals

(Image: Estée Janssens on Unsplash)

3) What numbers do you need to achieve?

Once you have established the overall business goals, add a second layer, what are the numbers you need in order to achieve the goals. Are you targeting a revenue growth percentage or possibly a profit margin?

4) How will you measure success?

Key performance indicators will help you to keep on track and map out how are you going to get there?

What measurements will prove success? For growth, how much are you willing to invest to achieve that growth and when does that become unsustainable?

If profitability is the target, what is your current cost per customer or cost per lead and what does it need to be to improve your margins?

5) Identify the holes in order to pin down your real needs

Where are you currently losing profit, e.g. your average order value is too low, are your prices right?

Are you promoting the right products? If you are seeing an 80% bounce rate then only 20% of users on your website are engaging, the rest are potentially not finding what they are looking for. Perhaps only 1% of users proceed all the way through to purchase, if this was even 1.5% what impact might that have on the business?

You might be unable to see where the gaps are however a reputable digital marketing agency should be able to help you identify what these gaps may be.

6) What?

Only now can we take a look at what you are marketing. Breakdown what are your priority products and services? How do they differ in price or margin? How do they compete with the competition and what are your USP’s?

7) Who?

Who is your ideal customer? Enterprise businesses, everyday online consumers, HNWI’s? You may have different tiers of customers, in which case what is your sweet spot or bread and butter? Who are the rare but love to have clients?

8) Where?

What locations are you selling to? Which of those are your priorities? How do different locations engage with your products or services?

9) How?

What has been done to date to achieve your goals? How have strategies run in the past? What channels have you used? Has the performance been monitored and reported on? How successful have they been?

10) When do you need help?

What will happen if you don’t get help? What impact will that have on the business? If you continue for the next 3 months on a CPA which is only £5 higher than you need and you make 1000 sales per month you will be haemorrhaging 1000 x £5 per month = £5,000 per month. So the cost for delaying a decision by 3 months is costing you a potential £15k. Can you afford not to make a quick decision?

11) How much are you willing to invest?

Based on the above, what are you willing to invest to achieve your goals and targets?
This answer should now be much more straightforward.

It can be an awkward question, often because of a lack of planning. It shouldn’t be. If you know what you need to achieve, you should be able to calculate what you are able to invest for that return.

Once you have your brief, it’s down to the hard part, sieving the wheat from the chaff.

What agency is going to be the right fit? There isn’t an exact answer here but these questions may help in the decision-making process:

a) Do they fit in line with your ethos?
b) Do you get along? Having a relationship helps
c) Do they understand your business and what your brief is highlighting?
d) Do they convey knowledge that builds your trust?
e) Are they talking about tracking, numbers and goals?
f) Are they asking more questions than you? If they are, that’s a good sign

We are not the right fit for everyone. We are not miracle workers and can’t always achieve your goals (mainly because the goals are unrealistic), however, we will tell you that before everyone wastes a lot of time and money.

A while back we tried to help a client choose the right agency – you can read it here. It’s called, ‘How to Choose a PPC Agency’.

If you have a brief or need help shaping one we would love to take a look and see if we are the right fit for each other. Let’s have a chat.


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