Marketing. Every business owner knows we can’t survive without it, and yet it can be such a drain on time and resources if it isn’t your primary job. The cherry on top? Many businesses feel that the return on investment tends to feel so unclear. Sometimes, it may be overwhelming worth the cost to leave marketing to the professionals. We know we surface a lot great marketing ideas here on the blog (coming our professional marketer, Diana no less), but sometimes you may have time periods where you’re just too busy to implement any of our great advice! Whether you’ve been rethinking your marketing efforts because of slow sales, you worry you just aren’t reaching your market potential, or perhaps you just need more bandwidth to do your job (what you actually got into business to do)…perhaps it’s time to consider using a marketing agency.
No matter your budget or your company’s current position, there are options available to cover, expand or streamline your small business marketing efforts. From improving the efficiency of your in-house operation to hiring a full scale marketing agency, let’s take a look at the available options for every business and every budget to answer your “should I hire a marketing agency” quandary!
Improving Your In-House Strategy
Even if resources are tight and hiring out isn’t an option, there’s a lot you can do to streamline your marketing efforts from inside the organization. For example, if daily posting to social media is distracting you from the rest of your work, try scheduling posts weekly through a service like Buffer or Hootsuite. Or if you’re growing your content marketing strategy, try using an editorial calendar to plan out your blog further in advance and better manage your time. You may even consider inviting guest bloggers to post on your site, helping you to generate more relevant content in less time.
But for many entrepreneurs, there comes a time when, no matter the tools available, getting all that marketing work done just isn’t realistic. Whether you as the owner are handling all your marketing efforts, or you’ve handed it off to a support person with many other tasks on their plate—the eventual result will be hit or miss leads and stagnant sales.
At the most basic level, a marketing agency geared towards small business could provide you with consulting services, and craft a plan for you to follow for a few months. The marketing agency can take a look at your business, growth plan, and current customers and audience, and identify which tactics will be best to focus your limited efforts on first. Having a social media strategy is the first step to success.
When You Just Can’t Get It All Done
Maybe you’re still a very small operation. You have a handle on what your company’s marketing needs are, but the nitty gritty of getting it all done is distracting you from the rest of your work. In that case, a virtual assistant agency may be your perfect bet. We love Don’t Panic Management for help with content marketing, editorial planning, and social media management. This is an affordable middle of the road solution for those who can’t do it all alone, but aren’t quite ready for the big guns (Seriously, we are in love with them!). Virtual assistance Agencies like DPM offer packages, or “a la cart” options, as in “I need help with Facebook and Twitter, but do not need Instagram and Pinterest”. With a small agency, you’ll also develop a very strong, personal relationship, allowing your virtual assistant to quickly learn and speak your brand’s voice.
Hiring a Full Scale Marketing Agency
If you’re ready to take your business to the next level and are stumped on what your strategy should be, hiring a marketing agency may be your logical next step. An agency can formulate a plan for your marketing strategy moving forward and either hand off that plan to your staff, execute it themselves, or some of both.
For help with website SEO and paid search options, 435 Digital and Brick Marketing are great resources. If you’re more focused on affordably growing your content and social media marketing strategies, check to see if there’s a marketing agency in your town (shop local remember?). Take a look at “full scale” agencies like PickAxe Creative . We here at Funding Gates are big supporters of small focused marketing agencies like Lead Me Media, AdVision, SDI Marketing, Launch Digital Marketing, and event marketing gurus La Fusion Marketing.
The right fit for your needs in a marketing agency will depend on your budget and the goals you are trying to meet. To find the best choice for your company, talk to peers in your industry whose marketing strategies you admire to find a marketing agency you’d like to work with- you may be surprised to find out who’s actually using an agency and who’s doing it all in-house. This is a perfectly acceptable topic of conversation at networking events. Ultimately, the goal is increased revenue and growth for your business. And if you’re willing to make the investment, the right marketing agency will help you take your business to the next level.