Sometimes, it’s obvious that you need outside help from a marketing agency. When you’re building a new website, for example, you need a team of content, design and programming experts that you likely don’t have in-house. Even if you do have the internal manpower, it probably doesn’t make sense to divert the attention of those individuals into the massive undertaking of a website rebuild.
Other times, it’s less clear if you can handle your marketing needs internally, or if you need to bring a social media marketing consultant, SEO consultant, content marketing agency, or digital marketing agency into the conversation.
Ways to Know When to Outsource Your Marketing
1. WHEN NON-MARKETING FOLKS ARE SPENDING TOO MUCH TIME THINKING ABOUT MARKETING.
In small and mid-sized companies, it’s typical for employees to wear multiple hats. But, if your CMO tweets, your CEO edits email copy, and your IT admin sets SEO strategy, everyone may be wearing one hat too many.
When correctly executed, marketing is a full-time job. It’s fine if non-specialists weigh in on one or two issues that overlap with their areas of expertise, but when marketing issues fall outside of these areas or when they take time away from valuable, strategic work, it’s time to hire a marketing agency.
2. WHEN YOU HAVE THE BUDGET TO HIRE ONE MARKETING CONSULTANT BUT COULD USE A WHOLE TEAM.
This is an agency’s biggest selling point — it’s often cheaper or the same price to hire an agency than it is to hire an internal marketing employee. With a marketing agency, you get a whole team of experts, from the senior manager who can help establish your marketing goals, to the social media marketing consultant who can help maximize your social media ads and paid placements.
An agency’s biggest selling point — it’s often cheaper or the same price to hire an agency than it is to hire an internal marketing employee.
A team approach is especially important when tackling technical projects or areas that you lack expertise. Sure, you can hire an internal employee to handle your company’s SEO and inbound marketing leads, but if you don’t fully understand SEO and inbound marketing and what success (and failure) looks like, how can you monitor the performance of your sole employee? Take his or her word for it? Is his or her work exceptional or just average? It can be hard to tell. At a marketing agency, everyone is an expert, and an under-performing employee is easily weeded out. This means that when you hire an agency, you can be confident that you’re getting the best experience for your money.
Benefits to Outsourcing Your Marketing
Even when business owners know that outsourcing is their best option, sometimes it still takes some convincing to push them over the edge. However, if your company is riding the line, you don’t want to spend too much time debating what you already know to be true. Marketing isn’t an area you want to waste too much time and energy failing. Your company’s success can hinge on a great marketing strategy and ongoing focused effort. Outsourcing with a marketing company can help with awareness, leads, customer service, development of new products and services, and expansion of your company.
Here are our top 3 reasons you should outsource sooner, rather than later.
Great marketing requires a diverse set of skills; and a marketing company has focused expertise, technology, and strengths. There are a lot of pieces that make up an expert marketing puzzle: integrated technology, research, analytics, planning, tracking, etc. Most businesses lack the financial resources to hire a dedicated marketing officer. Outsourcing to a marketing team brings all these areas of expertise together into a manageable package.
- Reduced Risk
Privacy legislation, do not call lists, CAN-SPAM initiatives, GDPR, and the Patriot Act are just a few of the legal considerations to navigate with your marketing campaigns. Compliance must be met to avoid a government audit. Outsourcing to a marketing company shifts the liability from your company to the experts.
No matter where your company is in its age or growth process, outsourcing your marketing can help solve many problems you may have in your business. Because marketing and branding is something that happens from the inside out of your company, marketing is no longer just an external effort. Anything and everything you do as an organization can affect the proper marketing of your company. Consulting with a focused and experience marketing agency can help you solve many of these internal problems and propel your company growth.
Before You Hire
Now that you’re convinced, it would be easy to jump the gun and hire the first marketing firm down the street that promises your company results. Not so fast. Outsourcing is only helpful to your business if you select the right team for your organization. This often includes referrals, scouring previous work, and asking lots of questions.
Here’s the questions you should be asking before you hire a marketing agency:
About the Marketing Agency
What expertise does your team have?
Be sure that the agency has a variety of skill including web design, search engine optimization, social media, content development, advertising, and graphic design. If you are going to outsource, you want someone that can offer you the complete package.
How long have you been in business?
This is a fundamental question that can tell you a lot. If the firm is new, that doesn’t mean you can’t give them a chance. But, be sure to ask about the experience level of the team. If the business has been around for a while, ask for references from past clients. Also, consider asking how long the employees have been on staff.
Who will be working with us?
Make sure you meet the entire team, especially the individual you will be working with the most.
What results have you had with other clients?
The agency should be able to give examples of what has worked in the past immediately. If they are not confident in their responses, look elsewhere.
How do you stay in touch with the latest trends?
The marketing world is forever changing, and you need to make sure your agency is keeping up with the latest tools and trends. Ask the company what their team does to stay ahead of the game.
How do you develop your strategy?
The agency you select should have a defined process for creating your marketing strategy. This process should include things like competitive analysis, keyword research, website audit, and editorial calendar production. If they can’t explain their process, the agency may be too inexperienced. And, always make sure the firm is developing a specific plan for you. Marketing is not one size fits all.
What ideas do you have for my organization?
An agency should be able to give you some marketing ideas during your first meeting, even if they must ask a few follow-up questions to get there. This is a good way to see how the agency interacts with each other and with you.
How will you keep me informed?
Regular communication is necessary. You need to know what the agency is doing, and the agency needs to know what is going on inside your organization. Ask what they communicate and how often. This is not a one-way street, though; make sure someone in your organization will be available when the agency has questions.
How do you measure success?
A good answer will always include the word “conversion”. Marketing is all about getting a potential customer to do something like sign up for an email, buy a service, or call for more information. Other possible answers include things like website traffic, keyword rankings, follower count, and traffic sources.
How long before we see results?
Marketing is a process. It takes time to figure out the most effective keywords, the best time to send emails, and the types of content that get the most interaction. You will see some results in three to four months, but typically it is more like six to 12 months. It takes time to identify the strategy that works for your organization. If an agency says they can have you ranking #1 on Google tomorrow, you’re only going to be set up for disappointment.
What happens if the strategy isn’t working?
A good agency admits that some things may not work. They also assure you that they are watching the metrics behind their strategy and will adjust the plan if necessary.
We truly believe that outsourcing your marketing is one of the best things that you can do for your business. Element 47 would love to become your company’s marketing partner, so give us a shout when you’re ready to hand the work over to a team of experts.