Do You Need to Hire an Agency to Help With Your Digital Marketing?

Today's modern marketing landscape is inherently complex. This is particularly true for small business owners, those with minimal marketing experience, or small marketing teams with big goals to grow their business. Between balancing more traditional campaigns (local advertising, television, direct mail), to wrapping your head around modern tactics (SEO, social media, video creation, email marketing), to trying to track and measure it all, anyone thinking about marketing a business can quickly become overwhelmed.

While it's common for big organizations to work with agencies to solve these marketing headaches, is an agency a pragmatic investment for small businesses?

Here's the thing—there is no definite answer that works for every business. While agencies can definitely feel expensive for most small businesses with limited marketing budgets, if you become crystal clear on the potential value of your marketing investment, you can start to understand if the cost is worth it.

So, start by determining your business priorities, how marketing can help you reach them, and what type of value achieving them can bring to your business.

For example, let's say you own a restaurant and are having trouble getting enough people to come in and try you out. Google isn't doing you any favors by ranking your site on page two—and adversely, hungry people visiting your community don't know that you exist. Would ranking first mean that you'd have 25% more new customers each week? How often do new visitors return to your restaurant? What does that look like revenue-wise for you business?

Once you understand the potential business value of ranking higher on Google, you can start thinking about an appropriate budget to reach that goal—and comparing options that will help get you there. What is the actual cost of different agencies? Feel free to reach out to different options with your exact needs and even your target budget to see what they can do for you. How does that compare to working with a freelancer? Would it be more cost effective to use Google Adwords and pay to be first?

By really looking at these numbers, you can determine what course of action makes the most sense, prior to engaging with a marketing agency; however, an agency worth their salt should also be open to helping you answer these questions in order to make sure it will be a good partnership before signing on the dotted line.

So what if you know your marketing isn't working—but aren't sure where to even start with fixing it? This could be a good time to consider working with a marketing consultant—particularly if they have experience working in your industry. Digital consultants typically work off a retainer and may be hired by the hour to help you assess your marketing goals. An experienced consultant can save you months of headache (or thousands of dollars) when it comes to moving forward with a proper marketing investment.

As a final note, it's important to look specifically at your business and its unique challenges—and not what competitors or industry influencers are telling you. Just because your competition is highly active on the latest social media doesn't mean that you need to spend time or money competing with them on those platforms. In fact, understanding where your competitors are investing their money and resources could be an opportunity for you to try something else and find big wins at a smaller cost.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2018