If you feel your business is at a crossroads, you may be looking for some help to ensure you turn in the right direction.
Growing your business in today’s highly competitive digital world is challenging, to say the least. Not only are you competing with similar businesses in your geographical area, but your competition may also extend halfway around the world.
Hiring a marketing agency can help you position your business to attract new customers better, generate leads and turn those leads into sales. Yet every business is different, and many small business owners struggle with whether they should implement more marketing initiatives themselves or get outside help. You may already have asked yourself, “Should I hire a digital marketing agency?”
To answer that question, you’ll need to examine your revenue goals as a business owner. Achieving sustainable, long-term growth often involves implementing a strategic marketing approach … one that an experienced digital marketing agency can put into motion.
You should consider hiring a digital marketing agency if …
- Your marketing strategy needs a modern boost
- You are a busy business owner
- Your business has a limited marketing budget
- You have more than one marketing need
- Lead generation has stalled
- Your revenue has plateaued
Your Marketing Strategy Needs A Modern Boost
Gone are the days of mailbox flyers, Yellow Pages ads and billboards. Many businesses today are finding that traditional marketing like print, trade shows and direct mail are producing diminishing returns. Known as “outbound marketing,” this conventional form of advertising has been popular for decades … until now.
While it’s possible to reach potential customers using one of these methods, chances aren’t great that a random person receiving your marketing collateral will contact you to purchase a product or service that you offer.
It’s like throwing a dart randomly at a map, hoping to hit a particular city. Chances are; eventually, you’ll land on it once, but how many attempts did you go through before you scored a bullseye? In today’s digital world, the numbers game doesn’t equal a lot of success. Instead, you waste a lot of resources and money, only to attract a few sales that won’t offset the time, effort and funds spent on these antiquated marketing methods.
Reaching your target audience requires a modern marketing strategy. Elements of a modern marketing strategy include:
- Collateral development and production
- Content development specialists
- Email nurturing
- Graphic artists
- Market research
- A multitude of Marketing Software
- Metrics/data analysts
- Mobile marketing specialists
- PR specialists
- SEO/keyword research
- Social media marketing
- Website development/re-engineering
Even among these marketing tools, new technologies are constantly evolving. New apps are being developed every day, as are new ways potential customers have to find your business. This rapid change in new technologies can make marketing a challenge for small businesses, but an experienced digital marketing agency can help implement an effective strategy that thrusts your marketing plan into the 21st century.
You Are A Busy Business Owner
And what business owner isn’t? While many entrepreneurs built their businesses with a do-it-yourself work ethic, there are only so many hours in the day.
A digital marketing company will free up time to run your business, or perhaps more importantly, not take away time from the important day-to-day operations of running your business. After all, the time and effort it would take for an owner to carry out a modern marketing strategy successfully would most certainly impact a company.
It’s important to note that there is an enormous learning curve for anyone with little experience in marketing. Developing a customized marketing plan for your business is just a component of a successful strategy. Implementing it is an entirely different beast.
You would need to assume several additional roles, from social media manager to website designer, content marketer, data analyst, mobile marketing specialist and more. Becoming a tapped-out business owner with little to no time to run the rest of your business is not a good scenario.
And as marketing technology and techniques continue to evolve, you’ll need to dedicate a significant amount of time to staying on top of the latest trends.
But is a digital marketing agency the right answer? Or should you hire your own internal team?
Your Business Has A Limited Marketing Budget
Investing money into your business can be daunting. Many small businesses have limited funds to work with and want to ensure any investments they make have a significant return on investment (ROI).
This leads many business owners also to consider hiring an employee to implement a new marketing strategy. While it’s understandable that a business owner would rather bring someone in-house and grow the number of employees, this can be an expensive option. If your business has a limited marketing budget, to begin with, this may even be an impossible option.
There are significant costs associated with hiring a new team member. Let’s assume you decide only to hire one staff member, a marketing manager. Here is an estimate of the annual costs you’ll face:
- $85,621 in salary (national average)
- $40,000 a year for Social Security, healthcare, disability, paid time off, pensions and 401k
- TOTAL: $126,165
While a marketing manager can oversee the implementation of your digital marketing strategy, it’s highly unlikely that person will have the time or knowledge to cover all the bases. For example, you’ll either need to hire or outsource these positions as well:
- A copywriter to produce content for your marketing campaigns
- A graphic artist to create custom branded visuals
- A web designer to build out your website
- A social media manager to oversee your promotional campaigns
If you bring these positions on as marketing team members, now you’re talking about another $340,000 in annual salaries. When you factor in benefits, you’re hitting closer to half a million.
We break down this number even further in our article, Are You Wasting Money On Your Marketing Team?
A more cost-effective option for many small businesses is to instead work with a digital marketing agency. When you work with an agency, you pay one monthly fee that provides access to an entire team of marketing professionals.
The annual cost of hiring a marketing agency can average about $48,000. That fee includes all the staff, tools and marketing software needed to manage your marketing campaigns for less than it would cost you to hire a single marketing in-house team member.
By choosing a marketing agency, you could save nearly $400,000 every year. Plus, you get experience in marketing and a personalized approach right out of the gate, without a learning curve that puts you behind in achieving your goals.
You Have More Than One Marketing Need
There are many types of digital marketing agencies available. Many of these specialize in specific marketing areas, including:
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Content creation
- Social media
- Public relations
Your business may be in a position where only certain aspects of your marketing need tweaking. You may only be looking for short-term solutions as well, in which one of the types of agencies above may provide the boost you need.
However, if you’re looking for a long-term solution, you would likely benefit more from a comprehensive approach to lead generation. For example, an inbound marketing agency is a type of digital marketing firm that uses a methodology that attracts, engages and delights customers along their buyers’ journeys.
Inbound marketing is especially effective because it incorporates many of the different types of digital marketing methods above to work with the customer rather than against the customer. Inbound marketing attracts targeted traffic to your website by creating relevant content aimed at your ideal customers. This type of marketing produces the best results by allowing customers to come to you on their terms, rather than the other way around.
To determine whether inbound marketing is right for your business, it’s important to ask yourself these questions:
- Do your products or services require a level of education before a purchase is made?
- Do you have a sales cycle that is longer than just a few minutes?
- Do your prospects spend time researching your industry and local businesses like yours before making a purchase?
- Do your prospects spend time on other industry sites, or association and trade-sponsored sites?
- Are your salespeople telling you that they are having difficulty connecting with prospects?
- Are your competitors’ websites ranking higher than yours in Google, Yahoo and Bing?
- Are your customers saying to you, “I didn’t know you had that service or product?”
- Are you finding that traditional advertising like print, trade shows, yellow pages and direct mail are showing diminishing returns?
- Are your prospects spending time on social media outlets? Is the price of your average order above $500?
- Do you want a steady stream of leads over a period of time?
If you answered YES to MOST of these questions:
Inbound marketing is a good fit for your business.
If you answered NO to SEVERAL of these questions:
This does not mean inbound marketing is a bad fit for your business. It may mean that you need to look at the questions more deeply, since you may have answered based on how well you think a strategy is working rather than basing your answer on data.
If you answered NO to ALL of these questions:
Inbound marketing is likely not right for your business. Some industries won’t likely benefit from inbound sales, including ones with short sales cycles or ones that have a small average price per order.
A B2B Procurement Study found that 94% of B2B buyers conduct online research at some point in the buying process. It’s critical that you invest in a marketing strategy that drives brand awareness by utilizing modern digital channels to generate leads. The best digital marketing agencies that incorporate inbound marketing methods will also track your progress through performance indicators (KPI), or data points, to ensure you are meeting your marketing goals.
You Need More Revenue, So Look At Marketing As An Investment, Not An Expense!
Any marketing is an investment in your business. However, having the mindset to view your marketing budget as an investment rather than an expense, is a very important consideration.
We once had several meetings with a potential client who bought into our proposed strategies to grow his business. He was impressed with our current client's success rates and wanted to jump right into the program. Once he heard the price to perform the marketing strategies he needed to reach the revenue goals he had set for us, he completely changed his point of view. To this business owner, the cost of implementing these marketing strategies could be used to put towards the purchase of a new truck. It didn’t seem to concern him that he did not have enough business to keep his current fleet of trucks in service, never mind buy a new truck. He saw the cost of marketing as an expense and not an investment in his future growth.
Additionally, spending your hard-earned dollars on outdated marketing tactics will leave your business status quo, at best. If your goal is to experience business growth, making the right investment in your company’s future is key.
A successful digital marketing agency is motivated to deliver value to its clients. It will have processes in place to deliver the highest possible ROI and a proven track record.
Working with a digital marketing agency also allows you to control costs more while also working with professionals who are trained to analyze and optimize their methods. You’ll get an entire team of experts, from creative content developers to graphic artists, social media managers, web developers, marketing analytics experts and more.
You’ll also have access to an entire suite of marketing tools and software that can help you achieve your goals … all while you focus on the important day-to-day operations of doing what you love, running your business.
Bill is the CEO and Founder of InTouch Marketing. Bill drives the vision and direction of InTouch except when England's playing in a soccer tournament, because everything stops!