As a small business owner, one of your most crucial investments will be the money that you allocate for marketing. You could have the best company, service, or product in the world but without proper marketing, you will go belly up in no time.
If your company is too small to sustain its own marketing department, outsourcing your marketing services can be cost-effective and an overall successful way to bolster your marketing efficiency. What you need, in a nutshell, is an outsourced Marketing Director.
How do I Outsource My Marketing Department?
The first step in outsourcing is to determine that it is the best option for you. Normally, this will be because you are busy, or your time is better spent, on other activities or because marketing is just not your ‘thing’.
If you have you’ve done a skills review or looked over your budget and decided that outsourcing your marketing is the best move for your small business, you can now begin to look for marketing agencies.
Many digital marketing companies offer a wide array of marketing services that you can pick and choose from as well as customize to ensure that you are getting the right marketing techniques for your company. In the rest of this article, we’ll help you consider the most important factors in moving your marketing to a specialist agency like Ketchup.
How Should I Choose an Outsourced Marketing Agency?
Cost comparisons are crucial when it comes to searching for a marketing agency. Remember though, as with so many services, you get what you pay for. Whilst there are agencies out there that are as cheap as chips, don’t expect them to grow your business rapidly or form a deep understanding of your brand.
What you should look for in a marketing agency is bang for buck, i.e. given the budget you have and the growth you want to see, which agency is the best fit for your brand?
Make sure to engage with a few companies before you settle for the one that you are going to trust your with your business. Ask for a menu option of services that the company offers, even if you don’t want them all to begin with, it is easier to grow with a trusted agency than to move when you get too big for them. Look for things like:
- Brand & Marketing Strategy
- Google Pay Per Click
- Social Media Strategy & Management
- Website Design & Creation
- Blog, Newsletter and Copywriting Services, and
- Search Engine Optimisation
If it’s not a full service marketing agency (like Ketchup) and is missing any of these, they are likely not rounded enough for the needs of your modern growing business. Just because someone owns a laptop and can crank out Facebook posts doesn’t mean that they are a credible source of marketing.
What Outsourced Marketing Services Should I Ask for?
The services that you contract to an agency depends on what you can and cannot cover in-house. For instance, if you have somebody in the office that can cover all forms of relevant social media, then consider cutting that from your agency needs and requirements.
You have to be realistic about what you can and cannot do. There is nothing worse than marketing that is done inconsistently. If you feel that your current employees will not be able to handle the demands of one of your marketing services in addition to their daily activities, then it is wise to outsource. You get the guarantee that work will get done and ultimately the sanction of transferring your business if it is not.
If you’re not sure what you and your team can handle, be upfront about this when you start sounding out agencies. Take advantage of their free audits and consultation services and ask them to tell you what is worth outsourcing and what is not. A good agency, like ours, will be honest about where you need help and where you have it covered.
Get at least three of these done to cross-reference and get a better understanding of what will make your marketing successful.
Can I Outsource my Social Media Accounts?
Social media on its own can be a time consuming beast.
Any reputable marketing manager will know that social media cannot be outsourced and forgotten about. This is because the new Facebook algorithm favors organic content.
What does this mean exactly? Basically, photos and videos that you share that are organically engaged with my users will do better than branded or ad type posts. Because of this, someone in-house will need to work with your marketing agency to provide content for social pages. However, to make sure your content is engaging (which it needs to be, if it is to grow your audience) you, or someone in your team, will still need to provide content.
This is one of the reasons many companies attempt to run their own social platforms, however, there is a lot more to social media for your business than simply posting Facebook statuses. Finding someone to create engaging content for all of your platforms, manage your post schedules, network with clients and referring businesses and track your page growth is a full-time job in itself.
Because of the nature of this need, it is important to find an agency that is easy to communicate with and that you can build a personal relationship with. The better your agency knows you, the more your content will reflect your values, goal, and the mission of your business. Do not skip over social media, this is not something that should be taken lightly and will be the face of your marketing for many users.
How Should I Set Up my Outsourcing Contract?
The nature of the beast is that some marketing techniques will work wonders for your business, while others just won’t. You want to work with a small business marketing agency that you have confidence in. One that will bring you success whilst recognising that, at least in the early stages, there has to be an element of experimentation to see what works with your audience in your market.
While you are just starting out don’t be surprised if you’re plagued with a lot of uncertainty; it is the very reason why we provide you with a small army of outsourced marketing managers!
You won’t know how the agency will deliver and how your marketing presence will be affected. To bolster your confidence in the agency, you should at least get a monthly report outlining what work has been done on your account, for what reason (i.e. what outcome were they after for the work done?), the results they’ve had and their recommendations for the coming month.
You should also agree upfront with your agency the overriding targets of the contract. If you have not explicitly agreed these at the start of your relationship there will likely be problems down the line. As the client, you are in charge of setting these big strategic marketing objectives, which might include:
- More website contact forms completed
- Better costs per click
- Higher customer spend per transaction
- Increased audience satisfaction ratings
- Greater social reach
- Improved market share, etc
Make sure to attach actual numbers / percentages to whatever you choose, so there is a measurable target in place. Not only will this let you evaluate the results of each month and decide if their marketing services are worth the money, but will also help you set your initial budget. For example, you won’t be setting £10k per month aside for marketing if your target is to grow profits by £5k per month.
If you believe that another agency could grow your numbers and boost your engagement even further, cut off the contract at the end of the month and go elsewhere. The last thing that you want to do is tie yourself into a partnership that is simply not working or meeting your marketing needs. When you get to know your agency better and start seeing strong results, you will be able to adjust your contract and extend for longer periods at a time if need be.
Outsourcing Your Business Marketing – A Summary
As a professional marketing agency, we are here to help grow your business (as we have dozens of others over the past decade). Remember though, the nature of our business is marketing; we are trained professionals at selling our services.
For this reason, it’s important that you do your research before going to a meeting or consultation with us or any other other marketing agency. At the very least, have a clear picture of what you want to achieve for your budgeted spend.
This is why it is often a good idea to shop around and compare consultation recommendations and services. Knowledge is power, and the more you know about the wonderful world of marketing, the more equipped you will be to choose the right services for your business and to pick an agency that is right for you.
Outsourcing your marketing efforts is a smart way to spread your reach digitally and to get your company the attention it deserves. If you are simply too small for your own marketing department, outsourcing is a cost-effective way to make sure that your marketing needs are still being met.
If you’d like to see how we can be your highly effective marketing department, click here to make contact.