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Most entrepreneurs don’t want to be head of sales, operations, and marketing, yet they take on additional responsibilities out of necessity. Those without marketing experience who find themselves making integral marketing decisions can be paralyzed by fear. Unfortunately, that fear is holding your business back from additional revenue.
It’s easy to prioritize the wrong tasks when you’re not sure what you’re doing. Of course, there are excellent digital marketing resources out there to educate yourself — SEO expert Neil Patel and entrepreneur/marketing god Seth Godin are great places to start, but a couple of marketing blogs might not be enough.
One of the biggest hurdles entrepreneurs face is lack of time. When time is scarce and you need digital marketing support now, it might be time to hire an agency.
Today, agencies are becoming even more niche, which is good news for entrepreneurs and small business owners. If you want to focus solely on social media or SEO, there’s an agency for that. There’s no need to hire an all-encompassing, pricey conglomerate anymore. By working with highly specialized experts, you not only take time-consuming responsibilities off of your plate, but you pass those tasks to the experts.
Advertising agencies aren’t just for Fortune 500 companies with budgets to burn through. Hiring an outside agency is actually the smartest choice for entrepreneurs and small business owners. Here are six signs it’s time to hire a digital marketing agency.
1. You hate marketing
As an entrepreneur, you’re used to having your hand in almost every aspect of the business, but just because you know what you should be doing, doesn’t mean you enjoy the work. When there’s no passion behind an email, a tweet, or an industry report, your audience will know.
Plus, the marketing landscape is constantly changing. Staying up to date on digital marketing and SEO updates is a full-time job. In fact, according to cognitive psychologist and Marketing Scientist at Moz, Dr. Peter J. Meyers, Google reported over 3,000 improvements to search in 2018, an average of almost nine per day.
2. Your sales are down
First, review internally. Are you confident in your product or service, customer service, pricing model, and team members? If you answered yes to all four, then disappointing sales may be due to poor marketing. Find out for sure by scheduling introductory calls with two to three agencies you’re interested in learning more about.
Consider these conversations as the first round of interviews, for both your company and the agency, to see if there’s chemistry. The best part is their marketing and advertising experts will review your current strategy and offer feedback for improvement. This will tell you which campaigns (or lack thereof) are standing in the way of success as well as indicate which agency you enjoy working with the most.
3. You don’t know why campaigns succeed or fail
Have you ever had your website traffic skyrocket, but no idea where these people were coming from? Or worse, drop to Google’s second page and feel completely in the dark about what happened? Growth is almost impossible without a deep understanding of your marketing data. Even worse, you’ll waste valuable time on ineffective campaigns and strategies.
Do you know how many leads closed from your last paid social media campaign? How about the number of website visitors that viewed your Request a Demo page, but didn’t submit the form? Agency experts will be able to audit your existing marketing initiatives, tell you what’s not working, and replicate/build upon triumphs.
4. You want to start quickly
Agency employees are accustomed to working with a variety of clients and jumping from project to project. Your latest campaign can be up and running in a matter of weeks as opposed to the months-long process of promoting a job, filtering through resumes, interviewing, negotiating, hiring, and training a new employee.
As you consider whether your small business is ready to hire an agency, jot down your expectations, goals, and deal-breakers. Be sure to include all tasks you want to be taken off your to do list. Not only will this exercise help you better understand your current shortcomings, but will be valuable information for your new agency to get them up and running even faster.
5. You have a limited budget
It may seem counterintuitive to spend money when trying to save, but according to Glassdoor, the average salary for a marketing director in the US is $107k per year. Add on a digital marketing manager ($73k), social media manager ($50k), and graphic designer ($45k), and that’s $275k a year on salaries befoee the first team meeting.
With payroll tax, health insurance, software licenses, and campaign costs, a marketing department can require upwards of $500k annually. According to Sisu marketing agency, hiring an outside agency costs $4,000-$10,000 per month, depending on the services required. Plus, you’re able to keep your in-house staff streamlined or hire for growing departments.
6. Your creativity is getting stale
We all know the old joke about the definition of insanity. The same goes for your marketing. While it’s important to have an in-house style guide for consistency across your brand, many small businesses end up trapped within the confines of their existing designs, fonts, tone, and branding.
Hiring an agency offers a fresh perspective. Your new account managers are digital marketing gurus, so it’s their job to know the latest graphic design trends and copywriting tricks. The best agencies push their clients out of their comfort zone. You might end up finding success on TikTok, YouTube, or another platform you would have never had the time or energy to experiment on.
What’s standing in the way of your small business success? That’s not hypothetical. Do you know what the problem areas are within your company? How are you actively working to solve them?
Try tackling these questions with a brainstorming session. Then, make a list of current barriers to keep on your desk. By accessing that list every day, you’re more likely to work toward solving each problem. For entrepreneurs, this list might include poor visibility, unqualified leads, and ineffective digital marketing.