Marketing is hard. Knowing which tools to use is hard. Finding the right staff with the right skill set is hard. Heck, sometimes all the things feel hard, right?
You are probably reading this article because you’ve found it hard to manage marketing tasks in-house. Now may be the right time to explore new systems and resources.
If you’re on the verge of hiring a marketing partner and outsourcing tasks like social media management, blogging, graphic design, website copywriting and more, you’ll want to make the best choice possible. It’s totally worth investing time upfront to understand the options, identify your needs and consider a realistic budget.
Here are six things to do before you reach out to a marketing service provider:
1. Identify skills gaps and areas where you’re wearing too many hats
Write down a list of all marketing-related projects or tasks that you feel your business has fallen behind on. This may be due to skills your current team doesn’t have. This may be due to you wearing so many other hats that you no longer have time to tackle marketing projects.
The list may include things like developing a marketing strategy, managing social media accounts and consumer reviews, refreshing your brand with new visuals, taking new product photos, creating tutorial videos, updating marketing content or editing your website, writing informational articles for your company’s website, working on corporate branding, or even brainstorming business development ideas.
If you find you need help in only one area (like photography or video work), then hire a local photographer or a video production team for that work.
If it looks like you need help in a variety of areas (website, public relations, graphics and social media), then it will be more efficient for you to hire a service provider who can handle all those tasks for you – a one-stop marketing shop.
In that situation, building a business relationship with a full-service marketing agency will help ensure that your brand and messaging remains consistent across many tools and platforms. That’s important! Plus, you won’t need to keep explaining your business and your clients to a variety of service providers, because your agency will already be dialed into those things.
2. Ask yourself: Can you afford beer or champagne?
How much do businesses spend on marketing each year? Depending on the size of your company, the market you are trying to reach and how aggressively you want to grow, your annual marketing budget may be anywhere between 2 percent to 20 percent of revenue. Some experts say that the number is roughly 7 to 8 percent for businesses with less than $5 million per year in revenue (which includes most of us!).
Whether your marketing budget is $500 per month, $1500 per month or $5000 per month, disclose that budget to the service provider you are interviewing. They need to know how much you can spend on marketing so that they can tailor a marketing plan based on your growth goals and your budget.
The marketing tools available for use will vary greatly depending on your budget. Radio, video and roadside billboards might not be within your budget, while social media, copywriting and email marketing may be a better fit. Make sense?
They’ll need to know if you have a budget for champagne or beer!