“I know, you keep telling me, I need to have an awesome website with a blog and do social media and keep it up to date and have fresh new ideas and learn the latest tricks and do funny dances that will ‘go viral’….. but do you know what? I don’t have the time, the energy or the inclination”.
A familiar rant but these are all integral and essential parts of a marketing strategy and they need your attention if you want to succeed. If you’re a small business or a one man band then it’s ok to start slowly. Do a bit yourself as and when you have time. Check out some free online resources or follow our blog. As you grow, you will need to work out how to manage the workload. Do you try to manage it yourself, hire someone to do it or outsource to an agency?
Don’t assume you can’t do your own marketing. Small businesses have small budgets and you - as the business owner - are the best marketer that business will ever have. You know and value the product and you created the company’s ethos (even if you didn’t realise it!). Who better to be the voice that promotes your business?
Social media before you start seems easy. You think ‘ha! People do this for a living? Sit on Facebook all day? I can do that myself thanks’. A tweet here, a Facebook post there, easy. But the reality is if you’re attempting to do it yourself, you probably won't have the time to do it well and in reality, would you know how to do it properly? So don't be afraid to get help. After all, if my car breaks down, I won’t try to fix it myself, I’ll pay a mechanic.
- You know your business
- You have up to date knowledge of what’s going on in the business
- You can produce correct, honest information about your product or service
- You know your tone of voice
- You are saving money by doing it yourself
- You’re there when something happens and can flip your social on immediately
- You only have limited marketing expertise
- It takes up valuable time
- You won’t be up to date with all the latest methods and marketing pizzazz
- Coming up with fresh ideas on your own is hard
- It’s difficult to be impartial when someone is negative or insults your business
- If it’s just you doing it, after a while it’s really hard to keep creative.
Depending on your marketing needs and finances available, there may be benefits in keeping your marketing in-house (or at least some of it). You’ll have an in-house resource with knowledge of the brand that is second to yours plus there are plenty of online resources that make it possible to keep up to date with the developments in the marketing world. Use Mozblog or Hubspot or even the Noisy Little Monkey blog. Be aware though, your in-house marketer needs to be responsible and organised enough to coordinate all marketing activity and ensure continued efforts towards brand building and increasing sales to really be of value to you.
- Consistent knowledge of product and brand strategy
- Cost effective
- More control over marketing activities
- Up to date with business needs & first hand news
- Can be costly if wrong person is hired
- Cost and logistics of ongoing training
- Cost and burden of managing an employee
- May still need to employ external agency to cover inexperience
- Hard to keep coming up with new ideas
- Difficult to decide how much and when to spend on advertising or extra marketing resources.
For a small business, outsourcing marketing to an agency isn't usually an option due to costs but as a business grows, using an external agency can be a good step to bringing the marketing back in house. There are financial benefits in using an agency as you can easily walk away should the relationship not work, whilst employment can be a costly exercise should you choose the wrong person for the job.
Agencies are specialists in their field. Rarely will an in-house marketer have as much knowledge as an agency where there are a number of people with their own skills and expertise. Agencies pay for tools so you don’t have to, they get continuous training and have experience of what works and what doesn’t. But it does take time and effort to build up a relationship with an agency so that they truly understand your culture and your goals.
- External perspective can help freshen up ideas – an agency will have a team of people to bounce ideas around
- Agencies have staff that are experienced and specialist and it’s their job to make sure they know when Twitter changes header dimensions or when a Google algorithm changes
- You can make an agency accountable and ensure they work for their money
- You can use them as a partner to cover off technical roles where there is no in-house experience
- They have multiple skills in one place which means you don’t have to hire extra people to do each job
- They have the time to report back to you on what is and isn’t working and how to make it better rather than you and an intern banging your heads against a wall because no one is liking your cat meme.
- Can be costly if on a small budget
- More time consuming getting projects signed off and ideas approved
- You have to put the initial time in to make sure they understand your business and your clients
- Risk in choosing the right agency who correctly reflect your brand
- Time is needed to make the relationship successful
- Hard to justify why you need an agency when it seems so easy your granny can do the job.
Scope out your business need and formulate a marketing strategy. What is it you want to gain from your marketing and how will you measure it – increased visits to your website? More signups to a newsletter? Increase in sales? After all, you’re not doing it just so you can amaze your friends with your knowledge of tweets and hashtags at your next dinner party. Assess your costs and budgets and whether you already have the personnel available to do the job. And if you do choose to use an agency, ensure you write a clear project brief and agree how to manage it. Set clear but reasonable goals and agree how to measure success. Agencies need input, they’re not mind readers and they need to know how big your feet are to be able to wear your shoes.
Whatever solution you choose, be open to change. Some things will work and some won’t. You need to react accordingly.
Need help deciding? Tweet us @noisymonkey or leave a comment below.