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The first thing you need when you have a business, is customers. Without customers you don’t have a business. But why hire a marketing agency?

Because before you can sell your product or service, you need customers. But how do you get those customers?  Firstly, you need an effective marketing strategy and plan. What is marketing? Marketing is the link that connects people who want something to companies that sell it. Wait, isn’t that sales? No, it is not. In fact, with a good marketing plan, your product should sell itself.

But getting your product in front of potential customers is the first challenge, because if they don’t know about it, they don’t know why they need it, or how to get it.

So, they need to know why your product or service is of benefit to them, and how you are different from your competitors.

To get this information in front of your prospects, you’ll need an effective, well thought out marketing plan. Most companies understand the need for a strategic marketing plan, but few understand what it is or how to implement one. Your marketing plan serves to generate leads that you can convert into sales.

What should your marketing plan consist of?

These days it’s no longer about advertising in the Yellow Pages or running ads in newspapers or dropping flyers in letterboxes. Your Yellow Pages directory is now Google and other search engines, and Facebook and YouTube have taken over other traditional media.  Online search and social media have a huge part to play in communicating to your audience.

  • Name, logo and collateral
  • Printing
  • Website
  • Content
  • Email programs
  • E-newsletters
  • Market research
  • Metrics/data analysts
  • Mobile marketing specialists
  • Pay-per-click
  • SEO/keyword research
  • Social media

Now that we know the elements, let’s look at how to execute your strategy.

Do you have the time and expertise to do it yourself?

If you know what you’re doing and you’re confident you can do it yourself, you wouldn’t be here. The fact that you are suggests that you need some help in this area. Let’s face it, you might be the world’s best antique restorer, or make the most surprising things out of recycled horse shoes – but that doesn’t mean you know the best way of getting customers to use you, or buy from you.

Do you understand who your potential customer is, so that you can speak effectively to them? Because seldom is it everybody with a pulse.

You might be able to talk about your product or service – but are you a writer?

Do you know principles of designing a good logo?

Do you understand how search engine optimization works, and how to use Facebook to market to specific audiences?

If you think you are going to spend a lot of time learning these things and executing campaigns, you’re probably not going to do your business any favours.  Seriously, why waste time trying to figure it out yourself? Your time will be best spent elsewhere, once you’ve got customers that is.

What about employing someone to manage the marketing side of things?

Is your business making enough money yet to employ someone? Do you employ someone to do your accounts, or do you contract it out? If your business isn’t making enough money to employ an accounts person, it probably isn’t making enough to employ a marketing person.

There are a lot of costs associated with hiring an employee. Apart from the desk, phone and computer setup, there’s the salary, marketing software, subscriptions, holiday pay, sick leave, parking etc. And depending on what you’re paying, they may not have as much knowledge as a specialist marketing agency. Ending the employment is a lot more difficult too, and then you find yourself re-hiring all over again. And of course, it would be hard to find one person with the talent offered by a marketing agency.

An employee is likely to cost approximately 100% more per year than hiring a marketing agency.

The benefits of hiring a marketing agency

It might seem as though doing it yourself will be more economical than hiring an agency, however contracting an agency on an hourly basis with comprehensive quoting or set monthly retainers can be very beneficial long term.

Here are just some of the positives to consider:

  • Agency staff has marketing experience
  • An agency has researchers and writers
  • An agency will work to your brief, is agile and can turn around work quickly
  • No employment hassles
  • No tax or holiday pay
  • No time wasted learning

But does a marketing agency know your industry?

Marketing agencies don’t just know the avenues down which to travel – they will also know which car to take. They’ll know your business inside and out. Your sales figures, your costs, your margins, what you can afford and what you should spend. They’re like a mentor. They’ll know everything your accountant knows, and more.

A marketing agency will grill you on your history, your background, conduct research into your industry and competitors, and ask the right questions to get a full picture of your ideal customers. And they know exactly how to reach them.

So, why hire a marketing agency?

If sales have plateaued, you need marketing help.  If you spend too much time on marketing and find it confusing and unenjoyable, you need help. If other important things are being neglected, it’s time you got help. If you lack the skills, you’re getting poor quality leads, and you can’t figure out what is working and what isn’t – it’s time to admit defeat on the marketing front and get help.