How To Choose a Small Business Marketing Agency
When you started your small business, you were probably doing everything yourself, or maybe you had a small team behind you. Often one of the hardest things a small business owner must do is relinquish control to others. But as business picks up (that’s the goal, right?), you’re realizing you can’t do it all. Or maybe you’ve reached a point where your growth has gone stagnant, and you’re looking to infuse some energy into your sales. It’s the perfect time to start looking for a small businesses marketing agency.
But, why work with a marketing agency? Well, why do you hire an electrician, consult a lawyer, or visit the doctor? Because they are experts, and it’s better to utilize their expertise than figure it out on your own. Digital marketing is a powerful tool, but too often small business owners try to go it alone. A small business marketing agency, especially if it is a full-service marketing agency, can give you a one stop shop for marketing expertise – marketing strategists, web designers, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) experts, data analysts, copywriters, and more. Hiring a digital marketing agency for small businesses could even be more cost effective than adding a full-time employee to your team.
Choosing a Marketing Agency
Your small business marketing agency should be a partner to you in your business. It’s a big commitment and should be taken seriously. We don’t say that to scare you off, but now we can hear the voice in your head saying, “How do I choose a good marketing agency?” We’re going to break it down into steps for you.
1) Know what your company needs. What are your business goals, and how can they benefit from strategic marketing? Do you need to grow your organic web traffic? Get more leads? Increase conversions? As always, make sure your goals are SMART (strategic, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timebound).
2) Build your wish list. Brainstorm what to look for in your marketing agency. What expertise and services do you need from your small business marketing agency? Do you need a full-service web marketing agency? Social media? A web designer? If you don’t know, it’s probably better to err on the side of choosing an agency with a wide breadth of expertise.
3) Compile your list. Solicit recommendations from your team and industry partners. Then start your preliminary research. Not sure what to look for in a marketing agency? A good place to start is the small business marketing agency’s:
- Online presence: Does their site and social media look like something you would be proud to have represent your company?
- Services: Can they do what you need?
- Industry experience: Have they worked with companies like yours?
- Potential team: Does their team seem to have the knowledge you need?
- Testimonials and reviews: What are their current and past clients saying about them?
- Data and case studies: What success stories do they share?
4) Connect with your short list. Most marketing relationships begin with a meeting to brief them on your needs and get to know each other. If there’s anything you couldn’t find from the list above, ask them. The meeting will likely include people who would be assigned to your account. They will create a proposal for you to review, outlining a timeline, their recommended approach to helping you achieve your goals, and a pricing and fee structure.
5) Look for red flags. As you navigate how to pick a marketing agency, be on the lookout for things that could be dealbreakers like:
- Poor communication: Do you use the same lingo? Are they responsive and timely in their interactions with you?
- Overpromising: Does their proposal seem too good to be true? It probably is.
- Ineffective strategies: Do they tailor their outreach, or does it seem like they spam customers and hope for the best?
6) Make your selection. Use all you gathered to make your final decision. Consider the intangibles of the small business marketing agency as well – will you like working with them? Do you trust them? Do they “get” you?
Hiring a small business marketing agency is not a small task. It is a big investment, and you are entrusting them with your business, brand, and reputation, assets you painstakingly built. At Paradigm, we take that responsibility seriously. We are an award-winning full service digital marketing agency operating on a demand for excellence, a thirst for success, and an understanding of the importance of providing true, genuine support for one another. If our design and marketing agency can help you, please contact us.