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Marketing

Posted 24 June 2019

The Importance Of Having A Rich Online Presence

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How much time do your customers actually spend online these days?

The amount is staggering. According to Google, 97 percent of consumers search for local businesses online. Your customers are online and you should be too.

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First, you must be visible

A business that maintains a website is more likely to receive traffic just by simply being there. And according to Google and Nielsen, 73 percent of mobile searches trigger additional action and conversion while 55 percent of purchase-related conversions occur within one hour of an initial mobile search. Make sure your website is mobile friendly.

Aside from having a mobile-friendly website, there are a few other things you can do on your own to improve your visibility and online presence. These include improving your search engine rankings, creating great content that people want to link to, and curating content. The higher your website ranks in the search results the better. According to Gravitate Online, a sample of over 8 million clicks shows that over 94 percent of users clicked on a first page result and less than 6 percent actually clicked to the second page and selected a result displayed there.

Other places you can become visible include sites like Google My Business, Yelp, Foursquare, Yellow Pages, etc. You just want to make sure your listings are updated. Be sure to claim your business today!

You must also be social

As a small business, one of the best tools you have in your back pocket is the ability to grow your business on social platforms. First, you need to educate yourself on everything there is about social.

After you have a good working knowledge, you need to decide which platforms will work best for your business. As a small business owner thriving in a socially-connected world, it is important that you not only have an online presence on social media, but that you also engage with your customers. When a customer “likes” your Facebook Page, that like becomes an endorsement for future growth. Learning how to engage properly is important because according to Syncapse, about 49 percent of individuals like a page because they support that brand. There are several ways to engage, but in the beginning, the most important thing you can do is not give up. Persistence always pays off. Make it fun for your customers to connect with you!

There’s more than one reason why a small business might avoid social media, but one of the most common excuses is that it is too time consuming. I couldn’t agree more. That’s why there are several tools you can use to help simplify and manage your social media. My personal favorite is Hootsuite. Hootsuite is a social media dashboard that lets me effortlessly manage all of my social media content, schedule future posts, and even track my Email reporting. And, if I manage 3 or less social media platforms, it is completely free!

Reach people where they are every day — their inbox and beyond

This is where email marketing comes into play. While varying studies suggest a business needs to dip their toes into several marketing channels to be effective, as a small business, email marketing is the one piece that really ties everything together. A powerful email campaign not only keeps the interest of your current customers, but it can inspire them to share your email socially and forward it to their friends and family. This increases your reach and garners new attention online.

How does that help your online presence?

A successful email campaign has several key components, many of which are going to vary based on industry. One of the most important things to consider when creating your email campaigns is to give your customers what they want, not what you think they want. In the end, they are the ones who help you grow online.

How can you truly measure the return on investment (ROI) of maintaining a rich online presence?

When a new customer finds you on Google, when engagement on your Facebook page is seen by others, when someone subscribes to your email list from an archived email they found in their search results, or when someone simply finds out about you through online word of mouth, you know you’re doing something right online. Maintaining a rich online presence is worth the effort because it pays off in many measurable, attainable ways.

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Posted 20 June 2019

Why Should I Hire A Marketing Agency For My Business?

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Getting those customers is one of the biggest challenges that businesses face on a day in, day out basis, and because of the difficulty and importance of this task, ALL businesses need to have an effective marketing plan to survive and grow. For many companies, however, this is a business truth that is easy to put on the back burner or settle for just throwing darts at a dart board and hoping you hit something.

Nobody is going to walk into your office and ask for whatever it is that you are selling unless they know who you are, what you do, and they have confidence that you can deliver on your promises. More importantly your prospects want to know why your product or service is of benefit to them, and how you are differentiated from your competitors.

To get those facts communicated your company needs an effective, well thought out and executed marketing plan. Most companies understand the need for a strategic marketing plan, but few understand what it is or how to implement one. Marketing is not the same thing as hiring a sales team; it is much more involved than that. In a nutshell, your company’s marketing plan is about generating leads that can then be turned into sales.

If you have a business, you need customers, plain and simple. Without customers there really is not much reason to get up in the morning, drive to the office, turn on the lights, make payroll and all the myriad tasks that we do as business owners.

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Elements of a Modern Marketing Strategy

The rise of the internet, indexed search (think Google) and the explosion of social media networks have changed the way that companies communicate their value proposition (the promise of value that will be delivered by your company and experienced by your customer).

Where once, legacy tactics such as yellow page advertisements or print ads drove traffic to your front door, modern consumers armed with mobile technology expect real time access to information and make buying decisions in a matter of a few keystrokes on their devices.

This means that companies need to ensure that their branding messages are well executed, easily found on the web by sites that attract attention and covert eyeballs into leads.

Below is a list of items that make up a “modern marketing strategy”:

  • Collateral development and production
  • Content development specialists
  • Email programs
  • E-newsletters
  • Graphic artists
  • Market research
  • Marketing software
  • Metrics/data analysts
  • Mobile marketing specialists
  • PPC
  • Printing
  • PR specialists
  • SEO/keyword research
  • Social media specialists
  • Special events
  • Sponsorship
  • Website development/re-engineering

While this is a very thorough list, it should also be seen as incomplete, because as we speak new technologies, apps and disciplines are being created which makes keeping up a challenge. This rapid change in new technologies is what makes marketing in the 21st century such a challenge for small businesses.

Now that we know the elements, let’s shift gears and evaluate your options on how to execute your strategy.

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Can and Should I Do This Myself?

Many entrepreneurs are ingrained with the DIY (Do-It-Yourself) ethic which refers to the ethic of self-sufficiency through completing tasks without the aid of paid specialists. As an entrepreneur that has suffered with this particular affliction, I can certainly attest to the fact an individual can, with enough time and gumption seek out the knowledge required to complete any given task.

The challenge with this mode of operation is the many different creative elements, such as writing, graphic design, computer programming that are needed to successfully carry out a modern marketing strategy. The learning curve for a busy entrepreneur with little experience is staggering, leaving the business owner with either a vastly incomplete marketing strategy missing key elements, such as blogging, social media marketing or a site filled with ugly graphics or both.

Conversely, if the owner devotes the time to learn all of these marketing elements, you have a tapped out business owner focusing all time and attention on a steep learning curve in the creative arts. For all but the smallest businesses lacking the marketing budget to hire or outsource, DIY is an unfeasible strategy. If DIY is not the right approach, then what other options are available?

We are often asked by business owners, ” what should my marketing budget be.” If I am going to hire a marketing agency or hire internal staff what are the financial costs associated with both options? We cover this very question in the next section.

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Should I Hire an Employee or a Marketing Agency?

Organizations that have neither the time nor inclination to DIY are left with a choice; either hire an employee or hire an outside agency. In many instances, business owners lean towards hiring an employee because that has been the de-facto process in the past to solve an immediate need. Additionally business owners may have the perception that an outside agency is far more expensive than hiring in-house staff. The problem with this rationale is that most of the time, owners don’t have a true basis for comparison.

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Benefits of Working with a Marketing Agency

Although you may perceive that you are saving money on an hourly basis relative to hiring an employee or doing it yourself, hiring a marketing agency, particularly one focused on inbound marketing tactics provides substantial value. Long gone are the “Mad Men” days of nebulous budgets with hidden fees.

The pricing dynamic has shifted and many firms are now working on clearly spelled out pricing structures, and lower-fee marketing retainer agreements.

While there is no industry standard, the going rate in most markets for an experienced inbound agency starts in the $3,000 to $5,000 range in terms of monthly spend. While that may seem like a large number, in comparison to the opportunity cost of DIY, or the pure allocation of funds towards building internal staff, this is a relative bargain.

Among the many benefits of working with an experienced marketing firm are:

  • Expertise with your market niche
  • Experience in executing marketing plans
  • Money savings by hiring to your specific needs
  • No employee training required
  • Your marketing plan is executed immediately, the employee may need time to ramp up while the marketing firm is ready from the get-go
  • Avoid HR nightmares
  • No additional overhead
  • Tax deductions, not tax liability
  • Efficiency for short term and urgent projects

This new paradigm allows business owners to focus on running operations and increasing the bottom line, not messing around with Facebook, Twitter or trying to build out a website.

The big question then isn’t can I afford an experienced marketing agency, but rather how much am I costing myself in time, money and lost opportunity by trying to do this in-house.

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Posted 19 June 2019

10 Benefits Of Hiring A Marketing Agency To Supplement Your In-House Team

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Is it better to do your digital marketing in-house or partner with a digital marketing agency? It’s an important question for every business owner to consider, and there is no universal right answer. In fact, we’ve found that a combination of the two is often the best solution. Hiring a digital marketing agency to work in tandem with your in-house marketer or team can be the most effective way to optimize your marketing budget.

Choosing between an internal or external marketing team can sometimes feel like a lose-lose dichotomy. In reality, it’s more of a spectrum, and the perfect balance of internal/external is different for every company. It’s common to have a mixture of both; the 2017 In-House Creative Industry Report shows that over two-thirds of in-house teams partner with external agencies.

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We’ve made a list of some of the reasons that hiring an agency can be beneficial, especially for small-to-medium sized businesses looking to supplement a single in-house marketer:

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1. BROADER SKILL SET

The primary reason that businesses choose to partner with a digital marketing agency is that they get an entire team of specialized, experienced professionals working on their project for significantly less than it would cost to build that same team in-house. Most small businesses don’t have enough work to justify bringing on a full-time developer, full-time SEO expert, and full-time social media account manager. However, a large majority of companies would benefit from the services of each. Partnering with an agency brings those skills and more to the table without any additional investment. Having such a vast range of skills at your company’s disposal also makes it easier to diversify your marketing efforts.

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2. EXPERTISE

Not only are there more people with different skill sets within an agency, but also those people generally have a greater depth of experience. Agency professionals are typically specialists in a particular area, plus your company benefits from the competitive landscape in which agencies are hiring talent. In-house marketers often adapt to be more like a jack-of-all-trades in order to cover all of the company’s needs. Agencies devote resources to educating employees and keeping them on the cutting edge of their respective discipline. Additionally, the team environment within an agency fosters continual learning and growth.

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3. COST

Generally speaking, it’s significantly cheaper to partner with an agency rather than bring on a full in-house team. That being said, total cost can vary greatly based on the size of your business and how much you’re looking to accomplish. Both internal and external marketing can amount to a sizable investment. A full in-house group requires significant overhead, including salaries, benefits, office space, equipment, training, recruiting, and more. An external agency can be one of the largest line items in a marketing budget, and because of that can be an easy target for cuts and renegotiations. All things considered, a digital marketing agency is usually the most cost-effective solution for high-quality marketing work. For the same price as one or two full-time salaries, you gain access to a complete team of professionals across multiple marketing specialties.

Using a hybrid approach allows you to take advantage of having lower-cost internal creative help full-time, while also gaining the flexibility and skill diversification from a digital marketing agency when needed.

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4. LOWER COMMITMENT

Partnering with a digital marketing agency is much less commitment than hiring a full in-house team. Your company isn’t responsible for any recruiting, interviewing, onboarding, or any of the other time-consuming and often expensive tasks that come along with a new employee. Marketing agencies are easier to hire and also easier to fire than an in-house employee (or at least, they should be), which means it will be easier to find a good fit between an agency and in-house team. Trust and communication are the foundation of a successful agency partnership, and finding an agency with which you can build that relationship is paramount.

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5. PRODUCTIVITY

When you partner with an agency, 100% of your investment goes toward the production of deliverables. None of your marketing budget is being spent on benefits, equipment, ongoing education, PTO, etc.

Agencies are also driven by efficiency. Managing multiple accounts means that agencies have a proven process in place that makes it possible for them to produce high-quality work that meets both deadlines and budgets. Typically, they can get this type of work done more quickly than an in-house team who might be working through it for the first time.

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6. ACCOUNTABILITY

One of the biggest challenges for internal marketers is proving ROI. Agencies are results driven, and therefore want to make sure that they are gathering accurate, insightful data to guide the marketing strategy. Reporting is a crucial part of strengthening the partnership and for making informed decisions moving forward. Providing meaningful data is valuable to both the digital marketing agency and your company; it illustrates a mutual investment in success. Agencies are held accountable to all of their clients, and it’s another process that they have down to a science.

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7. LARGER NETWORK & ACCESS TO ADVANCED TOOLS

Working with multiple clients builds a large network of vendors and channels that can lead to further partnerships for your company, too. Agencies also have access to a vast number of tools and resources that either aren’t practical to have for only one company or that are exclusive to industry professionals. In addition to building a network through partnerships, agencies often exhibit work and are featured in publications, which can offer your company even more visibility.

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8. STABILITY

Aside from the skill-gap, one of the biggest challenges in-house teams face is employee turnover. Marketing employees can be especially prone to burnout when working internally for one company for a few years, and their creativity can stagnate. As a result, many junior-to-mid-level marketers change jobs every 2-3 years. When an employee leaves, not only are there recruiter fees, interviewing costs, and training to account for, but also the work burden that falls on your other in-house employees while a replacement is found. That can mean a delay or halt in your marketing campaigns. With an agency partner, you can be certain that your marketing strategy will still be consistently executed month after month.

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9. SCALABILITY & FLEXIBILITY

In order to increase overall production from an in-house team, you’d need to hire on more employees or contractors. Partnering with a digital marketing agency gives your company the flexibility to ramp up engagement (or slow it down) as needed. If you want to launch a new website, you can quickly increase the agency to create it. Once the website is live, you can allocate that time to another aspect of your campaign.

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10. CREATIVITY & OBJECTIVITY

One of the greatest advantages that collaborating with an agency can offer is their creativity and objectivity. Keeping all marketing efforts in-house can sometimes lead to groupthink and tunnel-vision. A digital marketing agency isn’t influenced by any internal biases or assumed knowledge, so it’s easier to distill a clear message to the target audience. Internal teams often have such an in-depth knowledge that they try to say too much, and the core message is lost on the audience. An unbiased perspective can help sift through all of the unnecessary information, while remaining grounded enough to communicate clearly to the outside world.

Striking the right balance between internal and external work might take some adjustment. Perhaps it will make the most sense to hire a large internal team, only bringing in an agency for big-picture projects such as rebranding, strategy planning, or long-term campaigns that always take a back seat to immediate internal work. Or, maybe it will make more sense for your company to hire one or two in-house marketers to create daily deliverables while being the point of contact for your digital marketing agency, and then outsourcing most of the strategy and production to your agency partner. Even having one marketing manager in-house is a huge advantage. It provides a clear channel of communication, keeping other departments focused. It also means that your company has a dedicated person to review the reports, and who can then provide insights both internally and to the agency while they plan the next month’s strategy.

Wherever your company lands on the spectrum, it’s clear that there are many advantages to having a digital marketing agency work with your in-house marketing team. In our experience, these partnerships work best when the final product is a reflection of your team’s expertise in the company and our expertise in planning and executing a top-notch digital marketing strategy.

If you’re interested in exploring an agency + in-house partnership with us here at DUBUB Marketing Agencylet’s get in touch.

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Posted 17 June 2019

8 Benefits Of Hiring A Marketing Agency

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Let’s face it, we’re all busy. Do you need additional marketing help? Do you need specific expertise? Or maybe you just can’t find the right talent.

Here are eight ways you know it’s time to hire a marketing agency.

  1. Sales are Stagnant
  2. It’s Not Getting Done
  3. You Don’t Enjoy Marketing
  4. You’ve Realized You Don’t Have the Skills
  5. The Sales Department is Complaining of “No Good Leads”
  6. Your Marketing Results are Hit or Miss
  7. You Wonder What is Working
  8. You’d Love to Hire a Complete Marketing Team, but Lack the Budget

If any of these apply to you, then read on…

Marketing is increasingly responsible for more and more. More productivity, more effectiveness, more leads, more sales, etc. Marketing teams are feeling strapped with limited resources, smaller budgets, and there isn’t adequate training available. If you keep your entire marketing team in-house, you could wind up spending your entire budget on payroll and still not have all of the skill sets needed, on the other hand, if you outsource all of your marketing, quality and control become concerns. All industries are struggling with this dilemma and it’s something that every company, manager, and employee should weigh carefully.

Despite the challenges of finding performance-based agency partners, marketers are outsourcing at record rates. According to Accenture’s “Turbulence for the CMO” report, CMOs are turning to a large mix of agency partners and marketing service providers, outsourcing “between 45 percent and 75 percent of marketing activities.”

Companies can realize the following benefits by hiring a performance-based marketing agency:

  1. Cost/Risk: At much less than the cost of one full-time executive, you get an entire team of experts, and can expect cheaper ad costs and software costs, among others. Minimize the impact of marketing staff reductions.
  2. Access: With the right firm, you still get complete access to all of your data and insights — no hidden fees/total transparency. Access expertise in marketing strategy and implementation, as well as creative design, focused on the specific job or project on hand.
  3. Time: You save on all of the time it takes finding someone — or trying to learn the entire Internet marketing field yourself.
  4. Experience: Get an outside perspective on your business. Your team will benefit from the experience the marketing team brings to the table, such as familiarity with your target market and the many marketing channels and opportunities available.

Deciding whether to hire in-house marketers or a marketing agency has the potential for predictable, scalable revenue growth. If you’re on the fence, here are my top 8 reasons to consider outsourcing some of your marketing to a performance-driven agency like DUBUB Marketing Agency.

CMOs are turning to a large mix of agency partners and marketing service providers, outsourcing between 45 percent and 75 percent of marketing activities.

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1. You get more than just marketing expertise

What if you could have predictable, effective marketing systems that generated and nurtured sales leads? By outsourcing some of your marketing, you get marketing talent, leading-edge strategies, shared experiences, and access to advanced marketing technology. You can seamlessly synchronize the end-to-end customer experience, and touch each stage of the buying cycle with agile, timely, and relevant marketing campaigns.

The marketing skills gap is very real. 75% of marketers say their lack of skills is impacting revenue in some way, and 74% say it’s contributing to misalignment between the marketing and sales teams, according to Oracle.

Clearly, the game is changing and marketers need to master the new rules. An agency helps you bridge this gap, and provides a team of diverse people that have the education and the experience.

And, one marketing person can’t do it all. (Nor should they.) And if they do, can you afford them? With an agency, you get access to versatile professionals with proven backgrounds in business strategy, marketing, content marketing, communications, business strategy, graphic design, web design, internet marketing, and SEO. Because of these vast skill sets, they add great value when they contribute where needed.

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2. You want to be nimble and manage costs

Fixed cost are huge. People, systems, and facilities account for the largest part of the internal marketing budget. And the cost of a bad hire can easily cost a company over $200,000!

By comparison, marketing agency resources don’t need a full-time salary, benefits, and other overhead. When you hire a good agency, that team should provide a wide-range of strategic, tactical, and technology skills.

By outsourcing some or all of your marketing activities not only save your money in salaries and overhead, but our outsourcing partner can also save you money in direct purchases on marketing programs (e.g., printing, media buys, advertising, marketing technologies, etc.). By leveraging their suppliers, a good outsourcing partner can save a company 10 – 30% in their overall marketing spending. Here’s an example below. Just one direct hire cost a company about $120,000 (salary and overhead). A marketing outsourcing team typically cost less than that and one top of that you gain access to a full cross-functional team.

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3. You get access to the latest technology

Marketing departments are often technology-deprived, or they have a mixed assortment of incompatible marketing technologies. While companies have access to over 4,000 marketing technologies available to them, how do they know which ones to pick? And it’s often the case that marketing organizations are at the bottom of the IT department’s priority list, so there might be a lack of support and guidance. A performance-based marketing agency that can provide you guidance as well as implementation service and support are extremely valuable.

Marketing tools increase efficiency, productivity, and performance. There are tools you can find for free or of little cost, but often they are limited on producing results. But performance-driven agencies give you access to premium-level services, software, and analytical data reports.

Also, consider that advanced marketing automation tools do not provide marketing services. They require a professional who can interpret marketing data and make smart decisions in order to achieve results.

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4. Your existing staff becomes more efficient

Some companies try to get around hiring in-house marketers, social media personnel, content writers, and SEO experts by just having existing employees pick up the slack. Dumping the marketing burden onto existing employees (who may or may not be skilled in the area) increases the likelihood of burnout and reduces productivity in the long run.

As well as, your marketing efforts will lack consistency and effectiveness even if they have all the necessary training.

If you outsource some of your marketing needs, you maintain momentum with critical projects – they’ll never fall to the wayside, drop down the priority list, or become forgotten. And when employees leave the company, they will most likely take the project assets with them (in the form of tribal knowledge). When you outsource your marketing activities, you have one centralized team as your partner.

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5. You don’t need to train agencies

It’s the marketing leader’s job to produce results, including drive quality sales leads, increase website traffic, build followers and subscribers, yet they often lack the skills, technologies, and strategies to pull it off.

Forrester Research stated in its report, “B2B CMOs Must Evolve or Move On,” that 96% of marketing leaders believe the breadth of skills required to succeed in marketing has increased, and 44% say they can’t find the right combination of people and skills in the job market.

Performance-driven agencies, like DUBUB Marketing Agency, provide a unique, holistic approach that allows clients to launch multidisciplinary campaigns with one “highly qualified contact.” Your dedicated resource is accountable for strategy through deployment. You don’t have to train your existing staff members because your agency has the depth and breadth of skills needed.

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6. You can easily scale your marketing efforts

When the economy tightens, companies tend to cut costs. Marketing is often the first to go because they are seen as a “discretionary” expense. And when times are good, marketing often gets more funding. It goes against the objectives of the CEO responsibilities, and that’s maximize stakeholder value.

But reducing and expanding the marketing budget is expensive. In the short-term, reducing or canceling marketing activities incurs cost. In the long-term, costs associated with attrition, staffing and erosion of knowledge base are more expensive.

Under a traditional in-house operation, the only way you can increase the output of your marketing team is to hire more employees. Agencies like DUBUB Marketing Agency already have cross-functional professionals on the core team that have been senior management with some of the top agencies, design firms or companies in the world.

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7. Stay current on the latest marketing trends, without a learning curve

Digital marketing agencies must constantly be up to speed and follow the latest developments across digital marketing trends on a regular basis. It is part of their job description.

What in-house marketer has time to read up on all the latest social media, SEO, technology, content marketing, and branding news? Usually, they are so buried in day-to-day tasks, there is no room to continuously grow, change, and evolve. The majority of reputable digital marketing agencies take education very seriously. I invest time to stay abreast of the latest trends, tools, technologies, and strategies to serve you better. According to the report above from Capgemini, only 4% of companies align their training efforts with their digital strategy.

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8. You benefit from an outside perspective

It’s easy for in-house Marketers to lose sight of the big picture. They tend to be immersed in the day-to-day activity and wearing many hats. They can’t see the forest for the trees. Employees may find it hard to express new ideas or bring up concerns, for fear of losing their jobs. But we’ve seen amazing results by collaborating with marketing team members.

Sometimes you can get too close to your business and not see your marketing strategies, programs, or materials from your audience’s perspective. Even though you may know your business inside and out by living and breathing it each day, your perspective is still one-sided. To market successfully to your current audience – and capture new markets – you need to step out of your shoes and into your target markets’ or customers’. Having a group on the “outside” supporting your needs helps to give you the customer’s perspective, not just your company’s.

Whether it’s planning, copywriting or designing, the right outsourced team will have experience with a variety of different marketing and communication strategies, techniques, and tools. You can rely on their lessons over the years to find the correct solution for your business challenge.

The Bottom Line

Companies of all sizes use outsourcing to help build their business and stay nimble. By outsourcing some or all of your marketing, you have flexibility and access to trained professionals and advanced marketing technology.

Here’s an example of an outsourced marketing campaign. The first month of the campaign, we may only do one blog post that attracts 84 new followers on social media, and generates 16 leads. The second month, we may publish two more blog posts, add two content offers, attract 192 new followers, increase our search engine ranking for eight keywords, which generates 37 leads. By the sixth month, we may have published a total of 30 blog posts, created 10 content offers, have a total of 1674 followers, and are showing up on page one of Google for five keywords, and generate over 240 leads. The compound effect from creating those assets over time didn’t just double the leads in the second month, they generated 10x the results in only a few short months. So you can see the value–right?

When you are hiring a marketing agency, you should assume that you are getting senior-level marketing professionals with a wide-range of skill sets. When picking agencies, some companies worry about product knowledge and try to find vertical industry firms. Your employees should have product/service knowledge to provide guidance and edit for content. Your agency should provide you with an outside viewpoint on where to find your market and how to talk to it.

The ideal situation is to have at least one point person working internally who can collaborate with the marketing agency to help them understand your brand voice, key messages, content, and demographics. A performance-based agency will have lots of ideas on to contribute based on trends, statistical data, and competitive analysis, but we find the best results come from working with a dedicated staff within our client’s company.

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Posted 14 June 2019

Why Social Media Is Important For Business Marketing

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Let’s start with one simple fact: your business needs a social media presence.

It doesn’t matter if you run a small local shop or a big national company. Social media is an essential piece of your business marketing strategy.

Social platforms help you connect with your customers, increase awareness about your brand, and boost your leads and sales. With more than three billion people around the world using social media every month, it’s no passing trend.

What you might not know is that you’re ready to get your company’s social media off the ground right now. You don’t need to know every intimidating buzzword or have the magic number of followers. You can get started immediately—and even enjoy yourself in the process.

Here are six reasons why investing in social media is a wise business move.

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BUILD AWARENESS

If people don’t know about your business, they can’t become your customers. Social media boosts your visibility among potential customers, letting you reach a wide audience by using a large amount of time and effort. And it’s free to create a business profile on all the major social networks, so you have nothing to lose.

Define what you want to get out of social media to develop a social media strategy. Do you want new customers to discover your services? Do you hope to bring more local shoppers into your stores? By keeping your strategy specific, you can determine which social media channels are the best fit for your business.

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COMMUNICATE AUTHORITY

Customers are increasingly savvier and more discerning about which businesses they support. Before making a decision, they’ll do a quick search to browse your website and social media.

Will they find an empty storefront or a rich source of information? Setting up robust profiles that you update frequently with relevant content will build your brand’s authority and make sure you make a positive first impression through social media, showing that your business is trustworthy, knowledgeable, and approachable.

Look for ways to demonstrate your expertise as a thought leader in your industry—like writing pieces related to your expertise or expanding on your company’s mission. By showing what your business offers and values, you will establish confidence in potential customers.

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SHOW AUTHENTICITY

Customers aren’t interested in businesses that publish dry, corporate-style social media posts.

Instead, let your brand’s personality shine through in everything you share on social media. What does your brand voice sound like? How does it represent who you are?

Practice getting your tone just right, whether it’s casual and funny or formal and friendly. Be true to who you are, not who you think you should be. Followers want to see real people behind your social profiles. Show them.

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ENCOURAGE ENGAGEMENT

Social channels evolve, constantly releasing new features, and this rapidly changing environment can be intimidating for some business owners.

But remember: you don’t have to do everything. Play with new ways to connect with your audience, and give yourself permission to learn as you go. One day, you could post a series of Instagram Stories to give customers a behind-the-scenes tour of your office. The next, you could host a quick Q&A session via Facebook Live video streaming. Over time, you’ll get a better idea of your followers’ preferences.

You can create engaging video content for social media with a simple setup—good lighting, a smartphone, and a tripod. Also, do a test run before you go live to make sure your internet connection or hotspot has enough speed to avoid delays and interruptions.

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PROVIDE SUPPORT 

Social platforms have successfully broken down barriers between companies and their customers. Now, instead of calling a customer service line, many people turn to Facebook or Twitter to solve problems or find information.

Develop your reputation as a responsive, caring brand by offering support through social channels:

  • Create a system for tracking customer comments, questions, and complaints on social media.
  • Respond as quickly as possible to questions and concerns.
  • Go out of your way to be positive and helpful.
  • Listen to criticism and make customers feel heard.
  • Know when to resolve public conversations in private messages.
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GROW AFFORDABLY

Marketing costs add up, and not every business can afford huge campaigns. But you can get a lot of value for your dollar with social media advertising. Your business, regardless of size or budget, has an opportunity to grow your audience and reach your objectives through ads on social platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

When building an ad campaign, know who you’re trying to reach and what goal you want to achieve so you don’t waste any of your budget on unhelpful advertising. Avoid overly salesy ads, and opt for content that educates or entertains (or does both at the same time).

Social media is a crucial part of your business marketing, but it doesn’t have to be stressful to manage. Take the first step, create a profile, and start engaging with your customers.

How has social media proven to be a wise business move for you? Tell us in the comments below!

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