Ignoring online marketing is like opening a business but not telling anyone.
– KB Marketing Agency
It's common for small business owners to ask, "What is online marketing going to cost me?"
It's a fair question.
Proper budgeting is crucial for any business, but especially for small businesses. Half of small businesses fail within the first five years, and poor money management is one of the leading causes of businesses going under. Business owners should be concerned about the price tag associated with marketing efforts.
Small Business Trends reports that the average small business dedicates only 1.08 percent of its revenue to marketing. However, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) recommends that businesses making less than $5 million in revenues should dedicate 7–8 percent of their revenue to marketing.
Increasing the amount you spend on marketing can seem daunting. However, it’s important for small business owners to consider what choosing not to invest in online marketing is going to cost them in the long run.
Roughly 83 percent of Americans who visited a store said they searched online first. So, by choosing not to market your business online, you are actually decreasing your ability to generate revenue for your business.
As a small business owner, the question you should be asking is not “What is online marketing going to cost me?” but rather “How can I get the best ROI for my online marketing efforts.”
If your business is just getting started, you can do a few easy things on your own for little to no extra cost, like writing blog posts, creating social media accounts, etc. However, if you’re looking for ways to grow your business, it’s time to bring in the professionals.
Here are four reasons you should consider hiring a digital marketing agency:
In order to execute an effective marketing strategy, you need the creative ability to produce content that captures attention, the analytical ability to track and measure the effectiveness of that content, and the determination to refine and/or revamp your content over and over and over, until you reach your goals.
If you’re considering hiring a marketer, you should know it’s rare to find one person with an equal balance of all these qualities. Most professional marketers will gain experience in multiple areas of the field throughout their careers. However, most marketers also develop a niche or specialty. They may say they can do everything, but in reality they are better at one aspect than the others.
Even if you are able to find the perfectly balanced marketer, there is a limit to what one person is able to accomplish. There are only so many hours in a day and it takes a lot of work to produce a full-fledged marketing strategy. Freelancers will often take on more than one client at a time as well, so you’re only getting a fraction of their time. If your goal is to rapidly expand your marketing efforts to increase your client base and grow your business, a single employee or freelancer is not going to cut it.
A digital marketing agency, on the other hand, instantly gives you access to a full team of professional marketers. Once you set project parameters, goals, and timelines, your new team immediately starts working. If you’re not exactly sure what your strategy should be, your team can provide guidance and help you set the right goals to get your business where you want it to be. Hiring a digital marketing agency is one of the fastest ways to expand your marketing efforts.
Digital marketing is a unique blend of art and science. The science aspect involves correctly understanding and utilizing the algorithms of the internet to get eyeballs in front of your business’s digital assets (website, social media profiles, etc.). The art aspect involves turning those eyeballs into loyal, paying customers.
Marketing is a skillset that must be developed. It takes time to gain the knowledge and experience necessary to maximize the ROI for your marketing campaigns. Time is not a commodity most small businesses owners have.
Hiring a digital marketing agency minimizes the time you need to spend on marketing and allows you to focus on running your business. You will need to meet with your marketing agency to provide direction, review results, etc., but the time you’ll spend in meetings is minimal when compared to the time it takes to plan, create, and execute different marketing projects. You can even appoint a different member of your team to be the point of contact for the agency so you can focus on what you do best.
Each facet of digital marketing — SEO, PPC, social media, videos, infographics, blog posts, etc. — acts like a cog in a giant machine. It’s easy to get hyper-focused on the individual cogs, spending hours making sure they turn as efficiently as possible. But when you’re too focused on the cogs, you forget they’re supposed to be moving the machine.
A marketing strategy acts like a blueprint to the machine. It helps you know which cogs need to go in first. It gives insight on which cogs can be integrated later. Most importantly, it reminds you of the big picture. You’re not just working on the cogs, you’re building a machine.
A good digital marketing agency will help you develop a marketing strategy that not only works within your business’s current capabilities, but also helps you grow to what you ultimately want to become. It keeps you from being distracted by trends, buzzwords, and short-term fixes. It also reminds you that the ultimate goal of likes, pageviews, and search rankings is to increase revenue and grow your business.
In God we trust, all others must bring data.
— W. Edwards Deming
A lot of people talk about marketing as if it’s solely about creativity. They assume the more creative an ad is, the better it performs. The truth requires much less imagination.
Data and analytics is what makes the marketing world go round. Good digital marketing agencies track everything they create, so they can tell you exactly what is or isn’t working. They run test after test, constantly trying to improve results. It will amaze you how simple things, like the color of a button, will drastically impact click-through rates.
Digital marketing agencies can utilize analytics to figure out what time of day to post on social media to get the most interaction, what messaging and keywords are most appealing to your audience, and so much more. If something isn’t generating the results you want, they can also use analytics to make adjustments and improvements. Accurate analytics are the only way to calculate the ROI for your marketing campaigns.
Consider these three priorities when hiring a digital marketing agency:
Many people incorrectly assume you can manage all three priorities and quickly create a high quality marketing strategy and/or campaign that costs you next to nothing.
But in reality, you can only choose two priorities.
Hiring a digital marketing agency is one of the fastest ways to enhance your marketing efforts, and it’s often not as expensive as many small business owners think. However, if you’re zealously pinching pennies and willing to wait a little longer for results, hiring a freelancer may better fit your needs.
The vast majority of digital marketing agencies offer free quotes and/or consultations. Our advice is to contact a few agencies you’re interested in hiring and get their perspective. Be candid about your goals and budget. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and take your time making a decision.
If you’re not confident that hiring a digital marketing agency will achieve the best ROI for your business’s marketing efforts, look into other options.