If you’re thinking it’s time to hire someone to manage your marketing efforts, the big question on your plate is whether or not you should hire a digital marketing agency versus an in-house marketing team.
While it can be tempting to grow your internal team and hire a new recruit, the investment required to hire internally is massive compared to hiring a digital marketing agency.
Here’s why - skill diversification. Online marketing is a diverse world, and a single “marketing person” on your team will never be an expert in every area. Likely, they’ll be an expert in one area - say, AdWords or search marketing - but will be moderately adequate in all other areas of marketing.
Hence, your marketing plan will be askew and may not be as effective as it could be. To round out your internal marketing team, you’ll need to hire for multiple positions - a digital marketing researcher, a content strategist, a social strategist, a paid advertising strategist, just to name a few. Tally up those salaries and the investment is through the roof.
If you’re thinking it’s time to hire out, we suggest beginning with a digital marketing agency. Now, the questions are - when is the right time, how do you conduct the best search, and how do you choose a marketing agency that’s right for you?
Knowing When It’s Time
Recognizing and admitting it’s time to hire a digital marketing agency is the most difficult step in the process. Many growing startups and organizations begin my managing their own marketing, but as they grow they discover their processes just aren’t scalable and manageable. However, when faced with the decision to hire out, they slam the brakes and grip tighter on those dollar bills.
Hiring a marketing agency is an investment, but one your team should seriously consider if any of these red-flags below sound familiar:
Your team is overworked
Your campaigns are consistently ineffective
You keep pushing off creative campaigns for other daily tasks that pile up
You have no idea what is working for your marketing and what isn’t
Your competitors are using agencies (don’t fall behind)
Your sales numbers make you cringe and you have no good leads
You hate marketing and/or lack the expertise to drive results
You don’t have a replicable or scalable process for generating leads and sales
You spend far too much effort struggling to obtain new leads
You want to be more hands-off in the lead generation process
Sound familiar? If you recognize any of the signs above, it could be time to look for a digital marketing agency.
Preparing to Search
Now that you’ve decided it’s time to hire a digital marketing agency, here are a few tips for making your search process as seamless as possible. Before embarking on your search, make sure you have a clear understanding of:
What your specific goals are for your partnership with a digital marketing agency. Identify the marketing tasks and projects you keep falling behind on and what weight you want your new partner to carry in your marketing process.
What outcome(s) are you pursuing.
What change you hope a partnership with an agency would bring about for your organization.
What expectations you have for the agency that you’ll need to address, confirm or dismantle.
Many companies wait until the last minute to hire out their marketing, often in a last-ditch, desperate attempt to stay afloat. Please realize that it’s not realistic to expect a marketing agency to “save” your business. It’s best to think of agencies as a means to amplify results and achieve consistency.
Often, the best marketing strategies don’t produce results overnight - it’s a process. It can take 60-90 days to see results. Be sure to talk openly with any agency you partner with to convey any and all expectations you have so their team can best serve you!
Choosing an Agency
You’ve completed your search, you have a list of prospects and it’s time to pursue a decision. Here are a few action items to consider in conducting the last stages of your research:
When researching an agency, request case studies or testimonials and references.
Have multiple meetings with the agency personnel to make sure you get along with them.
Ask how many team members will be working on your account and what each of their roles are.
Learn what processes they use and how your team might need to adapt and integrate.
Learn how often the agency will meet with you and/or update you on progress - monthly, weekly? And, who will be the main point of contact?
If you’re ready to begin your search for a boutique digital marketing agency, reach out to us! We’d love to meet with you, learn more about your business and goals, and share the ways we can best support and serve your business growth.