Starting a business is one of two things – your greatest source of pride, or a colossal pain in the backside. If you are in the achy bum camp, you are either:
– Just starting out and struggling to make waves;
– Have been in business a while and falling flat at every hurdle.
You probably spend quite a bit of time observing successful business owners and think to yourself ‘what are they doing right?!’.
I’ve been there (Jordan) – before I set up the marketing agency with Saul – I know what it’s like. You spend day in, day out trying your hardest to make an honest buck, remunerating over missed opportunities or cursing your competitors for their apparent success.
It needn’t be this way…
How can I alleviate the pain?
Most of the day, a business owner’s biggest source of frustration is customers, or more succinctly, a lack of…
– “How do I find them?” (search)
– “What do they look like?” (identification)
– “How do I make them buy?” (engagement)
The answers are surprisingly easy…for the initiated:
– Prior to launching (search), thorough market research will help you identify your niche and customer base.
– Once you have an idea of what your customers look like (identification), development of customer personas – realistic snapshots of your ideal customer – should follow suit. Framing your product or service and any subsequent marketing activities around the traits of your personas, will help you stay focussed on who you should (and should not) be selling to.
– To attract your ideal customers, you create and share valuable content (engagement) designed to help draw them to your website, where ideally, they will buy or at least fulfil a desired action (i.e. leave their contact details).
The chances are, however, unless you have some sort of formal marketing agency training or are a born natural when it comes to business, you will have little to no knowledge of the above.
So, what do you do? Well, to be blunt, you will have to teach yourself! There are a number of free ways to do this, although each has its own shortcomings:
We live in the age of YouTube, that endless resource of how to videos and tutorials. The trouble is, these are largely generic and often produced by other marketers with an ulterior motive – that of convincing you of their way of doing things and to part with your hard-earned cash.
There are lots of great online resources such as blogs, articles and marketing books are plenty. Yet as a full-time business owner, can you honestly say you have the time to read your way to marketing Nirvana? What if you don’t understand a concept? How do you decide if PPC or SEO is right for your business? Do you even know what these are?!
You can ask people, but most of the time their advice will be limited or generic. You can also attend free seminars, but often these only scratch the surface and are in place to entice you into contacting the organiser for help at a later date (see above).
Tackling marketing yourself is very doable, however there will come a time when you hit a brick wall and will need professional advice. Yes, you will have to pay for this service, but a lot of the time it is not as expensive as you may think and may well turn out to be the best investment you ever make.
5 reasons why consulting a marketing agency is a good idea:
Most credible marketing agencies are populated by real experts, people that have spent years studying and honing their craft. The things you struggle to grasp, they tackle them while talking on the phone, sending emails and discussing strategy with colleagues. Essentially, they know what they are doing and do it well (top tip – a really good marketer will be able to explain things to you in a clear and concise way, without the use of jargon or other seemingly alien terms).
…is also a currency and you will save a bucket load of it! Instead of spending time on marketing, you can now spend time on that other really important thing-running your business!
A credible marketing agency will offer a wide range of services and will be happy to work in line with your budget-It’s a competitive market and ‘shaving a bit of the top’ for a little less service is common practice.
Avoid the learning curve
By consulting a marketing agency, you are essentially eliminating the guesswork associated with self-learning and saving time by not having to learn about the difference between CTR and CTA…
Measurement and ROI
We live in the age of big data-we can now get really granular with our marketing and with free tools such as Google Analytics, we can actually see what works and what doesn’t. Marketers want to prove to you that they are doing a good job (the good ones, at least) and will want to show you how they are actively achieving a return on your marketing investment.
Be careful – not all marketing agencies are born equal…
Before you run out the door shouting ‘take my money!’, there are a few things to consider:
– If it’s too good to be true, it probably is – general rule of thumb: you get what you pay for.
– Don’t be a cash cow – Make sure whoever you talk to takes the time to really understand your business and what your goals and objectives are. Expect to be guided through processes and provided with detailed monthly reports which indicate where ROI has been generated.
– Do your research: don’t settle for the first agency you come across. Get a range of quotes, check for testimonials, ask for people’s opinions and check online reviews. Any budget you have for marketing should be treated as an investment – spend wisely.