In the first 5 years of a new business’ life, every penny counts. The money going out must justify some sort of comeback, whether it’s a short term win or a contribution towards something that will yield prosperity in the future. That leaves many small businesses who are keen to expand asking the same question – should a small business use a digital marketing agency?

The drawbacks of digital marketing agencies

Many digital marketing agencies will tailor their packages to appeal to your needs. That means the costs are slightly lower, but the services aren’t exactly tip-top. Many small business owners would HAPPILY pay a smidge more for real results, which begs the question, will a small business ACTUALLY feel the benefits of a marketing agency?

It’s not exactly a question that comes with a straightforward yes or no answer, it’s a bit of yes and bit of no.

This is because, like any service-related industry, you get rockstars and you get those who just “do their job”. In the marketing industry, simply doing your job isn’t always enough. Confused? Yup, it’s a lot to take in and you’re probably asking:

Surely if you’re getting the services you’ve been quoted for, you should see results? Not exactly. Marketing is never one-size-fits-all. And that’s one fundamental problem with so many agencies, they offer a set of services.

Understanding the industry and its service providers

They’ll diligently perform the quoted duties, but there’s very little intuitive guidance. No, we’re not talking about crystal balls or tarot cards.

Intuitive actions within the marketing industry refer to a degree of experimentation. It means we run a few campaigns and track their successes and examine their weaknesses. We then come back with data to build STRONGER campaigns. It also means keeping a close eye on consumer trends – what are people looking for? Which of those topics could potentially work well for this particular brand? There’s a degree of touch and feel and then looking at the analytics and reports to see where to invest more energy.

If an agency is simply pumping out work without some experimentation and a whole lot of monitoring, you’ll fail to get those impactful results. That intuitive experimentation is crucial, it helps you to build powerful campaigns going forward. Agencies that fail to do this will continue to deliver work on schedule, but you won’t see that rewarding (but sometimes elusive) ROI. And isn’t that why we’re all here?

This really applies to content marketing, which revolves around supplying people with the information they most need. You’re answering a need and leading people back to your business. A marketing agency that fails to identify consumers’ needs in order to meet them, will fail to give you engagement. The best way to identify consumers’ needs? Trying a few different angles and seeing which ones hit the target most effectively, and then, creating a whole lot more.

What to look for when you use a digital marketing agency 

On the other hand, a digital marketing agency that examines the successes in their own strategies and campaigns and measures their failings will be able to identify the key elements in taking your brand further. This takes genuine passion and a real desire to help you succeed. How can you identify an agency like that?

  • Look for companies that invest as much in their clients’ businesses as they do their own.
  • Don’t fall for the dazzling smiles. The meetings may go very well, but judge the agency by the standard of work you get from them.
  • Ask them if they evaluate their own campaigns and build them according to a strategy
  • Ask them how much involvement they need from you. This is important. Marketing is a highly collaborative exercise – it takes the business owner and the marketer to make it truly successful.
  • Look for an agency with a professional strategy team or consultant.
  • An agency that asks lots of questions and wants to know about your goals and your business is a keeper!

It is important to remember that a marketing agency comes to your business with a certain set of skills (much like Liam Neeson) these skills include advertising and marketing.

They are unlikely to be experts in your field of work. It is important to remember this because marketing requires both parties to bring something to the table, a marketing service is not something you can hand over to someone else and sit back as it grows.

Are you able to commit to collaboration for success?

It doesn’t matter how good the agency is, they will need inside information about your industry from you. If you’re running specials, if you’re battling to move certain stock, if you have a particular goal in mind for the year – you need to talk to your marketing team and give them as much insight as possible. They will take this relevant information and combine it with their professional knowledge of the marketing scene to move you towards success faster than you could have done on your own.

So, to answer the initial question; Should small businesses use a marketing agency? Absolutely. But invest your money where there’s a genuine passion to give you a lucrative return. Passion can’t be measured in business sizes, sometimes the most customised service comes from a dedicated team – like us! Need to know how to increase your brand awareness and leads? Then why not contact us today by clicking here