When to Stop Stressing and Hire a Marketing Agency

   By: Chelsea Maher

So you’ve been handling your own marketing efforts for a while now and it’s been going… ok. Maybe you’ve gotten some social media engagement, just not as much as you wanted. Maybe you’ve gotten some website conversions, but not as many as you wanted. Maybe it hasn’t been that hard, but it’s not as easy as you wanted.

This is the time when many companies consider employing the help of a marketing agency. It’s important to recognize that this decision doesn’t come from failure but as an admission that you need help. Just as you’re an expert in your field of business, marketing agencies are experts at finding people and telling them about your business.

But perhaps you’re not quite there yet. In fact, that’s why you’re here. BlueTone Media is a marketing agency so, of course, we’d love for you to hire us. But we also think it’s important to feel good about that choice, and hope you’ll take the following to reach a decision you’re confident in.
 

Step 1: Asking the Tough Questions

Some, if not all, of the following questions can help you determine whether you need to hire a marketing agency.

  • Where do I need the most help?
    If all you need is help with something like social media posting or creating a few digital ads, you can probably get away with keeping it in-house and simply hiring a new employee or freelancer. However, if the list of tasks you need help with is long - web design, content creation, PPC, SEO, etc. - you should definitely outsource to a marketing agency. It’ll cost more up front, but ultimately it will save you time and make you money.

  • Have my sales slumped?
    Take a look at your revenue over the last 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, etc. If your sales team is doing well and your products haven’t changed, a dip in income may be due to poor marketing and unqualified leads. Marketing agencies can take over your efforts, so your sales team and brand don’t suffer for things that aren’t their fault.

  • Have I been neglecting my goals?
    There’s no doubt that running a business is incredibly difficult. It’s extremely hard, impossible even, to remember every single little thing you have to do to stay afloat. Goals are a huge part of that though, and if you forget what those are your company will start to suffer. Marketing agencies are great because their whole goal is to help you reach your goals.

  • Do I know how to measure my success?
    Marketing agencies use a bunch of different tools to measure ROI (return on investment). Often, these tools cost a fairly substantial amount of money. You can certainly find free tools, but they usually don’t have as many features and, if you can’t properly track your success, you can’t know how to adapt and evolve your marketing plan.

  • Is my team stressed too?
    If you aren’t the only one pulling your hair out over failed marketing efforts, it’s definitely time to hire an agency. There’s no reason to stress your employees out by asking them to do something they don’t know much about and not getting the desired results.

  • Do I really know what I’m doing?
    Sure, you probably have some idea what’s going on in the marketing world in general but that doesn’t mean you know about web design, content creation, advertising, etc. Marketing is a vast and expansive field. People spend years getting high-level degrees in it. Really! They do!

  • Do I even like marketing?
    Nobody wants to do something they hate, so if you don’t enjoy the time you’re putting into your marketing efforts then STOP! There are, believe it or not, people who actually enjoy doing these tasks on a daily basis. They work at marketing agencies. Maybe you’ve heard of them?

 
 

Step 2: Making a List of Pros and Cons

You should certainly make your own list, but what follows makes a good starting point.

     Pros:

  • You can save money by picking and choosing which services you need.

  • They are staffed with specialists whose knowledge exceeds yours.

  • Agencies can free up a lot of your time.

  • Marketing can become a top priority where it wasn’t before.

  • They can send monthly and real-time reports on progress and ROI.

  • They know, and employ, best practices across the board.

     Cons:

  • You have to do the work of finding one.

  • Full service marketing agencies may be above your budget.

  • Once you find an agency, it takes some time for them to evaluate your needs.

  • They aren’t in-house, so you’ll have to communicate via phone or email.

  • They may not have worked with a company in your specific industry before.
     

Step 3: Choosing the Right Agency

Now that you’ve asked your questions and made your lists, it’s time to schedule some appointments. Most marketing agencies will do a free initial consultation where they review your website and current marketing efforts and explain how they can help. Take advantage of this by shopping around and visiting at least three different agencies before making your decision.

As you’re making the rounds, do the following:

  • Observe how they and their employees represent themselves. Are things neat and tidy or is the office hectic and noisy?

  • Ask yourself if YOU are attracted to their brand. You finding their brand appealing is a good indicator that the agency can help you build a brand that can lure your customers in.

  • Figure out if they are who they say they are. For example, expecting a huge agency but walking in to a couple of frazzled freelancers is not a good first step.

  • Get to know them. It sounds trivial but it’s important! You’re hiring these people to work for you. Talk to them, establish relationships, and make sure you get along before working together.

  • Ask if they’ve worked with your industry before. Not having industry-specific experience can be a dealbreaker, though it doesn’t have to be if the agency has worked in a similar industry or if they employ a research analyst.

  • Ask for samples. Being unwilling to show samples is a huge red flag.

  • Ask for references or testimonials. See what their past and current clients have to say.


Additionally, remember that a good, full-service marketing agency, will employ all or most of the following specialists:

  • SEO Specialist

  • Copywriter

  • Content Marketer

  • Social Media Manager

  • PPC Specialist

  • Web Developer/Designer

  • Graphic Designer

  • Account Manager

  • Project Manager

  • Digital Advertising Specialist

  • Chief Marketing Officer
     


There’s one last question to ask yourself, and the answer pretty much says it all: 

Does your biggest competitor already have a marketing agency?
 

If you’re stressed, pressed for time, and constantly think about the fact that you and your company could be doing better, it’s probably time to at least start thinking about hiring a marketing agency. BlueTone Media can help with a wide variety of marketing needs. We have a diverse team who are all specialists in their fields. We have years of experience, tons of samples, and plenty of references who’d be more than happy to vouch for us.

If you need help with web design, digital marketing, content marketing, or all of the above, get in touch with us to schedule a consultation.

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