At some point or another you’ve probably wondered whether it would be a good idea or not to hire a marketing company to help grow sales for your business. Unfortunately the answer seems to always be, “it depends”. But at some point, you’ll want to bring in the experts to help you push your business to the next level, and there are several things you can do to help determine when hiring a marketing company is right for you. Here’s our checklist of things to ask yourself when looking to hire a marketing company.
Know your goals
You need to have an idea of what you want to accomplish before hiring someone to try to make it happen. This isn’t rocket science and should be a standard best practice before hiring any outside experts. Your goal could be a dollar increase in sales, an increase of visitors to your website, or an improved lead generation process as just a few examples. Having a goal or target in mind will do several things to help you in this process:
- It will help you find the right person. Just because someone is a marketing expert doesn’t mean they can help you with your situation. Imagine hiring a social media expert without first having a well-built website.
- It creates clear expectations. There is no magic bullet in marketing and many marketing strategies just won’t work out. But too often small businesses will hire marketing companies in an ongoing relationship that can continue without any significant improvement in the small business.
- It improves your chances for success. Both you and the hired marketing company are much more likely to succeed with a clear goal to work toward. It’s actually very difficult as a marketing company to produce results when the small business hiring you isn’t clear on what they want. “We want to increase sales by 30%” is much easier to develop a winning strategy then “Help us market better.”
When to Hire and What to Hire For
Having a clear goal will really help you to know if you can handle your own marketing needs or if you would be better off finding someone else to do it for you and hopefully do it better. The answer to ‘should you hire out your marketing’ isn’t a yes/no question because the actual answer is almost always yes. The better question would be when to hire and what to hire them for. When would you be better with a marketing company and what specifically do you need them to do? The most successful companies will bring in outside experts. That’s one pattern for success to surround yourself with people smarter than yourself. So, it is a great idea to hire a marketing company, but I would start by doing what you can within your own company first. Hire an expert to get you beyond where you can’t get yourself. Don’t hire a marketing company to do the things you could and should do within your own company.
Educate Yourself First
In business, ignorance is one of the biggest expenses you’ll ever have to pay. And when you are a small business with limited cash and resources you can’t afford to pay to be ignorant. Before hiring a marketing company take a little time to learn about the tasks you’ll be asking them to perform for your small business. If you need help with social media, read the “Getting Started” pages on your platform of choice. If you need a PR campaign, watch a video on how to run a successful PR campaign. By educating yourself you’ll better understand when you should hire a professional and when you can do it yourself, you’ll be better able to communicate when you do hire someone, and you’ll be able to better protect yourself against unqualified, incompetent, or just plain dishonest companies (which seem to be more and more prevalent).
Most small businesses don’t really know who would be a good marketing company. Often, small businesses don’t even know who provides this service, let alone who does it well. The best thing to do before committing to hiring a marketing company is to shop around. Get to know the company you’re going to hire because it’s likely that you will develop a relationship with them. Check their references. Look at their work. Ask to contact some of their clients. Great companies don’t come cheap, but that doesn’t mean you need to spend a fortune either. The better you shop around, the more likely you are to partner yourself with a company that will earn your business and pay for themselves several times over in great marketing for your business.
Don’t Be Afraid to Walk Away or Just Say No
Even with doing everything right, sometimes it just isn’t the right fit. This last point is to reiterate the importance of quickly fixing any mistakes you’ve made in hiring the wrong marketing company. Just like hiring the wrong employee can really hurt your business, hiring the wrong marketing company can be detrimental. These are people you’re trusting with managing the growth and sales of your small business. If ever you find yourself with the wrong marketing company, get out as soon as possible.
Making the Hire
You might be thinking to yourself, “I’m too small. I doubt I’ll ever hire a marketing company for my business.” But most of us hire marketing companies regularly to help us with our small businesses. Think about the last time you hired someone to build your website, or worked with an ad specialist to run a newspaper ad, or you outsourced your logo to a graphic designer to get that perfect look. These are all marketing companies that want your business. In today’s market, you have more control than ever in selecting just the right company for your needs.
What Are Your Thoughts?
What was your experience like the last time you hired a professional to help you with your marketing efforts? Were you pleased, disappointed or somewhere in between. Send us your thoughts and insights.