You have just started a new business, resources are limited early on, and you need to choose how to spend them wisely. So, the question is, should you hire a marketing agency for your newly created small business?
Coming from a digital marketing agency, you would expect my answer to be a resounding “yes”, but I have also been part of multiple startups and I understand the need to balance the finite resources you have in the beginning. So the answer really is “it depends”. It depends on the makeup of your current team, it depends on what assets you have already, it depends on what positions you want to add to your company first, it depends on a thousand other factors. If it were me, I would look at these things:
- Do I have a name, logo, and/or brand for my new business?
- Do I have a website for my business so potential customers can learn more about who we are and what we have to offer?
- Does my website have content written for SEO (search engine optimization – Google) so these potential customers can even find me?
- Do I have a need for other touch points for these customers, like email, social media, or perhaps even ads that could help speed up my business’ growth?
- If I do not have some or any of these things above, do I have someone on my team to do each of these items? Do I want to try and hire someone to do all these things or try and find freelancers to do each of these tasks? Or, would it be more efficient to find a partner who can help me do all these things in one group?
Often times new businesses have a name and possibly a logo they are happy with and are ready to go from there. The rest, not so much. That still doesn’t mean I would immediately recommend hiring a marketing agency for your business, that still largely depends on the rest of your team.
Web Design & Development
A website is must today. If you do not have a website, you have no presence for potential customers to find you. Do you have someone on your new team who has web development skills? If not, you have two choices, start with a free website builder or hire someone. Modern website builders are getting much better, but to be honest with you, you still have to have some design skills. Knowing how to use Photoshop for example is a huge advantage. Or having some experience in other applications that include WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editors. Without that experience, a website building tool will be more of a headache than any help.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Once you have built your website yourself or have hired someone to build it, what does the written content look like? Does it include the keywords people search when looking for the products or services your new business offers? Is each page tagged properly from a technical perspective to make sure Google can read/crawl it? Having good SEO on your website is the only way (without paying for them to come) for potential customers to find your business. Even if you do not hire someone to manage your SEO every month (which you should when you can for best results), when you launch your website, hiring a marketing agency or an SEO specialist to help get you going will really benefit your business long term. They will be able to do some analysis to see what keywords people are searching for in your space. They can identify known and unknown competitors you may have. Ultimately they can then tag your site and help write content for your site that will help get you noticed on Google search results.
Email Marketing, Social Media & Paid Search
Great, you have a name, a great logo, and a fresh looking website. You may be all set! But perhaps you would like to help push some traffic to your website, or grow your audience across other channels? Setting up a Facebook or LinkedIn page is relatively easy, and something you can definitely do on your own. Making it look really professional, and including all the important information about your business in the proper sections is a little more difficult, but still doable. Creating an email marketing channel: setting up an email tool, creating attractive email templates, building your list to send to, and determining what to send is trickier yet depending on your background. Google Ads? Sure, you can stumble through setting up campaigns, and testing what works and what doesn’t, but it can get very expensive learning in real time.
At the end of the day, it really comes down to what your collective backgrounds (of everyone involved in the new business) have with regards to what additional help you may need. A marketing agency is a great way to get a 360° view of your new business. It gives them pertinent information about your business when they are researching keywords for SEO. That information then provides a good understanding of your competition, and what they may then be doing on social media or through email to attract customers. All these things are crucial to a new businesses success. Hiring one marketing agency for a “startup” project can actually be significantly cheaper than hiring various individuals or agencies to handle different aspects of this process as well. It comes down to wether you want to spend your time on the marketing aspects of your business or building the business itself.
We have worked with many startups at various stages. We have been the sole agency partner, we have worked with other agencies, we have worked with other individuals already part of the team. We have seen and done a lot (I never like saying “all”, particularly with business startups), from helping businesses navigate the rules of PCI compliance to just helping them set up email addresses for everyone on their teams. We would love to talk to you about your new business so give us a call and we can see if there are ways we can help you. Cheers!