Whether you are looking to start marketing your small business or already have an inbound marketing strategy in place, you may be wondering whether you should employ an agency to help you with marketing.
An inbound marketing agency can take your marketing to the next level, ensuring your achieve your target goals faster. The agency will leave you with more time to handle other aspects of your business as it handles the marketing.
Before hiring an agency, there are a few considerations you should make to determine whether the exercise will be worth it. In particular, determine the current capabilities of your in-house team, whether they can take new work, and how you will scale your marketing strategy to improve your bottom line.
The three factors will help you determine whether your business will benefit from the experience and help of an inbound marketing agency. Let’s go through the factors in depth.
1. Determine Capability of Your Current In-House Team
Whether to keep your marketing activities in-house or seek external help should be determined after assessing the capabilities of your in-house team. If you are like most SMBs, you probably have no permanent marketing person. Perhaps you do the marketing or one member of the staff occasionally does marketing for the company.
The lack of having a focused and permanent marketing team with the experience and skills required for inbound marketing may be the reason why your business’s growth is stunted. For successful online marketing, you need professionals with various skills including paid search, SEO, social media and copywriting.
If you are a medium sized company, you may need professionals with even more skills including analytical marketing, conversion focused web design, front and backend web development, and knowledge of inbound marketing software platforms.
As the leader of your business, you should have someone that is in tune with your business objectives and who has a thorough understanding of inbound marketing techniques leading the implementation of your strategy. However, finding a personal with all these capabilities is nearly impossible. Generally, your in-house team may be experienced in two or three marketing concepts.
This being the case, it may be clear that you need new inbound marketing talent. So, why not hire an inbound marketer?
Hiring an inbound marketer may work with large organizations but the practicality of it may not work for SMBs. The costs of recruiting, hiring and training an inbound developer, designer or marketer can easily deplete your marketing budget for every team member. Depending on where you are with marketing, hiring an inbound agency may be more cost effective than marketing in-house.
If any of the below signs apply to your business, then you may benefit from the skills and experience of an inbound agency:
- Your in-house team lacks core marketing skills
- You do not fully understand what inbound marketing is
- You need to help in designing a conversion-focused website
- You need help in implementing your online marketing strategies
- You need help in determining and designing winning marketing campaigns
2. Consider the Capacity of Your Team
Most small business owners underestimate the amount of work required to formulate a working strategy and get it off the ground and running. As you come up with your inbound marketing plan, it’s important to determine who much time it will take to develop, launch and scale the different marketing strategies in your plan.
Keep in mind that any strategy that needs to be scaled will consume more time than the initial launch. Is your team ready to take the additional work and still be able to attend to their current responsibilities?
Most of the time, a number of activities will have to be carried out before the launch of your marketing strategy. Examples of such activities include strategic planning, website improvements and content development.
You need to define your buyer personas, create initial content for the audience and define your conversion paths. The calls-to-action must be integrated in your website and email workflows setup for lead nurturing.
Carrying out these tasks require you a skilled team, a lot of dedication and a substantial budget.
When you launch your inbound marketing, there will be a lot of work to be done to get traction and attract traffic, leads and customers to your site. Executing any inbound marketing strategy, even the most basic of them, can take you more than 50 hours every month just in creating content, landing pages, and optimizing different strategies.
If you are in a highly competitive industry, you may need 150 or more hours of work every month to reach your lead generation and customer coversion goals.
However, the long hours that need to be put in the execution of any inbound marketing strategy should not deter you from implementing your strategies. Rather, the hours should help you set realistic expectations and execution timelines, whether you are marketing in-house or will hire an agency.
Here are some signs that show you need help from an inbound marketing agency to grow your strategy:
- You are finding it difficult to hire and scale your in-house inbound marketing operations
- Your team is short of professionals with the skills and capacity to fully implement your strategy
- You want a proven, result-driven campaign launched quickly
- 3. Consider How You Will Scale Your Results Over Time
Regardless of what you intend to achieve from inbound marketing, you should have a strategy that you can follow to scale your results in future. This includes structuring your team to be able to formulate, implement and measure techniques quickly.
As you formulate your inbound marketing plan launch, keep in mind your immediate and long term requirements. Your strategy should allow you to continuously grow your results in the future.
As you begin to gain traction and drive business results, which steps will you have to take to go to the next level? How is your current inbound marketing strategy structured to ensure continued growth?
Most small business think they are able to fully implement an inbound marketing strategy in-house. While this is usually true, problems start when the business wants to scale its marketing strategies. That’s when the in-house team realizes it has too much on its plate and cannot attain targets.
Having the best inbound marketing talent for your company is good for small scale campaigns. However, if you are looking to scale an entire inbound marketing campaign, you may realize the talent falls short of some skills. This is where working with an inbound marketing agency begins to make sense.
If you already have an in-house marketing team, you can outsource parts of your marketing that the team is not skilled or experienced at.
Going for this option hive you more flexibility and immediately scalability. Moreover, your business will also get access to a broad range of skillset and current industry knowledge from the inbound agency, which your internal team may not have.
If the following apply to your business, then hiring an agency will help you scale your marketing more efficiently.
- You have a limited budget and hence cannot outsource all your marketing to an agency
- Your inbound marketing results are stagnant and you need to take them to the next level
- Your team has some marketing skills but needs additional expertise crucial to your launch and business growth
Many small business owners struggle to determine whether or not they should hire an inbound marketing agency. Comparing the results you want to achieve and the capability of your team to implement and scale the different strategies will provide the answer.
If you have decided to fully implement and inbound marketing strategy and your in-house team has the skills and tools required for execution, then you don’t need to hire an agency. However, if your team lacks some of the pertinent skills required for various marketing techniques, you should reach out to an experienced inbound marketing agency to discuss your requirements.