4 Signs You Are Not Ready to Hire a Marketing Agency
A few months ago, we published a post about the 5 signs it’s time to hire a digital marketing agency. While strong partnerships between businesses and marketing agencies can be an effective way to grow sales, there are some cases when this option may not be the best fit–or at least not yet. Here are a few situations when it helps to think twice before you hire a marketing agency.
1) Your paid search budget is too small
Just how important is paid search for your digital marketing strategy? Internet users conduct more than 3.5 billion Google searches per day. In addition, 75% of consumers only read the first page of Google results. Therefore, it is essential that your company’s website appears on the first search engine results page (SERP) for your relevant keywords. This is the reason why marketing agencies dedicate so much time and so many resources toward search engine marketing (SEM).
If your paid search budget is too small (less than $1,000 per month), you will not see large increases in your web traffic since the competition for keywords can be fierce (and often expensive). Google paid search ads (which appear at the top of the results page, as in the screenshot below) are cost-per-click, with the price of a click determined by the demand for the keyword.
If your monthly paid search budget is only $500 and the cost per click for a given keyword is $25, you can only generate 20 clicks per month. That’s less than one click per day! In addition, with a small paid search budget, the agency won’t be able to dedicate as many resources to keyword research and ad creation.
Bottom line – Since agencies often use search engine marketing as a core component of the overall strategy, having a small SEM budget will not be enough to make an impact.
2) You haven’t outlined realistic goals for what you hope to achieve from investing in marketing
Smart investments in marketing can yield positive results for your business. However, the only way to maximize your investment is to know at the outset what you want to achieve. Before you start contacting agencies, you should have an idea of how much you are able to spend and what specific goals you have.
Specific goals might include actions that your audience should take and in what specific time frame (for example, a dental practice may want to increase patient inquiries by 30% year-over-year from August to November). Other goals might include adding a blog to a website, launching an Instagram channel, or getting started with Facebook ads. To help you get started, HubSpot offers a free goal-setting template based on the SMART Method (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-bound).
For example, trying to get a Coca-Cola level advertising campaign by spending just a few hundred dollars is an unrealistic goal and difficult to expect from a marketing agency. The best way to start is by conducting research about the competition to have an idea of how much you should spend.
It is worth noting that it may take some time before you will see the results reflected in your bottom line. This is especially true if you are launching a new product line, expanding to a new market, or starting something from scratch. If you don’t have a goal in mind, or you have the mindset that a one-time investment in marketing will instantly generate the sales you need, an agency may not be the right fit for you.
Bottom line – Most successful marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s important to be realistic about what a marketing agency can do and what timeframe they expect for helping you achieve your goals.
3) You are not open to getting advice or experimenting with new marketing strategies
Part of what you get from a marketing agency is strategy and consulting. This will include agency representatives analyzing your current marketing strategy and suggesting new channels, budgets, or optimizations based on past performance.
If you’re used to having one or two people in-house determine all the marketing strategy, there could be some pushback to having a voice from outside of the company weighing in on what you should do.
If the current in-house marketing strategist is not open to hearing suggestions, the partnership could be strained. For example, a client who has their heart set on a full-page color ad in The New York Times may not want to hear from an agency that the money would be better spent on a diversified mix of digital channels.
In addition, the marketing landscape constantly changes, and an agency will likely be at the forefront of the newest trends. The willingness to try new things is important for a company’s marketing evolution. You need to be willing to let marketing agencies do what they do best: test and implement new strategies.
Bottom line – Working with an agency constitutes a partnership and conversations will often involve compromise. Approach any agency partnership with open-mindedness and your campaign will be more likely to succeed.
4) You don’t have the time or team resources to manage marketing efforts
One of the benefits of working with an agency is the ability to save your employees time by outsourcing a lot of your marketing. However, agencies cannot do everything on their own. They need guidance from your team for brand messaging and guidelines, approval for campaign launches, time to review analytics reports with you, and assets such as photos and other materials.
We recommend having at least one person, ideally from an internal marketing team, in your company who can serve as the main point of contact with the agency and help to manage marketing efforts.
Bottom line – Agencies still require input from your team in order to execute campaigns. If you want to work with a marketing agency, you will still need to dedicate time, staff, and resources for managing the relationship.
So when is the right time to hire an agency?
One of the biggest advantages of using an agency is having a team of subject matter experts who can help you refine and execute your strategy at a much lower cost compared to hiring an entire in-house team. They can also suggest a few ways to optimize your budget for the best results.
An agency can be the right fit for you if they have experience marketing in your industry and have a track record of success with similar clients. We recommend these 15 questions to ask a digital marketing agency when deciding if it’s the right fit for you.
Ready to take the plunge and connect with a digital marketing agency? Contact Pacific54 today to speak with a representative.