You’ve taken the leap and started your own small business. Congratulations! Now, the real work begins. Building up a client base, selling successfully and other daily priorities are typical goals for new business owners, and there is only one way to do it - by marketing.
At the same time, adding marketing to your daily business to-do list can quickly become a nightmare. There are only so many hours in a day, and between running your business and trying to scale, handling social posts and other marketing avenues consistently becomes a massive roadblock. This is especially true if marketing isn’t exactly up your alley.
This leaves you with a choice. You can continue to try and DIY your online marketing strategies, or you can decide to work with a small business marketing agency. Working with a marketing agency that specializes in small businesses can hold a lot of benefits, provided you are working with the right one.
Maybe you’re planning on establishing your brand online, or you’ve exhausted what you can achieve with your own marketing efforts. Your decision may even be driven by a desire to save money by skipping out on hiring a full-time marketing manager.
Whatever you are hoping to achieve, there are some important things about digital small business marketing agencies that you’ll need to keep in mind. Take a look at our guide to choosing the right agency, and the do’s and don’ts of working with them.
Choosing A Small Business Marketing Agency: What You Should Know
The decision to outsource your marketing work to an agency is the easy part - the difficult one is choosing the right one for your business. Not all digital marketing agencies cater to the same niche, cover the same aspects of marketing, or suit your goals. This means you’ll need to do your due diligence in order to make the right call on who to work with.
The majority of marketing agencies cover one or two areas, preferring to work within their specialty rather than taking on everything under the sun. As a result, you’ll need to start by thinking about what your goals are for working with an agency. What are you hoping to achieve, and what do you know about your audience? These answers will be invaluable in making your decision.
For example, social media marketing can be targeted to the age of the average consumer you are dealing with. Younger demographics spend more time on TikTok, while older ones tend to stick to Facebook or even email marketing instead. You need to combine what you know about your customers with the goals you need to achieve and create a shortlist of agencies from there.
An agency can also help you to learn more about your audience by conducting market research, but it always helps to be more personally familiar with the facts.
Working With A Small Business Marketing Agency: Do’s
Once you’ve selected your chosen agency, these are a few of the do’s that you’ll need to keep in mind:
-Put all your expectations on the table. Your marketing agency will be your partner in many ways, and it’s essential that you are clear about what you expect, what you ultimately hope for in terms of results, and more. You also need to talk about other important aspects of your partnership, including how deliverables will be communicated.
-Share where you’re at. Transparency is your friend here and will help you grow your relationship with your chosen agency. You might feel shy to talk about your budget, current results, or other factors that affect marketing, but you’ll want to push through and get everything out in the open. This helps the agency to know where they are starting from and what is possible financially.
-Communicate about communication. Remember that an agency won’t function as an employee - you need to communicate with them but you don’t have as much control as to how. That’s why it’s essential to establish before starting. Do you prefer a hands-off approach? A call every week or more? Make sure you are clear about what you want.
-Be open to recommendations. If you’ve chosen well, the agency you are working with should have multiple marketing experts on call. In other words, they know what they’re talking about and they may have some unique insights for you. Be open to them even if it’s scary at first! You can achieve a lot more by diversifying your marketing approaches. Listen to new ideas and be flexible.
-Focus on results. When campaigns are midway through, it can be easy to sweat the small stuff. Try your best not to, and to judge the agency based on the outcomes they are able to achieve as a whole.
Working With Your Chosen Marketing Agency: Don’ts
Just as there are do’s, there are distinct don’ts that are just as important to keep in mind. The most obvious, of course, is to ensure you are working with the right marketing agency for your small business. But just in case, here are a few other things to remember:
-Beware of outdated websites. If the agency itself has an online presence that is lacking, you may want to keep walking. Don’t get taken in by what they say: the proof is always in the pudding. That means a good website design that is also compatible with mobile and makes use of the latest standards. You want the content you get from them today to still look good in years to come.
-Don’t get tied into bad contracts. Don’t get us wrong, having a contract is important and typical practice for agencies and clients. At the same time, you need to be on the lookout for contracts that are more restrictive than needed, or that don’t have an out-clause in case things don’t work out to your liking.
-Be careful of inflexible pricing. Your business is unique, which means your marketing needs will be too. A fixed pricing package might be a pitfall if the agency is unable to back up the services they’ll be providing for that cost.
-Don’t go into it without asking questions. Remember that it will really pay off to have done your homework. Try to ask questions about scheduling, analytics, costs, and everything else that crosses your mind. This will help you to gain clarity about what you’re putting in versus what you’ll be getting out.
-Don’t forget to get your ducks in a row and check reviews. The benefit of online digital marketing agencies is that most of them have Google reviews or even reviews on social media. Try and see what their previous clients have thought about their work or look for forum conversations that give you the low-down. Are the reviews balanced? Do they feel overly promotional or like they were paid for? Does the company respond to them?
-Don’t believe things that are too good to be true. Digital marketing is effective for small businesses, but it can’t perform miracles overnight. The best results come from consistent work and iteration. So take those get-big-quick marketing schemes with a pinch of salt. Not every quick approach will have long-term benefits.
-Don’t go overly-generalized. Not every marketing agency caters to the same type of business. As a small business, your needs will be different and you need to choose an agency that is familiar with your field, your goals, and the challenges you face. Don’t be afraid to keep things local either - working with an agency that is deeply familiar with your target demographic’s main location is never a bad idea.
Small Business Marketing Final Thoughts
Marketing a small business is an exciting rollercoaster filled with twists and turns. Riding it by yourself might seem scary, but with the help of an expert marketing agency for small businesses, you’ll soon be in control of the track.
That being said, as a small business owner making the all-important choice of which marketing agency to work with, the do’s and don’ts in this guide will help you make the right decision and guide you in your relationship with your agency going forward.
At The Hive Marketing Collective, we're a small business marketing agency with a range of services are designed to position your company as an industry leader by increasing your brand’s recognition and exposure.
Our core colony of marketing strategy experts have been hand-selected from the best in our field and brought together to collectively and collaboratively form The Hive. We’re invested in you right from the start - learning about your business and understanding your goals in a way that means your voice is heard and your needs are met.
Work with the small business marketing agency that cares. Check out The Hive Marketing Collective and reach out to us to start building buzz around your business today!
Small Business Marketing Agency FAQ
What does a marketing agency do?
A marketing agency works with all manner of promotional communications related to your business. Think social media marketing, email marketing, influencer marketing, website design, and much more. Not every marketing agency offers all these options, so it’s important to suss out their services beforehand and to ensure they can do what you need.
Should I work with a marketing agency?
As a small business owner, the answer is a resounding yes. It’s cheaper to outsource than to employ a full-time marketing manager and you can benefit from the work of a team of experts versus one individual with limited experience.
What can a marketing agency do for my business?
A marketing agency can help you grow your audience and establish trust in your brand. In the digital world, it’s essential to getting sales, connecting with your clients, and staying relevant.
What's the best marketing strategy?
The best marketing strategy for your business will depend on your goals, but when in doubt try to diversify. The most effective marketing plans are multi-pronged and iterative, which means you’ll always be measuring and improving in order to get the best results.