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 companies and marketing agencies can be an effective way to increase sales, there are some cases where this option may not be the best option, or at least not yet. Here are some situations where it helps to think twice before hiring a marketing agency.
1) Your paid search budget is too small
How important is paid search to your digital marketing strategy? Internet users make more than 3.5 trillion Google searches per day. Furthermore, 75% of consumers only read the first page of google results. Therefore, it is essential that your business website appears on the first page of search engine results (SERP) for your relevant keywords. This is why marketing agencies spend so much time and resources on search engine marketing (SEM).
If your paid search budget is too small (less than $ 1,000 per month), you won’t see big increases in your web traffic, as competition for keywords can be fierce (and often expensive). Google’s paid search ads (displayed 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! Also, with a small paid search budget, the agency won’t be able to devote as many resources to keyword research and ad creation.
Bottom line – Since agencies often use search engine marketing as a central component of the overall strategy, having a small SEM budget will not be enough to make an impact.
2) You have not set realistic goals for what you hope to achieve by investing in marketing.
Smart investments in marketing can generate positive results for your business. However, the only way to maximize your investment is to know up front what you want to achieve. Before you start communicating with agencies, you need to get an idea of how much you can spend and what specific goals you have.
Specific goals may include actions that your audience should take and in what specific time frame (for example, a dental office may want to increase patient visits by 30% year-over-year from August to November). Other goals may 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 template for goal setting based on the SMART method (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time bound).
For example, trying to get a Coca-Cola-level ad campaign for just a few hundred dollars is an unrealistic and difficult goal to expect from a marketing agency. The best way to start is by researching your competition to get an idea of how much you should spend.
It’s worth noting that it may take some time before you see the results reflected on your bottom line. This is especially true if you are launching a new product line, expanding into a new market, or starting something from scratch. If you don’t have a goal in mind, or have the mindset that a one-time marketing investment will instantly generate the sales you need, an agency may not be right for you.
Bottom line – The most successful marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. It is important to be realistic about what a marketing agency can do and the time frame they expect to help you achieve your goals.
3) You are unwilling to take advice or experiment with new marketing strategies.
Part of what you get from a marketing agency is strategy and consulting. This will include agency representatives reviewing your current marketing strategy and suggesting new channels, budgets, or optimizations based on past performance.
If you are used to having one or two internal people determine the entire marketing strategy, there could be some reluctance to have a voice outside the company assessing what to do.
If the current internal marketing strategist is not open to listening to suggestions, the association could be strained. For example, a customer whose heart is set on a full-page color ad on The New York Times You may not want to hear from an agency that money would be better spent on a diversified mix of digital channels.
Additionally, the marketing landscape is constantly changing and an agency will likely be on the cutting edge of the latest trends. The willingness to try new things is important to the evolution of a company’s marketing. You must be willing to allow marketing agencies to do what they do best: test and implement new strategies.
Bottom line – Working with an agency constitutes a partnership and conversations often involve compromises. Approach any agency partnership with an open mind and your campaign will be more likely to be successful.
4) You don’t have the team time or resources to manage marketing efforts.
One of the benefits of working with an agency is the ability to save your employees time by outsourcing much of your marketing. However, agencies cannot do everything themselves. They need guidance from your team for brand messages and guidelines, approval to launch campaigns, time to review analytics reports with you, and assets like 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 primary point of contact with the agency and help manage marketing efforts.
Bottom line – Agencies still require information from your team to run campaigns. If you want to work with a marketing agency, you will still need to dedicate time, staff, and resources to managing the relationship.
So when is the right time to hire an agency?
One of the biggest benefits 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 some ways to optimize your budget for the best results.
An agency may be the right choice for you if you have a background in 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 is the most suitable for you.
Ready to take the plunge and connect with a digital marketing agency? Contact Pacific54 today to speak with a representative.