Contracting a specialised agency to handle your business marketing is a great way to build your brand and improve growth. But before you hire an agency, it’s advisable to consider how much you’re prepared to spend on their services and your marketing, and whether this level of investment is going to be enough to generate the results you want.
If you are working with a limited budget, there are several key strategies that can help stretch your agency spend further and inflate your overall ROI.
1. Begin with a comprehensive brief and clear expectations.
First up, give your marketing provider a clear, comprehensive brief. Explain the ins and outs of your business; where it’s been, where you’d like to take it, and what you need/want the agency to achieve for you. Then, before you sign on the dotted line, make sure your expectations align with the service you’ll actually be getting. Read the contract documentation carefully, check what is and isn’t included, and ask for clarification if you’re unsure of anything.
2. Be realistic and specific.
Working with a limited budget (and time frame) will also limit your objectives. So when you start planning with your marketing provider, don’t just tell them that you want to ‘grow the business’. Instead, set concrete specific REALISTIC goals to work towards, e.g. to create a new website, or to accrue a hundred more Facebook followers. As it rolls out, your marketing will generate interest, and it’s up to you to follow through and convert the leads to sales. So your phone starts ringing, make sure it gets answered.
3. Share your knowledge.
Your marketing provider is not a clairvoyant, nor necessarily an expert in your particular field. However, all great marketing is grounded in data, analysis, research and strategy, so in order for them to design the best marketing strategies for you, your agency will need an in-depth understanding of your business: your objectives, target market, what’s great about your product, why you sell it, etc. For this reason, it’s vital that you share your knowledge about your business and your industry.
4. Time is money.
Working with a marketing agency is the same as hiring an accountant or a lawyer: all time is billable. To get the biggest marketing bang for your buck, don’t waste their time and your money on overly long phone conversations or endless email trails. The bulk of your service provider’s billable hours should be spent productively, so ensure they can work at maximum efficiency by providing all requisite material as and when it’s needed. And as work progresses, respond to requests for information, approval or feedback promptly. Constant chasing costs you time and money.
5. Contribute and work as a team.
When it comes to working with a marketing agency, the more you contribute the more you’ll get out of it. It’s your business that’s being marketed, so your involvement and input will guarantee a better outcome. Share your knowledge; and support and trust theirs. Follow their advice and – most importantly – be sure to action any plans your agency puts into place.