It’s safe to say most small business owners have the same vision: to offer the very best products or services, to stand out from the competition, and to improve customers’ lives through the products or services they offer. While this is the ultimate goal, it’s very easy for small business owners and their employees to get wrapped up in the details of running a business, such as production, policies, bookkeeping, or professional development.
With so many things going on, marketing is typically the first thing that gets pushed to the side. Large, successful companies know the importance of strategic marketing, and as a result, it’s easy for small businesses to get lost or overshadowed. Put simply, small businesses can’t reach their goals, or even be successful, without a strategic marketing plan. While many small business owners think they can handle their own marketing, a marketing agency can be a huge asset to a small business.
Small business owners tend to avoid marketing and advertising agencies because of a preconceived notion that agencies only work with large, multi-million-dollar companies, but that isn’t the case at all. While there are countless benefits of working with a marketing agency, here are the top five ways small businesses can benefit from an agency like Treefrog:
We know you’re probably shocked by this statement, but it’s the truth. Many small businesses who know they need marketing assistance assume they’re better off adding a full-time marketing employee to their staff. However, by the time salary, health coverage, 401(k)s, and other benefits are considered, a full-time employee is going to cost your business approximately $120,000. If you pay half — or even a quarter — of that to a marketing agency, you’re almost guaranteed to get more bang for your buck.
We’re sorry to say this but there is no such thing as a “jack of all trades” in marketing, meaning hiring one marketing employee isn’t enough. An efficient marketing team requires — at the very least — a strategist (someone who can look at the big picture and create a map for getting from A to Z), a copywriter (someone who can write on a business’ behalf), and a graphic/web designer (someone who can create the visual elements your business needs). Adding three positions to your company will cost approximately $360,000 a year and would barely scratch the surface of what you really need.
By working with a marketing agency, you’ll benefit from multiple experts. For example, at Treefrog, our personnel have specific concentrations, such as social media, SEO, web design, strategic brand development, strategy, blogging, web copy, and more. As a result, our staff members are highly skilled in their areas of expertise and can create amazing things through collaboration with other Treefroggers.
While many small businesses are better off simply working with an agency, some small and medium-sized businesses can benefit from having a marketing employee on staff who then works with an agency. An agency can complement your marketing employee’s skills and help create and implement what is best for your business.
Many small business owners assume the occasional newspaper ad or social media post will attract the right customers. As a result, the business owner hands the marketing reigns to an employee and expects the employee to handle both marketing and his or her other responsibilities.
This is problematic for two reasons: the employee probably does not have a marketing background and marketing responsibilities are going to prevent the employee from doing his or her primary job. This will likely lead to burnout, affecting your retention rate, and will not be helpful in bettering your marketing efforts.
By nature, we are visual, judgmental people. Studies show that consumers are more likely to trust and utilize brands with materials that are aesthetically pleasing, provide applicable information, and have a consistent brand. We’ll use websites as an example. If a company has a website that is difficult to navigate, contains little information about their products or services, and looks like it hasn’t been updated since the 90’s, those who visit the website are not likely to stay on the website, let alone purchase products or utilize services from that business. After thoroughly researching your audience’s visual preferences and content needs, a marketing agency can make your business appear trustworthy and competent by making your website, social media platforms, print items, and other marketing materials consistent with your brand and applicable to your audience.
Small business owners and staff spend much of their time working inside their business, and as a result, it can be difficult to see how the business looks from the outside. While many small business owners and staff members think they know exactly who their customers are and what they’re looking for, that often isn’t the case. Through research and marketing knowledge, an agency will be able to look at your current marketing tactics and determine what is and isn’t working. This will save you time and money and allow you to adjust accordingly, which will hopefully lead to an increase in sales and your audience’s knowledge of your business.
While many small businesses can benefit from a marketing agency, you may reach a point where you’re better off hiring a marketing team. A good rule of thumb is to begin hiring for senior marketing positions when your business reaches 150 employees. That said, large companies, such as BestBuy or Target, have such advanced marketing needs that they have both in-house marketing staff and work with one or more agencies. Marketing professionals, including Treefrog, can help you determine a set up that is best for you.
If you’re wondering if there’s a difference between hiring a marketing agency and a few freelancers, there most definitely is. While you may be able to assign freelancers a few projects, like blog posts or poster designs, freelancers typically won’t do extensive research or be invested in your company like an agency. Treefrog does ample research before a strategy is put in place and strives to be part of every client’s team, as if we are your in-house marketing staff.
The size of your company, your goals, and your marketing needs are factors to consider when deciding whether or not to hire a marketing agency. That said, marketing is necessary. Without it, your business will not reach its full potential. As a full-service marketing and advertising agency, our diverse team of experts can work with your business to ensure your goals are met and budgets are kept.
Treefrog Marketing is an advertising agency focused on small business and located in Lafayette, Indiana. We specialize in strategic marketing and advertising, graphic design, web design, social media, SEO and more. For more information, please visit our website. You can also connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Instagram.