The plates are spinning! You’re juggling all the balls furiously! It’s all balanced perfectly, precariously until…crash!
For most startups, handling everything in-house is either difficult or flat-out impossible. You’re stretched thin in terms of manpower and budget, and while you may feel like a Jack or Jill of all trades some days, you can’t be good at everything.
And when it comes to your business, getting your name out there, building a following, and creating engagement are the keys to scaling up and growing your business.
That’s where outsourcing comes into play; committing your marketing goals to an outside agency that has the manpower, expertise and experience to optimize your budget is one of the best things you can do to get your fledgling company off to a powerful start.
So what should you keep in mind when considering an outsourced marketing agency? What should you be on the lookout for?
Here are some guiding principles to help you on your search for the ideal outsourced agency to collaborate with.
Yes, you want to create fantastic marketing and ad campaigns and develop amazing marketing materials. But more importantly, you want everything that is put out there with your name on it to feel genuine and real representations of you as a business and as a brand. You want the look and feel of it to match your core values and your purpose.
So when meeting with a marketing agency, take some time to get a feel for who they are. Are they good listeners? Do they quickly grasp who you are and what you’re about and are they able to articulate that to you?
Consider their ability to manage your business. Do they have the manpower to handle your project? No matter their size, the important thing is that they aren’t spread too thin. Do they have a dedicated team and the right resources to match your needs? Are they laser-focused on your business goals and what you have to say?
Hiring freelancers to manage all the facets of a solid marketing plan–designers, graphic artists, copywriters, market researchers, videographers, social media strategists–can torpedo your budget in no time. An outsourced marketing agency offers all these services (and more!) for one flat fee.
Take the time to contact several agencies to compare their costs and the services offered. Ask for a breakdown of all the services available and any different packages that may be offered. Ask for a rundown of what the agency plans to do for your business and how much each service costs. You want to make sure you are getting your money’s worth but also getting all the services you need now (and may need later on as you scale).
Not all marketing agencies are created equal. Before contacting a marketing team, check out their website, social media and other promotional materials. An agency won’t create marketing materials for others that are better than what they produce for themselves; so how is the quality of their materials? Do you find their website interesting and compelling? Are their social media designs and content compelling and engaging? How do you like their personalities and graphics?
Keep these in mind when selecting your marketing partner. If their material isn’t compelling, move on. If you don’t like their tone or personality, look elsewhere.
Every company is different, and your specific needs will dictate the kind of relationship you are looking for when outsourcing. If you are overwhelmed, you may want a hands-off approach where your marketing agency produces materials, manages your social media, and only asks for a quick approval at the end of the line. Alternatively, you may prefer a hands-on approach where you work closely with the marketing team to share ideas and be an active part of the process.
Whichever approach you choose, find a team that is hard-working, dedicated and is able to articulate clearly their communication style and how they handle rewrites and input from the client. Make sure that you are both clear about how you want to collaborate moving forward and whether you expect to work closely, like a business partner, or expect them to work independently with very little input from you.
Time is money, and you want to do business with a marketing agency that recognizes and respects your time. You expect results within a reasonable timeframe and a reputable marketing firm should be able to give you a rundown of time spent on all aspects of your marketing plan. They should also be able to pivot and adjust their resources accordingly so as to avoid time-wasting bottlenecks and to make sure they are providing content with speed and efficiency.
Snafus can happen, but your marketing team should be able to explain why there is a delay and what plan is in place to move the project forward. Your outsourced project management team should be able to set tight timeframes and keep you regularly updated on the advancement of your project.
These are some of the most important things to keep in mind when hunting for an outsourced marketing firm to take on your marketing needs. It’s important to work with a company that fits well with your business objectives and meets your specific marketing needs.
Looking to outsource parts of your business so you can get back to the business of getting your business off the ground? Megan Killion Consulting is a team of experienced, professional experts who can take over your marketing and branding so you can get back to what matters. Contact us today so we can discuss your business needs and how we can help your startup thrive.