I am a small business – why might I need a marketing agency?

It is perfectly reasonable for sole traders, small businesses and start-ups to be frugal with their budgets. After all, the main objective is to either increase (or start making) profit, so each investment needs to be carefully considered.

Some investments are almost always essential – premises (if needed), staff costs, technology and insurances. These follow the time and money spent researching your competitors, your potential market and the demographic of your target audience. However, there is no use having all these elements in place and then realising that no-one knows about them. Surely this is something that you can do yourself, right?

The answer to this is – sometimes, but rarely. If you are in the fortunate position of establishing a business through total demand (e.g. you have identified an essential gap in an existing offering or you are creating a service that people simply can’t function without) then there is a chance that people will come to you. However, this is as rare as hen’s teeth. Usually, you are creating a business that supplies a product or service that already exists in some form elsewhere. Your job is to make your offering better (either in quality, speed, range or price) and target a group of people that will benefit from that new offering. Then you need to build relationships with those people, so they become loyal to your brand and THEN you need to keep them interested and keep ahead of your competitors. And, whilst doing all this, you need to run your business – you need to manage sales, customer service, logistics, financials, maintenance and many other elements. There’s no other way to describe it – it’s exhausting.

One solution to this challenge is to work with a marketing agency. Surely that’s too expensive – that’s for larger businesses with substantial budgets? Not always. We work with a wide range of businesses, many of them we have partnered with since the day they launched. Most of them began as sole traders and all of them had far too much to do.

A good marketing agency will work with a new client and tailor their services according to their stage of growth. Still at concept stage? – you may need a full branding service including market and competitive research or, if you have completed that (as most people have), you will need to establish tone, style, palette and finally, logo.

From there, you will always need a website. This may simply be an online base that allows people to contact you, a portfolio of your work and achievements or a full e-commerce site that acts as the backbone of your business. This site will need to be maintained and updated – sometimes you may find it easier for the agency to do this; other times you might be happy to take this over yourself.

You need to tell people that you’re there. This could be through social media (which you will need to post at least two or three times per week and create the images and captions accordingly) or if could be via online advertising – either Google ads, Facebook ads or another platform. These ads will need to be monitored and adjusted.

You may choose to use email marketing or in some cases, traditional printed advertising. You will need everything to be cohesive and consistent – both in terms of style and tone. When you begin to experiment with multiple marketing channels, it will be useful to have a guide in the form of Brand Guidelines – providing brand guidance to any other third parties you may employ along the way.

And (sorry to be the bearer of bad news), when you think you have all this sorted, you will need to consider refreshing your strategy once in a while. At this point, everything could change again.

So, as you can see, outsourcing this to a good marketing agency can take a lot of work off your hands. And, when you find an agency you really click with, and that you can trust – you will benefit from the years of experience and expertise that they can bring. They will have encountered many challenges and benefited from seeing the results of countless marketing campaigns before, and they bring that knowledge straight to your door. There is always a cost-saving from eliminating the long learning curve that comes with learning how to get the best results in the quickest time. So, we finish with this nugget of encouragement. We would advise all new businesses to at least explore the benefits that a marketing agency can bring. There’s no cost associated with enquiring, and you can decide whether it would benefit your business now or perhaps at some point in the future. And you may well find yourself in a situation where you can simply be left to concentrate on growing your business. Wouldn’t that be nice?