Many small business owners are aware of the importance of marketing, but they lack the time and knowledge to handle it. As a result, 53% of companies hire an external agency to do their marketing. However, this can be detrimental to your workflow, overall mission, and bottom line.
Luckily, you don't need to rely on a marketing agency to scale and market your offerings. There are many strategies for marketing your business in-house, and most can be accomplished without spending any money.
In this post, we’ll go over the problems with hiring a marketing agency for your small business. Then, we’ll look at some strategies for growing your business with inbound marketing. Let’s dive in!
Why You Might Want to Avoid Hiring a Marketing Agency for Your Small Business (4 Reasons)
It might be very tempting to hire a marketing agency for your small business. However, this may not always be the right decision. Let's look at four reasons why you might want to do your marketing in-house instead.
Reason 1: Costs
Your customers may discover your business through multiple mediums, such as social media, search engine results, and YouTube:
Many companies already struggle to allocate their marketing budget to different advertising mediums, like Google Ads and Facebook Ads. One of the downsides to working with a marketing agency is that you have to pay for their services on top of your advertising costs. This is usually a flat fee or a percentage of the amount of your overall ad campaign.
There may also be additional costs involved, such as banner ads, landing pages, or blog content. Therefore, if you don’t have the budget to pay an agency’s management fees or advertising costs, you might want to avoid hiring one.
Reason 2: Focus
It's important to remember that most marketing agencies typically split their attention with at least 10-20 clients at a time. Additionally, they may earn more money from their other larger clients.
This also means they may be more inclined to focus their efforts and creativity on big companies, rather than small businesses. This can lead to sub-par content for your marketing campaign, or missed deadlines.
Reason 3: Mission
Small businesses have to be frugal with their spending. Your goal is to get the best return on investment (ROI) for your dollars spent.
On the other hand, marketing agencies usually get a commission from the sales generated from the ads they run for you. Regardless of your company’s mission statement and goals, the agency will want to get you to spend more money on advertising, even if that’s not in your best interest.
Reason 4: Intellectual Property
If you outsource your marketing duties to an agency, its team of creatives will develop their own intellectual property related to your business. This may include banners, posters, and promotional videos. If you later decide to switch agencies or take your marketing in-house, you may not be able to keep using that creative content.
How to Grow Your Small Business Without a Marketing Agency (3 Strategies)
Luckily, there are many strategies you can use to grow your small business without relying on a marketing agency. Let’s look at some of them.
1. Inbound Marketing
Over the last two years, the world has gone through unparalleled changes that have forced many businesses to operate from home. As a result, one in nine marketers report that inbound marketing will be their biggest investment in the year 2022.
When done properly, inbound marketing attracts customers by creating content and experiences that are tailor-made for them. Some strategies related to inbound marketing include:
- Using search engine optimization (SEO) to get leads from organic search.
- Running a newsletter to inform and engage current and potential customers.
- Diversifying your social media campaigns to reach your target audience.
Each of these methods is optimized to attract and engage customers through different stages of their lifecycle. Additionally, many businesses add a blog to their websites to position themselves as experts in their respective fields. Not only is this an effective way to answer your customers' questions, but it can also help you generate more traffic.
2. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing involves earning a commission by recommending products or services to your audience. This is a popular method of monetization among bloggers, businesses, and content creators:
Starting an affiliate program for your business can be a powerful way to grow your customer base. Instead of relying on a marketing agency to grow your audience, you can enlist the help of affiliate marketers who already have an influence over their followers.
If you run a WordPress website, you can use our Easy Affiliate plugin to create an affiliate program for your business:
Our plugin comes with all the features you need to build a team of affiliates and start selling more products. These include a personalized affiliate dashboard, email marketing tools, simple payment integrations, and commission tracking.
3. Influencer Marketing
With the growth of social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram, businesses have turned their attention to the influencer marketing industry to increase sales. Over 93% of marketers report using influencer marketing, while about two-thirds of brands are expected to increase their influencer spending over the next year.
Businesses typically reach out to influencers with a proposal to complete a certain task for compensation. In contrast to affiliate marketing, influencers have less freedom to structure their content if they choose to accept a partnership contract. Instead of receiving a commission from the sales they generate, influencers are usually paid directly per campaign.
Still, small businesses have lots to benefit from influencer marketing. You can start by collaborating with micro-influencers, then scale up your budget and campaign based on your needs.
Marketing a small business is not easy. However, the challenge can be overcome by applying strategies that direct more customers to your website.
Instead of spending money on a marketing agency, you can try out the following tactics:
- Focus your in-house efforts on crafting exceptional content that drives traffic.
- Enlist the help of affiliates who can help you sell more products, using a tool like Easy Affiliate.
- Utilize influencer marketing to expand the reach of your brand.
Do you have any questions about hiring a marketing agency? Let us know in the comments section below!
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Hi John !
Thanks for sharing these valuable tips to grow a small business.
You’re totally right! Hiring a marketing agency is not a good solution for small businesses if we take into consideration the huge budget they require.
Hopefully, investing in seo, affiliate marketing and setting influencers partnership is a great investment for small businesses.
Besides the good tips you’ve mentioned, running contests, giveaways, discount offers and seasonal coupons might be a great additional marketing hack.