The importance of marketing

Marketing is one of the most fundamental requirements of running a business.  Quite simply if you don’t have any customers you don’t have a business!  Effective marketing will help you to win new customers and retain your existing customers.  If you want your marketing to be really effective it needs to be consistent and become part of your routine, not something that gets left on the “To Do” list because you have run out of time.

Time poor? Time to outsource…

Most of us are time poor – it’s a fact.  You can’t bank time or save it for later, once it’s gone, it’s gone.  Smart business owners realise this and they also appreciate that they may lack the expertise within the business to carry out their own marketing.  That lack of confidence is often a contributory factor into why marketing falls to the back of the queue.  There is an element of fear, of uncertainty as to what to do and how it should be done. For the busy business owner who lacks marketing experience and the financial resources to recruit a full time marketing professional outsourcing offers an attractive solution.

How does outsourcing work?

Outsourcing your marketing does not mean relinquishing control to an external company.  When you work alongside a professional marketing agency they will act as an extension of your business.  Regular communication and the implementation of robust systems and processes will ensure that you are fully aware, and in agreement with, all aspects of the marketing activity undertaken.

The benefits of outsourcing

From a financial perspective you will only be paying for the services needed for the length of time required. There’s no employment costs to worry about and you don’t increase your headcount.  Working with the right agency you will also benefit from an outside perspective on your business. As business owners it can be difficult to see the “wood for the trees”. It is easy to lose your vision when you are deeply involved in something.  A fresh pair of eyes can really help.

With the relevant expertise, outsourcing your marketing will ensure your message gets delivered to the right target markets in the most appropriate manner and that the marketing activity gets measured. As with any other investment in your business measuring return on investment is key.

What type of marketing activities can I outsource?

Marketing Audit

Ever wondered how effective your current marketing actually is?  A marketing audit can help.  The marketing audit involves a detailed review of any current marketing strategies or activities to see how effective they have been and to assess the level of return on investment.  The aim of the marketing audit is to analyse what has worked for your business and what has not been so successful. The audit helps to identify whether your message is appropriate for the market you are targeting and whether it has been communicated effectively.  Reviewing the current marketing strategy can highlight potential new markets and opportunities for your business and areas where improvements are required.

Marketing activity plan

Do you struggle with knowing what marketing you should be doing in your business?  Are you lacking inspiration and ideas?  With a marketing activity plan you will have a month by month “To do” list detailing exactly what you should be doing, when you should do it, how to do it and how much it is likely to cost.  The marketing activity plan starts with research and analysis to gain a clear understanding of your business. This ensures that the activities within the plan are appropriate to your target market.  You can choose to implement the activities using internal resources or outsource if that option isn’t available.

Copywriting

Lost for words? Perhaps you need a copywriter.  Copywriting consists of the writing that goes into both your online and offline marketing material. It can be content for a website, email or blog or the text for a newsletter, brochure or flyer. Copywriting is not just putting words onto paper or screen.  There is a lot more thought, skill and creativity involved if you want to create something that resonates with your target market. You need to know how to make something sound appealing, how to draw your audience in and most importantly keep them engaged.  Copywriting is a skill and quite often one that really should be outsourced.

Email Marketing

Tried email marketing and it didn’t work?  There’s an art to sending out email campaigns. Who you send them to is as important as what you say.  If you have a rubbish list of contact names scraped from your local chamber of commerce website or Yell.com the results you receive are going to be, well quite frankly – rubbish!  A poorly written email complete with typos and grammatical errors will not reflect well on your business.  Conversely a well written but dull and boring email will just have people diving for the unsubscribe button.  It’s fair to say that email marketing is a veritable minefield and one that could definitely be handled by a professional marketing specialist.

Direct Mail

When was the last time you sent out a “proper” letter?  It takes quite a bit more effort, and expense, to put together a good direct mail campaign, however as with everything in life you get out what you put in!   Direct mail is simply printed material that physically gets sent through the post. Direct mail generally has a ‘longer shelf life’ than email and enables you to be more creative with your marketing. It gives you the opportunity to effectively communicate your message in a way that will be engaging to your target market. There are lots of tips and tricks when it comes to direct mail to ensure it isn’t perceived as just another piece of ‘junk mail’ through the door.  

PR

Are you the world’s best kept secret? Get your name out there with some public relations.   Outsourcing your PR will help you to manage, protect, enhance and build your reputation, be it online or offline.  We are not just talking press releases here.  PR is how your business appears in the public eye and it involves activities such as speaking at events, issuing press releases, organising events or sponsorships.

Social media

The time demon to beat all time demons!  Social media is something that many businesses get hung up on. Established businesses that are new to the world of social media often do not see the benefits and can be dismissive. Whatever your views on a personal level there is no escaping that social media is where the people are!  It is easy to waste a lot of time with social media marketing if you are not sure what you are doing or why you are doing it in the first place. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube could actually be beneficial to your business in increasing awareness of your business and helping you to engage with perspective customers.  However, social media is a fast moving area. Not only is it hard for some people to get started but with little knowledge it may also be hard for them to keep up. If you choose to work with the right partner social media can be the perfect activity to outsource.

Are you ready to outsource?

The first step is recognising and admitting that you may need help with your marketing. How you go about that is down to you. Whether you want some initial guidance and support to get you started or you would prefer to have an ongoing arrangement with a marketing agency the final decision will be dictated by the availability of internal resource and your budget.

If you would like to discuss outsourced marketing in any further detail please give us a call on 01440 710 158 - we would be happy to help.

Marketing can often be misunderstood.

Many companies recognise they need a new website, or to send out email campaigns or increase their presence on social media.  These are all valid marketing activities however they are tactical activities. Before you start with the tactics you need to address the strategy.  If you haven’t given any strategic thought to who your target market is and why they should buy from you your marketing activities will very likely fail to deliver the desired results.

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