These marketers are moving digital icons on a table

Stop Trying To Do It All Alone! Why You Need A Marketing Firm

Are you looking to build your business's brand or sell more products?

You likely need to invest in your marketing budget to get over the hump.

Anywhere from 5% to 25% of your budget might go to marketing, depending on your industry.

But if you don't see a good return on your investment, what's the point in spending it?

If you're a small business owner, you probably don't have the time, let alone the expertise, to work with that kind of budget.

That's where hiring a marketing firm to handle your digital marketing can deliver optimal results.

Not convinced yet?

Let's run through the reasons why working with a marketing firm should be top of your business agenda.

You Have No Marketing Experience

Unless your background is in marketing, you won't have the professional experience that a marketing professional will have.

Considering the money you could spend on marketing that could go nowhere, trying the DIY route is likely to be a gamble you can't afford.

That isn't a downside...

It isn't a bad thing you don't have the marketing experience you need - a jack of all trades is a master of none.

Digital marketer multi tasking while working at his desk.

If you admit this early, you can save your business money and move forward with a marketing strategy that can increase sales, rather than hurt your profit margins.

It's better to bring in outside help than attempt to master skills when you don't have the time or money to lose.

Spend Money, Nothing Happens

It may already be too late to avoid a DIY marketing strategy.

That's not a problem though. Sometimes, we learn the best lessons by seeing results in action.

However, if the marketing results you've seen in the past have been poor, that's another reason to look into hiring a marketing firm for your efforts instead.

There are many variables that marketers will look at that you won't even know of.

Marketing isn't just buying ads, spending money and crossing your fingers. It involves careful analysis and refined strategies.

In the end, it's all about results.

If your return on your marketing investment has been poor in the past, look to bring in outside help.

You Can't Afford an In-House Hire

We've talked about doing it yourself, but what about hiring somebody to do your marketing for you? That'll save you time, right?

It's not that simple because of the costs involved in bringing somebody on board.

Need one marketing professional on your team?

Hiring one could cost you around $80,000 a year on average. An entire team could cost you a million dollars or more.

Marketers on computers working to grow business numbers

That doesn't include the cost to train and develop their skills, and it's no guarantee of performance or quality.

Hiring a marketing firm could cost you half of the budget you'd need to hire a single marketing manager, and with no need to invest in their training or development.

Your Focus Needs to be Elsewhere

Business owners have a tendency to want to run and do everything, especially if their business is in its infancy.

That's why the best business owners balance their priorities and outsource some of their business needs to other workers.

Can you afford to spend several hours of your day focused on marketing?

The time you have to spare will depend on the business you're running.

If you're running a retail business, you need to think about stock purchases, employee hires, premises, cash flow... to name a few!

Can you afford to lose time in some of these areas to get to grips with marketing?

Ask yourself, "Are there marketing companies near me that can do the job better?"

Speak to a marketing firm about their average day.

It's unlikely you could fit in the same time commitments at the same skill level, without giving up resources elsewhere.

Marketing Experts Are at the Top of Their Game

These marketers are depicted on top of a structure made of books

We've already mentioned that hiring somebody in-house can require significant training costs.

With a marketing firm contracted to help you, that is not the case.

Marketing experts already know their stuff. They're experts in their field, with skills that range from social media marketing to copywriting to graphic design.

They're already at the top of their game, and you need to take advantage of their skills coupled with your knowledge of your own space to get the best return possible on your marketing budget spend.

If you're looking to hire an expert, you also must decide whether to hire a marketing agency or consultant to help.

Do you know the difference?

Decide for yourself with our helpful guide on deciding whether to hire a marketing consultant or agency.

Hiring a Marketing Firm Could Save You Time and Money

Your business needs marketing services if it will make a name for itself in the vast and competitive marketplace. That doesn't mean you'll be burning away cash, however.

Investing your marketing dollars into a marketing firm can deliver the kind of results you desire.

They're experienced and familiar with the latest marketing trends and focus all of their energy on building your brand.

By hiring a firm to take on your marketing for you, you can free up your time and resources for other important areas for growth such as business development.

Time to take the plunge?

Drop us a message and we can discuss how we can bring your next marketing campaign to life and deliver a fantastic return on your marketing investment.


Do's and Don'ts of marketing automation for your small business

Small business marketing automation sounds intimidating for many business owners. You might ask yourself something like “If we automate our marketing, doesn’t that take away the personal touch between us and our customers?”

We definitely understand these concerns and want to reassure you that if done right, marketing automation services can help to increase the personal connection between your brand and your customers.

For those not experienced in the space, marketing automation involves leveraging software and tools to automate different components of your marketing strategy. Often these are time and labor-intensive tasks that can automate through technology. These tools can also help you better manage your digital campaigns across email, social media, your website, etc.

There are several factors to consider with marketing automation. This post details common do’s and don’ts to make your marketing automation strategy effective and successful.

For those pressed on time, watch our video summary below:

Don’t: Depend on marketing automation to generate leads

Marketing automation doesn’t just generate leads for you - that’s still your responsibility. The tool will not find new clients for you to reach out to online, send them automated emails, and close deals on your behalf.

To start with marketing automation services continue generating leads through your existing marketing strategy. You want to have a steady stream of preexisting leads as you begin the automation process.

You’ll be able to use marketing automation services to take advantage of your leads and steer them in the right direction. From there, you can enter them into whatever automation tool you’re working with and let it work its magic based on parameters you should have set beforehand.

Don’t think of marketing automation as a set-it-and-forget-it system. Yes, these tools can do a lot for you in the background, but you still need to be active and keep working on a marketing strategy that helps generate inbound/outbound leads.

Do: Use marketing automation to nurture your leads

While this technology doesn’t just bring new leads to your doorstep, it is ideal for nurturing leads and targeting your specific audience.

A good example of this in practice in motion is in email marketing campaigns. You can use automated software to ensure that you’re sending out personalized emails to different leads and customers at different times based on several factors.

You can configure these emails with auto-follow-up features that will automatically send another unique email if there’s been no reply after a week. They can also include calls-to-action that trigger a response and sends them to the next stage in the sales funnel.

This helps to create effective lines of communication between your business and its leads and customers. You make each lead feel individually important, which of course they all are.

But imagine how long it would take to reach out to 100 new leads. Without using an automation tool to track the open rate, you’re left manually guessing on who to follow up with and when - and keeping track of all that information is a whole other dilemma.

Marketing automation services take both the legwork and guesswork out of the process, allowing you to get out there and generate more new leads while the small business marketing automation system works its magic.

Don’t: Assume that marketing automation creates content for you

A common misconception about marketing automation services is that they actually generate the content for you. Unfortunately, this is not the case - you still need to have written content in place, it merely helps deliver it to your leads in a more efficient manner.

For example, say you’re running an email marketing campaign. You need to have a handful of pre-written emails ready to go so that after your initial email send, a specific email would go to those who opened it, and a separate email would go to those who didn’t.

Don’t overlook having a thorough content marketing strategy in place and only rely on automation tools to do the work for you. We also would not recommend going all in on a particular platform until you know how it can best complement the assets you already have and continue to progress them in the right direction.

Do: Ensure your sales and marketing teams work together

Marketing automation tools are excellent at aligning your sales and marketing teams.

In order for your business to be successful, your marketing team should generate plenty of leads that get nurtured through marketing automation. This results in your sales team receiving higher quality leads with a greater chance at conversion.

The above is an ideal scenario that is contingent on your sales and marketing teams working hand in hand with one another and providing input on the marketing automation process. These two departments should meet regularly to go over any issues or best practices. Open communication from both divisions is the best way to ensure small business marketing automation is effective.

For example, a common issue among sales teams is that they don’t receive enough targeted leads. As a result, the people they’re trying to sell to aren’t interested in the product or service. If your sales team is communicating this dilemma, they can work together to develop a strategy using marketing automation tools to nurture higher-value leads and send them down the sales funnel to your sales team.

Don’t: Forget to measure your efforts

One of the worst things your small business can do is invest in marketing automation services and just sit back to let them do all the work with no monitoring and maintenance. By taking this approach you’re not getting as much as you can out of these tools you’ve invested in.

Scheduling emails and social posts are great, as is auto responding to chats on your site, but data analysis is really where these tools help you stand out from your competitors. This is where you really learn about what your business is doing.

Some data to consider is the percentage of users interacting with the desired content, how many leads are clicking buttons, what they are doing on your site, and so on. It’s important to review these statistics so you can update and improve your marketing automation strategy.

When you test new ideas and tactics, look into their performance on your platform. Note red flags such as low open rates and tweak your approach as needed. While all this data is great to have, it’s important to be a critical thinker and analyze information strategically.

Do: Use stage-based marketing

Stage-based marketing refers to the journey a consumer takes when they buy something from a business. It’s split into various stages:

  • Awareness: This is where a buyer recognizes that they have a problem or issue. They might research into the problem to figure out what steps to take next.
  • Consideration: The consideration stage is when a buyer now knows of their problem and is attempting to solve it.
  • Decision: A buyer now knows of the solution they need, and they’re making a list of possible businesses who can provide it. All that’s left is to make the final decision and purchase what they need.

You can apply this stage-based buyer’s journey to any individual. For example, let's say someone is looking to buy a new pair of running shoes.

They arrive at the awareness stage when they notice that their feet hurt. In the consideration stage, they realize they need a better pair of shoes to relieve the pain. The decision comes when they research different brands and find the perfect pair at a price they can afford.

The marketing automation stage-based model that targets customers at all three stages in the cycle. You create content tailored to fit each step of the buyer’s journey, and the automation tool will start it for you.

Don’t: Invest in marketing automation tools unless you plan to use them

It’s pointless to spend money on one unless you plan on fully embracing it. These programs can be costly and eat into a decent portion of your marketing budget. If you’re not properly using the features of this software to generate a significant increase in profits, then it will end up hurting your business more than it helps.

We’re don’t want to scare you away from marketing automation, but be careful before you invest. Also, don’t assume that the most expensive software is the best. We suggest experimenting with different platforms (many will allow a free trial) and see which workflow best lines up with your business goals.

Do: Set clear and realistic goals

As always, be sure to set clear and realistic goals. This will give you something to achieve and use your new marketing automation tool to do so.

Make sure you can measure the goals with the help of marketing automation, such as improving the quality of your leads, boosting conversion rates and increasing profits. As you achieve certain goals or realize ones you came up with are out of reach, be sure to alter your approach as needed.

Conclusion: Don’t depend on marketing automation to do everything for you.

Small business marketing automation is not a set-it-and-forget-it system! You should never depend on this software automate everything for you while you kick back and relax or divert all of your attention elsewhere.

Marketing tools can benefit small businesses and enhance your overall marketing campaign, but it still requires a human element, which is your marketing and sales teams.

Think of it as an addition to your entire digital strategy, and ensure that it's configured to your businesses standards and used appropriately. More often than not, this means to nurture and improve the quality of leads.

Still not sure if your small business should use marketing automation services? Speak with one of our consultants today to weigh your options and see how marketing automation can be beneficial.


perfectionism blog title image about marketing

Top Tips to Overcome Marketing Perfectionism

If you’re a digital marketer or have marketing responsibilities, you’ve surely felt the pressure at one point or another to be perfect at your job.

But it’s not that easy to achieve perfection, and not just in marketing, but in any realm.

Let’s dive into a quick example.

The Perfect Game

perfect baseball game

Sports Illustrated Cover: August 3, 2009

Major League Baseball (MLB) has been around for over 140 years and they have played over 210,000 games. That’s a lot of opportunity for “Perfect Games” are defined by a professional baseball pitcher lasting nine innings and allowing no runners on base, whether it be from hits or walks.

Doesn’t seem that hard, right? There has certainly been no shortage of opportunities.

Well, there have only been 23 perfect games pitched over all that time, and no pitcher has ever thrown over one. That means that 0.01095% of games have been “perfect” according to baseball standards - not a groundbreaking amount.

That’s not to say only 23 pitchers have had successful baseball careers. Some players who threw perfect games aren’t even thought of as great pitchers, and some of the greatest pitchers don’t even have perfect games on their resumes.

Numbers don’t lie, and it makes little sense for these athletes to put their constant focus around being perfect. So as online marketers why do we seek perfectionism in our marketing?

Enough about America’s pastime, it’s time to tie this concept back into the digital marketing profession, as most of us aren’t getting paid millions to throw a ball 100 miles an hour at other men swinging wooden bats.

First, we need to better understand it truly defines what perfection is. Then throughout the rest of this article, we’ll hit on some key points on both the perils and positives of perfection in marketing.

What is perfectionism?

According to Dictionary.com, perfectionism is a personal standard, attitude, or philosophy that demands perfection and rejects anything less.

And what is perfection? It means doing something a task excellently or complete beyond practical or theoretical improvement. Being perfect means that failure is never an option, and you might be afraid of it.

Now we have that out of the way, let’s look at the three primary types of perfectionism, and touch on how they cause marketing problems.

Self-Oriented

When you are highly critical of yourself. These people set high standards in all aspects of their lives so they can accomplish their personal goals, but don’t rely on others for a push. They are very organized and structure, but can also struggle with insecurities and indecisiveness.

Although these types of perfectionists are flawed, as we all are, they include some of the most successful marketing minds our world has seen.

Other-Oriented

When you are highly critical of others, or vice versa. This perfectionist may have a hard time building productive work relationships if they are too busy knit picking and pointing out the defects of others.

If you let external expectations of perfection to get in your head that can have negative impacts on your productivity and functionality.

Socially Prescribed

When you think society expects you to be flawless (if they really do), social pressures follow.

In our world, many of these pressures we create by unrealistic expectations and body images that social influencers have instilled in their fans. The illusion of perfection if you will. This concept leads to many marketing problems, not to mention on self-esteem.

Perfection Pressures:

Just like a pipe with too much pressure, our pressure to offer perfect marketing services builds, and eventually will burst. And by then, it’s too late.

We’ve talked about the three types of perfectionism, now it’s time to go into detail on some pressures that lead to perfectionist tendencies.

Background/Upbringing

They say you are a product of your environment, and while as we age that becomes less and less of a viable excuse, there is a merit to it.

If you grew up with parents or family members who constantly pushed you beyond the point of just giving your best effort and instead expected perfect results that may impact how you approach tasks in your adult life.

Especially if there were negative consequences for imperfections that can have a lingering psychological impact drips into your day to day and work life.

Competitive Work Environment

Similar to your background and upbringing, you might have become a product of your work environment.

Particularly if you work for a digital marketing agency or hold a role in this field, your boss or clients may always expect impeccable output and nitpick your work, which may put added pressures on you that hinder your production. Perfectionism can literally kill creativity.  

On the flip side, if you have other coworkers and colleagues are attempting to run a perfect marketing campaign, and you see them both successful rewarded for it, that may push you to strive for that.

It’s never a bad thing to reach for better results, but when it limits your output and impacts your ability to get things done, that’s when it’s become a serious issue and is difficult to overcome.

Pride and Personality

Many digital experts are their own toughest critic, which can just as easily be a blessing in disguise or a curse. They want no one to catch a minor grammar error in an email or on a social media post.

None of us want that, but sometimes you need to set your pride aside and get the task at hand complete. Move on to the next item on your list and don’t look back.

Fear of Failure

This is big. Too many of us are so afraid to fail that we use our perfectionism as a crutch when work isn’t complete.

This is where the difference between good and good enough to come into play, and can become a problem with time-sensitive tasks, such as getting a blog posted about a current event or launching a new website site.

If you’re so caught up on making sure the email, project, or post is flawless, you might miss your opportunity to get it out to your audience timely, which can cause trust issues, and fans will drop off.

Negative Impacts on Productivity:

Hard to start (and stop) projects

Let’s touch on a few perfectionists marketing problem examples. Being a perfectionist will add more work to your marketing projects. You’ll check your work over and over to make sure there are no errors, to a fault.

I will not sit here and say you shouldn’t check your work thoroughly before publishing or completing something as I have made many errors in my day from not doing so, but there needs to be a strategy.

Can you relate to this?

After checking and checking, someone points out there is a spelling error. Then you wonder, how did I miss this minor detail? It is because you become blind to your own work.

You shouldn’t just be checking over and over in no particular order. This over thinking can also lead to you missing out on things you would normally pick up on.

This is common for professionals who have made errors in the past that have received a negative reaction to them. When that occurs, it becomes difficult to block out from your mind and move forward.

Prevents you from doing your best work

When you’re having a hard time both starting and stopping, you’re not putting out your best product. Some work takes hyper-focus, and it’s been said it takes up to 25 minutes to get back on track with a task after you have been distracted.

If you’re constantly going back to rework what already should be complete, or it freezes you in place and to get yourself to begin, your quality of work will suffer. You’re stretching yourself too thin and losing sight of the original marketing objective.

Hurts team dynamics

This point lines up pretty well with the competitive work environment discussion we had above. If you are constantly being pushed to be unrealistically excellent, or you are the one pushing others, that can cause tension in the work environment.

Perfectionists also don’t like change. They may always think they have the best strategy and are not willing to try others' ideas, when some of these ideas may help them achieve the unblemished results they so strongly desire.

If you are a perfectionist, and somebody criticizes your written content or a project, it can have a negative impact on your self-esteem and your attitude towards the rest of the team.

Both situations can lead to the pipe we also talked about earlier bursting and the result is a toxic work environment.

Or if you’re lucky, it may turn into a diamond and you thrive from it. Everyone is different.

Drives you nuts

marketing campaign image

There is no such thing as a perfect digital marketer. The stress from always wanting to be without fault, and not doing so, will drive you crazy. It causes you to over-think situations and leads to self-doubt.

Positive Impacts of Perfection

In this article, I have more or less demonized perfection, but striving for improved results is not a bad thing.

Here are a few positive benefits of perfection

Have high standards for yourself and others

Nobody will ever accuse you of not caring about your job, whether it’s your clients, family or colleagues. Perfectionists always put their blood, sweat and tears into the work they put out, and it shows.

Attention to detail

As a marketing perfectionist, you will always put out a polished final project. You may be better at catching errors in your own work and others and require less future rework.

Not everyone has these abilities and it can’t always be taught, so it’s important to leverage in a way that is beneficial.

Streamlined and organized work processes

Perfectionists keep things organized, and while their organizational structure may not translate easily to other colleagues, chances are it keeps them themselves on track.

Whether it's a tool, checklist, naming conventions, perfect marketing managers develop their own workflows and improve efficiency.

Admiration of others

If you’re consistently going above and beyond to put out a high-quality product, that allows for others you work with to have confidence in your ability to get a job done, which leads to raises and career growth.

It may also make them envious of your accomplishments, and push them to strive to make themselves better, which can be beneficial for the growth of the team or organization.

Overcome marketing perfectionism and get more done

Start small and take things one step at a time

I know it sounds odd, but when starting on a task don’t always focus on the bigger picture. That will get you stressing about all the different details and your mind racing in a million different directions about things you’ll never be able to get perfect at first glance.

Start with some small, actionable steps to get a flow and trust that the rest will come as you progress. Trust the process and the tools at your disposal.

Put yourself in other’s shoes

Consider how your perfection impacts others. Whether you’re the one pushing others to be perfect, or others are putting unrealistic expectations on your own shoulders, having a good understanding of how the other party is feeling can go a long way.

Also keep in mind that if you’re always trying to be perfect, but it causes you to miss deadlines or not complete projects, that can impact other's perceptions of you. You may think what you are doing is making the work perfect, but really it’s causing tension and you’re losing their faith.

If everyone understands how they are making each other feel, it helps you avoid future conflict stemming from perfectionist problems.

Celebrate achievements/accomplishments

Sometimes it’s ok to celebrate when things go well. That doesn’t mean every time you send out a perfect Tweet you stand on your desk and dance. But you can reward yourself for your marketing success from time to time.

Especially on things you’ve messed up in the past, that you now learned from and did correctly, those deserve a pat on the back.

If you’re just stressing about being perfect but not reaping any rewards when you are, what are we working for?

Be confident, be shameless

Ok, so here’s a shout out for a one of our clients of ours, Shameless Inc, but I think their message can resonate with everyone.

Shameless is a body positive women's lingerie brand and encourages women to literally “Be Shameless” with their bodies to reshape society's definition of beauty.

If digital marketers along with everyone in all walks of life would adopt the confidence of Shameless and its message to the market, the world would be, dare I say it, a perfect place.

Find a balance

Not every square can be a perfect square. There are many types - some are tall, some are wide, some are rectangular. There are also rhombus’, trapezoids, and parallelograms, none of which are perfect, but are all functional squares by definition. They’re also more quirky than basic squares.

Now that this final section has “taken shape”, focus on finding a balance in your work. Strive to do a great job, but don’t let the pressures hinder you do the point where productivity and quality suffers.

A perfect conclusion:

Do you know how many times we edited this article? A lot.

Can we continue to edit this article? Definitely.

Is it perfect? By no means.

But, the message in this content is what we wanted to communicate to you. Good enough is better than good. Productive is better than perfect. Focus on progress, not perfection.

Let go of your perfectionist tendencies and get your work done!


Don't Let Your Business Fall Into The Wrong Hands

Don't Let Your Business Fall Into the Wrong Hands

Don’t Let Your Business Fall Into the Wrong Hands

You've Been Hurt Before

Don't Let Your Business Fall Into the Wrong Hands

Recently, we met with a client whose branding and website we are now developing. As part of our assessment process we reviewed the history of her business, how it had evolved and where it had become stagnant. We discovered that she had worked with other companies before. Apparently, she left her business in the hands of a developer who did not understand her needs. When we uncover this sort of thing there is usually some reasoning that made some sort of sense at the time. Maybe it was someone’s relative, or a friend owed her a favor. Maybe the concept of an internet presence was so out of her comfort zone that she was easily swayed into believing that only a web expert could help her. Whatever the reason, our client ended up using a developer who wasn’t aware of what she wanted to accomplish.

Putting your business in its entirety into the hands of a web developer would be akin to leaving your business under the control of the builder who constructed your office space. Our client needed a web professional, but she also needed her brand and her product to have the right story, the right treatment that would introduce it to the world. If you aren’t going to work closely with your developer, to create the ideal space for your business to function in, then someone you trust should do it. If your developer isn’t interested in any sort of tailor-made environment for your business, you should take a long hard look at your budget and your goals and then find another developer.

When marketing and design come together, wonderful things can happen.

Your Business Is Unique

Don't Let Your Business Fall Into the Wrong Hands

Over the course of the past four years she had worked with multiple providers to create and evolve her branding and she was very disappointed with her end results. She was so dissatisfied with what she had, that she was actually embarrassed to promote her business and crippled to move forward.
Working with generalist providers made it difficult for her to make progress. There was no tangible process and no measures taken to help her reveal the goals she wanted to reach. Without a deep understanding of her product and business, no objectives were ever determined, and consequently none were to be realized. She went through the process of outsourcing many trivial creative projects. She ended up with lesser components and no comprehensive way to sew it all together. With unsatisfactory deliverables and no roadmap in hand she found her way to us, and prepared herself to start all over again.

We’ve witnessed this pattern repeat itself time and again over the years: generalist firms selling template solutions for complex problems. It had become apparent to us some time ago that this could have the potential to become a very real problem for a great many people. We’ve witnessed these providers repeatedly treat symptoms with no attempt to diagnose the deeply rooted issues festering below the surface. Without having a deep knowledge of the intimate space it would be impossible to know the best way to solve industry specific problems.

With only providers that lack the unique expertise, specific to your industry, there is definitely something missing from the equation. From what we’ve seen, the likelihood of successful outcomes has been predictably low in cases where the client uses only a generalist firm. Unfortunately, that is the space the majority of our clients are in when we meet them. They have been failed by other companies that are unable to see the big picture. They are not used to working with a company that cares about their brand or a provider that understands their industry. Companies should get involved and become informed about the product or service that they intend to represent. Firms should understand the consumer they plan to sell to, and value the ideals of their clients.

Many companies are only capable of building a website or designing a logo and they do not address what ties it all together. That is what they know and that is what they sell. We work differently. We go far beyond mar-comm and creative services. We dive deeply into every aspect of the business to discover your unique obstacles and offer clarity and guidance toward the ideal results you want to achieve. You know what you want for your business. Select a partner who understands your needs and can help you realize your goals.