What I hear in working with a lot of different entrepreneurs, it seems that many are needing help with their marketing and PR strategy but they are a little afraid to let go of the control or money needed in order to work with an agency. It’s understandable because in this arena, many can do the work, but being able to prove an ROI is tough, and many times the goals aren’t clear on why many are using certain tactics at all. A lot of money is spent and a lot of results–or the results the exec wants–isn’t happening.
So if you’re one of those people trying to determine how to be on top of your marketing without fiddling with it yourself, how can you make sure you’re investing at the right time or with the right person? Here’s a few recommendations I think would help.
Know your goal. Of course, the blanket solution most want with marketing is to be able to make ore sales. But on a deeper level, are you wanting to make more sales via your website, drive more people to your Twitter account, or seeking simply to increase brand awareness? Not every action in your marketing will result in an immediate ROI so being clear which actions drive sales and whether you’re looking for a long-term program to influence sales over time can help figure out which specific tasks you need to implement, when and how.
Social media and PR is good, but individually, neither will create the impact on your business that you might have thought. Experts agree that social media and PR can work for your business, but they may not be so clear as to explain that these are merely tools to be used in a larger plan of action. If all the marketing you do is in the form of social media marketing or all you do is distribute a press release once, you might not get the traffic or customers or opportunities you desire. However, if you have a promotion that you push out via social media, that is supported by a press release and pitching to a media, plus a special promotion code that you’re letting people know via an email to your subscriber list, and have banner ads on partner sites, you might see some huge results from this comprehensive program. Don’t get lost investing in social media or PR without considering how these tactics can support a larger strategy. Overwise, you may only see minimal results, not to the fault of who you outsource to, but rather poor planning and perhaps inadequate budgeting.
Planning. So let’s say you’re clear about your goals and you have a great idea of which tools to use to help you reach all your communications goals. What if you decide today that you need to push out tweets and a new release for something that’s happening next Friday? Eeeks! Prevent spending money something that even a miracle worker can’t push out with optimal results by working with a marketing plan, and one that requires you to look at timelines of a minimum of 4-6 weeks for promotion and even longer, for traditional publications, advertising or PR. You’ve never seen Essence announcing their annual music festival only a month before their event. Neither should you–and especially if you want to see great impact on the masses.
Budgeting. Do you want to have an agency manage all your marketing? If so, have you considered the value to you to not have to do it yourself? How much will it cost you to NOT outsource? Consider that you may not know how, the best way, or perhaps, how much your time is worth and how much it costs for you to do it yourself. What’s the cost of doing it wrong? Instead of focusing merely on price, focus on the value such a solution will provide you. Comparison shop to get an idea of what the going rates are for reputable companies and plan ahead for how much a program will cost you, especially if you need long term solutions.