Most of us have a limited budget for marketing our projects which makes it difficult when it comes time to actually invest in a strategy.
Of course, there are unlimited strategies you could use to grow your business, but to simplify, we it break down into two core spending options:
A – Give your money to an agency and let them do their thing.
B – Spend time and money building your in-house marketing team.
To avoid runaway spending you’ll need to figure out which combination of these two options works best for your business.
To help you decide which project tasks to out-source and what you’re willing to do yourself, we’ve identified 5 key activities every small business should consider before spending money on agency or freelancers:
1 – Create a marketing roadmap
2 – Invest in media equipment
3 – Incentivize employees and reward marketing contributions
4 – Create multi-purpose content
5 – Use specialized agencies and freelancers only when needed
By completing these 5 activities, media production and content marketing will become a regular part of your business processes and reap the benefits on all projects moving forward.
1 – Create A Marketing Roadmap
Don’t expect an agency to manage your business, control the plan and hire specialized agencies and freelancers as you need them along the way to your destination.
It’s no surprise that planning a custom roadmap comes first! If you want to get the most value from agencies and freelancers then you must control the plan.
A custom roadmap helps you organize all of the things that need to get done so you can determine what your team is capable of contributing to your marketing projects and what should be outsourced to specialized professionals.
Pay per click advertising, search engine optimization, web development etc.. the list of necessary competencies is endless.
By establishing the ‘bigger picture’ and taking control of the plan, you’ll be more engaged with your projects and get better results.
Knowing exactly what you need from your freelancers or agencies saves you money and gives you the power to negotiate costs based on specific outcomes.
The roadmap keeps everyone on track towards your marketing goals
Not only is it invaluable for co-ordinating multiple projects at the same time and keeping costs down, but the roadmap is your #1 resource for communicating with employees, customers and stakeholders.
For most people, creating content is a new venture and it’ll require persistence to discover what works best for your business, especially at the beginning. A thorough plan will keep you on track with your content development and expresses a confident image to your employees, who might otherwise be reluctant to change.
It also forces you to make key decisions which will affect the overall quality of your outcomes such as, what type of equipment you’ll need to invest in or more broadly, what the ultimate goals are and what is the most cost effective way to reach them.
2 – Invest In Media Equipment
A large part of setting up your employees for action is to be ready to deliver content and this means having at least the bare minimum media equipment and basic production knowledge.
Invest In Key Equipment and Basic Media Studio To Manage Your Content In-House
Not only is it important to communicate the plan to employees and incentivize them towards your marketing goals, but by providing them with the right equipment to actually do what you’re requesting of them.
This might include a video editing computer and a decent camera depending on your content plan. Trying to produce media on a slow computer or spending time taking photos on a bad camera can cost more in the long run and ultimately discourage your employees from even trying.
3 – Incentivize employees and reward marketing contributions
It’s no secret that people find social media fun and work boring. Chances are that some of your employees are on it during work hours anyways and wished they had a job creating content.
Though this may not include everyone, it’s likely that you already have employees who could be content creators and others that are experts in your industry and would happily contribute. Find them and set them up for action.
A few ways to get started.
Identify the communities online that you’d like to build authority in and the type of content you think your customer engages with.
Set up boundaries for your employees to create within. This gives you control while also giving them ideas of the types of content that you are looking for and will be rewarded.
Get a custom roadmap that lays out the best content opportunities based on the keyword phrases that your customers are searching for online.
Find ways to invest in your employees growth as individuals and let your business become a platform for them to build their own online presence by contributing to your brand content.
Setting Your Employees Up For Content Marketing Action
Having a clear plan is important for communicating the marketing goals, key performance metrics and boundaries that employees need to be aware of in order to succeed.
First establish your brand’s tone and then encourage employees with bonuses related to success of any campaigns that they inspire or develop.
Activating your employees to constantly reflect on their job, industry, customer and product can be beneficial to your business in multiple ways.
For one, you’ll accelerate the process of learning about your customer and get valuable feedback about what they like or don’t like about current products or features as well as which ones they’d happily pay for if they existed.
Traditionally this type of feedback was only possible through expensive focus groups with questionable data and now it is available to any business that is willing to listen and put in the effort to engage their customers.
Lastly, any engagement related to your industry will contribute to your brand’s overall credibility and eventually you will be seen as an authority in everything related to your products or services.
4 – Create Multi-Purpose Content
Create Content That Will Help You Deliver Your Service/Product More Efficiently
Right away, it helps to have a project that keeps everyone focused. ‘Creating content’ can mean just about anything and having a specific digital product that benefits the business and customers is a great way to keep your employees focused on content that helps the business deliver your product/service or engage the customer regarding your product/service.
Creating content to gain attention from potential customers is one thing, but why not also make your current processes more efficient.
The Marketing Mapbook by Broadview Ave is an example of a product we’ve developed to bring in leads and also making us more efficient at producing custom marketing.
Understanding the ways that your marketing content also help increase your sales numbers is a sure way to get more for your money. So before you get start producing your next batch of content consider how it is going to do more then just market your product online.
5 – Use Specialized Agencies And Freelancers Only When Needed
In a perfect world you could focus on your business operations and leave the marketing to an agency and though it is possible, it is also extremely expensive.
Though plenty of agencies will claim they do this for all of their clients, often they just don’t know enough about your business or customers to market your product or service as efficiently as they could if you participated in a useful way.
Also, they aren’t aware of other projects, business processes, partners or resources that could be leveraged to lower costs and increase the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.
Not controlling your agency or freelancers is a good way to pay full price for absolutely everything on your ‘to do’ list and ultimately extends the timeline significantly.
My experience from working at agencies is that the ‘squeaky wheel gets the grease’ and beyond that, the clients that are actually knowledgeable about marketing in general and hold their subcontractors to measurable results get much more for their money.