When growing a business, digital marketing slowly becomes a larger priority. Sales begin as referrals, but eventually your network ends up exhausted. As a founder, you know you need to start putting yourself out there more often, but don’t know where to begin.
Leading the Team
When you get to this point in the growth of your business, you need to begin planning your process to shift focus on your digital marketing efforts. Starting this process off, a decision needs to be made on who is going to lead this charge.
If you decide to promote internally, the question you need to ask yourself is: “Who can be the key person on my staff that can succeed in taking the responsibility for guiding this new process?” Digital marketing isn’t a small task for a growing company, make sure the person you choose has the time and resources to take on this responsibility. If this person doesn’t take that initiative, you might find yourself realizing that your efforts aren’t going as far as you might like them to.
Fractional / Partner
If you’ve thought about promoting internally, but realize that perhaps everyone has too much on their plate to be able to lead efficiently, you might consider looking for an individual to hire on as a fractional representative. Going down this route means evaluating how many hours per month you’d like to delegate towards your digital marketing efforts, and finding a freelancer or partner to take on those hours and responsibilities each month.
Recruiting the Team
You run a small team and marketing is starting to become more important by the day. Managing a creative team is hard and when your business grows, the types of people and talent you have to bring onto your team grows and their skill sets become more diverse. Now that a leader has been selected, the next phase is determining who is going to execute the strategy. This brings up a few key questions:
What metrics are going to be used to define success?
One essential part of growing your marketing is determining where your efforts are succeeding or failing, then being able to make adjustments. To accurately measure your marketing efforts, the person you have delegated to be in charge must consistently gather data to analyze. Start simple, and look at things like web traffic, repeat customer purchases, contact form submissions, and sales growth. These are all great places to begin regularly analyzing so you can measure the impact of your marketing efforts.
Digging into data outside your marketing department and researching your customers’ perspectives can bring to light valuable insights. Incorporating all of this data into your marketing efforts is crucial, so make sure you choose someone who will place importance on defining marketing success.
Do we need to hire employees or work with a partner?
Digital marketing is one of the first skill sets you should look into as a growing business, and there are a few options for finding the right asset to add to your team. Adding talent to your team and promoting internally ensures an expert in digital marketing all the time. Still, eventually, those people you add to your team will need to be managed, and strategies will need to be incorporated, which can become an increasingly big task for a busy company. When you try to create and manage your team on your own, you must constantly worry about turnover and filling those positions. If your business can handle this, then growing your team is the way to go.
On the other side, partnering with an agency reduces the internal churn of recruiting, hiring, and onboarding. Agencies you interview should be constantly interviewing web designers, developers, content creators, project managers, and account managers. All you need to worry about is letting them know which areas in your business need the most attention. For example, suppose your team needs content written for your website. In that case, your agency should devise a strategy for you that lowers the effort on non-content creation tasks, and focuses the majority of their time on content writing. Then, you only need to approve their plan, sit back, and do what you do best: run your business.
Getting the Right Mix
While your business is growing an agency will help you focus on what is necessary at the moment for your company, but as you continue to grow you’ll eventually want to hire your own staff. This is a great step, but you might not know what strategy you’ll need to use or what holes need to be filled when you get to this point. The agency that has helped your company get this far is full of experts that can help you devise a plan for your future hires. Together, you and the agency can figure out what experts you do and don’t need to hire for your business, then come up with a plan. In most cases when you partner with a digital marketing agency, they’ll let you know if you should hire someone so they can focus their efforts in other areas. This way you’re getting the best results with your money and get the best results for your business. There are a lot of factors to take into account when you’re growing your business. Hiring a digital marketing agency might seem like a really big step, but it just might be the perfect solution to relieve stress in your growing business. If any of these situations seem a little too familiar, let us know.
This article was written in collaboration with Beau Billington of The Free Agent. He talks about this topic more in-depth on his blog.