Most business owners tend to start up on their own as solopreneurs or even with a business partner. That often happens due to the initial lack of capital to recruit a team or simply because people are dedicated to succeed on their own. Whatever the reasons are, in most cases starting solo works fine at first. After a while, though, and especially if the business starts growing, you’ll probably start feeling you need more sales leads to capitalise on, higher website traffic or more professional communication methods to switch to. So then the question that needs to be answered is whether to bring a marketer in-house or hire a marketing agency to do the work instead.
As an in-house marketer who works for a marketing agency, I believe it’s safe to say I am suitable to analyse the pros and cons of the two without any bias.
Unless you go for one of the fancier agencies in the market, hiring a marketing agency is obviously the cheaper option. That is most appealing to the smaller businesses out there who cannot afford full-time staff. In addition to cost, hiring an agency saves you plenty of valuable time. That is the time you would spend training new employees or worrying about which software tools to invest in for your marketing.
Hiring an agency means that you get the knowledge and expertise of a team of professionals at your disposal. Marketers who work for an agency usually have a wider experience than those working in-house as they get to deal with all sorts of different businesses and tap into several industries. Chances are they have worked for a company like yours before, and even if they haven’t, they will know exactly the type of research to do in order to get the best possible understanding of each client’s unique market and business situation. This is why a lot of brands feel safer with an agency.
That being said, picking the right agency that is willing to devote the time to understand where you’re coming from and where you want to be in the near future is crucial. Make sure you do proper research and check for client reviews and feedback where possible. If you are looking for a specialist to not only sort out your marketing but give you their knowledge and market insight as well, you might want to search for a niche agency. That might cost you a bit extra, but it is definitely worth it if your brand is lacking experience.
In most cases, it’s best to bring someone in-house if you own a medium or large business or you need to develop an elaborate marketing strategy and feel you would benefit from someone who could work closely with yourself and your management team. There are also many cases of businesses who simply rely a lot on their communications or have a large number of customers they need to formally communicate with on a regular basis. These businesses tend to prefer having full-time staff to deal with anything marketing related that may come up.
My advice is if you can afford an in-house marketer, hire one. Make sure, though, that you have enough hours of marketing work that needs to be done on a daily basis, otherwise, you will end up with a waste of money and an unhappy employee.
Another thing you definitely want to consider before recruiting someone is finding the right person. A common mistake among small businesses is hiring staff with no marketing background or any prior experience and assuming they can deliver. Compromising on the quality of your staff is a big no and will only end up costing you more money to train and manage that person in the long run. If you cannot afford to hire the right personnel to handle your marketing, like I said before, hire the right agency!
This weekend my wife and I have left the kids with nana and grandpa and we've travelled to Buxton in the Peak District, apparently England's leading Spa Town, nice. The weekend escape in February is an annual event that we commit to every year, visiting a different destination each time, we love it.
I do all of the planning. The research usually starts in November, and the challenge for me is to find an interesting town or city where Abby and I can spend a whole weekend not tied to the usual demands of a busy family and work life.
"I'm thinking about my businesses all of the time, it’s in my blood."
The break away from it all, is a very important event in our calendar and one that plays a significant role in my business life too. Don't worry, I don't spend the whole weekend working, quite the opposite in fact (except for this blog). But, as a certified, got the t-shirt entrepreneur, I'm thinking about my businesses all of the time, it’s in my blood.
When I'm away from the businesses (my staff and business partners know this) the constant contact that we get so used to is intentionally policed. That combined with the removal of family commitments (my weekend role is usually taxi driver, tutor and punchbag) my brain unwinds very quickly and I often have some inspired ideas that are implemented on my return with much enthusiasm.
The idea of taking a break away from it all to unwind is nothing new, but these days how much of a break do we really take when we have our phones in our pocket? Part of the ethos of our annual break is being disconnected from texts, LinkedIn, Facebook, What's app, phone calls and all the other distractions in our connected world. Here in Buxton for example, I have no data reception, no wifi, just, me, my wife and my thoughts. It was following one of my “thoughts", I felt compelled to write this blog as testimony to the power of the disconnected weekend break in Feb!
'I have no data reception, no wifi, just, me, my wife and my thoughts."
However, "embrace the beauty of technology" is one of BLAM's, and therefore my, core values and detaching myself from that technology in order to think creatively is something of an irony. The key thing for me is having the discipline to connect and disconnect to get the best results, something that doesn't always come easy to me.
I am writing this blog on my disconnected mobile, with relaxing music playing, in a clothes shop that has given me free coffee whilst Abby tries on several outfits. There's no signal so no interruptions, heaven :)
It's a well documented subject, the idea of intentionally unplugging and getting away from it all. My advice to our BLAM Partners is to make sure you diarise the breaks the same way you do with the work behaviours and consider the amount of connected time you allow yourself whilst you are there. Like me, I'm sure you will find hidden inspiration in your unconnected escape.
Next week, I will be refreshed and technology will be fully embraced once more and I'll be loving it! Now, where's that awesome little bar with craft beer on tap I spotted earlier, that looked really inspiring...
Pay-Per-Click advertising is one of the quickest ways to attract traffic to your website. Everyone knows that building your following organically can take quite a while - and for start-ups in particular time is gold!
Most people who attempt to set up a PPC campaign, however, tend to feel overwhelmed and often give up. There is such a wealth of possibilities when it comes to PPC advertising and so many different factors that need to be taken into consideration – not to mention the industry jargon which confuses people – that most beginners feel lost before even starting.
Despite these difficulties, we have identified a few simple steps that can lead any start-up to create a successful PPC campaign quickly and easily.
I would love to know what your thoughts are with regards to PPC. Are you planning to use PPC as part of your marketing?
Perhaps you’ve just had this crazy idea. Or maybe you’ve been thinking about it for ages. Whatever your situation, this article aims to help you realise why now is the best time for you to start your own business.
First, let’s define the term social media ‘strategist’, ‘expert’,
‘specialist’ or whichever title you prefer to use to describe that particular
marketing specialisation because I understand it
often causes confusion. I have picked the
term ‘social media strategist’ for this post’s title as for me it is the most
accurate to describe the role. A professional in this industry will never
proceed to manage anyone’s social media platforms without properly planning a
detailed strategy first, and that is usually the main difference between those who are qualified to do the job and those who
A social media strategist, therefore, is the professional behind any successful social media business page. That person is responsible for aligning a company’s social media activities with the overall marketing direction of the business. For some, this might still seem generic and difficult to understand, but hopefully, the rest of this post will shed some light into this role’s specifics while answering some common queries I often hear from clients.
Having said all that, and even though social media are a powerful tool, people should never make the mistake of thinking that a solid social presence is all it takes to ensure a good level of sales. The purpose of your social media strategy is to complement and augment your overall marketing and sales strategy. One cannot do well without the other, and anyone who tells you otherwise shouldn’t be trusted.