Marketing Agency vs. In-House Team: Which Should You Choose?

Marketing Agency vs. In-House Team: Which Should You Choose?

Like most business owners, you know you need to effectively market your business in order to expand your sphere of influence and engage new customers – but you’re unsure of the right approach. Is it better to recruit a dedicated marketing team to manage all your marketing in-house? Or should you enlist the services of an experienced digital marketing agency to tackle everything for you?

Both are reasonable options, but there are also ramifications connected with either decision. In this article, we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of hiring a digital marketing agency versus hiring an in-house marketing team.

3 Time-Tested Methods for Growing Your Business

If you want to grow your business (and why wouldn’t you?), there are a few tried-and-true methods you can employ to attract new customers:

  • Word of Mouth & Referrals
  • Advertising & Marketing  (PPC, SEO, Social Media)
  • Direct Sales  (Cold Calls, Email Blasts, Knocking on Doors)

In a perfect world, a business would land so many new customer referrals that it wouldn’t have to shell out money for advertising, marketing, or direct sales. But when you’re first getting started in business, you can’t always rely on getting the referrals you need. As a result, many companies will consider either hiring an in-house marketing team or outsourcing their marketing to an agency. Let’s examine both options:

WHY HIRE AN IN-HOUSE MARKETING TEAM?

Based on your specific business needs, employing a dedicated in-house marketing team might seem more reasonable. Sure, you’re accruing additional salary expenses to the business, but you’re also gaining total control over how your marketing plan is put into action.

Recruiting an experienced, skilled marketing manager who can take charge of every aspect of your marketing efforts can help grow lead generation and steadily attract new customers. So, let’s weigh the pros and cons of hiring an in-house marketing team:

PROS:

In-House Marketers Have a Deeper Understanding of the Business

Generally speaking, someone who works exclusively for your business is likely to have a much better understanding of your customers’ needs. They’re more acquainted with your products and services, and they know how best to promote them to your clientele. If you’re a B2B organization – one that specializes in selling products and services to other companies – employing an in-house marketing team may be even more critical. After all, an outside agency might not be as familiar with your specific market.

In-house marketers are likely to feel more connected to and in line with your overall business strategy. In addition, they probably have a fairly solid knowledge base and a good awareness of previous campaigns – and whether or not those campaigns have been successful – without having to go to the trouble of researching them as an agency would. Moreover, an in-house team gives you creative control over the end-to-end digital process.

An In-House Marketing Team Is Focused On Your Brand Only

While marketing agencies will certainly make the effort to familiarize themselves with your brand and devote ample time to your marketing strategy, they’re also focused on the marketing needs of their other clients. 

By contrast, in-house marketers are able to focus on your business 100% of the time. Each of their marketing efforts is customized to your business’s specific needs. They spend time examining what’s working for you and making adjustments to marketing goals and processes. Because of this singular focus, your in-house marketing team is liable to put forth more ideas that are unique to your business.

In-House Marketers Are Available All Workweek Long

With a dedicated in-house marketing team, you don’t have to schedule a time to meet – you can brainstorm or revise plans anytime you need to.

Having convenient access to key decision-makers in real time can help streamline creative timelines and project management much more so than if you are outsourcing a project.

CONS:

Oprah Winfrey saying,

In-House Marketing Can Be Inconsistent and Lackluster

One of the challenges of having just one or two people working on your marketing is that it’s often a part-time role. In-house personnel might already have other duties they’re expected to perform, and handling the business’s marketing needs is simply bundled into their job description.

As a result, consistency plummets quickly. It’s conceivable that in-house marketers could go weeks without posting any new content or monitoring ad campaign statistics.

Additionally, if budget constraints prevent you from recruiting a diverse team of crackerjack marketers, the content created by these individuals might be lifeless and uninspired as a result.

Yoda saying,

An In-House Marketing Team May Have Limited Training Time

Marketing agencies often spend a considerable amount of time and resources ensuring that their employees keep up to date on their knowledge and skills. Ongoing training might include attending marketing conferences or webinars, exchanging articles and resources online, and brainstorming between various departments.

By contrast, in-house marketers usually have less time to dedicate to improving their skills. They also don’t have the benefit of learning from or collaborating with other marketing departments. While you may initially hire individuals based on their digital marketing experience and expertise, once they’re a part of your in-house team they are far less likely to have the time and resources available to continue to maintain and refine their skills.

Steve Martin unsuccessfully trying to think of new ideas.

In-House Marketers May Run Out of Fresh Ideas

Effective marketing inherently demands imaginative minds that thrive on change. When a small in-house marketing team is focused on managing your brand alone, creativity can begin to languish over time. After all, it’s difficult to keep formulating new and innovative strategies to promote products and share content when you have no one outside your circle to bounce ideas off. 

In some cases, company leadership keeps a tight rein on their creative team and doesn’t give them leeway to take chances and try new things. There may also be some overarching arrogance on the part of leadership, believing that no one outside the organization can represent the company as effectively as its employees.

Some rando guy saying really slowly,

Companies Must Foot the Bill for Retaining an In-House Team

In the short term, it can seem like you’re getting a better bargain by opting for a small in-house marketing team. But ultimately, it can become considerably more costly.

If you choose to partner with a marketing agency, you can anticipate spending more money at first to get you set up. But these costs will dramatically decrease to monthly maintenance over time.

By contrast, you will need to keep paying your in-house marketing team members an annual salary, as well as benefits and paid time off in most cases. With cost-of-living increases, this amount will only grow.

Digital Marketing Graphic with Soaring Rocket

WHY HIRE A DIGITAL MARKETING AGENCY?

Securing the services of a digital marketing agency can feel like a monumental maneuver. Typically, there’s a preliminary meeting, a contract of some duration, numerous discussions regarding the scope of work, and interaction with a variety of different people on the team. Finding the ideal agency can involve a great deal of time and effort.

Then there are the costs. Working with an agency is oftentimes more expensive than “DIY” marketing or recruiting in-house personnel, primarily because the agency is more experienced. However, a digital marketing agency can deliver a more expansive array of services and also churn out higher-quality work. Here are some pros and cons of hiring a digital marketing agency:

PROS:

Professional Marketers Have Specialized Skill Sets

Effective marketing demands a multifaceted approach, involving content creation, social media management, email marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click advertising (PPC), graphic design, and website design and development. Assembling an in-house marketing team teeming with all this talent is no easy undertaking.

When you partner with a reputable digital marketing agency, you gain access to an entire team of specialists – each of whom knows their niche and understands how best to get results. These passionate and knowledgeable marketers routinely manage a wide range of clientele, making it all the more probable that they’ll implement the proper strategies for your company with not as much trial and error.

A Marketing Agency Can Offer a Fresh Perspective

Companies that have been in business for any significant period of time may ultimately come to the realization that they’re circulating the same ideas over and over again. Campaigns start to look alike, and copywriters continue using the same terminology to describe things. In-house marketers keep trying to devise new and innovative ideas, but it’s getting more and more challenging to do so.

This is entirely normal. There’s a natural limit to how long a company can craft quality content when they’re promoting the same products and services day in and day out. It’s easy to become single-minded when working from inside an organization. That said, getting an outside perspective can be immensely beneficial to a business.

Partnering with an agency can help you view your company from a different perspective and bring a fresh approach to your marketing strategy. While it’s true that an outside agency will not immediately have a thorough, expansive understanding of your company’s brand and history, this can actually be beneficial. An agency can objectively identify opportunities that might have gone unnoticed or were not as easily recognizable by in-house personnel.

Digital marketing specialists have years of knowledge and experience, and they’re trained to analyze your business from the consumer’s or client’s viewpoint. The old adage “two heads are better than one” is especially relevant when it comes to digital marketing.

Additionally, an agency may be more willing to push the envelope and think unconventionally. This can bring about increased ingenuity and quite possibly more successful marketing strategies.

Consistency and Speed of Work are Hallmarks of Digital Marketing Agencies

Consistency and Speed of Work Are Hallmarks of Marketing Agencies

When generating new marketing collateral, it’s easy for an organization to become careless about what and when to communicate. More often than not, attending to customers is their primary focus, and marketing takes a back seat.

Since the majority of in-house personnel have other responsibilities apart from their marketing roles, the time they have available to keep up to date on all the latest social media, SEO, content marketing, and branding trends is extremely limited.

By contrast, entrusting your marketing to an outside agency enables these marketers to jump in and start implementing strategies right away, carrying out each project from planning to completion. Because these agencies routinely handle a wide array of client accounts, they typically work far more efficiently than an in-house marketing team.

Over time, these agile marketers have designed state-of-the-art workflows and processes that are built for quality, volume, and efficiency. Outsourced agencies will strive to make sure to send your content, ad campaigns, and social media marketing out on time, making sure it not only looks great but also that your branding is consistent.

Kim Kardashian flashing that cash

Marketing Agencies Are Cost-Effective Over the Long Term

While partnering with an outside agency might seem more expensive at face value, when compared to the costs of recruiting a full team of dedicated marketers, it’s a bargain! In-house personnel can set your company back hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in salaries, benefits, and technology investments.

On the other hand, you might choose to designate a single, in-house employee to handle all of your social media marketing, graphic design, and online advertising. But for less than the costs associated with that one individual, you could hire an agency and gain access to an entire team of specialists who are experienced in meeting the needs of a variety of diverse clients in multiple industries.

Working with an agency that comprehends your company’s specific needs will allow you to move swifter, secure better outcomes, and make decisions more effortlessly. You may not even have to work with an agency long-term at full scale – once you’re up and running successfully, you may only have to manage maintenance fees, which are considerably less by comparison.

Schitt's Creek:

Outsourcing to an Agency Gives Your Company a Competitive Edge

Competition is fierce and technologies evolve at lightning speed. Therefore, it’s essential to keep up-to-date with the latest trends in order to stay ahead of your competitors. It’s possible to achieve this with an in-house team if your organization is prepared to invest in marketing education, new technology, and advanced resources. But most aren’t.

Fortunately, staying on top of the most current digital marketing techniques is an agency’s lifeblood. Marketing agencies often enjoy early access to cutting-edge technologies, tools, and software – most of which just aren’t available to smaller, in-house marketing teams.

Unless your internal marketing team is large enough to justify the costs of ongoing education and technology, it’s generally more economical to outsource your marketing to an agency.

CONS:

Will Smith on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air looking nervously uncertain.

Partnering with a Marketing Agency Can Incur Higher Costs Over the Short Term

Depending on how many functions you decide to pass on to an agency, you can expect to spend a bigger chunk of your marketing budget than you would with a single, in-house professional – at least at first.

But, as previously mentioned, you can’t always get the best results when entrusting all of your marketing efforts to one person. If you’re currently covering the total cost of salaries plus benefits to support an entire in-house team, you might find that outsourcing to a marketing agency is actually more affordable.

When you partner with an outside marketing agency, it’s important to bear in mind that, in addition to gaining access to a whole team of professional marketers, you’re also laying the foundations of a long-term marketing strategy that will gradually decrease costs and improve overall profitability.

Being businesses as well, marketing agencies naturally have their own salaries, taxes, and other expenses that they must meet. To accomplish this, agencies must set prices for each of their various services. That said, most agencies are upfront about their pricing and are willing to adjust their fee structures to meet your budget.

While an agency may cost more in the short term, it is likely to generate better returns that you can measure right away. This signifies that you know the value that you’re paying for.

Dream Corp:

Marketing Agencies May Lack Your Knowledge of the Industry

While some marketing agencies concentrate on a specific industry, most of them work with clients in a variety of markets. Consequently, they may not have the degree of knowledge you have about your products and services.

In such cases, there will be a bit of a “discovery period” in the early days of a project until the agency has become familiar with the particulars of your key business processes. Even agencies that have worked with a vast array of clients will need time to grasp your customers’ needs.

Because each market is distinct, what performs well for one business might fail miserably for another. You won’t want to squander money on a campaign that will end up alienating potential customers.

Finding a firm with demonstrated results in your field can help counterbalance a lack of industry knowledge.

The Umbrella Academy:

It Can Take Time for Agencies to Get Up to Speed On a Company

It can be hard to get down to business straightaway after hiring an agency. The client-agency partnership needs time to ensure proper alignment with the client’s stated objectives.

A creditable marketing agency will want to gain a deep understanding of your clients and identify what it is that they’re looking for. At the same time, they’ll need to make sure they have a good grasp of your brand’s voice and image.

After taking the time to evaluate your goals and prior marketing efforts with their team, the agency will work to determine what direction to take with your marketing and ensure that you approve of it as well.

Once a campaign has concluded, the agency will ask for your feedback so that they can adapt and enhance your marketing strategy going forward. All of these things take time, and a freewheeling approach won’t produce optimal results.

You Can Expect Lots of Meetings, Especially Early On

When outsourcing your marketing to an agency, you can anticipate taking part in a lot of meetings and discussions, especially at the outset of the relationship.

Every single aspect demands your consent and stamp of approval early on, and you can’t relegate these critical decisions to the agency. Being tasked with reviewing a new web design, fresh website content, or greenlighting an ad campaign can be burdensome at times – but it’s an integral part of the process.

As the client-agency relationship progresses, you can expect to continue having regular meetings in order to:

Warner Archive:

Regular Communication with Marketing Agencies Can Be Challenging

Effective communication is crucial to keeping your marketing plan running smoothly. But when you partner with an outside marketing agency, you won’t always have instant access to your team. Lack of physical proximity is a natural barrier, and face-to-face communication is understandably more limited.

Communicating with agency partners often takes place via phone or email, and they may be slower to respond to requests, questions, or concerns than you’d prefer. Certainly, meetings can be arranged, but they typically occur hours or days later.

The fact of the matter is, you aren’t the agency’s only client. You may not even be their biggest client. Agencies routinely manage multiple accounts for a variety of clients. If other clients contract for more services, your company’s project may not be prioritized as highly. Simply put, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle.

However, principled marketing agencies will work to ensure that no client feels less valued than another. They strive to keep in constant contact with each of their clients and make a conscious effort to respond to concerns quickly.

Final Thoughts

Both recruiting an in-house marketing team and outsourcing to an agency have their benefits and drawbacks. Neither option is inherently right or wrong for any business.

In order to determine which approach is right for your company, it’s important to examine your short-term marketing goals as well as your long-term growth strategy. Weighing these against your own team’s strengths and weaknesses is critical to assessing whether you should keep your marketing initiatives in-house or entrust them to outside experts. In addition, identifying which particular services your company needs and determining your marketing budget are essential to reaching a final decision.

Many companies already have a core of in-house individuals tasked with handling their marketing. By and large, in-house personnel live and breathe the company brand and are likely to have a far more in-depth understanding of the business’s unique selling proposition, product set, and buyer personas. Thus, in-house marketers may be better qualified to create relevant content and effective communication strategies for the company.

Nevertheless, the range of expertise and resources available to in-house marketers may be limited – indeed, they may find it difficult to implement new software or keep pace with ever-evolving trends and technologies.

There’s a steep learning curve involved with digital marketing, and teaming up with an external agency can help avoid classic “newbie” mistakes. Instead of spending time and effort exploring various possibilities, agency specialists will formulate and carry out a hard-and-fast plan without delay, ensuring a quicker return on your investment.

Many organizations find that a hybrid approach to marketing works best. Outsourcing key services to agency specialists can not only be extremely cost-effective, but it also provides an outside perspective that can help in-house marketing teams recognize opportunities to improve. Keeping some of your resources in-house also helps the company maintain some degree of direct control over its content, branding, and other marketing resources.

Now that you’ve had a chance to analyze the pros and cons of retaining an in-house marketing team versus partnering with an outside agency, it’s time to take the next step.

If you or your business could benefit from the services of a professional, full-service digital marketing agency, HighClick Media is here to help! 

HighClick provides comprehensive digital media and online marketing solutions for businesses of all sizes. Our talented team of creative thinkers, innovators, and digital marketers bring skills above and beyond the ordinary to every project, resulting in explosive business success!

Whether you’re looking for a fresh website design, brand development, email marketing, social media marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), or pay-per-click advertising (PPC), our highly skilled team is fully equipped to assist you!

Reach out to us today by calling 252.814.2150 or visit our website for a full description of our services!

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5 Ways to Get Your Small Business Ready for the Metaverse

5 Ways to Get Your Small Business Ready for the Metaverse

Is your business ready for the transition to the metaverse? Yeah, we get it – that’s a loaded question! After all, there’s still a fair bit of speculation and rumors about exactly what’s involved with the metaverse and what it will mean for us and our businesses.

Over the past couple of years, we’ve witnessed businesses placing a greater emphasis on ecommerce and digital transformation – thanks in large part to the global pandemic. But we’re also seeing businesses begin to shift their attention even further toward digital as the virtual world becomes less of a fantastical idea and closer to reality.

With internet users spending more time online than ever before, and many small businesses falling on hard times, it’s time for us to rethink how we will connect with our audiences going forward.

In this article, we’ll explore five ways to help your small business weather the world-changing transition to the metaverse – and thrive in its aftermath.

Know Your Niche

The concept of the metaverse – connecting people to technology (and vice versa) using virtual and augmented reality – isn’t a new one. In fact, the idea has actually been kicked around for decades, to varying degrees of execution.

No one seems to agree, or know for sure when the metaverse concept was originally conceived; it’s equally difficult to find an agreed-upon definition of what the reality of the metaverse means for us now.

What’s certain is that the first (and perhaps best) way to make sure your small business is ready for this new era of digital transformation is to have a clear idea of what you want for your brand and how you can make the most of technology to achieve your goals.

For one company, that might mean developing better AI in order to be able to better address customer questions through your website. For another, it might entail creating an entire virtual reality world that allows potential buyers to examine products before buying them as though they were actually there with the items.

Let’s face it: you know your business better than anyone else. Accordingly, only you can determine what the metaverse can (or can’t) do for your business.

Consider Updating Your Branding

With new tech initiatives and the emergence of newer, more diverse social platforms come new branding opportunities. This is a great time to take a long, hard look at your visual brand.

One of the great things about the metaverse is its focus on connectivity. Startups and small businesses alike must ensure that the visual aspects of their messaging make clear how important communication is to the business. As one of the founding values behind the metaverse, paying special attention to your visual branding must always be a top priority.

Claim and Update Your Business on Search Engines

More than half of business owners haven’t claimed their company’s listings on tools like Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business). This is a huge mistake!

Claiming and maintaining your online presence is absolutely crucial for a small business in today’s digital world. Without it, you’ll miss out on countless opportunities to drive traffic to your site, or to the business itself, as well as risk frustrating customers who can’t find the information they need when they need it.

Keeping this information up to date is just as important, particularly for things like holidays or hours of operation, as incorrect information could easily turn off potential customers.

I am not ready for that.

Don’t Abandon the Old Ways Too Quickly

Try to avoid the temptation to go “all virtual, all the time” too soon. Yes, the idea of the metaverse is exciting, and it’s likely that at least some of your customer base will be ready for it.

But good business dictates that you should always give the customer what they want – and the majority of consumers aren’t quite ready for this new way of doing business. At least not yet.

Even as you’re positioning your business to be ready for “the next big thing,” don’t be too hasty to cast aside the old ways completely. Many of your customers are going to want to stick with what they’re used to, for as long as possible. You should continue to give your audience the option to engage with your brand through more traditional methods.

Remain Adaptable

Last but certainly not least, be ready for anything! One thing that many entrepreneurs and small business owners know well is that right about the time you get comfortable, that’s when change comes fast and furious!

Sure, we have an exciting future ahead of us, thanks to an increasing tech-minded push, and it’s going to change the way we view and interact with our world. But if you get too hung up on tomorrow’s virtual reality project, you might not see what’s coming up next week.

 
 

Final Thoughts

Transformation is coming – that’s a given. How will your small business ride out these changes over the next decade? Well, that’s up to you. At the very least, you should be prepared for what comes next.

If you need help transforming your business for the digital age, HighClick Media can help! Whether you’re looking to update your website, get started with social media marketing, or optimize your website for search engines so it’s easier to be found online, we have a solution that’s right for you! Call us today at 252.814.2150 or drop us a line here to see how we can help elevate your brand!

********************

An earlier version of this article appeared on Entrepreneur’s website and can be found here.

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How to Generate Leads for Your Business with Digital Marketing

How To Generate Leads for Your Business with Digital Marketing

If you haven’t already, it’s time to face the facts: the digital age has altered the way we conduct business forever. Gone are the days when promoting your business meant taking out an ad in the newspaper or going door-to-door with flyers.

These days, when seeking a product or service, the first thing most people do is reach for their laptop or mobile device and search for what they need – typically via a search engine or social media platform. In fact, nearly 90% of shoppers perform online research before making a purchase. Accordingly, conventional sales and marketing tactics have evolved to adapt to these behaviors.

Today’s marketers, salespeople, and brands must put themselves in the shoes of their prospective customers. Can your target audience carry out a quick Google search and easily discover your brand and specific products or services online? Is your message reaching the right prospects through your social media channels and campaigns?

As organizations continue to adjust to a digital sales environment, many are experimenting with online lead-generation campaigns aimed at bringing in new prospects that they can eventually convert into paying customers.

Using proven digital marketing methods, your business can build a solid lead-generation strategy that will attract new customers and boost sales in a cost-effective way.

WHAT IS A LEAD?

Before proceeding any further, we should probably define exactly what a lead is. According to HubSpot, a lead is any person who shows interest – whether implicitly or explicitly – in a company’s products or services in some way, shape, or form.

Rather than receiving a random cold call from someone who might have purchased their contact information, leads usually hear from a business or organization after initiating communication – typically by volunteering their personal information for an offer, trial, or subscription.

WHAT IS LEAD GENERATION – AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?

While we’re at it, we should also clarify what lead generation is, and why it’s important for your business.

According to HubSpot, lead generation is the process of attracting and converting strangers and prospects into people who are interested in your company’s products and services.

Implementing a lead-generation strategy can help get your marketing messages heard across various channels, thus boosting brand awareness, creating demand for your products and services, and establishing relationships with potential customers.

From a digital marketing perspective, the overarching idea behind lead generation is to bring traffic to your website, convert website visitors into leads, and ultimately convert those leads into customers. By gradually warming up prospects to your brand, you set up your sales team for greater success and help drive revenue for the business.

HOW TO GENERATE LEADS THROUGH DIGITAL MARKETING

It’s important to note that there is no generic formula that works equally well for all businesses. A lead-generation method that may be effective for one company might fall flat for yours. A number of factors come into play here, including the type of business you have, the kinds of products you sell, and properly identifying your target audience, to name a few.

There are any number of promotional channels you can use to steer traffic to your website in order to start generating leads. Let’s take a look at a few of the most common digital marketing techniques that have proved to be successful for many organizations:

Content Marketing

Content marketing involves “creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience to drive profitable customer action.”

Common forms of content marketing include blogs, articles, infographics, videos, and social media posts.

The ultimate goal of content marketing isn’t to sell your product or service – rather, you want to build trust and authority around your brand. Instead of delivering an obvious sales pitch, offer meaningful solutions to specific problems that customers are experiencing and position your brand and its products and services as the natural remedy.

Effective content marketing helps improve online visibility, boost brand awareness, increase website traffic, and attract more credible leads. In addition, when your audience notices that you’re consistently posting useful information, they’ll presume that you’re good at what you do – which naturally helps build confidence in your business.

Having a great deal of interesting content on your website will also encourage visitors to spend more time on each page. When Google sees that people are spending a lot of time reading your content, this sends a positive signal that people are finding your pages helpful – which, in turn, has a positive impact on your Google search rankings.

Gated content is a surefire way to generate leads, as this type of content is only available to people who agree to fill out a special form to access it. It’s a fair exchange for both parties – you get the contact information of a new lead and a potential customer gains access to your special content. Popular forms of gated content include case studies, whitepapers, reports, e-books, and how-to guides.

 

Pro Tips for Successful Content Marketing:

  • Regularly post blogs, news, and tips about or related to your industry. This helps further establish your expertise in the field.
  • Organic search is the largest source of high-quality leads – so spend some time optimizing your content for search engines so that users can find it easily.
  • Research your target audience thoroughly so that the content you create aligns with users’ search intent – in other words, seek to answer the questions they’re already asking and provide the info they’re already searching for.
  • Promote your content on your social media sites and in emails. Great content won’t make a bit of difference if people can’t find it!

Email Marketing

Despite the fact that it’s one of the earliest forms of digital marketing, email is still one of the most effective methods for gaining and nurturing leads. In truth, the first point of entry to a lead is often an email. Virtually everyone who’s active online has an email address – and that isn’t going to change anytime soon!

Email marketing can consist of newsletters with updates on your organization, announcements about special promotions, and exclusive offers for subscribers.

With today’s technology, you can achieve more favorable results with your emails through audience segmentation. In essence, you can tailor your email marketing messages to target specific segments of your customer database. In doing so, you make your brand relevant to a greater number of people.

Email is a surefire way to reach people who are already familiar with your brand, products, or services. Done right, this marketing channel helps bolster trust between your organization and current or potential clients.

Social Media Marketing

Social media has unquestionably become one of the most powerful avenues for marketing. With over 2.8 billion monthly active users on Facebook alone, it’s a safe bet that most of your potential customers have and use at least one social media account. Currently, the most popular platforms for driving traffic to your website and acquiring leads are Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.

Through social media, you can connect with your target audience directly, gradually build relationships with them, and in due course convert those followers into leads. In order for your efforts to be successful, you’ll have to invest time and effort into building an engaged audience.

Instead of flooding your followers with a slew of special offers, speak to them about their desires and challenges. By interacting with users on a personal level, you not only start to earn their trust but also humanize your brand in the process – the importance of which cannot be understated.

It’s essential that you know your target audience well in order to determine which social media platforms they use frequently so you can reach them where they are. Don’t expect to succeed by simply setting up accounts on every social media channel available, then interacting with your audiences once a week – consistency is key. Ideally, you should establish a presence on 1 to 3 social media channels and start posting meaningful and relevant content on a regular basis.

Resist the temptation to use social media simply as a platform to talk about yourself. Rather, use it to discuss news about your industry, share tips that aren’t necessarily written by your team, and always welcome open discussions. An active business social media account can go a long way toward promoting your brand as a thought leader and expert in the field.

Pro Tips for Effective Social Media Marketing:

  • Be sure that your social media profiles include all the important information users might need to get in touch with you, including hours of operation, physical address, website URL, and other contact info.
  • Showcasing your company culture on social media can give your brand a distinctive personality online. Don’t hesitate to share pictures, videos, and anything else that might give users an inside look at your company.
  • Many people visit social media sites simply to be entertained. When composing your social media posts, be sure to maintain a casual, not-too-serious tone. This can form a stronger connection with your audience.
  • That being said, each social media platform has a different vibe. Strive to “read the room” and change your tone based on the platform you’re using, while still retaining the ethos of your brand.
  • Center your social media efforts on interaction and engagement. It makes no difference if you’re posting a hundred times a day on Twitter. If nobody’s engaging with those posts, you’re wasting your time!
  • Always remember that social media is a two-way street. By sharing and commenting on your followers’ content, you show that you’re an active participant in the relationship you’re building with them.
  • If you’re considering running paid advertising on social media, Facebook Lead Ads is a good place to start. This type of advertisement provides a quick and simple way for users to share their contact info with you without ever having to leave Facebook or visit your website.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Ranking high in organic searches is likely one of the most beneficial long-term lead-generation strategies there is. Yet, with over two hundred factors determining how Google will rank your website within search engine result pages (SERPs), it can be difficult to know where to start.

Being at or near the top of Google SERPs is especially critical when you consider that 75% of people won’t ever advance beyond the first page of results. With Google receiving over 1 billion searches per month, if you’re not laying claim to your rightful place in those searches, how can you hope to drive the website traffic needed to generate leads?

The solution is search engine optimization (SEO). The goal of SEO is to improve your website’s rankings in SERPs for specific keywords and phrases. If someone is looking something up online and your website appears first in search results, there’s a good probability that they will engage with your website in some form or fashion.

As with many other aspects of the digital world, the rules of SEO change regularly, especially as technology advances. But this doesn’t mean you can’t gain some degree of control over your rankings.

SEO is primarily driven by your chosen keywords and how you map them to relate back to your website. This process can be complicated, and is generally best left to marketing professionals. However, there are a couple of things you can do on your own which will make a positive impact.

You can start by making sure that your NAP (Name, Address, and Phone) is consistent on your website, as well as within online directories such as Yelp, Facebook, and Google My Business.

Make it simple for your customers to leave a review on your website. Additionally, reviews on third-party platforms can greatly increase your chances of being found by qualified prospects – without having to pay a dime! So, don’t hesitate to ask your satisfied customers to put in a good word for you.

Website Optimization

Having a business website is a critical component of marketing your brand – think of it as your digital business card. Indeed, the overall aim of digital marketing is to propel traffic to your website. But nearly 96% of users who visit your website aren’t yet prepared to make a purchase. Your website has to persuade visitors to buy your products or services.

Is the design of your website and landing pages sleek and contemporary? Are pages loading quickly enough? Are all internal links routing to the correct web page? These are the kinds of questions you need to regularly address in order to successfully generate leads through your site.

Though having a slick, professional appearance can make your brand look modern and well-informed, it’s not what matters most to your target audience.

Website visitors would prefer to interact with a website that’s easy to navigate. If it isn’t, visitors are unlikely to spend a great deal of time on your website – let alone convert to customers. Loading errors, lag speed, and poor user interface can actually drive traffic away rather than drawing more in.

In addition, Google deems it essential that websites be more mobile-friendly. If not optimized for a seamless experience on users’ smartphones, your website can actually be penalized by being ranked lower in search results.

Building optimized web pages for your business is the secret to driving traffic to your website and to convert those who are “just visiting” into leads. Experienced web developers and web designers can make sure that both your website and your landing pages – which are essential to driving leads, since these pages are often where most of your website leads will be generated from – are fully optimized.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising

Pay-per-click (PPC) is an online advertising framework that businesses draw on to drive traffic, sales, or inquiries from their target audience. With PPC, an advertiser runs an ad on an online platform such as Google Ads and pays a fee every time someone clicks on the ad. PPC platforms provide an impressive depth of targeting, which is to say you can deliver ads exclusively to those who you deem to fit your customer demographic.

PPC uses keywords in a similar fashion to SEO – accordingly, you’ll need to decide which keywords you want to target with each campaign. These keywords will trigger your ads to appear at the top of search results.

Pay-per-click is ideal for generating new leads because it attracts “qualified” traffic – that is, users who have already shown interest in your products. In fact, PPC visitors are 50% more likely to make a purchase than visitors from organic searches.

Setting up and running a PPC campaign can be a daunting task, especially if you’re new to it. Oftentimes, the best approach is to partner with a reputable digital marketing agency that specializes in PPC advertising.

Chatbots

Marketing is all about identifying your target audience and communicating how your product or service can address and resolve their problems. In today’s customer-centric market, chatbots are immensely popular as customers enjoy interacting with them.

A lead-generation chatbot essentially serves as the first point of contact with a new user and signifies the beginning of your brand’s relationship with them. Chatbots are engineered to interact with site visitors in a conversational way. A chatbot’s primary goal is to anticipate what the user is going to ask and to provide a response that’s entertaining, engaging, and educational. The longer a user communicates with a chatbot, the more data is amassed.

Lead chatbots are designed to collect contact information from prospects in order to convey the data to sales professionals who can then continue the conversation and ultimately convert those leads into customers. They’ve proven to be highly effective, too – in fact, chatbots convert 4x higher than traditional lead-generation tools.

The benefits of chatbots for lead generation are practically limitless. Here are just a few of the more obvious advantages:

  1. Available to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
  2. Meet the needs and interests of prospective customers by offering relevant products and services.
  3. Address customer queries in real time and proactively provide pertinent information to users.
  4. Direct quality leads to arrange initial sales meetings by gathering essential info, suggesting times, and sending booking confirmations to meeting participants.
  5. Increase operational efficiency, delivering cost savings to the business while providing greater customer satisfaction.

While chatbots are seldom qualified to answer visitors’ more complicated queries or executing the final steps of the sales process – both of which necessitate a human touch – for more direct approaches like those listed above, these marketing automation tools can be valuable straight out of the gate.

Final Thoughts

Generating leads for your business might seem like a challenging task, but it’s essential if you want to drive revenue. By employing these proven digital marketing methods, you can increase the number of leads your business generates and ultimately improve your chances of increased sales.

If you’re just starting out or still struggling to find ways to grow your business, we’d love to partner with you! HighClick Media is a full-service digital marketing agency specializing in SEO, PPC advertising, social media and email marketing, content development, and website optimization. Give us a call today at 252.814.2150 or visit our website to see all that we offer!

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