Marketing is no longer a choice. Sure, if you run a grocery store in a town of a thousand people, you probably don’t have to advertise. However, if you have any competition in your local area or online, you need to go the extra mile to attract potential customers.
As a small business owner, you’re likely to work with a tight budget. As such, you’re even more concerned about splurging on something that won’t make much of a difference.
That’s why it’s crucial to do some research beforehand and learn what to pay attention to when looking for a marketing agency or a marketing freelancing specialist.
From checking their portfolio, reviews, and area of expertise to asking for references and testimonials – here are some tips on how to find the best small business marketing services:
Determine your needs and budget
The first thing that you need to do is to sit down and think about your needs. What kind of marketing activities would you like to delegate? Make a list of all the tasks and activities you’d like to outsource.
You should also have a budget in mind. How much are you willing to spend on marketing services? It’s important to be realistic here – don’t expect amazing results if you only have a few hundred bucks to spare.
Check their portfolio
When you first get in touch with a marketing agency or freelancer, ask to see their portfolio. This will give you an insight into the type of work they’re capable of and whether their style aligns with your business’s needs.
If they don’t have one, move on. While you want to work with someone who is experienced, you also want to make sure that their past clients were happy with the results.
A good portfolio will show a variety of projects, clients, and industries. It will also highlight the results of the campaigns, such as an increase in web traffic or conversion rates.
If they have past clients in a similar industry to yours, that’s an even better sign. Of course, every business is different, so don’t expect to find an identical match. But, if you see that they have experience working with small businesses and know how to produce results, that’s a good start.
Pay attention to reviews and testimonials
Look for online reviews and testimonials from past clients and see what people are saying about their experience working with the agency or freelancer.
Keep in mind, though, that not all reviews will be positive. You can’t please everyone, and even the best marketing agencies will have a few unhappy customers. The key is to look for patterns.
If you see that the majority of reviews are positive, that’s a good sign. But, if there are more negative than positive reviews, you might want to keep looking, especially if they focus on similar things.
You can also ask the agency or freelancer for references. This way, you can get in touch with some of their past clients and hear about their experiences first-hand.
Check their area of expertise
Make sure that the agency or freelancer you’re considering has experience in the specific type of marketing that you need. For example, if you want to run a social media campaign, you need to find someone who specializes in that area.
The same goes for other marketing channels, such as email marketing, content marketing, or search engine optimization. While most agencies will offer a variety of services, you want to make sure that they have experience with the type of marketing that you need.
If you’re not sure what you need, don’t be afraid to ask the agency or freelancer for their advice. They should be able to assess your business and give you a few recommendations.
Ask for a detailed proposal
Once you’ve narrowed down your options, it’s time to ask for a proposal. This document should outline the agency’s or freelancer’s ideas for your campaign, as well as the strategies they’ll use to achieve your goals.
It should also include a timeline, an estimated budget, and the agency’s or freelancer’s fees. This way, you can compare the proposals and choose the one that you feel is the best fit for your business.
Don’t just choose the cheapest proposal – focus on value. Yes, you want to save money, but you also want to make sure that you’re getting a good return on investment. So, focus on the quality of the proposal and the results that the agency or freelancer is promising to deliver.
Research their brand image
Before you sign any contracts, it’s important to do a little research on the marketing agency or freelancer. This includes checking their website, social media profiles, and blog.
Do they seem professional? How does their website look? Are the social media profiles updated regularly and are the posts of high quality? Do they have a blog? If so, is the content valuable and interesting?
If the answer is no to any of these questions, it might be a sign that they’re not putting enough effort into their branding. And, if they’re not putting in the effort now, they’re not likely to do so when they start working with your business.
The bottom line
When it comes to choosing a marketing agency or freelancer, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. The best way to find the right fit for your business is to do your research and ask around.
Get in touch with a few different agencies or freelancers and ask to see their portfolios. Pay attention to reviews and testimonials. Make sure they have experience in the specific type of marketing that you need. And, last but not least, research their brand image.
By following these tips, you can make sure that you find someone who is experienced, reputable, and professional.