Getting a new business venture off the ground is both invigorating and terrifying, regardless of whether it’s your first time or you’ve done it many times before. There’s so much riding on it.
If you do all the right things creatively and invest your time and money wisely, you can start the ball rolling on a company that will be raking in the profits within just a few years.
If you do all (or just some) of the wrong things, though, you can see your effort and dedication amount to nothing of consequence: just another idea that may have had some promise but evidently didn’t manage to deliver anything worthwhile.
The potential consequences (both the positive and the negative) naturally drive ambitious entrepreneurs to go all-in on their projects.
That means trying everything, investing everything, leaving no stone unturned: and part of that is maximizing marketing performance.
Promotion is so often the key, as businesses with a lot to offer can get nowhere because their target audiences simply weren’t told about them. So what’s the best way to market a new business?
Well, some contend that it is vital to hire a marketing agency, and that seems to make sense. When you want something done, you go to professionals with expertise in that area. On top of that, business owners have a lot of things to do, and marketing can take up a lot of time.
Even so, though, it really isn’t necessary to hire a marketing agency if you’re launching a new business. You can get by perfectly fine without one, still achieving the level of growth you’re looking for.
How does that work? Allow me to explain:
Sales and marketing efforts can often coincide
I mentioned new business owners having a lot of things to focus on, and the top priority is typically sales: making appearances, networking with prospects, and ultimately securing new deals to bring in revenue.
It is often thought that sales must be a distinct stage after marketing, but that isn’t true, because the two can often be handled in one fell swoop.
Think about selling at industry events, for instance (an increasingly-popular way to reach new audiences). By setting up a stall and talking to people who stop by, a business owner can go from first impressions to concluded deals if their patter and enthusiasm are sufficiently compelling.
You might not be that confident in your ability yet, but work on your elevator pitch and show some personality. As the core of your business, you’re the biggest selling point.
If you’re unsure where to start, try using a friend as a sounding board. Ask someone who doesn’t know a huge amount about your business to listen to your promotional spiel and react as naturally as they would at an industry event.
Don’t expect to get great feedback from the outset, particularly since you’re likely to forget to mention things or even trip over your words. Just take the constructive criticism and use it to get better.
Be mindful not to push too hard, though. If you’re overly enthusiastic, then it can end up working against you. You need to develop the ability to read the room, knowing when to opt for the hard sell and when to back off to avoid souring someone on your brand.
If you cultivate a reputation for pestering people, it’ll be challenging to shake it off.
Automation can significantly reduce marketing time
When you factor in everything that goes into a decent marketing campaign (PPC ads, social posts, blog content, branding work), it’s easy to think it’s too much for one person — but the rapid rise of digital automation has changed this.
Almost every element I just mentioned can be automated in some sense, making it possible for a smart entrepreneur to handle a lot.
PPC ad platforms all have native iteration options, allowing you to create different versions of your ads and see them set against one another to see which ones perform the best.
Social posts and blog content can be written in bulk and scheduled to be posted automatically. Branding elements can be generated (e.g. logos and slogans). Emails can be assembled quickly using templates and personalized automatically.
What’s more, the technology keeps getting better. Take a service like Phrasee, for example, it offers AI-generated marketing copy to suit whatever situation you outline.
You don’t need to stop at automatically personalizing your emails: you can automatically generate the entire emails after simply defining your audience and what you hope to achieve. The generation system can then run A/B tests and incrementally improve the results.
While paying to get some automation services in place will generally return its value quickly enough, you can achieve a lot using nothing more than free services.
In short, automation can account for a surprising amount of the work of a basic marketing agency, making it possible for a small team (or even an individual, given scaled-down aspirations) to balance promotional work with regular business work.
This is particularly true for new businesses that concentrate heavily on customer happiness: by providing early customers with exceptional service, they can earn their loyalty and inspire them to drive referrals, and brands that really impress can end up needing only minimal marketing as a result.
Word of mouth is a powerful thing, after all.
Hiring freelancers for individual tasks can work well
Even with all the automation I just mentioned, and the prospect of tying sales into marketing, there’s still going to be more work than just one person can deal with. But instead of using a marketing agency, you can simply hire freelancers to cover specific tasks that you don’t have the time or skills to handle yourself.
Let’s say you want to produce a tentpole piece of marketing content, for instance, but you’re not a strong writer, and your graphic design skills are mediocre at best. You could try to muddle through doing everything yourself, but it would take you a long time to get anything done, and the results would be poor.
If you instead turn to a site like Fiverr or Upwork, you can find freelancers to get those things done for you.
Using freelancers does require some careful consideration and monitoring (some unscrupulous types might try to charge you for more time than they actually need to get their work done).
But here’s the point: when you hire a professional freelancer, you stop paying once the work is done, whereas with a marketing agency you can end up paying for more time than you actually need (and dealing with semi-frequent upselling pitches).
It also gets easier to use freelancers over time because you build up lists of freelancers that you know you can trust: you can contact them directly to get things done faster.
For these reasons, then, hiring a marketing agency to promote your new business isn’t actually a mandatory step. Am I saying there’s no value in it whatsoever? No, of course not. And it still might be the right move for you to work with a marketing agency. It just isn’t always necessary.
With a smart sales strategy, automation, and freelancers to assist you, you can get by without any agency assistance.
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Rodney Laws is a seasoned pro in the e-commerce and entrepreneur space with 10+ years of writing experience.