Well this is weird, right?

An agency telling you about whether or not to work with an agency? They’re obviously going to tell you what they want you to think… Wrong!

In fact, I’d hate to lie to you and tell you your business needs a digital agency without even understanding what your company does, who your target market is, and if you have the time, budget or resources to do so.

These days, business owners have a range of options. They can run it themselves, hire someone to run it, get a family member or friend to run it, outsource it or get a freelancer to do it, or just hire an agency.

Each is a possibility and each comes with a range of different pros and cons you need to deal with.

So, let’s dive in and see which option works best for you and your current situation.


The Three Essential Ingredients

How much time, money, or resources do you currently have to invest in marketing your business online?

This is an important starting place because it cuts right to the chase of what options you have available.

Let’s start with time for example. As a business owner, you’ll often feel like you never have time to get anything done. That’s a given.

If you look deeper though, do you genuinely have no spare time? Or, could you possibly find a few extra hours each week to do some marketing online?

If you genuinely don’t then that cuts out doing it yourself. So, move onto your budget.

What’s your current budget like? Do you have a small budget to work with for marketing each month? Maybe then your best option is working with a freelancer or training someone within your company to work on digital marketing.

Do you have a larger budget, say a few hundred dollars a month or more? You probably have enough to find an agency that can help you out.

Don’t have any budget at all? Well you’re likely going to have to find time. Do an audit on where you could cut time on other things and find a few hours to invest in the growth of your business.

Now, finally ask yourself about what resources you have available. Do you currently have any employees who could take on some work doing the digital marketing in your company? Do they have the training to do it well, or would you need to invest in them?

It may also be a family member or someone you know. Do they have the resources to do it for you, and do a decent job. This is a lot of responsibility as they’re taking charge of your image online.

These are the three essential ingredients to understanding which option might be best for your business and where it’s at.


Braving The Wilderness & Doing It Yourself

Time Required: Average – High

Budget Required: Low

Resources: Low

Hooray! So you’ve decided to take on doing your digital yourself. This can be a great first step, because who else knows your business as well as you do?

For many small business owners and solopreneurs, this is the most viable option when they’re starting out. They don’t have the budget to hire an employee or work with an agency, and the resources required are quite minimal. You really just need a smartphone and a laptop.

Your biggest resource here is time, and you’ll need roughly 4 hours minimum to get working on it with enough results. This means time you actually spend learning how to market your business online, setting up your website and accounts, creating content, and posting information.

It can be a big job, but if you’re motivated and focused enough – you can still do incredibly well!

My biggest tip is to invest in the tools and systems that will allow you to multiply your efforts. Invest in a content scheduling tool to help you save time on creating content each day. Simply just line it up at the start of the month, schedule it, and forget.

Also, look into processes such as using core content and topic maps to never run out of ideas. Core content is simply having a template of post ideas you can go to each week or month. For example, every Friday you might post a tip to help your customers. Then you just need to figure out 4 tips for the month, schedule them, and you’re done.

The results you get through this method really comes down to your own ability, knowledge of digital marketing, and ability to create content. This means if you aren’t that adept with digital, you need to start learning and experimenting.

Even though you may not have the money or resources right now, it’s good to think about when is the right time to hand it over to someone. Here’s a great next step when you finally have a bit of budget to do so.


Finding Some Help & Outsourcing Work

Time Required: Low – Average

Budget Required: Low – Average

Resources: Low

So, it’s time to take some of the weight off your back so you can start focusing on other parts of your business. Maybe you’re in that weird phase where you still aren’t ready to hire someone or work with an agency? Here’s what you can do.

Outsourcing is a valuable strategy to help you cut down on time, and hand it over to someone who has some experience in that area of work.

Using signs such as Upwork, Freelancer, Fiverr, and more are great places to find freelancers who can help you out for a low to average budget range. Really, you can find people to help you out for a couple hours a week at a lower hourly rate then if you hired an employee.

The key thing you need to be aware of is the type of quality they’re producing. Obviously, pricier freelancers will tend to do better work and have more experience, while cheaper freelancers may just be beginners. You need to experiment and find a freelancer you trust to do great work.

Outsourcing work should really be done on parts of your digital marketing in which tasks are repetitive. This means creating content, scheduling posts, designing promotions, and more.

You could also outsource some other things too. It might be getting a website designed, or getting someone to write your sales copy.

You’re still going to need to invest some time in this, keeping check on your freelancers and reviewing work. You may also end up with some poorly done work and have to revise it yourself.

This shouldn’t scare you away from trying this method, especially if you are looking to get some outside work done without hiring an employee or agency just yet.


Becoming a Leader & Hiring an Employee

Time Required: Low – Average

Budget Required: Average – High

Resources: Average

This is a natural next step for many business owners. The workload is getting too much, and it’s time to bring someone else on board to help you get things done.

You may actually already be in this phase now, which means the same things apply. Finding someone on your team who can take over the digital responsibilities of your business.

There are a few key things to think about in this phase. Will the employee need training to get a hang of how they’re marketing your business online?

Plus, how much budget do you have this employee? Will they be part-time or full-time, or even just casual.

The pros of having someone in house who can do the work is that they are on the same page and part of your team culture. This can be hard to achieve with some bigger agencies who often have other priorities.

Resources will also need to be invested in this employee, such as providing them with the right tools to do a great job with your digital marketing.

All these things need to be considered, but if you’re at the stage to hire – it could be a useful option. Even just hiring someone for another role and dedicating part of their role to digital marketing may be useful.


Gaining Insights & Hiring an Agency

Time Required: Low

Budget Required: Average – High

Resources: Low

Finally, let’s talking about an agency. I left this one until last because for a good percentage of businesses, working with an agency may not be the best option for them.

However, the pros of working with an agency comes down to really hiring dedicated experts to take care of an area you may feel unfamiliar with. Just like you’d hire an accountant because of their ability to manoeuvre large numbers for your business, or a doctor to know everything that could possibly be wrong with you – the same goes for a digital agency.

This means handing over your marketing to people who are focused on growing your business, so you can focus on running your business.

An agency isn’t always rainbows and sunshine either. Each agency is different and you need to find one that fits with your business, culture, and more.

Ultimately, find an agency that listens to your needs and has the solutions to your problem. Not just one that’s pedalling you their services that you may not even need.

Some other pros are the low time required on your end. Usually, you’ll have strategy sessions with the agency and regular contact – but there isn’t a huge time commitment needed on your end once they get going.

Resources are also low as well, as you aren’t having to facilitate their tools and equipment to get going.

Always try to find the right agency that suits your needs and where you’re currently at.


What’s the Verdict?

Well, as you’ve probably seen in the blog post – you have a range of options. As you grow and your business grows, you are likely to move between many of these different methods of marketing your business.

I hope this clears up some confusion, and shines some light on how you can go about getting your business out there online. Look at your time, your budget, and your resources – and you’ll be able to find which option suits you best.

Is an agency right for you? That’s hard to say without really knowing your business. However, we’re always happy to chat with you at Manexo Media if you’d like more information on working with us and how we can help solve your problems.