With 66% of small business owners saying that finding new customers is a top concern, owners and marketing teams need to be strategic with their marketing dollars and avoid spending them on marketing strategies and small business marketing packages that don’t add value to acquiring customers.
As a small business, we understand the challenges other small businesses encounter when trying to find the best marketing tactics to increase sales, leads, and build their business. We also know that our website, its content, design, and experience are a key part of our marketing strategy, and thus we spend a large portion of our time designing, updating, and writing quality content to position ourselves as a small business marketing leader. – Bill Ross, Linchpin SEO, A Raleigh Digital Agency
If you’re a small business I’m sure you’ve come across small business agencies who offer out-of-the-box small business marketing services packages for flat rate pricing. While there are many different types of services offered by agencies, the most common that are included in small business marketing packages include website design and maintenance, local SEO, PPC (pay per click) marketing, and website analytics. At face value, these may seem like a great deal. You need to know this: they’re usually not.
Problems with Marketing Packages for Small Businesses
With half of SMBs spending less than $300 per month on online marketing, there needs to be a shift in strategy, but buying small business packages is not the answer. Below are a few of the problems with buying into a packaged marketing campaign for your small business.
They Assume All Businesses Are the Same
The biggest challenge with marketing packages is that, at their core, they assume all businesses are the same and that all should fit into the same digital approach to their strategy. In reality, each business has unique challenges and target audiences; therefore, trying to fit every business into a similar branding package is not the best option.
They Use the Same Website Template for Every Design
This happens over an over with website packages for small business. To keep costs down, many small business agencies use the same template for every website they design. This means that a dentist’s website will look almost the same as an industrial website, or a franchise website will be similar to golf course website.
Over seventy-one percent of small businesses who cite their website as their primary marketing channel are using the same template as other industries, or even their competition. This does not help their business look reliable, nor does it provide a truly custom website design experience.
The Agencies Don’t Understand Your Business Challenges
Many small business agencies are simply production shops that churn out a large number of websites and thus cut out important parts that should be included in marketing campaigns. Usually this is not their fault, as when you have a limited amount of time to get a project done, you must omit parts of it. Omitting this part means they are taking a shot in the dark as to solving your true challenges.
Understanding your business’s challenges and how to truly customize a campaign to overcome them should be at the forefront when planning your marketing strategy.
The Agencies Don’t Understand Your Customers
The first step in planning a marketing campaign is understanding who you’re trying to target and building personas for those users. These personas help give direction to your marketing campaign and ensure the direction you’re taking with your content marketing or website design will resonate with those users.
To learn more about personas and how to build them, view our persona infographic here.
Your Design Is Usually Outsourced to the Lowest Bidder
With 50% of SMBs not having a website–and 30% of those citing cost as the reason why–we understand that small businesses have smaller budgets. However, wasting your money on cheap strategies will get you cheap results.
Those who offer packages are betting on a high volume of customers to offset the profit they make per project. So to be profitable, they need to outsource your marketing to the lowest bidder or use a designer who does not have the experience to understand your small business.
Low Quality Web Design and Generic Marketing Strategies
We have been contacted by many small businesses who have bought marketing and web design packages and were less than happy with what they got for their money: poor design, no customer support, and lack of knowledge about adding real value to their business.
With 43% of SMBs saying that improving customer experience and retention is their top strategy to improve revenue growth, having a quality web design and social media experience for your users should be one of your top priorities as a business owner.
Lack of Ownership
This may seem like a great idea at first, but many times, when these type of contracts end, your website may go away. Thus, it’s temporary, and you don’t actually own the final product.
We have actually come up against some of these companies, who, when your contact is over or you leave their company, they either don’t keep your website live or they just give you the files, and then you have to find a new developer and hosting company to rebuild your website.
We feel this is really shady and not how small business agencies should operate. When you work with us, you own 100%, and we give you all the files too.
The Analytics Strategies Provide Little Value
Analytics strategies should be at the heart of your campaigns to allow you to measure and shift marketing budgets and strategies effectively. With less than 30% of small businesses using web site analytics, call tracking, or coupon codes, and 18% of small businesses admit to not tracking anything, this is a huge problem.
We’ve seen many of these out of the box marketing packages, and they track basic elements of marketing but miss many of the data points that will provide directional and strategic value to your small business campaign.
Bill Ross, CEO of Linchpin, A North Carolina Digital Agency
Content Creation Packages Are Generic
Becoming a thought leader in your space will help increase sales and leads for your business, but you need to understand what your users want and how they consume content. So, generic content creation packages miss the boat. Most small business owners don’t create content that can help their companies acquire customers or position them as a trusted brand within their space. Less than half use content marketing tactics like emailing content or publishing blog posts or articles.
If you’re just creating generic 500-word articles that provide no additional value than can be found on other websites, you’re not doing a great job of becoming a thought leader. Furthermore, if you’re trying to use that content to generate SEO and Google traffic, it wont happen.
Great content costs money, but one great piece of content can skyrocket your traffic and sales.
Studies show that between 70-80% of people research a company online BEFORE visiting the small business or making a purchase with them. Do you want how your small business is represented online to be put in the hands of someone who doesn’t understand what they’re doing? Do you want to choose the small business agency you work with based on who is the cheapest?
We are a small marketing firm, but from our team of senior-level designers and digital strategists, we have carved out an all-star group to specifically focus on helping small businesses define and build their online strategies in a way that adds bottom-line value and cuts out the junk, all while working within a small business’s budget. We don’t do packages.