This guide will help you establish whether you need to use a marketing company, the Advantages of using a Marketing Agency as a blogger and how to find the right agency for your blog and things to pay attention to. A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by Colourcake Marketing Agency to review one of their services. The perfect time to see how working with a Marketing Agency could benefit me and my blog ‘company’.DU0O1PCIMH

Yes I know that Marketing agencies are expensive, especially when you are just starting to blog. But if you are a more seasoned blogger like myself, it may be something to take into consideration. In the fast changing blogosphere, it is crucial for bloggers to stay relevant, know their brand and increase their visibility for various reasons. However, before you commit to using one, consider the following things:


Analyze your blog and it’s potential

After all these years, I have learned to treat my blog as a company. This means that you have to analyze it’s potential, it’s strengths, it’s opportunities and it’s weakness. This will give you a good overview of what is going well and what is not. Also it will give you some insight into the points in which you could improve.

Do you have enough skills to market your blog correctly?  Will you have enough recourses to get the job done on time? What about  knowledge and an extensive network of contacts? Do you have a budget and is it important to get an external perspective?  Which country, target groups do you wish to market to and will these? These are just some of the questions you will need to answer when deciding whether to manage your marketing in-house or to outsource. X0R5VP6BSB

Think about how you could best make use of your potential

Let’s be honest, most of bloggers will never use a marketing agency full time until they have millions of followers and are making multiple thousand euro deals.  This because you can do a lot of marketing yourself and already have the advantage of being online. Also the availability of the world wide web is one you should embrace. Online you can find a lot of handy  guides on market research and marketing you can do for free and on several blogger forums you can get a lot of help from fellow bloggers.

Also you could look at using freelancers to help you with short term projects. It will help you get the job done and even lead to some fresh ideas.

Analyze where your current readers are coming from and what they like. Do your readers come mostly from search engines, social media or even newsletters, understand how your readers connect to your site and see how this could be improved.

You might need an agency to supplement areas you don’t know enough about. Digital marketing is such fast-growth area at the moment that there are plenty of niche agencies to help you, if you think you could pull enough readers out of it to make the investment worthwhile.

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Find the right marketing company if you need one

For me the choice for working with Colourcake, was one well considered. I liked the Agency’s dynamic character that delivers strategic and creative online/offline marketing support solutions for fashion & lifestyle brands. Amongst their clients are brands I like such as Louis Vuitton, Tommy Hilfiger, SuitSupply, Puma, Pandora and many more. They also have offices in  in The Hague, Amsterdam, New York and Shanghai, working with a large team of experts to offer 24/7 superior marketing support.
Schermafdruk 2015-11-03 09.35.23I really liked the quick speed they help you with and the enormous skills they have. After consulting with them, we together looked at all the areas in which they could help me get tothe next level with my blog.

Eventually we decided upon a social media analyses which I think as a blogger was pretty handy to have as after search engines, social media generated the most traffic to my website. In the analyses were some handy tips and tricks to boost my social media use as well.

However it did learn me that I should have prepared myself some more before diving into the commitment of working with a Marketing Agency.

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What to do before committing to a Marketing Agency

Draw up a shortlist of possible agencies in your area who tick the following boxes:

  • Extensive experience with websites/blogs your size.
  • Experience working with websites/blogs in your sector.
  • The right fit for your websites/blogs. If their other clients are much larger than you, you’re likely to be bottom of their priorities list I have noticed. This is one reason not to be swayed by an impressive client list.

It’s often better to go for a smaller, possibly younger PR agency as they’re likely to work harder for your money to retain and impress you.

It’s also important that they have a similar working style to you. Do they make decisions quickly and are they happy taking calls on weekends, for example – and does that match with your methods?

  • A good track record. Always ask for results of their previous campaigns and for client testimonials.
  • The right price. Finally, of course, you have to be able to afford the agency. Though you might not be able to establish that until after you’ve met with them.
  • Meet with up to five agencies you think could fit the bill.
  • And ask them to outline some plans for you. You’ll have to tell them who you’re trying to target and what you want to get out of any marketing activity (in as quantifiable way as possible – hard numbers not just ‘I wasn’t more sales’).

Get them to put together proposals for what return on investment (ROI) they think they could get on your behalf, with the budget you’re planning on allocating to the work. This will be a key indicator of which is most worth your money.

The following attributes are also important when choosing your agency:

An attitude you feel comfortable with. Don’t go for an agency that seems like the most revolutionary and wacky just because you think you should – you need to be on the same level as them. They’re working out how to sell and develop your brand, so they need to be able to think like you.

If an agency feels more backward than you, they probably won’t be a good fit for your brand – you’ll be able to tell even from things such as the way they dress and the decoration of their office whether you’re on the same playing field.

You must feel that you can trust them and entrust them with your business’ image.

They are responsive to your ideas but not overly led by them. You should be having an open dialogue about possibilities, but at the end of the day, the marketing company usually knows best – it’s their job. On the other hand, if you feel they’re ignoring your ideas and taking things in a direction you’re uncomfortable with, you’re not going to have a very healthy working relationship.

They make time for you. The right agency will always make you feel listened to and valued.

They instantly build rapport with you. Good relationships are key to an agency understanding and listening to you and so communicating your brand successfully.

The experience of the team and, in particular, whoever will be handling your account if the agency already knows this.

 

Special shout out to smarta.com and Colourcake Agency (www.colourcake.com) for making this post possible.