Unfortunately, the marketing portion of your business is usually the first area to get pushed aside until a later date. Why? Because marketing doesn’t show an immediate return like closing a sale or contacting a lead. We are creatures who like instant gratification, and marketing is a longer term strategy to generating leads.
Many kitchen and bath industry businesses are aware of the need for marketing, but not many know how where to start, least of all how to make it effective. Invariably they turn to another company to help them, usually one from outside our industry.
Sometimes it makes sense to outsource your marketing, especially if you know you’ll never get around to creating valuable online content. Before you decide to outsource your marketing efforts, however, take a look at the 5 key success factors below.
1. Take time to educate your marketing partner
No outside agency or person knows your industry like you do. If they do, they almost certainly don’t know your brand like you do. Make sure you spend a significant amount of time with your marketing partner to convey your thoughts about the cabinet business and about your brand vision within the industry.
2. Allow a lengthy period of discovery
Sure you want results fast, but this industry is not one many marketers have experience with. It’s a niche market, and your marketing partner is going to need at least a month before they start to deliver the kind of content you can be proud of. Throughout the first month, make sure you stay involved in editing submitted content and explaining your thinking to the partner. This will educate them, as well as help build the relationship going forward.
3. Choose a partner for the long term
As mentioned above, the timeline for receiving truly valuable content is a lengthy one. There are no quick fixes for finding marketing content. The partner you choose is going to be around for a while (if all goes well), so make sure it’s someone you don’t mind calling on the phone or having lunch with. You don’t have to be BFF’s, but you should look forward to meeting with them.
4. Make sure your in-house marketing strategy is in order
It makes little sense to pay an outside agency or person to create marketing content for you if you don’t have a specific plan for the content (i.e. lead generation). You might be getting the most amazing content for your blog, but if your blog is hosted on a site outside your company website, then you’re wasting your efforts. Make sure your blog isn’t just a source of great information, but that it’s designed in a way that will bring your company increased web traffic, and in turn, new leads and customers.
5. Be involved
It may cross your mind that because you’re outsourcing you can take your eye off of that portion of your business. The truth is, no outsourcing solution means you can just look the other way. Your input is extremely important- and if you’re involved, your content will hit home with your readers. Help your marketers by discussing topics with them on a regular basis. Allow them to interview you or another industry expert in your organization, and make sure they fully understand the content before they write. If an article is going to be posted under your name, make sure you read it thoroughly and approve it before posting. You don’t want anything posted that will hurt your image or credibility.
There are many great solutions for outsourcing your business’s marketing, but also many wolves in sheep’s clothing. The trick is to weed out the pretenders and find a partner you can grow with, enjoy working with, and with whom you can share your vision for the future. If you don’t do your due diligence in the beginning, you could find yourself paying for months of service with little to show, and be right back where you started.