Your internal team may not have the skillset or bandwidth required to execute key business functions, making it common to bring in outside professionals for support. This is often the case with accounting and legal matters – so why not marketing?
Marketing is a key facet of corporate growth and, when effective, it helps your organization reach its goals. But for marketing to be effective, it needs to be strategic – and it needs to take into account the various aspects that encompass the industry, from SEO and PPC to blogging and PR.
When you outsource your marketing, you open the door to new strategies and tactics that you may have been unable to execute before – or unaware of – and these can make all the difference in terms of providing value back to the business.
If you’re not convinced, here are some of the other advantages of outsourced marketing:
As mentioned above, effective marketing is driven by strategy. If you’re spending money on marketing that is not backed by a sound strategy, you’re probably losing money. If you’re not seeing the results you want, you’re also losing money. An outsourced team can work with you to create a comprehensive strategy that works to fulfill the goals of the organization – or the team can execute the tactics of your organization’s existing plan to ensure success and support an internal team or team member.
That’s just one way outsourcing helps the bottom line. Another consideration is the cost of internal employees – recruiting, training, and salary and benefits. A full-blown marketing team – or even a few team members with top-tier talent – is expensive, and for some businesses, it’s impractical (particularly for start-ups).
Often for less than the cost of one full-time employee, outsourcing provides you with a team of experts who have a wide range of experience and talents. Because the team is experienced, it can work quickly and efficiently – and you only pay for what you need at that time.
In the digital age, marketing best practices change regularly – having the support of a team who can keep up with these trends on your behalf is invaluable. The range of capability offered by an agency team is vast – in terms of execution and familiarity with the software and tools that are necessary to get the job done.
The bottom line is that sophisticated, effective marketing requires experience, and an outsourced marketing team can fill your knowledge gaps at a fraction of the cost of an internal team.
Marketing is a time-consuming task. If you don’t currently have an internal team, you or other employees may be driving marketing initiatives.An outsourced team allows you to focus on your main roles and responsibilities while it takes over the marketing capability.
If you do have an internal team, an outsourced team offers support to, again, execute on the tactics that your existing team may not have expertise in, or to help support your internal team to accomplish tasks that they may not have time for due to other priorities.
What’s more, an outsourced team also has the flexibility to explore new approaches and adapt to changing business environments. Because an outsourced team often has other clients, they become familiar with other industries, other strategies, and other tools. The team gets to try different tactics and bring that information back to you when it may be relevant.
Ultimately, an outsourced team is dedicated to supporting you, producing polished deliverables quickly and reliably.
It’s hard to be objective when you are part of a company culture. Thus, when your team is internal, it’s easy to maintain the status quo – even if it’s not working. An outsourced team brings a fresh perspective.
The team can see your company as prospective clients see it – and build a customized strategy that produces results.
There is no long-term commitment with an agency team. There is value to maintaining a long-term relationship with a team who can truly get to know your brand and your culture, but ultimately, if you’re not happy, you can terminate the contract.
There are, of course, companies who only use an internal staff, and for some companies that is the right decision. It facilitates tight control over the work that is being done – and decreases external knowledge of internal information. If your current workforce is getting the job done – don’t outsource. But, if you could benefit from the expert help of a full team of marketing professionals – for less than the cost of hiring internally – you may want to consider an outsourced marketing team.
The goal of any business is to attract new customers and/or maintain existing ones, so investing time and resources into achieving this is important – and it’s often where marketing comes into play. Although there are many advanced ways to communicate with customers, email marketing remains one of the most effective options.
In the past few years, there has been plenty of data to support the use of email marketing. According to one source, 91% of U.S. adults like to receive promotional emails from companies they do business with. In 2014, email was almost 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined in helping businesses acquire new customers.
So what’s behind this data? We’ve created a list of five reasons why your business should utilize email campaigns.
Many businesses rely on multiple communication methods in order to reach potential customers and current clients. While an active presence on social media outlets, such as Facebook, is beneficial to building your business, email campaigns keep clients engaged through consistent, direct outreach and by providing specific, targeted content.
Credibility is key for any business, and when a company invests in itself, it helps build credibility with potential customers and current clients. The more effort put into appealing to a client via email, the more comfortable they feel using the product or service.
Email marketing can also help generate traffic to your business’ social media accounts and website. Emails offer an easy way to showcase specific sections of your website or social accounts that your customers may not know about, helping them become more knowledgeable about and engaged with your business.
Email marketing providers have established analytics platforms, displaying information on unique open, click, bounce, and abuse complaint rates. This data can then be used to analyze the success of a given campaign and plan for the future.
Return on Investment
All of the above reasons lead to an increased return on investment. When you have an audience interested in receiving updates about your business, their purchases will greatly outweigh the cost of the email service you’re using. According to the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing yields an estimated 4,300 percent ROI, with every dollar spent offering a return of $44.
If you don’t already use email marketing for your business, now is the time to start. This type of communication will only enhance your client relations and increase business. Be sure to check out our next blog to gain insight into developing effective email campaigns!
In our previous blog post, we discussed our process for working with our clients to develop and execute customized marketing, social media, and public relations strategies.
Today we’re sharing an example of that process in action, helping one client, Walz IT, rebrand itself for an upcoming event.
Overview and Challenge
Walz IT, LLC, is a young technology consulting firm with seasoned tech professionals. It is an affiliated company of the Walz Group. Founded in 1978, Walz Group provides business and financial services out of its Lancaster, PA headquarters.
Walz IT reached out to Graham Media Partners, and our design studio CWP, for help in establishing its brand. Although the company was up and running, they did not yet have any branding or web presence, and they still needed to finalize their company name and tagline.
The company was attending a regional event in Lancaster, where many of their key contacts would be present, and they wanted to debut their new brand there. The challenge? The event was only five business days away.
After an initial exploration with Walz IT to better understand the company’s personality, style, and goals, we finalized their name and tagline. With this (big) step complete, we then created multiple options for potential logos, taking into account their preferences. One notable preference was that the Walz IT logo need to coordinate with the Walz Group logo, but also make it clear that these are two separate companies. After a few revisions, we finalized their logo and style sheet on day 2.
We then moved onto their business cards, again following the same process of offering several options and time for revisions. Once the cards were finalized, we coordinated printing with a local, family-owned printer.
Finally, we created their announcement card, which would also be the basis for the “Coming Soon” page on their new website, built using the WordPress content management system. We had a busy week, but it was all worth it when we met the deadline and Walz IT was able to show off their new materials at the regional event.
That’s just our side of the story, here’s what Walz IT has to say about the engagement:
“Graham Media Partners and CWP Design Studio act as our outsourced marketing and design team, providing marketing, social media, PR, event support and creative services for Walz IT.
Lisa, Steve, and Corey hit the ground running and developed our logo, launched our new website, developed collateral materials, conducted proactive press outreach, and more. We find their team to be very responsive, easy to work with, and we recommend them to our contacts.” – Bill Hicks, President, Walz IT, LLC
At Graham Media Partners (GMP), we provide hands-on marketing, social media, public relations, communications, and design services for small-to-midsize businesses. Unlike larger agencies or in-house staff, we’ve developed a highly personalized client engagement model that leverages our combined expertise to deliver tailored solutions that raise awareness and build brand equity for our clients.
We pride ourselves on providing clients with transparency throughout an engagement. Whatever your need – marketing, branding, social media, or public relations – we implement our fine-tuned client engagement model to develop a unique strategy and execute a customized plan to ensure you achieve your goals. Here’s our process:
We begin each engagement with in-person strategy meetings. These sessions enable us to better understand your business’ challenges, goals, and objectives. We use the information gathered in these meetings to tailor appropriate social media, marketing, PR, or digital campaigns to meet your goals.
Situation and Competitive Analysis
We analyze your current situation, including press coverage, marketing activities, branding, and perception in the marketplace. We also perform a competitive audit to better understand your company’s position in relation to others in the industry.
We craft the strategy and tactics to best achieve your goals and ultimately grow your business. We then work together to make refinements and finalize the plan. In preparation for launch, we build a custom framework for delivery. For example, if we are delivering public relations and outreach services, we create targeted press lists during this step and begin initial outreach. If we are delivering social media services, we develop the calendar of posts, including a recommendation of which channels to post on.
We execute the final plan, making adjustments as necessary based on the feedback we receive from our target audience. As the plan is executed, we make any necessary adjustments for maximum effectiveness and remain in close contact with you.
We monitor the success of the plan, keeping track of key metrics and measuring our progress against pre-determined goals.
We believe that plans need to adapt to changing environments. As the context surrounding your business changes, key users change, or any business goals change, the plan is fine-tuned.
We believe that small-to-midsize businesses are underserved when it comes to developing and executing comprehensive marketing, communications, and social media strategies. So we started GMP to help these businesses establish a presence using these services that may have otherwise been unavailable to them due to the size of their staff. If you are looking to grow your businesses brand awareness or need assistance within our scope of work, do not hesitate to contact us!
The Olympics have seen their fair share of bad public relations in the past. Take the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics for example. Leading up to the events, the media clung to stories reporting on corruption, facilities not being prepared, and anti-gay sentiment amongst the Russian government.
Pictures of bathroom stall malfunctions and stray dogs circulated the world – and then there was the opening ceremony. Representing the union of the five continents, one Olympic ring malfunction threw the media into a frenzy highlighting an unprepared Russia and speculation of similar issues to come.
So what has Rio de Janeiro, the host country for the 2016 Summer Olympics, learned about maintaining a good public image?
Initially, it didn’t seem like they took great notes. Leading up to the games, little had been done to reassure the many athletes and visitors who have piled into the city. If you searched “Rio Olympics” on Google a week ago, you found very little about the athletes and instead reports highlighting corruption, contaminated water, the Zika virus, and increasing crime rates.
While the Opening Ceremony was deemed successful by the media given its much smaller budget, other aspects of the games aren’t going as smoothly as they’d probably like. The diving pool went from blue to murky green overnight with delayed explanation – proliferation of algae was to blame – and the rowing competitions have been plagued by polluted water.
While Rio may not win gold in the area of public relations this summer, it may be able to make it onto the podium with a few quick fixes.
Highlight the Olympic bidding process
The International Olympic Committee doesn’t just randomly draw a host city out of a hat. Seven cities submitted bids back in 2007, with Rio being seen worthy to host this renowned event. Yes, there are often stories of corruption relating to which city wins the honor, but there are still aspects of the city that led to its initial consideration. Highlighting these reasons – with a focus on the fact that it’s the first host city in South America, should help refocus the public on the positive aspects of the location.
Continue telling stories
We have heard the news reports of athletes who opted out of attending the 2016 Summer Olympics, but what about the stories of those who are competing? The media reflects what is trending with the public, so if you give viewers an athlete to connect with, the focus may change from internal problems to the games itself.
Since the start of the games, we have seen an increase in “Rio-Time Updates” on the official website, as well as segments about the athletes. Continuing with such coverage can do wonders for the host city. Who doesn’t love the United State’s Final Five team or hearing the inspiring stories of the 2016 refugee team?
Prepare for all situations
While the two previous pieces of advice may switch the focus away from negative Olympic news, preparing for all situations is a precautionary step to avoid a public relations disaster. Rather than waiting to explain a situation – such as the mysterious murky green pool – and letting speculations of all sorts rise, direct the issue immediately.
The games have definitely received more positive attention than negative since the start last week, but in order to maintain such momentum, the Olympic committee will have to address any issues that arise head on and focus on why Rio was believed worthy to hold such an important world event.
Too often potential customers and clients walk out of meetings and appointments understanding more about what a company does, rather than how a company will specifically help them. Customers walk out of initial meetings and appointments asking questions like “Will this company be able to help me with exactly what I need?” Your company could be the greatest in the business, whether that be in law, mortgages, or healthcare, but if you can’t convince a potential client that you can help them specifically, they may opt for a different provider.
Today’s customers deserve more; they deserve to know exactly what your plan is for them, and exactly how you are going to achieve it. They deserve to know that you care about them, on a professional and personal level.
Relationship marketing is a specific style of marketing that focuses on customer loyalty and long-term client engagement rather than short-term goals like client acquisition and individual sales. It focuses on creating strong, even emotional, customer connections to a brand that can lead to ongoing business, free word of mouth promotion and positive experiences for both you and your client. Creating relationships has always been a major part of customer satisfaction and gaining business, and it always will be.
Here are some of the best ways to form strong and lasting relationships with your clients:
Treat every customer as if they are your most important one. Devoting 10 to 20 minutes of your day every day to reach out to different clients and prospective clients will show them that you care about them and you are invested in their needs. A happy client is more likely to give you referrals, and you never know who they could refer you to. Sending holiday and birthday cards or free promotions and discount cards can be a great way to show customers that you care about them and want them to be happy. Treat every customer and client with the utmost respect, diligence and enthusiasm.
Stay Connected Gone are the days of the traditional 9 to 5 business hours. If one of your clients or customers asks you a question, whether it be about an upcoming meeting or appointment, a general inquiry about how your product works, or what it is that your company does, get back to them as soon as possible. This shows them that you are concerned about helping them and giving them the answers they need as soon as possible.
Let them Know What you are Up To Sending out emails and newsletters about how your business has been growing, learning and succeeding will keep your clients invested in you. Did your firm just hire an outstanding new lawyer? Send out a newsletter introducing them! Is your company moving to a new office? Have an office-warming event and invite people to come and check out your fabulous new space. Giving people a glimpse into your company’s life and culture when it may not be on the forefront of their mind is a great way to maintain a positive relationship with them.
Understand that Social Media is Not Enough. To truly connect on a deeper level with your client, you must go beyond blog posts, Facebook posts and Instagram followers. Social media does not replace true marketing strategy – it only amplifies it. As you develop and enhance social media for yourself and your clients, don’t forget to go back to traditional ways of connecting. Giving a customer a phone call asking how everything is going and if they are still satisfied with their mortgage can be a lot more personal than a quick email and can generate more conversation, and more business.
Gaining clients is about building and keeping relationships. Clients want to know that you are looking out for them, and care about them on a professional and personal level. Don’t forget these relationship-marketing strategies as you head to your next meeting!
Walz IT, LLC is an affiliated company of the Walz Group. Founded in 1978, Walz Group provides business and financial services out of its Lancaster, PA headquarters. Walz IT, LLC is a young technology consulting firm, with seasoned tech professionals.
Walz IT came to Graham Media Partners and our design studio CWP with a long list and little time. Although the company was getting up and running, they did not have any branding or web presence, and still needed to finalize their company name and tagline. Driving the deadline of 5 business days was a regional event in Lancaster, where their contacts would be present. They thought – the time is now to get their brand ready for its big debut.
After an initial exploration with Walz IT to better understand their personalities,styles, and goals we first helped finalize their name and tagline. With this (big) step complete, we then created multiple options for potential logos, taking into account their preferences. One notable preference was that the Walz IT logo should coordinate with the Walz Group logo, but also make it clear that these are two separate companies. After a few revisions, we finalized their logo and style sheet on day 2.
We then moved onto their business cards, again following the same process of offering Walz IT several options and time for revisions. Once the cards were finalized, we coordinated printing with a local, family-owned printer.
Finally, we created their announcement card which would also be the basis for the coming soon page built on the WordPress content management system.
We had a busy week, but it was all worth it when we had a happy client able to show off their new materials at the regional event.