It’s difficult for many agencies to get their arms wrapped around the idea of creating a budget and dedicating resources for marketing. It just hasn’t been necessary, so why bother? But now, investing in marketing is a requirement for agencies, making it a new activity that requires dedicated resources and attention.
Depending on how long your agency has been in business, you may have once run yellow page ads or maybe you took prospects golfing or to games. Those are indeed activities from the marketing budget, but they’re very different types of marketing activities from what we’re seeing today.
Times have changed
We used to rely on one-to-one activities like golf, or completely generic, see-who-needs-us activities like yellow pages. Now we’re talking about creating educational information for individual buyers to find on their own time. This is very different and it takes people hours + financial investment to make it work.
If you’ve not had a dedicated budget, resources, or people for marketing or if it’s been very limited, I’ve got some ideas to get you thinking. It may take a bit to get used to it and release hold of the purse strings. But I’d prefer you took some time to get used to a new way of working than not consider it at all or, maybe worse, jump in with no plan and randomly throw money around with no goal in mind.
Take time to think about it, make a plan, and organize your needs and priorities. And then take action. Don’t sit around and overthink it, waiting for the perfect moment, because that will never come.
The more time you spend NOT marketing your business effectively is time that prospective clients are finding other brokers to do business with.
You’ve got to be in the game
Here are some key activities agencies need to consider adding to their financial and operational budgets:
A modern website that speaks to the client about their needs. And addresses how you help them with those needs. If your site is visually or technologically outdated, or simply tells people what you sell, you’re selling yourself very short.
Resources required: Professional copywriting and development of a website on a platform that allows you to grow, modify, and add to it over time. Expect to have ongoing maintenance fees and make changes/additions regularly.
A strong LinkedIn presence. Complete profile for everyone on the team and an active presence from your leaders and sales team.
Resources required: To get the full effect from this for the sales team, you’ll want to consider paying for the upgraded version to have access to more information and improved prospecting.
Regular writing and speaking. A strong program regularly sharing your ideas with your target audience in a variety of formats.
Resources required: For writing, you may need to pay for systems to manage blogging and emailing functionality. And you may decide that creating content is something you choose to outsource. For any investment you make into creating content, you can safely consider a long term investment because content can be used, reused, reformatted, and recycled for a long time.
For speaking, resources may include renting facilities to host events, creating promotional materials, and maybe even hiring speakers.
For all of these activities, you’ll either need someone internally dedicated to doing the work of organizing and managing everything, or you’ll need to pay an outside source to play that role for you. And you’ll likely find yourself needing to pay a variety of fees. Things to consider for your budget:
- A salary and/or retainer/project fees
- Software and maintenance
- Content development
These are the bare minimum items you should be considering for your budget. Once you establish the basics and get comfortable with managing the new activities and corresponding budget, there are many other types of marketing activities to consider. You can engage in anything from online ads to radio/tv ads to PR to direct marketing and certainly sponsoring events and causes that you deem worthy of your time and financial resources.
Ignore your marketing and prospects will ignore you
Marketing may feel extraneous, but if you combine your marketing with a strong prospecting effort to stir up interest, it should be a solid investment in sales rather than a bottomless money pit.
Agencies who ignore the need for making an investment in marketing are going to find themselves fading away from the awareness of buyers. If they don’t find you and/or they don’t find relevant information they like and feel compelled to learn more about, they won’t bother contacting you.
Your marketing needs to be very visible and accessible to make you interesting and appealing to buyers so they want to have a face-to-face meeting with your sales team. And what more does the sales team want than that??
Photo by Rancz Andrei