Start-Up Marketing Tips for Sussex Businesses: An Interview with Our Founder Ekaterina Blake
Do you need specialist marketing advice for your start-up? Ekaterina Blake, founder of our very own InspoHub, is on hand to give you some vital aid to get your business up and running!
I know that my start-up needs a marketing strategy moving forward, but I don't know where to start. What's the best thing to do so I can get the ball rolling?
I would encourage start-ups, with even some marketing budget, to get an expert involved early on. If you don't have a marketing strategy to align your business goals, it means that your marketing activities will most likely be disjointed and thus ineffective.
I'm weighing up my options and can't decide if in-house or external marketing suits my business best. How will I know which option to go with?
It depends on the leadership resource and marketing budget you have in-house. I've seen many companies making the same mistake of hiring a junior marketeer. But a junior person cannot and should not work alone without having a senior marketeer by their side.
If your budget is limited, I would actually suggest going after consultancies, freelancers or a small marketing agency with affordable rates. Once your company's marketing has a clear action plan and your campaigns start bringing ROI, then that is the time to bring someone in-house to upkeep and coordinate what has been built for you by those external experts.
I regularly post to my own social media channels, is that enough to get my brand name out there?
This depends if you do social media marketing, which involves engaging with your potential target audiences by using paid ads to get a bigger reach. There is a lot of effort that goes into creating a post, so why go through all the effort just for it to be viewed by a limited number of followers you currently have? It's better to put a few pounds behind the paid budget and show this post to a larger number of people.
One of my main goals is to get found more easily in search results. I know SEO is often cheaper than paid advertising, but is it less effective because of that?
SEO is amazing long term and if you're a very niche business, location based, your business will be placed higher up in search results. Google ads is like an SEO shortcut because it allows you to be on the first page of search results without working on your SEO. However, you will have to pay for this shortcut and also find the right Google Ads expert.
If I go with a marketing agency, I don't want to give up full creative control of my start-up's outgoing content. Do I still have a say in what goes out?
Absolutely. Before we create any content for our clients, we make sure that they approve our content plans and ideas. We also share a few drafts to allow room for any amendments from the client side before anything goes live. This gives our customers the chance to be part of the creative process and know exactly what is happening with their content and marketing activities.
I have a limited budget. What's the most cost-effective option for me? In-house or outsourced marketing?
If you're going to hire someone in-house, you need to remember that you need to pay a salary and other employer costs, and take on the risk of a long-term commitment. With outsourced marketing, your risks and costs can be minimised. But it’s important to shop around to see what agency is best for you. So, with a limited budget, I would probably go after outsourcing because that involves less risk.
What sort of relationship should I expect if I opt for a marketing agency?
I would say a good marketing agency should integrate into your team. They need to be there for any big sales & business development decisions. You should also expect transparency, in terms of where your budget is being spent and what the results are and they should have the data to back that up.
What are the key benefits of using an agency over hiring an in-house marketer?
Let's say you're hiring a full-time digital marketing specialist. If you were to hire an agency to do the same hours, it's going to be more expensive. But with an agency you're not just going to get one person as a jack of all trades, you're going to get a team of professionals working on your account, e.g. a strategist, a PPC specialist and a graphic designer. This will allow you to get access to greater expertise and achieve better results.
As a small business owner and marketer yourself, what key bits of advice would you give to owners of start-ups in regards to getting the best out of their marketing?
Make sure that your website is in order. If you are sending people to a poor website all your effort is going to result in nothing because of a poor conversion rate. Whenever we work with our customers, we always build their marketing strategy first. Then, we audit all their marketing channels, including websites, social media, email communications and all the other marketing tools they're using to see if what they're currently doing serves their goals.
Once the audit is done, it’s time to make necessary changes to the website and other marketing channels, set-up data-capturing tools, such as Google Analytics, Hotjar, Facebook Pixel/LinkedIn Insight Tag and work on reactive marketing, because there are people who are already looking for your service. You can pick them up from Google ads. For example, someone is searching for a live broadcast agency in Brighton. InspoHub’s Google Ad will help us be on the first page in search. These people are an easy target because they’re ready to buy and they're just looking for the right supplier.
Hopefully, these tips can help kickoff your business with a more precise vision and greater understanding of what start-up marketing entails.
If you want to know more about what a start-up marketing agency can achieve, take a look at the rest of our site and some of the outstanding projects that we have been involved in!
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