Everyone who has ever tried to run a small business knows how difficult it can be to compete with the biggest players in the game who can spend thousands where you cannot and who will do everything in their power to push you out of business; the little guy who might one day become one of the bigger players.
One of the fields where it is most difficult for a small business owner to compete is marketing and advertising which can be difficult to do with limited budget, which is something every small business owner deals with. Luckily, there are marketing agencies that do great small business marketing that will not cost you an arm and a leg. The big issue now is how to find that marketing firm that caters to small businesses and that does a great job of it.
The best way to find anything, small business marketing firm included, is to ask around, talk to your acquaintances and your friends. If you have friends who also run small businesses and who have also done some marketing, they will be able to tell you whether the people they hired did a good job. You can also check your competition and see who they hired; if you think they got ahead because of marketing.
Check their reputation
Of course, you will not be hiring the first marketing agency you hear about; that would be just careless. You need to check who they are, who the people working for them are and what they have done in the past. You cannot expect every little marketing agency to have awards and past clients like Coca Cola, but you should always look for positive testimonials and feedback. If you can find something about them that might raise an eyebrow, dig deeper and find out more about it. Always be careful.
See what they did in the past
The best way to know whether a marketing company will be good for you is to take a look at their past work. If they have something to be proud of, they will let you know, do not worry. Ask them about the work they had done for a business similar to you, either in size or in the field of work. If you see that they did a great job with someone in a position similar to yours, there is no reason why they would not do the same for you.
Talk to them
In the end, however, it all comes down to meeting the said people and checking them out in person. This is true for every professional you hire that needs to do some serious work for you and this is true for marketing professionals as well. You need to sit down with them and see whether they will be a good fit for you. During this meeting, you need to see whether they understand you and whether they understand what you need accomplished. Ask them what they think about your goals and always ask them to be realistic and objective.
The important thing is to shop around and to make sure that you have checked all of your possibilities and options. Only when you are perfectly satisfied with a certain marketing agency, should you hire them.
James D. Burbank has been doing traditional as well as online marketing for years and he is currently on hiatus, writing on what he has learned over the years (hopefully helping others:)).