Outsourcing your digital marketing is a great way to boost brand awareness, sell more products, and expand into new channels. Even if you have an in-house marketing department, agency support can accelerate your efforts while saving time and money over recruiting a larger team.
But with so many marketing agencies offering so many services, ecommerce brands are often unsure how many they should work with. To help you identify what’s best for your ecommerce company, let’s look at the factors that influence the level of marketing support you need.
When to start working with an ecommerce marketing agency
Before you contact an ecommerce marketing agency, make sure you’re in a position to benefit from their services. That means having a market-ready product, a genuine need for external assistance, and a clear vision for what you want them to accomplish.
Have you proven product-market fit?
We use the term “product-market fit” to describe a product that successfully solves a target customer’s needs. For example, if your company sells components for industrial equipment, your product must offer the superior protection, durability, or safety that allows customers to overcome their current challenges.
A product that hasn’t achieved product-market fit is unlikely to succeed no matter how talented your marketers are. So it’s vital that you research, tweak, and test extensively before you invest in ecommerce marketing.
To ensure product-market fit, you must:
- Conduct market and competitor research to define your target customer
- Explore their needs and pain points, and how your product offers a solution
- Define a clear value proposition that sets you apart from your competitors
- Build a minimum viable product (MVP), a prototype with the core functionality
- Test initial customer response among a small audience of real customers
- Revise your MVP using customer feedback to create the best possible version
Are you short on time and resources?
If your ecommerce brand lacks a dedicated marketing department, you’ll need to divert staff away from other initiatives to focus on marketing tasks. This can create problems elsewhere in your company, lowering your standard of service or slowing your business growth.
By outsourcing to an ecommerce marketing agency, you benefit from quality marketing services while keeping your team focused on the tasks they’re best suited to. That allows you to maintain business momentum while raising brand awareness and sales. Hiring an ecommerce marketing agency also tends to be much less expensive than investing in an in-house marketing team.
If you already have a marketing department, a better question might be “do you want to save time and resources?”. A growing business necessarily requires a growing marketing department. But partnering with an agency to support your in-house team lets you expand your marketing efforts without recruiting fulltime in-house staff.
What are your goals and how can you achieve them?
All marketing efforts need a clear and measurable goal. For ecommerce businesses, these often include:
- Increasing website traffic
- Boosting conversion rates
- Driving sales growth
- Enhancing customer engagement
Each of these goals requires a different marketing strategy, and often different marketing channels. Start by evaluating the skills your team has and whether you think they can achieve these goals. If you spot any gaps or think external support will improve your results, consider hiring at least one ecommerce marketing agency.
Things to consider when hiring an ecommerce marketing agency
In most cases, partnering with an ecommerce marketing agency helps you reach your goals more quickly at less expense and with greater results. But that doesn’t mean you should pick any old firm and expect them to do everything for you. When choosing your partner, it’s important to think about agency relationships, which types of marketing would benefit you, and what kind of partnership you need.
Who will manage your agency relationships?
Ecommerce marketing agencies need direction from your team to accurately align their efforts with your business goals. So when you hire an agency, know that you’ll need to appoint a member of your team as their point of contact.
This person can be the owner, marketing director, or even a product or brand marketer. Whoever you choose, they should know what your ecommerce brand wants to achieve and how to provide the agency with the necessary information.
If you hire multiple agencies, it’s best to allocate a single member of your internal team to manage relationships for all of them. That way, you can ensure your marketing efforts are well coordinated even though they come from several different sources.
Which channels need the most support?
Some ecommerce brands need blogs, articles, and technical SEO support to raise their search engine ranking and draw in new customers. Others want social media and email marketing to build brand awareness and engagement. And there are those who can develop a powerful brand image through tasteful advertising and a thoughtful website redesign.
If you need to improve marketing across multiple channels, you can hire a single marketing agency that offers a wide range of services. Or if you only need help with specific channels, or you need a dedicated team for each one, you might prefer to work with specialist agencies. Whatever you choose, make sure your agency or agencies have the training and expertise necessary to support your chosen channels.
What kind of partnership do you need?
There are 3 main types of ecommerce marketing partnership:
- Team partnership: Outsourcing overflow from your in-house marketing department
- Channel partnership: To manage a specific marketing channel, such as email or paid media
- Strategic partnership: Contracting one agency to handle all your marketing efforts
The partnership that would best suit your needs depends on the size and scope of your marketing operations.
Small- and medium-size businesses looking to grow would benefit from a strategic partnership because it offers widespread support. A large business might leverage channel partnerships to conduct multiple marketing initiatives at scale. And businesses of any size can benefit from a team partnership to help them keep pace during intensive periods of sales or expansion.
How many ecommerce marketing agencies should you work with?
So far we’ve established when to contact an ecommerce marketing agency and what to consider when you do. Now, let’s look at how many agency partnerships would be right for your business. While this depends in part on your team setup and goals, the main deciding factor tends to be annual revenue.
$0-10m – Strategic partnership
Ecommerce brands with an annual income of $10m or less typically lack the resources for a robust marketing department or multiple outsource partnerships. To get the greatest marketing benefits while keeping costs low, we recommend forming a strategic partnership with just one agency that offers a variety of services.
$10-30m – Channel partnerships
Once your business grows past $10m a year, you might find a single agency can’t handle your increasing marketing needs across all channels. This is a great time to bring in channel partnerships to offer specialist support.
Some agencies don’t offer all types of services. But here at LimeLight Marketing we offer specialists in multiple fields in one place. That means you get all the benefits of channel partnerships without the hassle or cost of contracting with multiple agencies.
$30m+ – Mix and match
At this level of revenue, whether you need a strategic partnership, channel partnership, or team partnership is determined by your goals. A strategic partnership can help you cultivate brand image and awareness while channel partnerships are excellent for launching multiple marketing initiatives for growth. And during busy periods, a team partnership lets you manage overflow and maintain your high standards.
Unlike smaller businesses, a $30m+ brand might have a marketing director that oversees more than ecommerce, such as retail, wholesale, or sales events. These numerous responsibilities often leave them overstretched, meaning each marketing campaign receives less attention. In these cases, you might benefit from appointing someone to lead your ecommerce strategy and coordinate with the agencies you partner with.
Fulfill all your ecommerce marketing needs in one convenient partnership
No matter the size of your ecommerce brand, our skilled and experienced team can help you reach your marketing goals in a single partnership. We offer experts in all types of digital marketing and work with you directly to plan and coordinate a highly effective marketing strategy. That’s how we’ve been able to:
- Turn a $400k brand into a multi-million dollar revenue stream with paid media
- Double channel revenue in 60 days through email and SMS optimization
- Close multiple six-figure deals by creating product demo videos
Get in touch today to find out how partnering with LimeLight Marketing can help your ecommerce brand dominate the competition.