There seems to have been a sharp increase in the number of marketing and web agencies making cold approaches to small businesses recently. As a social media manager for a number of businesses, we get to see a good cross section of these approaches. Can you really gain a new client without a pre-existing relationship?
Relationships: an odd way to do business?
It seems very strange that sending a speculative Instagram message could ever win a client. Working with small businesses is about getting to know the business owners, and understanding their passion. Without a face to face relationship can this happen?
It’s possible to outsource a number of jobs to someone you have never met. Simple design work perhaps. But trusting someone with your marketing, asking them to act as the voice of your business, requires a detailed understanding of your brand identity. More often than not, it also requires shared values to get the best results.
See the whites of their eyes
Helping small businesses to get the word out about their work is so rewarding precisely because of the real stories involved. Bringing new customers to an incredible venue or service cannot be beaten. That is because we have become invested in what our clients do. Generally speaking, we do not believe in simple, quick interventions because they are unlikely to drive tangible sales or create any lasting brand awareness. You cannot do a couple of hours of work on your SEO and then tick it off your list. Building a beautiful website is fantastic, but even if you build it they probably won’t come.
We build relationships with our clients before they become our clients. Making sure that we are comfortable with each other. Making sure we understand what the aims and goals are.
Beware the Freebie
A fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work. That’s what we all deserve. And if you have the skill, talent and – often most important – the tenacity, you will be paid for your skills. So beware those who come with offers that are too good to be true.
We’ve seen many approaches from creative agencies, web developers, business coaches etc. offering their services for free. More often than not this is to build their portfolio. Everyone has to start somewhere. But be very careful to check their previous work before accepting a freebie. Remember, they will only be asking so that they can benefit from the existing strength of your brand.
The chances are that these companies will have a long term plan which involves moving on from you quite quickly. They don’t want a relationship, they want your name on their CV. And often, they are looking for you to share their content on your website and social channels. Don’t compromise on quality to save a few pennies. You really do get what you pay for.
Outsourcing for small businesses
Outsourcing any tasks can be a scary prospect. Time and money are often scarce commodities for small businesses. Thirst Media love getting to know you and identifying what makes your product special – then shouting it from the rooftops. Awards wins, media coverage and consistent growth are all benefits our clients enjoy. If you would like this for your business, get in touch.