To outsource or not to outsource: that is the question most businesses ask themselves at some point along the way when working out how to manage marketing output.
You can outsource most aspects of marketing these days, which just makes answering that question even more complicated in lots of ways.
But, ultimately, it comes down to this: if you’re serious about growing your business, you should at least consider broadening your horizons and outsourcing.
There are numerous benefits of outsourcing marketing; outsourcing your marketing allows you to tap into expertise you otherwise wouldn't have without all the associated expense of hiring, such as overhead costs, recruiting time, training time and expenses of full-time staff.
That said, outsourcing isn’t always the answer.
An agency agreement is worth only as much as you’re prepared to put into it and clear goals need to be set if you're looking to work with an agency.
So, yes, while it will save you time in the long run and help you to grow your business at a much faster rate, you’re going to have to invest in the relationship too.
Why Outsource Marketing?
Knowing when to outsource marketing needs to be based on an 'event' rather than tactics.
- You want to grow your business – of which generating more leads is a big part – but don't know where to start improving what you're already doing
- You want to tap into new markets/launch a new product/service
- New/existing competitors in the market are winning (stealing) customers
The main reason to outsource marketing though is to allow your current team (if you have one) to focus on their strengths.
In his article for Inc.com, Ilya Pozin says: "If you’re great at creating a product, then focus on that and let experts in their respective fields come in and execute other business functions."
How to Outsource Marketing
So, you’ve decided you need to work with a marketing agency in some capacity to achieve your objective. But, just what areas are ripe for outsourcing and what should you try and keep in house, if possible?
We’re not going to cover every element of marketing that can be outsourced, as that would be overkill, but here are the five marketing tasks that we think are most important to consider outsourcing.
Your marketing strategy is how you go about attracting a customer base for the product or service that your business provides, ahead of your competitors. So, yeah, it’s preeetty important.
The key to a successful marketing strategy is ensuring recommendations are based on evidence and insight. Without that it is just subjective and based on assumption.
So, before you start thinking about designing your strategy, you need to consider how well you:
- Understand your target audience/market
- Know your competition
- Understand the threats/opportunities there are in the market outside of your competitors
- Can communicate the value of your product/service
- Track and analyse data
- Transmit your passion
- Solve customers’ pain points
- Know where your customers hang out
- Know what messages work best on your target market
You might think you know your target buyers as well as you possibly can, but unless you’re bringing all the data you have on your customers into one place and analysing against your existing buyer personas, you can’t be sure you do.
That’s often why it pays to outsource your marketing strategy. An agency will be able to help you to collate all this data and help you better understand your target market.
Not only is an agency in a position to make an objective judgement of your audience, they’ll be able to see more clearly the value that you bring to the market and where you solve your customers’ pain points.
They can then help you build a strategy around data-informed findings, rather than internal perceptions.
Once you have the right strategy in place, you have the platform to keep the execution of it in house, supplemented by a marketing agency where necessary. But, then again, if you haven’t got the capacity to do the following marketing essentials, you might need to outsource the lot…
Interested in creating a new business strategy which aligns your marketing activities with your sales and operations team's efforts? Request a call.
2) Website Design & Development
This one should be quick enough. Do you have the skills to build a website? If not, you’ve got no choice but to outsource your website design and development.
But, even if you do have some design skills in house – or somebody is ‘confident’ they can put a website together – it might be an idea to seek some agency support, if budget allows.
At the end of the day, your website is the shop window to your business. It plays a huge part in your target market’s first impressions. And, excuse the cliché, but you only get one chance to make a first impression.
So, before you decide to do your website on the cheap, ask yourself, can you do the following…
- Build a website that ties back to the strategy, i.e. is designed in a way that will appeal to your target market
- Develop wireframes that focus on the user journey
- Implement analytics and heat mapping software to show how visitors are navigating the site
- Keep up with the latest website design trends
It all depends on how important your website is to your business…
Interested in creating a new website which will drive more leads into your pipeline? Request a call.
3) Content Creation
We can say with a fair bit of confidence that most of your competitors, who are seemingly producing a steady flow of great content, are having an agency write their content for them.
Content marketing It’s probably the easiest task to outsource because
a) it’s not that expensive and
b) it’s straightforward enough for a writer to create a high volume of decent content.
But, if you want content that really speaks to your customers, hire someone with knowledge of the industry – or at least work with an agency in a way that allows you to transmit all that good stuff you extracted when creating your strategy (service/product value, brand value, passion etc.) into the content.
Whatever you do, don’t get a non-writer to do your content. It must be professional copywriter with a good track record. Or else you run the risk of producing content that it either littered with errors, not written with your personas in mind, or just serves to sell your product/service, which is a complete waste of money as nobody will read it.
Interested in outsourcing your content strategy and creation? Request a call.
4) Social Media Strategy
Again, this will be very quick if you don’t have anybody in house who has experience with social media – and we’re not just talking about somebody who dabbles in Instagram.
A social media executive will know what channels work best, for what kind of audience, at what times. An expert will also be able to transmit your brand’s personality and help build your followers.
So, if you want to just keep your firm’s social media profiles ticking over with the odd post – and little in the way of interaction with users – then outsource it. If you want to use it to drive prospects to your website, however, then hire a social media executive.
Interested in outsourcing your social media strategy? Request a call.
5) HubSpot Management
What’s this doing on the list? Let us explain.
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know how important we think it is to have marketing and sales in perfect alignment. To be successful, both teams – whether in-house or outsourced – need to be reading off the same page. Enter HubSpot…
HubSpot is a marketing and sales platform that helps businesses align their sales and marketing activity.
It can be used to track and measure activity across various channels, including your website, social channels and organic search, helping marketing attract visitors and sales to convert leads and close customers.
We see it as a vital piece of kit in every marketing department’s armoury. So, if want to achieve ‘Smarketing’ (you can thank HubSpot for that term) harmony, you should seriously think about investing in the platform and, even better, have an expert manage it.
Interested in outsourcing your HubSpot management? Request a call.