Lots of online ventures turn to third parties for digital marketing help these days. It makes sense to outsource what can be a complicated set of procedures, to free up employee time and save some money. The trouble is, if you get your outsourcing wrong, it might end up costing you a lot more of both.
So, before you choose a digital marketing firm to work with, ensure you understand some of the common issues you can run into. There are many different agencies and professionals out there it can be difficult to choose the right people to partner. This guide should help make your decision a lot easier. Let’s take a look at some of these problems and see what you can do to avoid them.
Check you are getting value
Before you even make the decision to outsource, you need to work out if it will bring you the value you need. We don’t just mean financial value, either. A lot of people turn to third parties because they can’t afford to hire full-timers. But there are many other things that outsourcing can bring, such as better expertise and skill. Let’s say you want to create a video for your website. Sure, you can shoot it yourself for a minimal cost, but be honest: how good is it going to be? A professional video company can lend you their expertise, and the result will be a far more polished and exciting piece of work.
Beware of the marketing mix issue
There are a lot of different sides to marketing you can outsource. You might need help with your SEO, or your content creation. Your website copy might need a polish, or you could need the help of a social media company. Lots of companies decide to ship off these tasks to third parties, but it can, sometimes, cause an issue. Using different services for various marketing areas can often mean your overall goals become blurred. It’s important to have a central thread running through everything you do – your tone of voice, for example. The solution is to ensure that your understand what your goals are, and can communicate them for each part of your marketing mix. If you have any problems with this, it might be worth finding a full service digital marketing company to work with instead.
Another common with outsourcing is that it can put your employees’ noses out of joint. It’s not much of a surprise. As marketers, your staff will want to feel they are offering you their best efforts. Outsourcing some of their work may make them feel they aren’t delivering. There are some simple solutions, however. Again, it’s all down to your communication. Point out the benefits they can expect, such as time to concentrate on other, more important tasks. You can also get them to work alongside the third party, allowing them to be a point of reference when it comes to signing off work. They can also benefit a lot from learning from the experts. Make it clear that just because you are outsourcing some parts of their job, they still have a lot of responsibility – and you value them.
If you are a small business owner, you are used to having complete control over everything. But as soon as you start to outsource, it’s time to give things up a little. You won’t be able to micromanage when you hand over the reigns to a third party. If you try, it’s going to eat into your time, the marketing agency’s time, and it will cost you money, too. In other words, it will make the entire project a complete waste. One of the biggest benefits of outsourcing is so that you eliminate layers of management. Your only goal is to get a top-down view of their work and maintain a good relationship. You are unlikely to achieve either if you start micromanaging.
Find a result-driven company
How do you tell a good marketing agency from a poor one? The answer is quite simple – good companies get you results. And, they will be happy to give you evidence of their results before you even hire them. Let’s take social media as an example. A lot of people think they are social media ninjas, gurus, mavens, or whatever. But many lack the experience needed to make a serious impact on your business. So, find a social media company that shouts their results from the rooftops. Look at their portfolios, and get in touch with their previous clients. If they have delivered, they will be happy to discuss their successes with you. Don’t fall for false promises – everything needs to be backed up with evidence before you make your outsourcing choice.
Outsourced marketing companies that outsource
What happens when the company you outsource to outsources your work to others? It’s a lot more common than you think. However, some less reputable agencies will hide how they operate on their websites. It can lead to many different issues, from the consistency of quality through to increased costs. Neither will give you much in the way of value. Your best bet is to ask any firm you might work with who, exactly, will be working with you. Bear in mind that outsourcing is not, in itself, an issue. Many marketing firms have lots of high-quality freelancers working for them that they trust. But, it is essential that you know who they are – and even have a chat with them beforehand.
The runaway train
Finally, watch out for marketing agencies that want to push you into doing things outside of your goals. It’s a serious red flag. Yes, there will be times when a good agency will make creative suggestions – but they should always fit into your company aims. Any signs of them pushing to include extra services that you don’t need should be a warning to you if you don’t want to waste their marketing budget.
Outsourcing can be an excellent way to grow your business and make more money. Follow these basic tips, and you should be able to hire the right people, for the right price.