Marketing is a critical aspect of running a small business—in fact, it may be the most important element in your success. Should you keep your marketing efforts in-house, or outsource them? While both options can work, the reality is most entrepreneurs need to outsource at least part of their marketing for one reason or another. Here are four times when outsourcing your marketing is a smart idea.
1. When you don’t have the skills. Marketing may not be your strong suit, and that’s OK. For instance, many small business owners outsource building their websites. Although there are plenty of DIY options for website design, if your website needs are complex or you’re just plain technophobic, this is a good time to bring in the experts. Website design experts can create a custom website for your business, including writing copy just for you and updating your site as needed.
2. When you want quick results. Even if you have the skills and know how to handle your own marketing, as a small business owner, you can’t devote all your time to it. By outsourcing, you can gain access to experts who can focus their attention on your business’s marketing and get rapid results. For example, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising can get great results for a small business fairly fast, but crafting a PPC ad campaign that works can take time and expertise. Why not outsource to a PPC expert? Look for one who will consult with you about your goals, then craft ads targeted to your specific market. A good PPC expert will also create landing pages for your ad campaigns and track results so you can make sure you’re maximizing ROI.
3. When you don’t have the time. The world of search is constantly changing, and unless you actually run a SEO-related business, you probably don't have time to keep up with all the ins and outs of search engine optimization. That makes SEO an ideal job to outsource. SEO experts can optimize your website for search engines, researching relevant keywords for you, building links to reputable sites and tracking performance. The end result: A website that shows up in all the right search results. Look for a SEO expert who regularly reviews metrics with you so you can see the results of their efforts.
4. When it’s “grunt work.” Local search optimization is a burgeoning subset of SEO. Essentially, it means optimizing your website so customers looking for businesses in your local area can find you. Much of it boils down to time-consuming monitoring and updating of local search directory listings, such as Google, Yahoo and Bing, to make sure your listings are uniform. Outsourcing this task takes a tedious chore off your hands. Local search optimization experts make sure your business listings are current and optimized for search engine algorithms.
One area of marketing you shouldn't outsource: social media. Even if you don’t personally handle it yourself, someone on your team should oversee your social media presence. Authenticity is vital to social media success, and you can't be authentically “you” when a marketing communication company or at agency is posting on your behalf.