8 Signs it’s Time to Outsource Your Marketing
Fully developed, internal marketing departments can really support your brand. The problem is, unless you’re a huge company that can afford to employ specialized staff, many internal teams are small and generalized.
Not only do some small to medium-sized businesses often struggle to handle all their marketing efforts alone, they sometimes have a hard time matching the creative and collaborative approach of a versatile team of marketing experts.
Not sure if you need outsourced marketing help? Here’s eight signs you could benefit from some extra support:
1. Your staff is overworked or underworked.
It’s not uncommon for companies to have very tiny marketing departments, with only a handful of workers responsible for company-wide efforts. When there’s only a few workers juggling all forms of marketing— sometimes for multiple locations— specialization is almost unheard of. These marketing gurus are tasked to be a Jack of all trades, oftentimes handling social media, website design, creating branded materials, advertising and a full load of other responsibilities.
You know how the saying goes: jack of all trades and master of none. The internal team’s efforts are divided, and they may be stumbling their way through something they have no idea how to do well (coding, paid ads, social engagement— to name a few) or only being able to devote a fraction of their time to something that deserves more attention.
On the flip side, with no leads coming in, or a lack of formal strategy, this small internal team could be bored. Without specialized knowledge to know how to optimize your website and online assets, they could be sitting around engaging in cost-wasting “busy work.”
2. You don’t have professional writers or content creators.
Are professional writers really necessary? To maintain a uniform, professional brand and tone-of-voice, yes— yes they are. How embarrassing would it be to print a brochure with a grammatical error? How costly would it be to break compliance by wording something poorly? A dedicated writer can help to ensure you stick to a solid style guide and keep your messaging consistent, something you’ll never get by having the IT department write on your behalf.
A devoted team of writing powerhouses will have their hands full creating website copy, email campaigns, blogs, content offers, etc. Plus, content marketers bring with them an understanding of search engines, and how to get your content to rank on the first page of Google.
When was the last time you used email marketing to target your audience? Do you even know what a “landing page” is and how it could help you convert viewers into leads? A writer from a marketing agency will know how to best optimize your content to perform, not just fill the margins.
3. Your website or logo is almost embarrassingly outdated.
If your website or logo is outdated, it can hold back your brand. You want your online assets to reflect your modern image and show your audience that you’re still a relevant, active figure in your industry.
Does your company have graphic and website designers to support your content? These are the masterminds behind creating beautiful web pages and visuals. Why hire a company to design a new site for you and then hand it off to an internal team who can’t uphold continual maintenance and improvements— or waste time trying to create a logo in Microsoft Photo Editor?
Though your IT department can help you restart your computer, design isn’t something the average IT team will prioritize. Don’t let your business look amatuer with tacky graphics. These assets are your prime sales tools. A marketing agency will likely have multiple designers, ready to start drafting as soon as you say “go.”
4. You aren’t getting anywhere with paid advertising.
Maybe you have some Google Ads running, but without a devoted pay-per-click (PPC) expert, leads aren’t coming in too hot. These online advertising tools try to make themselves user-friendly, often setting up “autopilot-like” features so you can set it and forget it, letting an algorithm make adjustments for you.
These search platforms want your money, and although they offer hands-free features, their advertising platform algorithms don’t always make the most strategic decisions. When directly investing money into advertising, you need to be in thoughtful hands. Many companies don’t have the time or resources to train and devote a specific member of their team to managing these systems, but a marketing agency certainly will.
The right outsourced team will have a designated PPC specialist, with distinct certifications for systems like Google and Bing Ads programs— and social advertising too— boasting expertise unmatched by the average Joe. In addition, they’ll know how to get you natural (organic) traffic for the search engines too.
5. You have an intern or random employee managing your social networks.
People often underestimate the importance of managing a social media presence for a business. With almost everyone having a social profile, more and more people know how to operate Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter like the back of their hand.
For companies without a formal marketing department, social media management often gets passed off to a willing employee or an intern. Unfortunately, these volunteers rarely have a strategy behind their posting, and can do a poor job consistently personifying your brand image. Nor will they likely know how to utilize the platforms for generating leads and to delight long-standing customers.
A great social media plan needs to have clearly defined goals, a posting calendar and strategy and true understanding of your brand’s personality and personas to compel your audience.
6. You’re sacrificing long-term strategy for day-to-day task checking.
We’ve mentioned this a few times throughout this article, but it’s worth repeating: you need a formal marketing strategy. Without long-term objectives to guide your actions, your moves become focused on completely set tasks— like scheduling 10 posts a week to look “active” online— instead of steps towards reaching far-off objectives. Sure, task checking keeps daily operations chugging along and helps to maintain the appearance that things are getting done, validating your paycheck. But task checking alone doesn’t breed greatness— planned execution does.
A marketing agency can help you set SMART goals, so that every action you take helps you reach predefined objectives. The right outsourced marketing company can also help you define what success looks like for your company and develop metrics for tracking the impact of your efforts.
7. Your ROI isn’t clear.
Perhaps your biggest weakness lies in your tracking. How are you ensuring your efforts are worth the time and money if you haven’t clearly defined what metrics to measure or assigned value to each task? In the digital space, for example, many people monitor traffic, calls, form submissions, email click through rates, lead, customers, etc., but what are each worth to you?
At the end of each quarter, you probably compile a neat report packed with numbers to prove you care about the data, but what are you doing with this information other than giving it to the higher ups and letting it collect dust?
It’s all too easy to look past your internal investment and write it off as productive (I see them in front of me working so things are getting done!) than to see a couple grand invested in a marketing agency behind closed doors. The nice thing is, an efficient outsourced marketing agency will understand how they’re investing their time, presenting their findings and achievements in a way that can prove your marketing ROI.
8. You’re disappointed with your current growth.
Some days it can just feel like no matter how hard you try, your company isn’t growing. Whether it’s hitting a certain revenue goal, expanding to different markets or creating different products or services, there’s some sort of roadblock.
Let some experienced minds assess your current efforts, with unbiased eyes. A new outsourced marketing partner can bring fresh ideas to the table. Turn to a seasoned SEO consultant, a keen designer— a full team of individuals who specialize in different fields, all working towards your collective objectives, in tandem.
How do I Outsource My Marketing Department?
The first step in outsourcing is to determine that it is the best option for you. Normally, this will be because you are busy, or your time is better spent, on other activities or because marketing is just not your ‘thing’.
If you have you’ve done a skills review or looked over your budget and decided that outsourcing your marketing is the best move for your small business, you can now begin to look for marketing agencies.
Many digital marketing companies offer a wide array of marketing services that you can pick and choose from as well as customize to ensure that you are getting the right marketing techniques for your company. In the rest of this article, we’ll help you consider the most important factors in moving your marketing to a specialist agency like Omega project.
How Should I Choose an Outsourced Marketing Agency?
Cost comparisons are crucial when it comes to searching for a marketing agency. Remember though, as with so many services, you get what you pay for. Whilst there are agencies out there that are as cheap as chips, don’t expect them to grow your business rapidly or form a deep understanding of your brand.
What you should look for in a marketing agency is bang for buck, i.e. given the budget you have and the growth you want to see, which agency is the best fit for your brand?
Make sure to engage with a few companies before you settle for the one that you are going to trust your with your business. Ask for a menu option of services that the company offers, even if you don’t want them all to begin with, it is easier to grow with a trusted agency than to move when you get too big for them. Look for things like:
- Brand & Marketing Strategy
- Google Pay Per Click
- Social Media Strategy & Management
- Website Design & Creation
- Blog, Newsletter and Copywriting Services, and
- Search Engine Optimisation
If it’s not a full service marketing agency and is missing any of these, they are likely not rounded enough for the needs of your modern growing business. Just because someone owns a laptop and can crank out Facebook posts doesn’t mean that they are a credible source of marketing.
What Outsourced Marketing Services Should I Ask for?
The services that you contract to an agency depends on what you can and cannot cover in-house. For instance, if you have somebody in the office that can cover all forms of relevant social media, then consider cutting that from your agency needs and requirements.
You have to be realistic about what you can and cannot do. There is nothing worse than marketing that is done inconsistently. If you feel that your current employees will not be able to handle the demands of one of your marketing services in addition to their daily activities, then it is wise to outsource. You get the guarantee that work will get done and ultimately the sanction of transferring your business if it is not.
If you’re not sure what you and your team can handle, be upfront about this when you start sounding out agencies. Take advantage of their free audits and consultation services and ask them to tell you what is worth outsourcing and what is not. A good agency, like ours, will be honest about where you need help and where you have it covered.
Get at least three of these done to cross-reference and get a better understanding of what will make your marketing successful.
Can I Outsource my Social Media Accounts?
Social media on its own can be a time consuming beast.
Any reputable marketing manager will know that social media cannot be outsourced and forgotten about. This is because the new Facebook algorithm favors organic content.
What does this mean exactly? Basically, photos and videos that you share that are organically engaged with my users will do better than branded or ad type posts. Because of this, someone in-house will need to work with your marketing agency to provide content for social pages. However, to make sure your content is engaging (which it needs to be, if it is to grow your audience) you, or someone in your team, will still need to provide content.
This is one of the reasons many companies attempt to run their own social platforms, however, there is a lot more to social media for your business than simply posting Facebook statuses. Finding someone to create engaging content for all of your platforms, manage your post schedules, network with clients and referring businesses and track your page growth is a full-time job in itself.
Because of the nature of this need, it is important to find an agency that is easy to communicate with and that you can build a personal relationship with. The better your agency knows you, the more your content will reflect your values, goal, and the mission of your business. Do not skip over social media, this is not something that should be taken lightly and will be the face of your marketing for many users.
How Should I Set Up my Outsourcing Contract?
The nature of the beast is that some marketing techniques will work wonders for your business, while others just won’t. You want to work with a small business marketing agency that you have confidence in. One that will bring you success whilst recognising that, at least in the early stages, there has to be an element of experimentation to see what works with your audience in your market.
While you are just starting out don’t be surprised if you’re plagued with a lot of uncertainty; it is the very reason why we provide you with a small army of outsourced marketing managers!
You won’t know how the agency will deliver and how your marketing presence will be affected. To bolster your confidence in the agency, you should at least get a monthly report outlining what work has been done on your account, for what reason (i.e. what outcome were they after for the work done?), the results they’ve had and their recommendations for the coming month.
You should also agree upfront with your agency the overriding targets of the contract. If you have not explicitly agreed these at the start of your relationship there will likely be problems down the line. As the client, you are in charge of setting these big strategic marketing objectives, which might include:
- More website contact forms completed
- Better costs per click
- Higher customer spend per transaction
- Increased audience satisfaction ratings
- Greater social reach
- Improved market share, etc
Make sure to attach actual numbers / percentages to whatever you choose, so there is a measurable target in place. Not only will this let you evaluate the results of each month and decide if their marketing services are worth the money, but will also help you set your initial budget. For example, you won’t be setting £10k per month aside for marketing if your target is to grow profits by £5k per month.
If you believe that another agency could grow your numbers and boost your engagement even further, cut off the contract at the end of the month and go elsewhere. The last thing that you want to do is tie yourself into a partnership that is simply not working or meeting your marketing needs. When you get to know your agency better and start seeing strong results, you will be able to adjust your contract and extend for longer periods at a time if need be.
Outsourcing Your Business Marketing – A Summary
As a professional marketing agency, we are here to help grow your business (as we have dozens of others over the past decade). Remember though, the nature of our business is marketing; we are trained professionals at selling our services.
For this reason, it’s important that you do your research before going to a meeting or consultation with us or any other other marketing agency. At the very least, have a clear picture of what you want to achieve for your budgeted spend.
This is why it is often a good idea to shop around and compare consultation recommendations and services. Knowledge is power, and the more you know about the wonderful world of marketing, the more equipped you will be to choose the right services for your business and to pick an agency that is right for you.
Outsourcing your marketing efforts is a smart way to spread your reach digitally and to get your company the attention it deserves. If you are simply too small for your own marketing department, outsourcing is a cost-effective way to make sure that your marketing needs are still being met.
If you’d like to see how we can be your highly effective marketing department, click here to make contact.