The internet age has been so all-encompassing that there are literally zero companies that wouldn’t benefit from an online presence. If you choose not to market your business online, then you’re missing out on a huge resource for generating leads and revenue.

Of course, some businesses rely on internet marketing more than others. For certain industries (e-commerce, for instance), digital marketing is a necessity, and failing to invest in SEO, social media, and PPC campaigns could be detrimental to your bottom line. In these cases, internet marketing is a core function of your business.

Other companies can get away with neglecting their online presence, for a while at least. Potential customers and clients will be checking up on your online presence before doing business with you: reading reviews, browsing your website, and otherwise seeing if you’re a legitimate business. If they can’t find you online (or worse, your online presence is shoddy and unprofessional), then they are more likely to take their business elsewhere.

If you want to take advantage of digital marketing and really give it a run for your money, you have typically 3 options:

  1. Do everything yourself (by investing the time to personally optimize your website, write blog posts, tweet, post to facebook, etc., all while staying up-to-date with the latest in SEO and social media strategies)
  2. Hire someone in-house (which gives you the most hands-on control, but can be expensive when factoring in salary and training)
  3. Outsource your digital marketing (either to an agency or a freelancer)

Of these three options, which do you think is the most cost-effective in the long run? Which one will give you the most sustainable growth?

For most small-to-midsize companies, outsourcing your digital marketing is the best answer, and the reason why may surprise you. But first, let’s take a closer look at what outsourcing your digital marketing actually means.

What is Outsourced Digital Marketing?

Simply put, outsourcing your digital marketing means hiring an outside agency (or freelancer) to create, implement, and manage an online marketing strategy. If that seems vague to you, it’s because it is. Digital marketing is increasingly expanding to the point that it is nearly all-encompassing, integrating brand messaging, digital PR, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), content creation, relationship building, lead generating, and on and on.

When you think about it, the vast scope of digital marketing can be pretty daunting. It doesn’t have to be.

Digital marketing done right means separating your online efforts into easily definable parts, with each sub-section working on specific tasks while collaborating to achieve broader marketing goals.

At Leadgenix, we separate digital marketing into 3 sections (this certainly isn’t the only way to approach digital marketing, but it’s worked well for us): Pay-Per-Click (PPC), SEO, and Social Media.

Outsourced Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

Paid advertising on Google (you know, those ads that appear at the top of the search results) can get expensive quickly, which is why it’s important to have an expert running your campaign. You have to be sure that you’re putting the right ads in front of the right eyeballs–no simple task, especially for highly competitive industries.

A competent PPC specialist can build an effective campaign that increases traffic, decreases costs per click and transaction, and bolsters your overall digital marketing strategy.

SEO Outsourcing

Google is constantly updating and changing its search algorithms, and it consistently rewards websites that pay close attention to SEO. At Leadgenix, SEO isn’t about gaming the system–we know that the only strategy that gets results is to help you build an online presence worthy of ranking well on Google. That means making sure a website is optimized not only on its backend, but with keywords in its content that are relevant to your customers. We research what your customers are searching for on Google, and then make sure your website answers those questions. We search for opportunities to generate quality links back to your website from elsewhere on the internet. We create a content strategy that is tailored to your company, and designed to give actual value to your customers.

With an intelligent SEO strategy that focuses on your customers first and the search engines second, good search results (and the traffic that comes with it) will naturally follow.

Outsourced Social Media

You’ve probably heard of companies that are killing it on social media. What does it take to get to that level of social engagement? How do you leverage social media not just as an engagement tool but as a legitimate way to generate sales and leads?

Many entrepreneurs and business owners know the potential of social media, but are unable (due to time constraints or inexperience) to dedicate the time and focus necessary. A haphazard social media campaign can confuse and distract your customers. Social media won’t do much for your brand unless it’s strategically and uniformly implemented across all the relevant platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.). Using an outside agency is a way to achieve this, so you can focus your own efforts on your business’s core functions.

Amazing social media campaigns don’t happen overnight, and it could be months or years before you get the hang of it yourself enough to get a good return on your investment of time and effort. When you outsource your social media to a digital marketing agency, you can hit the road running so you don’t waste any time learning the ropes.

8 Benefits of Outsourcing Online Marketing

Hopefully you see the potential that a digital marketing strategy holds for your business. But to be honest, outsourcing isn’t always the best option. You may be better off keeping your online marketing efforts in-house, or tackling them yourself (you might even find that you’re a social media wiz and SEO comes naturally).

Outsourcing online marketing is a big investment, but there are benefits that you shouldn’t overlook. These include:

  1. Peace of mind knowing your digital marketing is being handled by professionals, so you can go about the business of running your company.
  2. Less expensive than hiring a full-time Digital Marketer (who’s worth her salt)
  3. Leverage the expertise of a team of digital marketing professionals (with years of proven results)
  4. Regular reporting with measurable results
  5. Improve your strategy as you go. With reporting and analytics as your tools, you can refine and adjust your marketing strategy in real time.
  6. Increase the productivity of your in-house employees (who no longer have to stress out about attempting digital marketing)
  7. Simplify your budget. With the fixed cost of outsourcing your digital marketing, you don’t have to worry about what digital marketing is really costing. It also makes it easier to track ROI.
  8. Move fast. If you are a growing company trying to facilitate rapid expansion, trying to do in-house marketing can hold you back. An experienced marketing agency can move just as fast as you, and even magnify your success further.

8 Drawbacks of Outsourcing Online Marketing

To help you make the right decision for your business, here are 8 possible drawbacks to outsourcing:

  1. Loss of control. Hiring someone in-house, or handling it yourself, gives you much more control over the day-to-day digital marketing efforts.
  2. Relying on people who know less about your business than you do. Nobody knows more about your business than you and your team.
  3. Outsourcing still requires your input. Outsourcing your digital marketing doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. You still need to give feedback and input to achieve positive results.
  4. Some partnerships just won’t work. Not every internet marketing agency will be a perfect fit, and finding the right agency for your needs can be a challenge.
  5. Long-term success requires a long-term solution. Hiring a permanent staff might be a better long-term solution (but you can stay with a digital agency for the long-term as well)
  6. Communication can be a challenge. Communicating with in-house staff will always be easier than the conference calls, business lunches, emails, etc. that come with hiring an agency. Additionally, some agencies will be easier to communicate with than others, and a long-distance relationship with an out-of-state agency may be more of a challenge.
  7. There is often a learning curve. You should expect some growing pains during the first three months of working with an agency, as they get to know your business and decide on the best strategy.
  8. Your business won’t always be a top priority for the digital marketing agency. This one’s just common sense; an agency will have other clients adding to their workload. An in-house staff will be dedicated to building your business, and only your business.

In all honesty, outsourcing isn’t right for every business. If your company operates in a niche industry that relies on a high level of expertise, then you may need to hire digital marketers you can train or who are already experts in your field (or else take on these challenges yourself).

Put simply, working with an outside agency requires a certain level of trust. With an in-house marketing team, you can have hands-on control for all the processes (and maybe your business requires that level of control). When you hire a digital marketing agency, you must trust in their expertise (coupled with your insight and feedback) to give you the results you want.

When Outsourcing Makes the Most Sense

I wrote above that outsourcing digital marketing is the best choice for small to mid-size companies. I would also add that it’s also great for highly localized businesses (i.e. brick and mortar stores, landscaping businesses, etc.).

These are the companies that usually don’t have the resources to hire an in-house digital marketing staff. Outsourcing has the double benefit of freeing up time to focus on your essential business operations, while also being affordable. Even if you don’t purchase the Cadillac internet marketing plan, a small business can still benefit from a focused PPC campaign, or an SEO strategy designed to give them a local boost.

Outsourcing is by no means restricted to small or mid-sized companies. When calculating labor and training costs, many larger businesses often find that hiring an outside fulfillment agency to do their digital marketing makes the most sense. More than anything else, whether or not you choose to outsource depends on your unique situation.

Even within outsourcing, you have many options. There is no one-size-fits-all digital marketing solution; the only thing that will work for you is a carefully planned campaign tailored to your business.

 

Adam Fifield
Adam Fifield is the Content Marketing Manager at Big Leap. His background is in journalism, and you'll find him playing jazz piano in various Salt Lake City saloons and speakeasies until closing time. Connect with Adam on Twitter: @adamonthekeys