Time is money. As your business grows and demands more of your time, you’ll need to decide what to continue handling yourself, what to hire a staff person for, and what to outsource. Every team has strengths and weaknesses, and in order to be effective, you need to recognize what you are best at, and what can be done more effectively by someone else.
Outsourced marketing has long been an important part of the marketing ecosystem, and today is more necessary than ever. No marketing team can be expected to have expertise in the extremely wide range of skills that are now required: email marketing campaigns and website design, in particular, need specific skills that are best found in specialized teams.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at the 5 tasks that you should consider outsourcing.
1. Website design
Website design has been an outsourced task ever since the advent of the internet. Nowadays, you can use a website builder to create a simple, clean, and functional site for your small business. But if your business needs a large and complex custom website, it’s best left to the professionals. How your website looks and functions is incredibly important, because it is the first experience of your brand that most potential customers will have, and set the tone for your future relationship.
As with all outsourcing decisions, when you first look at the prices for a bespoke website, it can seem like a waste of money. But because your website will form part of your brand identity for years to come, it’s worth factoring in outsourced website design into your budget for digital marketing.
SEO is another field in which it pays to get an expert in. The process of optimizing your website and content can be an incredibly complex one: it requires an in-depth knowledge of the algorithms used by Google, statistical analysis, and plenty of trade secrets. To make matters worse, SEO techniques are constantly changing, requiring a resource-intensive and continuous process of research.
A good SEO team will do more than just tell you how well your campaigns are going, though. They should also be able to recommend what kinds of content you produce, and even a messaging strategy to reach your key audience groups.
Security might not seem like a primary concern for marketing teams, but it should be. Marketing teams are generally more exposed to hacks and other vulnerabilities than any other team within an organization and should take the security of their systems seriously.
You can increase your security yourself, but you should be careful when you are doing that. There are several nefarious malware exploits and VPN scams, for instance, that can take advantage of the ill-informed. It’s far better to subcontract a dedicated security team. This will also mean that, should the worst happen and you fall victim to a hack or data breach, responsibility for the fallout will be clear and unambiguous.
4. Content marketing
Content Marketing is at the core of the marketing team’s role, but it often makes sense to get help, even with the basics. As a marketing team, your expertise probably lies in identifying future markets, spotting trends, and then developing strategies to reach key audiences.
All of these strategic goals will need to be translated into practical, time-constrained content strategies, and it is with this task that third party companies can help you. Even outsourcing the writing for your blog, which can be a major time-sink for staff who are better used on strategy, can have significant effects: The average company that blogs generates 55 percent more website visitors, 97 percent more inbound links, and 434 percent more indexed pages (pages that appear in search engine results).
Outsourcing content management doesn’t need to be expensive, either. A handful of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) content management platforms have emerged in recent years, making large-scale content marketing available to small businesses as well as freelancers.
Many of these platforms — branded as “CaaS”, or ‘content as a service’ — are examples of low-touch SaaS businesses that bring in a high number of potential new customers through marketing automation. In these cases, the company also offers a free version of the software so people can become users before paying. Once the user outgrows the free version they upgrade to the paid version.
5. Social media
Depending on the age profile and skill mix of your team, it can also be worth outsourcing the day-to-day management of your social media profiles. Experienced marketers will generally be resistant to allowing a third party to manage the messaging that you put out over social media, but hear me out…
Social media is often misunderstood by marketing teams, even now. While posting great content is certainly a fundamental part of using social media effectively, the best campaigns follow up this content with individual engagement. Most marketing teams simply don’t have the time to reply to the thousands of messages that a successful campaign will generate, and in any case, their time is better spent developing the messaging for the next campaign.
In short, by outsourcing the day-to-day management of your social media profiles, you can maintain control of the key messages and content that go out, and just pass on the boring stuff.
The bottom line
Outsourcing your marketing tasks might seem like you are paying for things that you could just do yourself. In a way, that’s completely true. You could use your time and resources fiddling about with HTML code or responding to messages on Twitter. The problem is that this is simply a waste of time (and, ultimately, money) for experienced marketers.
Instead, you should target your marketing investment on the things that actually matter: developing strategic marketing plans and creating great content. And let your sub-contractors worry about the small stuff.