No matter what your industry, a strong marketing strategy is essential for your company’s success. Even the best business in the world can’t operate without customers, and attracting new ones is the only way to grow your scope and revenue.
That being said, it can be highly stressful for small business owners and understaffed marketing departments. Spending hours coming up with and implementing new ways to attract clients can be frustrating, especially if you aren’t seeing results.
So how can you tell if it’s time to outsource your company’s marketing? Here are four signs that hiring an outside agency would be a better use of your resources, and what to do if you decide that it’s the right move for you.
1. You’re struggling to keep up with your normal workload
The biggest indicator that it’s time to look for outside help is that the time you spend on marketing tasks is taking away from your ability to do your job. If you’re a business owner, think about why you started your business. Was it so that you could learn and use marketing skills? Probably not.
Running your business should be your top priority. If you notice that the quality of your products or services is slipping, it’s time to outsource. Although a marketing strategy is important for growth, it can’t make up for a poorly-run business.
If you’re a part of your company’s marketing department, outsourcing can be an even more difficult decision to make. As someone who works full-time to market a company, you may think that asking for outside help is an indicator that you aren’t skilled at your job.
The truth is, even the best marketing departments have trouble keeping up with the constantly-changing landscape of Internet marketing. By outsourcing some of the work to an agency that specializes in keeping up with those changes and developing new strategies around them, you can focus on other aspects of your job and be confident that the digital aspect of your marketing is sound.
2. Your marketing strategy isn’t producing results (or you aren’t sure if it is)
The Internet can be one of the most cost-effective ways to attract customers, but your company’s success with it depends on your strategy. If you aren’t sure whether or not your online efforts are producing results, it’s time to make a change.
Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to outsource. If you’re willing to spend some time learning a bit about Google Analytics and monitoring your site, that could be all it takes to figure out which parts of your strategy are working and which ones you need to change.
That being said, if learning to analyze and adjust your strategy isn’t something you’re willing to do, it’s time to outsource. Even the best plans need adapted on a regular basis in order to keep up with new developments, and if you simply continue to do what you’ve always done (regardless of the site traffic, leads, and conversions you’re seeing), you are wasting your business’ time and money.
3. You don’t have time to keep up with new Internet marketing strategies
In addition to keeping up with analytics, it’s critical for your business to stay on top of the changes taking place in SEO, PPC, social media, and other forms of digital marketing. As algorithms change, search engines release updates, new marketing platforms emerge, and the ways in which consumers interact with businesses online evolve, simply understanding what is going on can be a challenge in itself.
If you struggle with this, my first recommendation is that you sign up for Feedly, or another RSS reader. Add sites and blogs about SEO, marketing, and social media to your feed, and check it on a daily basis. Even if you end up outsourcing your Internet marketing, knowledge of current marketing trends is never a bad thing to have.
As you learn about new practices and techniques, it’s important to test out at least a few of them. Not every social platform or PPC campaign will be right for your business, but avoiding them completely could mean missing out on substantial revenue. If you have a decent-sized internal marketing team, it could be possible to delegate these new tasks as they develop.
If you don’t have a team to work with, however, outsourcing may be your best option. Working with a team of marketing professionals who make it their job to keep up with the industry can be a lot easier – and a lot more cost-effective – than hiring your own team and expecting them to do the same.
4. You aren’t able to put your ideas into action
Assuming that you’re passionate about what you do, the idea of telling people about your company is probably pretty exciting. You likely have a lot of ideas that you want to share, and some may even have potential for entire campaigns.
If you aren’t able to get these messages out, and share your excitement for what you do with potential clients, outsourcing might be the right decision. Even if you aren’t able to put your ideas into action yourself, a dedicated marketing agency will be able to use them for blog posts, free resources, or campaigns.
It can be intimidating to hand the marketing reins over to someone outside of your company, especially if you are the type of business owner or marketer who likes to have complete control of your professional image. However, an agency that will work with the existing vision you have can be just the right tool to help you get your ideas out – and is much more effective than trying to make time in your already busy schedule.
What to do if you decide to outsource
If you decide that outsourcing is the right decision for your business, don’t fall into the trap of choosing the first agency you find. Although improving your marketing effectiveness (and attracting new clients) is an exciting concept, it’s important to choose a team that you trust with your company’s reputation.
Take the time to research your options, and be sure to discuss your own marketing goals with the agencies you consider before making the final decision. There are many capable Internet marketing teams out there, but ultimately, the one that is right for your business depends on what you hope to accomplish.
Are you looking for monthly assistance with your digital advertising? Does your company need entirely new branding? Are you focused on specific KPIs? These are all things you should discuss before signing a contract.
If you’re considering outsourcing your company’s marketing but aren’t sure how to choose an agency, you may want to check out our more detailed page on outsourcing. And if you have any questions (or want to point out something I missed), feel free to let me know in the comments below! I’d love to hear your thoughts.