In today’s global market, growth is everything, especially for a small business. Luckily, enterprises have access to a myriad of tools to help them get ahead of the competition.
Outsourced marketing is one such strategy that can help propel a business’s growth while keeping costs down.
Outsourcing is the practice of seeking the services of outside firms (usually from foreign countries) to handle certain business processes. It’s a familiar concept used by some of the largest companies in the world. In fact, as of 2019, the global outsourcing market was worth $92.5 billion.
As a small business owner, you may be asking yourself, “Can I outsource my marketing?”
Here’s the thing. Small businesses, too, can reap its benefits.
In this post, we discuss the positives and negatives of outsourcing marketing for small businesses to help you understand if it’s right for your business.
Top Reasons to Outsource Marketing
If you’re just starting out, you must be wondering, is outsourcing good for small businesses? According to a 2020 survey by Deloitte, the key motivation for businesses to outsource is reduced costs. However, that’s not the only reason to outsource marketing:
1. Outsourcing Increases Efficiency
Findings by Clutch show that 24 percent of small businesses choose to outsource to increase their efficiency. For instance, you can hire an accountant to handle all your financial-related tasks. As someone who specializes in spreadsheets and working through figures, an accountant has all the expertise you need.
Trying to do it all will cost you time and money. Plus, the risk of making errors is high, given your lack of the proper skills to tackle that particular task.
2. Outsourcing Gives You Instant Access to World-Class Skills
In any business, surrounding yourself with the right people is the key to success. However, as a small business with a limited budget, hiring experts full-time can be costly. That’s where outsourcing can prove beneficial.
Outsourcing allows you to hire top talent to handle your marketing strategies. An agency that offers a dedicated marketing service stands a better chance of delivering the best marketing solutions.
Here’s a good example. You may have a content writer on your team who also doubles as a graphic designer. However, hiring an expert SEO specialist with experience in creating optimized content will add more value to your business.
3. Outsourcing Lets You Focus on What You Do Best
As a business owner, you have so much on your plate, and adding another task to the list may have consequences on some operations. When you outsource, you can focus on building the business, while the experts do all the heavy lifting.
What’s more, you’ll have more time to focus on the things you’ve been postponing, like reviewing your budget or scheduling the long-overdue one-on-one’s.
4. Outsourcing Promotes Effective Targeted Campaigns
Digital marketing is the way to go nowadays. Hiring an agency will help you execute more effective targeted campaigns, thereby, increasing your opportunities in the market.
You’ll be exposed to different market segments you never considered.
5. Outsourcing Reduces Staff Overhead Costs
Instead of paying monthly salaries to an in-house team of marketers whose services are only required at specific times, why not opt for contractors? Outsourcing your marketing to independent contractors cuts down your running costs while giving you access to much-needed expertise.
For example, if you’re planning to launch a product, you can hire specialists to handle key advertising campaigns. In other words, you only pay for the services when you need them. A digital marketing agency will have a team ready to handle your projects, giving you peace of mind to focus on your business.
6. Outsourcing Simplifies Analytics Tracking
A digital marketing agency is likely to have in place an analytics system that makes it easier to track how the marketing campaigns are performing. For example, if you run an eCommerce site, they can provide the analytics you need to track consumer behavior. You can view the number of unique visits, session duration, and conversion rate.
The Downsides of Outsourcing Marketing
As with any business venture, things don’t always go as planned. Outsourced marketing also has its downsides, including:
1. You May Hire Incompetent Marketers
If you’re not careful, you may not hire the right people to handle your marketing. And this can result in huge losses. The best approach is to come up with a strategy to help you find reliable and trustworthy professionals.
Every marketer may claim to offer top-notch services, but going in blindly will leave you with lots of regrets.
2. Business Interests May Not Align
Not all marketing experts will share your business ideas. Some may have strong opinions about what your business needs. Sometimes, these opinions may not align with your business objectives or mission.
While you may want to consider some of their ways, make sure you don’t stray too far from your business ideals. Change is scary, and consumers can be skeptical if you alter your business tactics too much.
3. Risks of Hidden Costs
When assessing an outsourcing firm, watch out for any hidden charges. Otherwise, your costs will keep adding up to the extent you start questioning the contract.
One way to mitigate the risk of hidden costs is to work with a budget. Set a budget and inform the agency about it. Doing so ensures that they plan their work around your budget.
You may want to consider hiring a lawyer when reviewing the contract to help you understand all the jargon. Lawyers will scrutinize the document and reveal any pitfalls. However, keep in mind that hiring a lawyer is already an additional cost.
4. You Risk Ruining Your Reputation
The secret to attracting and retaining more customers is excellent communication. It is a key component of customer service, and if you hire outsiders who don’t have this crucial skill, you risk ruining your relationship with customers.
That’s why you need to assess the types of services you want to outsource. Don’t outsource tasks your in-house team can handle best, such as activities that require direct communication with your customers.
Things to Consider When Outsourcing
With up to 80 percent of small businesses planning to outsource, you may be inclined to try it out. However, before you do so, here are a few key factors you need to consider:
- Trustworthiness: Do you believe that the service provider will keep their word? What are their safety practices?
- Level of communication: Without effective communication, your partnership with the outsourced marketer won’t work out.
- Identify the roles and responsibilities of your in-house staff and define what needs to be outsourced.
- Set an initial budget and expectations.
- Set a business benchmark to work with.
- Assess your marketing needs and set marketing goals.
- What it will cost to hire a digital marketing agency.
So, Should You Outsource Your Marketing?
As you can see, outsourcing can be highly beneficial to your small business – from partnering with experts to saving time and money. It also improves your existing operations as you strive to maintain steady growth and productivity.
However, the decision to outsource or not is up to you. That said, making smarter decisions and increasing productivity are among the top professional development goals for managers. Just be sure to involve your teams before you introduce any changes to the company. Who knows, your staff may even offer better opinions and suggestions on how to implement the changes.