A guest post by Jamie McBrien.
Most business aspects can be outsourced, including digital marketing. This guide helps you get the most out of outsourcing for your digital marketing functions.
Outsourcing is a valuable resource for many successful companies. It allows businesses to focus on their core processes while saving on time and costs. In fact, 78% of survey respondents felt positive about their outsourcing relationship with partner companies.
While there are many aspects of your business that can be outsourced, one of the most common areas is digital marketing. Nowadays, businesses are working with outsourced talent who are experts in the industry.
If you’re thinking of doing the same this 2022, here are some tips on getting the most out of outsourcing for your digital marketing functions.
- Decide who you will be working with. When deciding to outsource your digital marketing, you can pick between freelancers or a marketing agency. Each has pros and cons in terms of costs, experience, and communication.
- Establish clear goals. Clearly setting goals and expectations helps you and your outsourcing partner reach the desired results. Communicate their role and how it ties in with your business’s relevant processes.
- Protect your team and your outsourcing partner by having a contract. By laying down the details in a legal agreement, you can avoid confusion and potential disagreements.
Benefits of outsourcing
Outsourcing your digital marketing can provide many benefits for your business.
Whether you are working with an agency or freelancers, you can easily find those who have been doing exactly what you need for years. Look for those who can show proven successes and continue to stay up-to-date on relevant trends.
An established outsourcing agency will be ready with a reliable and effective system that has been proven to get results. They have the knowledge, resources, and experience to help you reach your digital marketing goals.
Meanwhile, proficient freelancers are flexible and likely have expertise that is useful to your marketing plan. For example, a freelancer could be good in a range of marketing functions but focuses on email marketing as his expertise.
These experts are very knowledgeable on marketing and well-versed in partnerships, smoothing out the onboarding process for your company.
2. Cost reduction
Compared to having an in-house team of marketing staff, outsourcing your marketing processes can help you save money without sacrificing quality.
A single full-time employee can cost your business more than hiring an entire team from an outsourcing partner. This team can also put in more time and effort than one employee, saving you money in the long run.
And although a freelancer is the cheapest option while an agency costs more, both are comparatively cheaper than their in-house equivalent.
Freelancers usually charge by the hour with rates depending on their work. The advantages of signing up freelancers include lower costs and ease of access. However, because freelancers are independent workers, you may have trouble coordinating and communicating with them individually.
Meanwhile, marketing agencies can cost more but can provide you with high-quality work without the logistical issues of working with a team of freelancers. You can rely on one point of contact and spend less time working out the small details. Obviously, agencies cost more than freelancers, but not as much as an in-house team would.
3. Valuable resources
When working with an experienced team, you can learn and gather more resources. Experts on digital marketing can give you access to resources like specialised digital tools and software. Along with their industry experience, having access to up-to-date technologies can guide your present and future strategy in connecting with your audiences. If you are a start-up with limited experience, this can prove helpful in getting your feet off the ground.
4. More focus
Less time spent on digital marketing can mean more time on other key processes. You can focus more on your product sales and development instead of devoting a great deal of your time, valuable resources, and effort to market your products and services.
5. Variety of services
When you outsource to an agency, you will be working with an entire staff that provides various services like search engine optimization, email or social media marketing, content marketing, display ads, and others. Digital marketing agencies provide these services and let you choose what type of package suits your needs, including budget.
Challenges you may encounter when outsourcing
1. Longer approvals
When starting with a new team, you can run into issues like delayed responses and longer approval times. Because you are working with people outside your business, you may want to take time going over their work and pitches before giving your approval.
Freelancers often have other clients and projects, so their responses can take longer. Similarly, agencies have multiple clients at a time, so their work may also be distributed among several commitments. This can lead to longer turnaround times for your marketing campaigns.
Another factor is differences in time zones. If the people you are working with are in different time zones, you may have to wait for hours before you receive a response. Scheduling meetings may also be more tedious, but your marketing agency will always be accommodating in this aspect.
2. Consistency issues
Having your content outsourced can affect your brand messaging. For example, if you have been handling your social media marketing in-house and then recently outsourced to freelancers, your audience may notice a sudden change in tone.
To avoid this problem, you should effectively communicate your desired brand messaging to the outsourced team. With a compatible and effective digital marketing team, you can switch over your digital marketing without a significant shift in messaging.
3. Less control
Working with people outside your team can be scary at first. For one, you will be sharing sensitive client information with a third party. Outsourcing also means that you have limited options if they suddenly stop communicating or cease their operations.
To mitigate these risks, vet the agency or freelancers you will be working with. You want to deal with reliable, responsive, and professional people. Contracts are also crucial in laying out clear requirements, objectives, and agreements. A good contract details how information is handled. You may want to look into a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) for sensitive client information.
Miscommunications can be a problem when working with people from a different culture or who do not speak the same language. This can lead to disagreements and friction between you and the team.
Unless you have a reliable translator or translation software, focus on outsourcing partners with English proficiency. This is especially important when dealing with blog writing and ad copy.
Even cultural norms can get in the way of good communication. For example, some cultures might find certain actions rude but might be completely acceptable to you. Get to know your outsourcing partner well to avoid any negative experiences during your collaboration.
What to look for in an outsourced team
Working with the best team helps you get the best results in your digital marketing campaigns. Here are the four things you want to look for when deciding who to collaborate with.
1. Experience in the industry
Experienced agencies or freelancers can help you hit your desired results.
How do you do this?
Look into their track record. Ask about case studies and past projects they have worked on. Look into experience in your specific industry and see if any of their case studies have similarities with your business.
Then pay attention to the objectives and the actual results because these will give you an idea of how well they reach goals.
Experience also means working with professionals who have already established their industry leadership. For example, an agency that has worked with restaurants before can provide valuable insights into your café’s digital marketing. They know the current trends well and understand the path to your desired outcome.
2. Consistent quality
Your partner should be reliable and consistent in their work. Plus, with regular communication, you can benefit from the consistency of your outsourcing partner.
While outsourcing is attractive because of its cost-saving advantage, you should not be foregoing quality. Successful projects in the past are a good indication of an effective partner, but once they are on board, you should regularly check their quality and performance.
3. Measure of success
Get to know the candidate’s processes and systems. Ask how they establish goals and what it takes to get there. You want to see an organised team of experienced people who know what they are looking for. This metric tracking and benchmark analyses should be clear, systemic, and dependable.
Depending on the type of marketing function you want to outsource, this can look different. Analyse your goals for this project and consider how they align with the metrics they provide.
4. The right fit
Collaboration is integral to a successful partnership, so your in-house team and outsourced partners should work well together. Scheduling an initial meeting can help you get to know your potential partners better.
Do they communicate effectively? Are they approachable and pleasant to talk to? Do their values align with yours? If you can easily envision yourself working together, you are on the right track.
Is outsourcing for you?
The benefits of outsourcing include cost reduction, access to expert talent and valuable resources, and more time to focus on your company’s key processes. Still, you should anticipate longer approvals, consistency issues, less control, and possible miscommunications—you only need to iron out these potential problems before hiring your outsourcing provider. Remember to weigh these benefits and challenges.
About the author
Jamie McBrien co-founded optiBPO in 2008 and has over 25 years of experience in organisational transformation, shared services, and outsourcing. He has worked with over 100 companies in the past 5 years to offshore a range of business operations to the Philippines.