How to Efficiently Grow your Business with Digital Marketing Outsourcing
Small business owners, competing for customers in a digital-first marketing world, often find themselves in a bit of a marketing squeeze play. Businesses are scrambling to get to the No. 1 spot on Google over one another, and it’s no wonder why.
Studies show that 93 percent of all online interactions start with a search engine—with search ranking as the top driver of traffic to content sites (beating social media by more than 300 percent!).
As consumers continue to favor shopping online, particularly in light of the ongoing pandemic, effective digital marketing efforts to reach them over competitors is absolutely essential. Yet the economic impact of the pandemic also has businesses keeping a careful eye on expenses and return on investment—limiting their ability and appetite to expand in-house digital marketing teams.
So how can businesses win amidst this tug-of-war of priorities?
A simple, yet often overlooked solution is to avoid the squeeze play altogether by outsourcing your digital marketing strategy.
When digital marketing outsourcing makes sense
Outsourcing digital marketing is an investment, and one that merits full consideration at a time when businesses need to make the most of available capital. That said, an investment in marketing is an investment in growth—which many companies are in desperate need of due to a COVID slump.
Below are three key scenarios in which you should consider outsourcing to a digital marketing agency.
You know you can’t compete without better digital marketing, but you don’t have a dedicated in-house marketing team.
You know your digital marketing needs a boost, and your in-house team could use some expert strategic guidance on the latest and most effective digital marketing tactics.
Your in-house team has a digital marketing strategy in mind, but team members don’t have the necessary expertise or capacity to fully execute. (For example, your team wants to refresh your brand and needs help turning the strategy into reality.)
How to outsource digital marketing
If you’ve found yourself in any of the above three scenarios, it may be well worth the investment to engage with an outsourced marketing partner to supplement your marketing department—or be your marketing department.
But where do you start?
We recommend spending time developing answers to three simple, yet critical, questions.
1. Know what you want to accomplish.
Now’s the time to reevaluate your business plan to confirm your business objectives are still relevant in these turbulent times. Has the COVID-19 pandemic changed anything—whether your end goals, or your means to get there?
If you’re unsure how your current marketing approach stacks up in the “new normal,” consider engaging with an outsourced digital marketing partner that offers fractional chief marketing officer (CMO) services. Fractional CMOs typically are senior-level marketing executives who have managed major marketing initiatives from ideation to execution. Fractional CMOs take on short-term marketing initiatives, such as creating a new or overhauling an existing marketing strategy to achieve a specific objective.
On the other hand, if you’re satisfied with your high-level marketing strategy, but want to enhance it in the details—look for an outsourced partner with exceptional experience in key tactical areas such as search engine optimization (SEO), content creation, social media management and more.
If you’re confident in your day-to-day marketing initiatives driving traffic, you might just want to refresh your foundational assets receiving the traffic—namely your website. In that case, your partner search will target digital marketing pros who specialize in improving website appearance and function to maximize user experience and conversion.
2. Know your business’ work style and office culture.
It’s important to take a (figurative) look in a mirror while preparing to outsource digital marketing. Just as you likely look for a good cultural fit when hiring a new employee, you should remember to consider fit beyond services when considering engaging with an outsourced digital marketing team.
Think through the kind of working relationship you want with the agency. For example, what are your expectations around collaboration and communication? How involved do you expect to be or not be with projects? How do your company values align with that of the agencies’?
Additionally, consider whether it’s important to you to have access to your partner in person. For the moment, many businesses—agency clients and agencies alike—are relying on virtual relationships. If that model works with your operational style, you could expand your digital marketing agency search outside your geographic location.
3. Know what you can afford.
The primary advantage of outsourcing digital marketing comes down to budget. A robust digital marketing partner gives you access to a diverse team of marketing experts to execute recommended go-to-market strategies—without you incurring the costs of a full-time marketing staff.
Regardless of who you engage with, it’s important to go into a conversation with a potential partner knowing what your budget is. Ensure they’re able and willing to work within your means from the start, before diving further into a consultation.
Additionally, look for an agency partner with a flexible and scalable model, so they have the ability to grow with or scale back on that budget to accommodate any future changes in your business or the market.
Finding the right digital marketing agency
Armed with a clear view of your digital marketing objectives, your cost-benefit analysis and a preliminary budget, you’re ready to develop a digital marketing agency short list.
This is when having a strong business network can pay off, as you can easily connect with a range of sources for suggestions. Here are a few sources to consider:
Talk to business peers that make similar use of digital marketing about the agency resources they’ve tapped.
Touch base with industry association local chapters, such as the American Marketing Association.
Identify regional universities or colleges with strong marketing programs and curricula, as department heads typically have good working relationships with local marketing resources.
Talk to local chambers of commerce for any contacts among their memberships.
Armed with your short list, do preliminary due diligence by spending some time on candidate agencies’ digital marketing channels for a sense how the agency uses digital marketing to promote its own services.
For example, if you seek an agency to drive your social media, take a look at digital marketing agencies’ channels. If your plans call for blog management, read agency blogs for insight into how they might manage your blog content. Take a close look at agencies’ client work portfolios, again focusing on the specific digital marketing support you need.
These efforts can help you narrow down your short list to a handful of top prospects to focus on. Reach out with a request for proposal (RFP) that details your business’ specific digital marketing needs, requests for work samples, references and any specific requirements you might have.
Your final step will be evaluating RFP responses, meeting with your top choices—and choosing the team that is the best fit for your digital marketing needs, your budget and your team.
Learn more about outsourcing your digital marketing
Interested in learning more about outsourcing digital marketing?
Jennasis & Associates is a full-service digital marketing agency with deep expertises in creating comprehensive marketing strategies. Our diverse team has expertise in fields such as web design, graphic design, SEO, social media, content marketing and more!
Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about our flexible, scalable approach to outsourced digital marketing partnerships.
Drez Jennings has pursued her passion for writing and editing as a journalist covering crime and politics, and as a media relations and marketing communications pro supporting large financial services, healthcare, and legal businesses. Drez lives with her husband Mark Wainwright in a 100-year-old Arts and Crafts home in eastern Lake County. Fun fact: all of Drez’ pets are named for musicians. Now on stage – black Lab Joe Walsh, and cats Jerry Garcia and James Brown.