Outsourced or In-House?
In today’s Internet-centered world, marketing encompasses website design, content generation, search engine optimization, pay per click, social media, lead generation and more. What do you do when your home team doesn’t have the necessary skill mix or experience? Maybe you don’t even have a marketing team. Do you outsource the work, retrain your staff, or hire someone in who knows what they’re doing?
If you don’t have the technical expertise at your fingertips, website design is something that needs to be outsourced. Be prepared to pay a premium. Hire someone who is prepared to commit to your timelines and get it right the first time. If you try and get it done cheaply, your contractor will prioritize it accordingly and you could end up waiting for weeks with the meter ticking on your creative talent.
Content generation is easy to outsource. The current economy has spawned an army of freelance writers willing to create and, if necessary, spin high volumes of content for a comparatively good price. There are plenty of content brokers who hire the writers, assign them articles to write on your behalf, scan their work for copyright infringement, and perform light editing. If you decide to keep this work in-house, you will still need to hire someone who can perform the functions of a broker.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
There is much more to SEO than creating content around specific keywords. It involves on-page strategy, technical expertise, a flair for collaborative marketing, and building quality inbound links. Avoid black-hat tactics, link farming, or anyone who talks about buying links.
Pay Per Click (PPC)
In the pay per click model, which is aimed at driving traffic to a website, external advertisers pay the website publisher when a visitor clicks an ad on the website. Advertisers may bid on keywords that relate to their target market. Content sites usually charge a price per click as opposed to using a bidding system. While it sounds simple, there is much more to it than setting up your Google AdWords and going out for coffee. The process needs to be closely monitored, otherwise you can find yourself spending a geat deal of money very quickly.
Social media is easily, and preferably, managed in-house. Only someone with an intimate knowledge of your product and your company can project your corporate personality with any credibility. Moreover, social networking can go disastrously wrong, as demonstrated when AT&T attempted to automate their social media program and ended up creating a public relations problem when it all went haywire and turned to spam.
Hopefully, most of your leads will come from inbound marketing. Visitors to your website will have answered your call to action and completed a form indicating that they are interested in your product. Preliminary follow-up on these leads can be successfully outsourced or delegated to an intern or an administrator, especially if there is a large volume of leads to be followed up. Here, we are talking about verifying contact information, qualifying leads and booking appointments.
You have a great product or service and you need to tell people about it, preferably people who can be converted to making a purchase. If you are a small company and just starting out, you may not have the marketing expertise on hand to hit the ground running. In this case, you may wish to consider outsourcing your marketing function. Some tasks, like managing content creation and managing PPC campaigns, require close supervision and monitoring.
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