Outsourcing is not a dirty word.
It doesn’t mean that you have failed your business. In fact, outsourcing may be the future of your business’ longevity.
Instead of trying to juggle every little thing in your business, outsourcing gives you an opportunity to narrow your focus to the things you’re really good at, and leave those things you need to do up to those that do those things really really well.
This is why businesses hire an accountant to do their tax returns.
Before we dive into what you can - and can't DIY - in the digital space, let's talk about outsourcing.
As the digital marketing landscape evolves, it’s a challenge we see business face everyday. When to DIY, when to spend, when to save. And as a growing business in a regional area, we’re not any different.
Let’s say, for example, that you are trailing a weekly blog for your business. You know that content marketing is where you should be.
You want to offer more to your customers to build retention (who wouldn’t).
You want google to love your site more (and know that new content is the key to that).
You want to build your brand and credibility through sharing your thoughts with the world.
If you think any of these things, it's time to consider outsourcing
Your revenue isn’t growing fast enough
While Rome wasn’t built in a day, it’s safe to say you’re allowed to be time focused when a staff member taking two hours to write a blog is essentially losing your business two hours of revenue.
Your staff are overworked and you always seem to be running behind
Even though a roster has been developed and the blog duty has been evenly shared around the office, you’re still bound to hit a wall. In most businesses, no two days are the same and while it’s all well and good to assign a staff member a blog to write for a specific due date, there is no telling what the day may throw at them.
One urgent task that is guaranteed to generate revenue and your little blog gets pushed aside. Now, if this one particular staff member is a dedicated worker, then you might find them staying behind late just to get it done.
Loyal employee + staying after business hours to complete blog = tired and overwhelmed employee
And then the snowball effect begins. Everyone pushes back writing their blog to the last minute and you begin to feel like the Grim Reaper standing over their desk, demanding your blog to be completed. NOW.
It’s just a recipe for disaster in the long run.
You now can’t remember why you started and you’re disappointed with the results
Along with continuing the operations of your business you now have to think about what opportunities these blogs can create. You had a strong strategy in mind but it’s falling by the wayside as you just try to churn out content, content, content.
And you know what?
There is a better way.
Identify what you and your team are great at, and what they should prioritise
Business is constantly changing. We all know it and we certainly can’t fight it. You have spent too much time time keeping up with these changes and building a successful business to lose sight of your core focus. Create a list of everything your team does. If you could fill their days with the most productive things, the things that drive the most revenue, what would they be?
List out everything else: what needs to stay, what needs to go?
Now look at everything else on the list. What stuff just shouldn’t happen. In this processes it’s important to not cut off your nose to spite your face. Don’t be rash and kill activities that will grow your business is the future, but that might be harder to measure in terms of initial returns. There might be things you do (like blogging) that customers would miss if you lost.
Who else can do the stuff that needs to stay?
Not everyone can do everything. If something just isn’t your cup of tea, but you have to do it, it might take you twice as long to do than someone who specialises in that kind of work. You might find that saving time in one area, means you can now afford a service you couldn’t previously. Which means better time (and money) management for you.
Which brings me to...
Things you should and shouldn’t DIY
Do: Keep your brand alive via social
Social works best when it’s full of personality — and who knows the personality of your business better than you or your staff? When you oversee your own social channels you get the benefit of directly building relationships with your customers, and know that questions or complaints will be handled as you would in any other part of your business.
Do not: Skip brand development all together
Brand development is so much more than creating your logo. It involves thinking deeply about the message you want to send, the story of your business, and what you want to achieve. Try and engage a team that includes both graphic design and marketing expertise to crystallise your message and set your brand up for success.
Do: Create your own images for social posts
With the rise of visual marketing via channels like Pinterest and Instagram, having engaging and beautiful visual content has never been more important. And, luckily for us, app developers have come to the party and provided the tools we need. We really love Canva and have run training on how to use it to create gorgeous images and think that planning a visual strategy is something most businesses — with a strong brand story and little creative flair — can get away with.
Do not: DIY your website images or product and staff photography
When it comes to resizing, renaming, uploading and adding images to your site content, it’s best to leave it to the pros unless you know exactly what you are doing. Many a website has been ‘broken’ by accidental back-end antics.
Investing in professional photography is another way to improve the overall look and feel of your digital assets, particularly your website. Get a professional in for team, office and (if budget allows) product shots. While we all have a camera in our pocket these days (thanks smartphones) great photography is still hard to come by — invest in it and you won’t be sorry.
Do: Create engaging content for blogs and newsletters
You have great stories to tell and knowledge to share — so do it! Just remember to keep focused on your key customers, seek out resources and training for creating great posts, and consider how you can plan the work via a content calendar.
Do not: Build your own website for these to live on
Your website is “your land” in the digital space — the cornerstone for everything you do online. Also engage someone with copywriting skills to create professional and engaging copy go on all the pages to match your new fancy site. Bonus points if you can find these skills all in one place (like here Big Blue Digital perhaps?).
Do: Dedicate time to planning and budgeting social and other digital marketing
Yes, there are many great free ways to engage people online, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared to use advertising to meet the audiences you want and need. Create a budget and measure the results to make sure you’re getting value for money. Attributing real value to social media in your business is easier than you think, so make sure you understand it’s value before downplaying it’s importance.
Do Not: DIY or off-shore adwords or other digital advertising
At the very least, you should engage an expert in your initial adwords or digital campaign set-up. Be warned: Do your research on who you choose to work with. We’ve heard many stories about hard-sell and overseas agencies who over promise and under (or don’t even) deliver.
Do: Make use of your in-house teams and resources
If you have someone on your team who is particularly engaged or excited about getting involved — compared to someone who sees it as just another chore — use them! Capitalise on their passion and train them up to get the best results.
Which brings me to my last tip…
Do Not: Forget to invest in training and education
If you were building a dog kennel you would probably drag out an old DIY book or, more likely because it’s not 1980, watch endless YouTube tutorials until you feel ready to get started. Digital Marketing is the same — invest in the professional skills of you and your team, and learn from pros HOW to do the things you are very capable of doing!
An agency like Big Blue Digital spends time really getting to know your business — how you operate and your goals — so we know how we can best help you achieve them via activities in the digital space. But, we also recognise that not everyone has the means to partner with a digital agency.
This is why we make sure our team are great at training and supporting others, so we can work to make ourselves redundant in those areas that can and should be DIY’ed.