As an entrepreneur, your time is precious. It is one of your most valuable assets. If you invest wisely in time management, you will be rewarded in terms of higher productivity.
The problem is, many entrepreneurs like to be on top of everything. So they end up taking on too many tasks. Because these tasks do not fall under their core competence, quality of work is affected. Likewise, productivity is compromised. One such task is marketing. Instead of handling marketing, why not just outsource it?
Outsourcing is not a new concept. It has been around for decades. In fact, historians have traced the roots of outsourcing as far back as the 19th century. During its early years, outsourcing was used primarily as a cost-saving strategy. When businesses wanted to streamline costs, they would outsource a task to a qualified third-party service provider.
Costs were lowered because the company did not have to create a new department and hire new employees. They paid the service provider the agreed-upon fees upon the completion of the task. Since the service provider was experienced and an expert in the task, the quality of work was maintained.
Fast-forward to present day and outsourcing has become a mainstay in a company’s business development toolbox. Companies outsource in order to take advantage of comparative cost advantages as well as economies of scale.
Whereas before, administrative and back- office functions were the tasks that were popularly outsourced, more businesses have started to outsource specialized work such as marketing.
What Marketing Tasks Can You Outsource?
Marketing is a process that involves different components. For example, a digital marketing strategy can include the following:
- SEO – Search Engine Optimization
- SEM – Search Engine Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
- Content Writing
- Link Building
- Paid Ads
- Search Directory Listing
The composition of your digital marketing strategy would depend on your defined goals and objectives. The good news is that you can easily find qualified third-parties; agencies and virtual assistants, who can manage these tasks for you.
However, for the purpose of building a solid foundation for marketing, the following tasks should be outsourced.
If you are planning to outsource marketing, consider setting up a team. Every team needs a leader. For digital marketing, the Digital Marketer acts as the project manager. He/she is the point person of the team and will report directly to you.
The key areas of responsibility of a Digital Marketer include the following functions:
- Schedules meetings with members of the digital marketing team.
- Oversees the work of all team members.
- Establishes the development or campaign timeline.
- Prepares the digital marketing calendar of events.
- Conducts preliminary research.
- Prepares all marketing, performance, and analytics reports for discussion with you.
What are the ideal qualifications for a Digital Marketer?
- Certified in Digital Marketing.
- Highly-knowledgeable in SEO; preferably certified as well.
- Excellent communication skills.
- Proficient in written and spoken English.
- Highly-knowledgeable in various software such as Infusion Soft (email marketing), Buffer (social media marketing), Google Keywords Planner (keyword research), and Google Analytics.
- Good level of experience – 5 years and higher.
Search remains the number one online activity. People are always looking for content that is relevant to their needs and concerns. This is why great content drives traffic and can improve your search rankings.
The keyword in our previous statement is “great”.
Not all types of content will deliver results. Google has very strict qualifications on what constitutes great content.
Here is a summary of these qualifications:
- Content must be relevant to the search query
- Content must be informative.
- Content must be well-researched and shows authority on the subject matter.
- Content must be fresh and unique; plagiarized content will lead to penalties.
- Content must reference only reputable and recognized sources.
Then, you have to consider the specific characteristics of your content. These are the characteristics that help generate results:
- You have to blog frequently; companies that post more than 16 blogs per month get 3.5 times more traffic than companies that blogged fewer than 4 times per month.
- Blogs that have a word count of 1,600 words generate the highest readership.
- Blogs that have a word count of 2,400 can get more backlinks.
It takes 3 to 4 hours to write a well-researched blog. Considering that you have to write blogs 4 days a week, you simply won’t have the time for it.
Before hiring a content writer, ask for 2 things: references and work samples. Lastly, put the content writer to a test. Ask him/her to write a 1,600-word blog. Assess if you like the type of blog the writer has produced.
Social Media Marketing
Social media is one of the most powerful components in a digital marketing strategy. It can help generate followers, influence buying decisions, enhance your online reputation, and drive inbound traffic to your website.
However, for social media to be effective, your campaign must be well thought-out. You just cannot blindly post content on social media and expect results. Furthermore, in order to stay-top-of-mind, you have to post frequently.
For example, for Facebook, you have to post at least twice-a-day. Twitter requires multiple tweets sent out throughout the day. Posting times are also part of the strategy. There are ideal times to post content per type of social media platform.
For the reason that you won’t have the time to create or curate content, and publish them according to schedule, you should outsource social media marketing.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO helps your content get found. This is a highly-specialized skill. It is not a skill that you can learn from watching videos. You need training, experience, and expertise in different marketing disciplines to be good at SEO.
In ways, SEO sets your digital marketing campaign into motion. The SEO professional researches the right keywords that will be used to create content and to optimize your website.
SEO is not a one-time activity. It must be allowed to evolve according to changes in market behavior and developments in your industry. The performance of the SEO strategy must be monitored in order for the necessary adjustments to be made.
If the Digital Marketer is not certified or experienced with SEO, contract the services of someone who is.
Graphics in the form of visual images are another form of content. They are a great way of attracting attention and create powerful first impressions. Graphics like Infographics are effective forms of content.
Infographics qualify under Google’s criteria for great content. They are informative, relevant, useful, and referenced. A simple Infographic can take anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour to make.
You need Graphic Designers who are experts in various design software to create the compelling images you need for your content. You can easily find candidates who are certified “Master” of popular design software such as Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Corel Draw, and Corel Paint.
Social Media/Content Moderation
Engagement is always a good sign in digital marketing. It means people found your content compelling enough to share a comment or an opinion. When someone engages your content, the rule-of-thumb is to offer a response within an appreciable time period. 24 to 72 hours is acceptable.
With your busy schedule, it is not possible or is it feasible for you to attend to all the comments. Your time is best dedicated to managing the core functions of your business. Outsourcing social media/content moderation is the best solution. Plus, there are other benefits to it:
- Not all engagement will be positive. Some people will post criticisms, objectives, and negative reactions to your content. It is all good! These are still forms of engagement!
Sometimes entrepreneurs are so passionate about their ideas and opinions that it is difficult to give an objective response.
Experienced content moderators are not emotionally invested in your business. They know how to craft professionally-worded responses to all types of comments.
- Content moderators will also clean up your page. They will implement your moderation guidelines accordingly.
For example, they can remove irrelevant and inappropriate content such as profanities, and unauthorized backlinks to other websites.
Even if you have the requisite skills, training, and experience, outsourcing marketing is a better option.
Marketing is a function that demands thought, purpose, and strategy. It takes time to design a comprehensive and viable marketing campaign. You have to do research, prepare a schedule, run tests, create content, and monitor performance.
Marketing in the age of the Internet and digital technology should also be allowed to evolve and adapt to changes in business conditions. Rigid marketing strategies will not be successful at a time where consumers have immediate access to information.
Before the Internet, marketing consisted mostly of distributing collaterals and publishing ads and press releases. Once these are distributed, you simply waited for returns.
Today, you have to stay on top of your marketing campaign because now you have access to real-time information via analytics. With accurate data as your basis, you can immediately introduce changes in your marketing campaign in order to improve performance. This is the biggest advantage of digital marketing.
Thus, digital marketing is not a one-and-done-deal. You should not wait for returns once you distribute content. You have the means to track performance in real-time. This is why you should outsource it. By outsourcing marketing, you can be assured that your campaign is being monitored by a qualified service provider.