Outsourcing Digital Marketing? Here are the 10 Commandments for Your Success | The first launch of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket from Kennedy Space Center, United States

Outsourcing Digital Marketing? Here are the 10 Commandments for Your Success

Outsourcing digital marketing at some point has become a necessity for most businesses. This shouldn’t come as a surprise that outsourcing digital marketing is the third most outsourced function for small businesses, with only more outsourcing accounting and I.T..

Today, more people have access to digital marketing tools than ever before. Online platforms, plugins, and tools designed to simplify digital marketing to the point that anyone can do it. But can they?

If that were true then there would be no such thing as digital marketing agencies, right?

It’s almost unheard of for a business to employ internal talent capable of managing social media campaigns, crafting engaging and inspirational content, optimizing sites with cutting-edge SEO, building successful PPC campaigns that convert clicks into revenue and designing a website with a UX experience that has visitors coming back for more again and again.

Yet, for any business to survive in the cutthroat digital world, they need talent with these skills and more.

Bottom line: If you want to amplify your brand online, at some point you need or will need to employ a digital marketing agency that knows what they’re doing for any one or multiple of the tasks mentioned above.

But before you do a quick Google search, click a few links, and call the agency with a website that’s moderately engaging, read these ten commandments of success for outsourcing digital marketing to ensure your best chance for success!

1. Try Not to Skimp on the Budget

Girl holding American Dollar Bills

Let’s start with an obvious one; outsourcing your digital marketing is cheaper. All businesses have a budget to work to. It would be wonderful if they could just spend money at will, but the world just doesn’t work like that!

Let us paint you a picture. Any business who wants to build their digital presence will need a project leader, someone to lead all operations from website design to social media strategy… oh, and did we mention that digital marketing evolves? It’s never finished!

Next, you’ll need a website designer, UX expert, and content strategist. Someone to look after website maintenance, build SEO campaigns, create, and monitor landing pages, build, and run PPC campaigns, a PR professional, someone to create reports… the list goes on.

Before you even start to see any ROI, you could have spent tens of thousands of dollars. 

Give the digital marketing agency a realistic budget, and you can take care of all your digital presence needs in one straight shot. With impactful campaigns, a website that draws attention and keeps people clicking internal link after internal link, and more and you can reap the rewards of success without breaking the bank. 

Outsourcing digital marketing means you are hiring a team of specialists, and compared to finding and hiring each expert individually, you are saving a LOT of money. That’s why you don’t want to go too aggressive on the budget and instead better value the approach to get the most value out of it.

2. Have a Strategy and Execute It to Perfection

chess rook

Not to state the obvious, but the success of your digital marketing largely depends on how good and well-executed your strategy is. Get it wrong and you’ll have to start from scratch again – and you’ll have wasted weeks or even months and have little to show for it.

A big part of any successful marketing campaign is being aware of changing consumer behavior and trends and there’s no better business to tell you this than a digital marketing agency. Use outdated SEO or black hat techniques, and your website will not rank well. Write cliché email subject lines and you’ll condemn your email marketing to spam folders.

Digital marketing agencies know this. Designing and executing campaign strategies isn’t something that’s done on the fly. They’re created by a group of learned marketers with specialised knowledge who spend hour upon hour in a boardroom. Then they’re executed to perfection.

Can you say that you know how to do this?

3. Don’t Expect Miracles Overnight

Meditation with Lovely Cat

Ever heard the expression “Rome wasn’t built in a day”? It’s true of most things in life, and cultivating a successful digital presence is no exception. To create great things, you need time. If you view your digital marketing through this lens then you have a good idea of what to expect. If you’re relying on an in-house team to roll out a perfectly optimized website with sublime functionality, one where every pixel, every word adds value. Or social platforms that everyone wants to comment on, and everything in between, in a matter of weeks – you’re in for a rude awakening.

What if you have an eCommerce function to your website and want to change your product offerings? What if you’ve grand designs on creating a YouTube channel and building a community? All these things take time, and a digital marketing agency understands this. 

Be patient to achieve any ROI, after all, think about this: if you’d asked a builder to build a house and he tells you the project will take six months, it will take six months, right?

4. Encourage Creativity

Many different paint pots

Creativity was fundamental to marketing success long before the digital revolution and in the age when people spend just seconds deciding whether the content on any page is worth their time, creativity is just as, if not more, important today.

Your customers don’t want to read bland, boring copy. They don’t want to look at an infographic that’s about as inspiring as a cardboard box. They’re not interested in tweets about the technical specifications of your product line. They want to be inspired, engaged, valued. This is where having sharp creative skills pays dividends.

Outsource your marketing to a digital marketing agency and you’ll have access to some of the most creative people working in any sector today. Encourage them to get creative. Do something different. Think outside the box. Not only will this give digital marketing professionals scope to create attention-grabbing campaigns, but they’ll enjoy their job so much more – and we all know, the more someone enjoys a job the better they perform!

5. Keep the Lines of Communication Open

Teléfono

Let’s be frank: No business transaction can be successful without having an open dialogue. Fostering good working relationships is one of the building blocks of success. Without this, mistrust can set in, decisions questioned, and disagreements ensue.

The impact that communication has on digital marketing cannot be overstated. As we mentioned above, curating engaging content or bolstering social media campaigns requires a great deal of creative interpretation. There’s not a singular, black and white solution to building your online presence. The risk of miscommunication is high. So when dealing with a digital marketing agency, goals need to be aligned and objectives understood. Without this, the relationship between business owners and their digital agency will inevitably fracture.

Remember too that it’s often those little things that make all the difference. Let’s say that you want to embody an approachable ethos. Tell your marketers. They’ll then tailor content to this. If you want to heavily promote a product or service, tell your marketers. What if you want to promote a special offer, again tell your marketers. They can’t sprinkle their creative fairy dust over your goals and ideas if they’re communicated effectively. 

 6. Be Open to a Change in Branding

brand identity

We get it – change is scary, and some business owners are not as receptive to this idea as others. However, being open to a change in branding could completely transform your business.  

Remember when you outsource your marketing to a good digital marketing agency, they have their fingers on the pulse of the latest trends. They know what consumers want. They know what’s current. So if they’re saying new branding could reshape how your customers feel about you and drastically improve your commercial prospects – trust in their advice. 

Your brand might have worked well twenty years ago, but is it really current right now? If you need to outsource professionals to bring your brand into the digital age, outsourcing your digital marketing is a must.

Smartphone homescreen in Manhattan, New York

Digital marketing continually evolves. Google releases updates. Social media platforms add new functions. How we want our content delivered to us changes (video is no longer an option, it’s a necessity). We could go on and on.

If you’re not completely up to speed on Google’s upcoming 2021 algorithm update that will measure how users experience the performance of web pages or how you can use Facebook’s upcoming app, Collab, (their own version of Tik Tok) and the wealth of other subtle and not so subtle changes in tech and marketing that could affect business performance online, you need to outsource your digital marketing to those who do.

By leveraging the latest platforms, practices, and trends you can get a step ahead of the competition. If you don’t, expect your customers to migrate to your competitors.

8. Progress Without Micromanagement 

It’s a toss up

When outsourcing to a digital marketing agency – you’re leaving the growth of your online presence in the hands of experts. Now you’re free to dedicate time and energy to developing the goals, processes, and direction of your business.

Collaboration is always important, but working with a digital marketing agency should make your life easier and not require micromanagement in any shape or form. The goal is to capitalise on their expertise, but not at the cost of efficiency. So, before making the jump from in house to outsourced – make sure you have established processes and clear communication to avoid becoming overly involved in their progress and projects. 

9. Benefit from a Second Opinion

Coffee Talks

The value of objectivity cannot be understated. When you’re spending meeting after meeting brainstorming new products or ideas it can be hard to take a step back and critique your own team’s work. It’s even harder to bin an idea you or your team are particularly passionate about. That’s where a digital agency comes in handy. We provide more than just a service – armed with an understanding of the latest trends, platforms, and online strategies, we can offer objective feedback on a range of business offerings. 

We can help you take an acorn of an idea and turn it into something spectacular or help you avoid wasting time, money and manpower on an ill-fated proposal. When it comes to succeeding in the digital landscape – you cannot beat the power of a second opinion. 

10. Start Your Business on the Right Foot

Relay runner

This tenth and final commandment is especially important for startups or if you are launching a new product or service.

It’s no secret that the business world is cutthroat. There are so many facets of launching a new business that need to be executed seemingly to perfection if you want to find any measure of success. You might think that outsourcing digital marketing is reserved for established businesses – not true. 

A digital marketing agency can help ensure your online presence starts off on the right foot. They can set you up with eye-catching and engaging content, a perfectly optimized website, a killer UX experience – the list goes on. They have a keen understanding of what it takes for a business to succeed from day one. What’s more, by engaging a digital marketing agency early on, you can build processes and practices based on expert industry advice. 

How has your experience been in outsourcing digital marketing? Would love to hear if you have any commandments to add to the above in the comments.

This is a post written on behalf of one of my marketing partners. All opinions are 100% mine.

Photo by Bill Jelen on Unsplash

If you are looking to outsource or are currently outsourcing digital marketing, here is my advice in the form of 10 commandments to follow.
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Neal Schaffer
Neal Schaffer is a leading authority on helping businesses through their digital transformation of sales and marketing through consulting, training, and helping enterprises large and small develop and execute on social media marketing strategy, influencer marketing, and social selling initiatives. President of the social media agency PDCA Social, Neal also teaches digital media to executives at Rutgers University, the Irish Management Institute (Ireland), and the University of Jyvaskyla (Finland). Fluent in Japanese and Mandarin Chinese, Neal is a popular keynote speaker and has been invited to speak about digital media on four continents in a dozen countries. He is also the author of 3 books on social media, including Maximize Your Social (Wiley), and in late 2019 will publish his 4th book, The Business of Influence (HarperCollins), on educating the market on the why and how every business should leverage the potential of influencer marketing. Neal resides in Irvine, California but also frequently travels to Japan.
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