As with everything, there are pros and cons of outsourcing marketing campaigns. You should consider outsourcing marketing activities when it will save you time. That is the most important pro to outsourcing after all – it allows you to spend more time on the big picture stuff.
Unfortunately, you give up a lot when you decide to outsource, as well. When I talk about in house marketing vs outsourcing, I always come back to the “passion problem.” I’ll come back to that concept later, but the basics are this: when you have someone else working for you, they aren’t going to put in the same level of care and love as you would.
Deciding whether you want to outsource your marketing campaigns is a big decision and I want to equip you with everything that you need to make that decision. You don’t have to get it right the first time, but you need to be considering the decision again and again. As with anything, you’ll need to constantly weigh the pros and cons and decide what’s right for you.
Outsourcing marketing activities isn’t a decision that needs to affect your entire business, either. Remember that you can outsource one aspect of your marketing without outsourcing all of it. Maybe you enjoy and can handle the social media but not the design – that’s normal. When you’re weighing the pros and cons of outsourcing marketing campaigns, consider that, too.
These are the types of decisions that you need to make as a social media marketing agency owner, and the type of decisions I can help you make. If you’re just making the leap to become an SMMA owner, you can learn how to start a social media marketing agency here.
Pros and Cons of Outsourcing Marketing Campaigns
Pros of Outsourcing
- Outsourcing means that you don’t need to teach or learn any new systems and can plug and play your marketing tactics.
- Outsourcing gives you a lower overhead, keeping costs more in line with how well your business is doing.
- Outsourcing doesn’t require you to keep tools and employees up to date, as the company or contractor you work with will handle that themselves.
- Outsourcing reduces employee scheduling stress.
- Outsourcing allows you to focus on the strategy more than the tactics.
- Outsourcing frees up you and your staff. More time means better quality of work.
- Outsourcing frees up your time, allowing you to focus on business development and reducing your general stress.
Cons of Outsourcing
- Outsourcing gives you less control of the day to day marketing work and takes work to function in sync with your strategy.
- Outsourcing opens you up to a greater risk of hiring the wrong people for the job.
- Outsourcing brings up the Passion Problem. Third parties will not share the same passion that you do for your business and your success, which can lead to lower quality work.
- Outsourcing opens you up to potential privacy and data concerns as you have to give sensitive information to more people.
- Outsourcing can create conflicts of interest which you want to avoid for obvious reasons.
- Outsourcing requires a lot of effort in communication when it comes to immediacy, quality of execution, and turn-around times.
Outsourcing marketing activities can be great when you need more time to work on the big picture, but it comes at a bit of a cost. It’s a matter of resources. If you have money but need time and experience, you should consider outsourcing. Otherwise, it might not be for you.
You also have to consider if the hands-off approach is right for you. You lose a significant amount of control when you outsource marketing activities, which is easier for some than for others. Even if the idea itself doesn’t bother you, you’ll have to be prepared to manage and communicate with a new team.
In House Marketing VS Outsourcing Marketing Activities
Of course, to understand how outsourcing marketing activities can affect your business you’ll need to know some technical details. The most important of these is cost – both the cost in hours and in dollars. But before that, let’s go over what you can consider outsourcing.
Writing is a major activity for outsourcing because it’s very time-consuming. You can outsource: lead magnets, opt-in pages, sales pages, ad copy, and video scripting. Editing is also important on top of that. Outsourcing reviews can be important even if you choose not to outsource writing.
Creating your website is another major activity that most SMMA owners outsource. This includes laying out lead magnets, conversion optimizing your sales pages, and developing the website to create what the designer lays out. In addition to web design, you can also outsource graphic design and photography for all sorts of marketing material.
Video production can be outsourced in a lot of ways. Consider outsourcing location scouting, shot listing, scene listing, prop building, stage layouts, casting if need be, camera setup, camera work, and (of course) editing.
You can also consider outsourcing social media interaction. It can be hard to keep up with groups, comments, and messages. Bringing on some help there can free up a lot of time for you.
SEO is usually done out of house. Consider outsourcing keyword research, rank tracking, page optimization, and voice search optimization. SEO requires a lot of expertise and time commitment that is often worth bringing on a firm. One person can’t handle SEO all on their own at a high level.
Email & Messenger marketing is another place you can look to outsource. You might want to bring someone on to write copy, structure your campaign, tag and manage the campaign, and build it out within your campaign management system.
Finally, data tracking and analysis is often outsourced. This includes setting up tracking, setting up reports, monitoring conversion rates, optimizing and tweaking, and creating split tests. Keeping on top of numbers isn’t always easy, so having automation help is always good.
Weekly Time Commitment to Marketing Activities
With all of that in mind, here’s the difference you can expect in hours when it comes to outsourcing versus in-house. These numbers might look a little similar, but the end result isn’t going to. Remember that these numbers will change based on the complexity of a campaign and that I’m not accounting for the time it takes to set the outsourcing up.
- Writing will take 5 – 20 hours in house, 5 – 10 hours outsourced.
- Web design will take 5 – 10 hours in house, and 2 – 10 hours outsourced.
- Web development will take 10 – 20 hours in house, and 5 -7 hours outsourced.
- Editing will take 5 – 20 hours in house, and 5 – 10 hours outsourced.
- Graphic design will take 5 – 20 hours in house, and 5 – 10 hours outsourced.
- Video production will take 15 – 20 hours in house, and 5 – 10 hours outsourced.
- Social media interaction will take 5 – 20 hours in house, and 25 hours outsourced.
- SEO will take 5 – 25 hours in house, and 5 – 10 hours outsourced.
- Email & Messenger marketing will take 5 – 20 hours in house, and 5 hours outsourced.
- Data analysis will take 15 – 20 hours in house, and 5 – 15 hours outsourced.
Should I Be Outsourcing Marketing Activities?
Outsourcing can have a profound impact on your business, as it can free up time for you to focus on the activities that are more relevant to your business. When you outsource, you open up the ability to sell more, scale better, document your processes, develop a network, and improve business relationships. These are all responsibilities you need to be handling as an owner and more time to focus on them will be important for you.
There are 3 questions to ask yourself before you outsource. First, can you afford it? Can you afford to bring on people to handle these responsibilities in house? When you choose to bring on employees, you have to pay a full-time salary, including benefits. You also need to pay for office space. And when you handle everything yourself, you lose out on the potential to grow your business.
Then, ask if you have the infrastructure in place to bring on outsourced workers effectively. Do you have clearly laid out standard operating procedures? You’ll need to be able to clearly define what you need, your job description, and the skills and proficiencies you’re looking for. Make sure that your goals are well defined, and that you know how to judge effectiveness. Consider if you have the processes in place that you need to bring someone on.
Finally, ask what your strengths are. If your strengths don’t align with your needs, it’s time to outsource. It’s as simple as that.
Before I give my final verdict on whether you should outsource, I feel compelled to point out an issue I have run into several times. The best agencies listen to their clients but build the campaign based on what is best for their brand. This can lead to a strained relationship on both sides. You need to be able to set clear boundaries and expectations to make outsourcing effective.
But if you can handle that, then you should definitely consider outsourcing.