The depth and breadth of knowledge that is required to leverage all of the marketing opportunities that exist for companies in the 21st century make it very hard for all but the largest of organisations to handle everything in-house. Often, it is in the specialist field of online digital marketing that companies have the biggest lack of in-house expertise, so it is on this area I am going to focus when considering which activities can be outsourced immediately.
You will of course need to choose your new partner carefully: not all agencies are equally proficient and outsourcing to a team that is not really up to the task will be of little benefit to your company. In fact, in the worst case scenario, it could result in a dip in turnover rather than the increase you expected. Assuming that you find a capable team, you can consider outsourcing all of the following activities.
1. Technical SEO
On and offsite search engine optimization (SEO) are of vital importance for any company that wishes to ensure its corporate website is highly ranked in search results for relevant keywords. Unfortunately, unless you have a team of SEO experts in your marketing department, it is unlikely that this particular activity can be effectively handled in house. For this reason, it is a prime candidate for immediate outsourcing as far as most companies are concerned. The fact that all work can be carried out online means that it is very easy to outsource as well.
2. Paid Online Media Campaigns
In addition to ranking highly in organic search engine results, it is important to take advantage of the paid online advertising opportunities that exist, such as Google AdWords and the PPC adverts that both Facebook and LinkedIn offer. Usually, the same agencies that handle technical SEO can also manage your online PPC campaigns, and as they are closely linked it makes sense to outsource both activities at the same time.
3. Social Media Planning and Implementation
A lively social media presence can be a highly effective marketing tool, although many companies are still not taking full advantage of the potential that networks such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have to offer. By maintaining open lines of communication with your customers and encouraging them to interact with you and each other, you can generate a great deal of interest in the products or services that your company provides. If you have not already established such a presence, it is well worth contacting an outside specialist with a view to doing so as soon as possible.
4. Website Content Creation and Management
An important part of any digital marketing strategy is the creation and management of the content that appears on your site. In addition to making sure that it is engaging, highly relevant, and optimised for search engines, it should be updated on a regular basis: it is often the sites that have the freshest content that tend to rank most highly for the keywords they are targeting. An external organisation with a team of experienced content writers on their staff will easily be able to handle all your content needs.
5. Digital Strategy
It can be difficult for company insiders to create an effective strategy, especially when they are used to following well-established corporate procedures. Sometimes, what used to work in the past may no longer be the best approach to use in the present, which is where the services of an outside specialist can come in very handy. Organisations that are experienced in data analytics can process vast amounts of information relating to your marketing activities, and can formulate a new plan that makes full use of the most effective channels at your disposal.
6. Online Communications
The way that your company communicates its marketing messages will play a major role in their effectiveness. Outsourcing the management of your communications is a great idea if your staff lacks the expertise to analyse performance and change the emphasis of your campaigns on the fly.
7. Marketing Automation
In today’s highly competitive business world, the field of marketing automation is an important component of any effective corporate promotional strategy. While creative thinking by individuals may be the best way to come up with new ideas for branding and sales promotions, repetitive tasks such as the sending of lead nurturing and lead scoring can often be better handled by software platforms designed for this express purpose. Configuring and fine-tuning such platforms can be a highly specialised activity depending on the CRM your company uses, so it is important that such as task is only outsourced to a competent digital marketing team.
8. Website and Graphic Design
Instead of paying salaries for full-time designers who may be sitting idle for much of the time, you can outsource most or all of your graphic and website design activities to an agency that has a team of specialists with many years of experience in these fields. If you are able to find a firm that also provides website development services, you can outsource responsibility for everything to do with your corporate online presence to a third party. This will allow your own marketing team to concentrate on identifying and developing new promotional opportunities, both on and offline.
9. Conversion Rate Optimisation
Conversion Rate Optimisation – Increasing the number of visitors to your website that actually place an order will help you to capitalise on the results of your SEO campaigns, as well as your PPC and display advertising. Small companies rarely have conversion optimisation experts on the payroll, and as it is such an important function, it makes sense to outsource it sooner rather than later.
There are many other marketing activities that can be outsourced but the nine listed above are among the easiest, and the most important. If you are just starting to consider working with an external marketing organisation, it is in these areas that you will likely derive the most and quickest benefit from outsourcing. Other disciplines can be added at a later date if and when required.