So, here goes with an attempt to answer the following question - should you handle your own marketing process, or outsource it to a freelancer or agency?
First of all, let's have a look at what the overall in-house vs outsourced situation is amongst small businesses at the moment. The figures below are from a survey of 500 small businesses based in the UK conducted by Wix.com.
How Many Small Businesses Handle Their Own Marketing Processes?
According to the study by Wix.com, here are the key numbers:
- 31% of small businesses handle their own online marketing
- 34% of small businesses also handed their own PR
- 39% of small businesses handled their own website
Now, although none of the figures above actually include the word 'marketing', I think we can safely say that these are marketing processes. I've actually written another post about these distinctions, which you can read here.
The study goes a bit further and provides the following additional figures:
- 58% were willing to use a DIY website builder or blog to promote their business
- 31% were willing to use free directories for marketing purposes
- 15% said they would use (or had used) free email marketing services to cut costs
- 26% were willing to use free calling or texting services
So, all in, we can say that around a third of small businesses handle their own marketing processes (on average) in one way or another. The question is, should you be one of them?
The Reality Of Handling Your Own Marketing Processes
There are a few things you should consider when deciding whether or not you should take care of your own marketing strategy in-house. Here are a few of the most important ones:
- Do you have enough time to allocate to it?
- Are you tech savvy enough to run various marketing software and applications (most are as easy as operating Microsoft Word)
- Are you creative enough to put together compelling marketing campaigns?
- Are you willing to spend time learning about new marketing processes as and when needed?
Essentially, anyone can learn these things - they are not a black art that can only be harnessed by the chosen few :-). However, they do require time and a commitment to learn, at least initially. Even in saying that though, the modern marketing landscape changes so often that there is always something new to learn (it seems that way anyway).
Here are a few of the pro's of running your own marketing process:
- It will save you money - no agency or freelancer fees
- You have full control over what happens - no dodgy link-building by an outsourced freelancer, for example
- Your message will probably be more authentic - no-one should be able to market a business better than the owner
On the flip side, here are some important things to consider:
- It requires time - something that is often in short supply for small business owners
- It requires a bit of creativity - not loads, but you have to be able to put together compelling, interesting and useful content at minimum
- It requires confidence - your success will ultimately depend on how successful your marketing is and how many sales you make
So, Should You Handle Your Own Marketing Process Then?
The answer to this question will completely depend on you. Are you able to spend the time learning what you need to, developing your strategy and then putting it into practice? Do you have the budget to outsource your marketing process? Do you have the confidence to put together and deliver your message to your target audience?
The good news is that nowadays there are countless resources available to you that can help you take care of your own process. These range from 'how to' blogs such at this one, to website builders and other marketing applications that help you take care of individual processes.
In sum, I think that the following simple combination would be ideal and serve most small businesses well:
- Design your overall strategy yourself - think about who you want to target and the message you want to deliver to them
- Find out what individual processes to need to achieve this - think PPC, social media, email marketing etc
- Do what you are comfortable with yourself - outsource the rest to a freelancer, whom you can normally hire by the hour (sites such as Odesk and PeoplePerHour are great for this)
By doing this, you have to invest some time at the start, although you reap the benefits of retaining quality control, ensuring that your passion comes through but also the skills of an expert in the areas that you need help in.
Thanks for reading,
By Alan MacDougall
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The Revenue Builder Blog is a small business marketing strategy and tips blog designed to help small business owners and startups maximise sales revenue.