Fully developed, internal marketing departments can really support your brand. The problem is, unless you’re a huge company that can afford to employ specialized staff, many internal teams are small and generalized.
Not only do some small to medium-sized businesses often struggle to handle all their marketing efforts alone, they sometimes have a hard time matching the creative and collaborative approach of a versatile team of marketing experts.
Not sure if you need outsourced marketing help? Here are eight signs you could benefit from some extra support:
1. Your staff is overworked or underworked
It’s not uncommon for companies to have very tiny marketing departments, with only a handful of workers responsible for company-wide efforts. When there are only a few workers juggling all forms of marketing— sometimes for multiple locations— specialization is almost unheard of. These marketing gurus are tasked to be a Jack of all trades, oftentimes handling social media, website design, creating branded materials, advertising and a full load of other responsibilities.
You know how the saying goes: jack of all trades and master of none. The internal team’s efforts are divided, and they may be stumbling their way through something they have no idea how to do well (coding, paid ads, social engagement— to name a few) or only being able to devote a fraction of their time to something that deserves more attention.
On the flip side, with no leads coming in, or a lack of formal strategy, this small internal team could be bored. Without specialized knowledge to know how to optimize your website and online assets, they could be sitting around engaging in cost-wasting “busy work.”
2. You don’t have professional writers or content creators
Are professional writers really necessary? To maintain a uniform, professional brand and tone-of-voice, yes— yes they are. How embarrassing would it be to print a brochure with a grammatical error? How costly would it be to break compliance by wording something poorly? A dedicated writer can help to ensure you stick to a solid style guide and keep your messaging consistent, something you’ll never get by having the IT department write on your behalf.
A devoted team of writing powerhouses will have their hands full creating website copy, email campaigns, blogs, content offers, etc. Plus, content marketers bring with them an understanding of search engines, and how to get your content to rank on the first page of Google— something Nancy from Finance doesn’t account for when writing her occasional blog to help the team.
When was the last time you used email marketing to target your audience? Do you even know what a landing page is and how it could help you convert viewers into leads? A writer from a marketing agency will know how to best optimize your content to perform, not just fill the margins.
3. Your website or logo is almost embarrassingly outdated
If your website or logo is outdated, it can hold back your brand. You want your online assets to reflect your modern image and show your audience that you’re still a relevant, active figure in your industry.
Does your company have graphic and website designers to support your content? These are the masterminds behind creating beautiful web pages and visuals. Why hire a company to design a new site for you and then hand it off to an internal team who can’t uphold continual maintenance and improvements— or waste time trying to create a logo in Microsoft Photo Editor?
Though your IT department can help you restart your computer, design isn’t something the average IT team will prioritize. Don’t let your business look amateur with tacky graphics. These assets are your prime sales tools. A marketing agency will likely have multiple designers, ready to start drafting as soon as you say “go.”
4. You aren’t getting anywhere with paid advertising
Maybe you have some Google Ads running, but without a devoted pay-per-click (PPC) expert, leads aren’t coming in too hot. These online advertising tools try to make themselves user-friendly, often setting up “autopilot-like” features so you can set it and forget it, letting an algorithm make adjustments for you.
These search platforms want your money, and although they offer hands-free features, their advertising platform algorithms don’t always make the most strategic decisions. When directly investing money into advertising, you need to be in thoughtful hands. Many companies don’t have the time or resources to train and devote a specific member of their team to managing these systems, but a marketing agency certainly will.
The right outsourced team will have a designated PPC specialist, with distinct certifications for systems like Google and Bing Ads programs— and social advertising too— boasting expertise unmatched by the average Joe. In addition, they’ll know how to get you natural (organic) traffic for the search engines too.
5. You have an intern or random employee managing your social networks
People often underestimate the importance of managing a social media presence for a business. With almost everyone having a social profile, more and more people know how to operate Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter like the back of their hand.
For companies without a formal marketing department, social media management often gets passed off to a willing employee or an intern. Unfortunately, these volunteers rarely have a strategy behind their posting, and can do a poor job consistently personifying your brand image. Nor will they likely know how to utilize the platforms for generating leads and to delight long-standing customers.
A great social media plan needs to have clearly defined goals, a posting calendar and strategy and true understanding of your brand’s personality and personas to compel your audience.
6. You’re sacrificing long-term strategy for day-to-day task checking
We’ve mentioned this a few times throughout this article, but it’s worth repeating: you need a formal marketing strategy. Without long-term objectives to guide your actions, your moves become focused on completely set tasks— like scheduling 10 posts a week to look “active” online— instead of steps towards reaching far-off objectives. Sure, task checking keeps daily operations chugging along and helps to maintain the appearance that things are getting done, validating your paycheck. But task checking alone doesn’t breed greatness— planned execution does.
A marketing agency can help you set SMART goals, so that every action you take helps you reach predefined objectives. The right outsourced marketing company can also help you define what success looks like for your company and develop metrics for tracking the impact of your efforts.
7. Your ROI isn’t clear
Perhaps your biggest weakness lies in your tracking. How are you ensuring your efforts are worth the time and money if you haven’t clearly defined what metrics to measure or assigned value to each task? In the digital space, for example, many people monitor traffic, calls, form submissions, email click-through rates, lead, customers, etc., but what are each worth to you?
At the end of each quarter, you probably compile a neat report packed with numbers to prove you care about the data, but what are you doing with this information other than giving it to the higher-ups and letting it collect dust?
It’s all too easy to look past your internal investment and write it off as productive (I see them in front of me working so things are getting done!) than to see a couple grand invested in a marketing agency behind closed doors. The nice thing is, an efficient outsourced marketing agency will understand how they’re investing their time, presenting their findings and achievements in a way that can prove your marketing ROI.
8. You’re disappointed with your current growth
Some days it can just feel like no matter how hard you try, your company isn’t growing. Whether it’s hitting a certain revenue goal, expanding to different markets or creating different products or services, there’s some sort of roadblock.
Let some experienced minds assess your current efforts, with unbiased eyes. A new outsourced marketing partner can bring fresh ideas to the table. Turn to a seasoned SEO consultant, a keen designer— a full team of individuals who specialize in different fields, all working towards your collective objectives, in tandem.