Should you do your marketing yourself, or should you pay someone else?
For a typical small business, when you start up you’ve got very little money – maybe no money at all! So there’s not really a question. You just have to do it yourself.
But as you get more established, you have customers, even some repeat customers . You start to feel more comfortable about your income. Then it’s time to think again. Ask yourself some questions about how you are marketing, selling and growing your business.
Questions to ask about your DIY marketing
1. How much of my time is spent on marketing?
You may be spending a lot more time on marketing than you think you are.
You’re probably aware of any time you spend blogging or sending newsletters, but what about the other things which add up? Posting to social media. Adding people to your newsletter list. Tweaking a page on your website.
As you get busier, your time is more valuable. And there’s higher opportunity cost if you can use it to make money.
All too often, you not only spend more time than an expert would, you don’t get the same results.
I had a lightbulb moment when we paid professional painters to paint the interior of our house. It took them a week. It would have taken us a month. And the results were fantastic with no spills or smudges anywhere. Marketing is similar.
Expertise is especially important for things like making significant updates to a website; setting up a Facebook or Google ads campaign, or planning an event but failing to get the number of attendees you wanted.
3. How consistently is my marketing going out?
Marketing is like fitness training. It’s much better if you do a little consistently than if you go in fits and starts.
Unfortunately, if you do all your marketing yourself, when your business gets busy you’re likely to drop your marketing efforts. Then when things quieten down you start marketing again. It’s off and on. Inconsistent. Less effective.
Do you recognise any of those challenges in your marketing?
Moving beyond DIY Marketing
If you’ve got a little bit of budget, you may not be able to afford a lot of paid marketing just yet. So what should you keep as DIY marketing? And what marketing should you pay somebody else to do?
Marketing you should do yourself
Activities you should keep as DIY marketing are networking and speaking opportunities.
There is no point in sending somebody else to your local business chamber or networking group. They cannot network for you. People build a relationship with a person and not with a company.
The only person apart from you who can do networking for you is an employee. Somebody who works with you. And you need to be sure that person is really committed to your company. There’s a risk that they could start a business in competition to you – and if they own all your client relationships, y our problems are doubled!
Similarly, speaking opportunities are about building your individual reputation and profile. People remember you more than they remember the company that you represent. So if you’re going to do any public speaking, the person on stage needs to be you or a someone you really trust.
Of course you may want to invest in some training to improve your networking and public speaking. That’s a great option.
Marketing administration tasks
In general, keep marketing admin work in-house. Ongoing minor website changes, updating mailing lists and contact data – this kind of thing. It’s expensive to get an expert to do this – and a waste of their expertise. Consider giving these tasks to a VA or office administrator instead.
Other marketing to keep in-house
Another area where I recommend DIY marketing is organic social media. By that I mean is the kind of social media where you are posting to your business Facebook page or your LinkedIn profile about what’s going on, without paying money to the social media platform. Organic also covers interacting with people who comment or like your posts, or reachng out and sharing other people’s relevant content.
Why do you keep this in-house? Once again it’s about you, your personality and your business. No one else will sound exactly like you, and for a small business, personality is one of your key stand-out points.
You may need some training help here too. That might be about how to post, or it might be about what to post. Strategic help planning your content can b great, but you still want to keep your tone of voice.
What to do about blogs and newsletters
Somebody else can write your blogs and create your newsletter – but again, you risk losing some of that personality, touch and humanity which makes your marketing real.
A lot depends on how much you like writing or creating content. You might just want help with the content plan, or you might want someone to do all the writing for you as well. Whatever you do, you still need to be hands and review everything.
Remember too that a lot of your unique and interesting content starts off in your experience. It’s hard for an outsider to talk about what happened with clients, tell stories about your business, talk about interesting jobs you’ve done and challenges that you’ve overcome. If you do outsource blogs and newsletters, you need a system which feeds this content into the plan. (Ask us about how we do it! Alternatively write something yourself and maybe get your VA to tidy it up before publishing.)
Something many small business people want to outsource is copywriting.
Some people like writing. Others don’t. And writing which persuades people to take action (call you, buy your service) is even harder than standard writing.
If your budget is limited, consider expert copywriting help for your main marketing materials. Your website home page, services pages and about us page. These are usually the ones which get the most traffic. They are where you want to stand out. Or if you have a brochure or flyer, make sure the copy on that is up to scratch.
Of course if you’re the kind of person who wants to write a novel in your spare time, you might just want to do everything yourself. There are a couple of useful tools to help you here. But if you’re a plumber and you’d rather be out on the tools just get somebody else to do it.
Marketing which is usually better outsourced
By this I mean everything from participating in trade shows to having a sponsorship booth in a local community event, to running your own event. Training, product launch, demonstrations and so on. A small number of us like organising parties and getting all the fiddly detail right – if that’s you, go ahead! But far more of us tend to be a bit visionary. There’s also the risk of deadlines slipping if an urgent job comes in. It doesn’t really matter if your blog post is a week late, but if you’ve organised an event, you have a hard deadline! That can be very stressful.
Most people hate telemarketing. That leads to one of two results:
- They say they’re going to do it, but they never do it.
- They do it badly. It’s really easy to tell when someone doesn’t actually want to be on the phone calling you!
A telemarketing campaign is more affordable than many think – and can be really effective. Wouldn’t you rather someone else did all the cold calling and you just went to appointments with interested prospects?
Invest in help to set up some more complex marketing
As your business grows and your marketing gets more complex, you might want some help with setting up systems and technology. For example:
Most CRMs fail not because of the software, but because of the setup. If you’re moving beyond a list of contacts in your Gmail or your Outlook, think about why. Decide what you want to achieve. Do you need to track leads in various stages of the sales process? Or is it about managing different projects or tasks for clients? Do you have agreed processes and milestones? Without those, it’s hard to set up automation or reporting to get value from a CRM.
Marketing automation is another area where you may need help. A monthly newsletter is easy enough, but what if you want to send a series of emails after someone downloads a resource from your site? Often if someone helps you set up the first sequence, you can use that as a model to expand later – but some initial help can save you a lot of time and make your results much better.
This relates to the whole area of paid online marketing for lead acquisition. You can set up Google Ads or Facebook Ads yourself, but both are powerful, flexible systems that change continually. If you’re not set up properly, you can spend a lot of money – and time! – targeting completely the wrong people.
Finally, it may help to have someone look at your reporting. A marketing consultant not only knows what to look for, they have some idea what’s a good number and what isn’t. So they have the expertise to know where to tweak for maximum benefit.
A word about photography
Most people have some photography on their website – even just a head shot.
When you can afford it, hire a professional photographer. Get several headshots – you might have one on a plain background and a couple of you working. You might have a few core products or you might want shots of the team or the office. A few good shots are an investment which you can use in every bit of marketing you’ve got. Your website. Your Google MyBusiness listing. Your social media. Associations and forums you belong to. Flyers and brochures.
Are you ready to go beyond DIY Marketing?
At NoBull Marketing, we can help you set priorities, and build systems to make your internal marketing more effective. We can also assist with blogs and newsletters, and help you brief and manage specialist marketing suppliers.
If you’d like some help working out what to keep in-house and what to outsource, or if you need some help moving to the next level, we would love to hear from you.