If you're considering outsourcing your inbound marketing, you're far from alone.
Research by Linkedin indicates that 75% of teams are outsourcing some or all of their digital marketing efforts. Some 44% of marketers work with agencies or contractors for custom content, and 41% outsource their graphic design. The decision to outsource can offer numerous benefits, even to companies with robust marketing departments. For many organizations, the decision to hire an agency is a tool for creating bandwidth. Let's face it. Blogging, email marketing, and social media are incredibly time-consuming. Instead of focusing on the minute details, companies who hire consultants or agencies are able to shift efforts towards strategy and measurement.
Wondering how much time it takes to "do" inbound marketing correctly? Check out our analysis in our recent blog How Much Time Does it Take to Run an Inbound Marketing Campaign?
Why Do Companies Outsource Their Inbound Marketing?
If you're unsure whether outsourcing your inbound marketing will improve your results, we've curated a list of the most common reasons companies of all sizes decide to outsource. If you take a careful approach to hiring an expert, outsourcing can be a painless way to significantly improve your lead generation and sales. Join us as we review the top reasons to outsource some or all of your inbound marketing efforts.
1. Your Metrics are Stagnant
If you've previously adopted inbound marketing, you've probably appreciated some benefits. If you're regularly blogging, social media, and lead generation campaigns, you're statistically likely to have improved your website traffic, sales, and SEO.
However, if you've reached a place where you're not experiencing month-over-month growth in your metrics, you may need to consider outsourcing. Stagnation in your website traffic, search engine rankings, lead generation, and sales could be caused by one or more of the following:
- You're not creating enough high-quality content
- Your content isn't relevant to your buyer personas
- Your marketing campaigns aren't resulting in qualified leads
- Your website desparately needs a redesign
- You're in a competitive niche, and your inbound marketing no longer "stands out"
An expert consultant will be able to take an in-depth look at your metrics, and recommend exactly what's needed to reach your goals. Better yet, if an increase in marketing volume or shift in strategy is required, they'll be able to assist with execution.
Pro Tip: HubSpot's free website grader isn't quite as awesome as an experienced marketing professional, but it can give you some immediate overview into your marketing health.
2. You're Inconsistent
We get it, things happen. Between product launches, holiday email marketing campaigns, and last-minute requests from your boss to put out a press release, it's easy to let your content calendar slide. However, if you haven't published a new blog in six weeks or a fresh campaign in twelve months, your inbound marketing metrics are probably suffering as a result.
Research shows that consistent blogging yields better returns than inconsistent publishing. Studies also show that the more landing pages on your website, the more leads you will generate.
If your marketing team is tight on time, it can be easy to put the recurring aspects of inbound marketing at the very bottom of your to-do list. However, if you're unable to be consistent, you're probably able to make a pretty good case to your boss to outsource parts of your inbound marketing.
3. You Have Capacity Issues
Perhaps you've hired exactly the right amount of staff to manage your inbound marketing. This works perfectly, until you need to put out a fire. If your team is working at close to 100% capacity, last-minute requests for marketing materials or media interviews can easily put you behind schedule.
Tomorrow People writes that contracting with an agency provides remarkable bandwidth in times of crisis. Many agencies reserve some bandwidth for last-minute client requests, reducing your team's need to spend evening or weekend hours working on short-notice projects.
4. Your Evolution isn't Remarkable
Today, the average marketer uses 13 different tactics for content alone. As companies across industries adopt digital marketing at an astounding rate, competition is increasing. If your team is too focused on the day-to-day aspects of inbound marketing to explore new tactics, you may be failing to keep up.
The explosion of technology over the past several decades has rapidly changed consumer behavior. Smartphone technology is twenty years old, though virtually no one had access to these devices until the past decade. Today, 91% of consumers keep their mobile device within arm's reach at all times.
Effective inbound marketing has been compared to the art of bonsai. To maintain competitive advantage, you should be continually measuring, pruning, and reshaping your program. If your team is too focused on the day-to-day aspects of delivering marketing materials to evolve, you should certainly consider outsourcing.
5. It's Often Cheaper
Cost is a challenging topic. Your potential for cost savings depends on a wide number of factors, including the size of your inbound marketing team, the volume of marketing you deliver, and your industry. However, the majority of companies who move towards outsourcing appreciate cost savings. OpenForum's Annie Mueller reports that you have a particularly good chance of saving money if:
- You don't currently have the right talent
- Your need for certain functions doesn't necessitate a full-time position
- Your team isn't able to perform inbound duties "quickly...or professionally"
Appreciating cost savings from outsourcing requires smart business practices. You'll need to carefully assess a potential contractor or agency's track record, background, and expertise. You'll need to put a contact into place as well. However, for many businesses, outsourcing to experts is often much cheaper than performing work internally.
6. You Want to Implement New Techniques
Do your goals for 2016 include launching your first podcast? Performing a custom research study for the first time? If you will be venturing into new methods of marketing, it may be time to consider outsourcing. In many cases, a third-party consultant with existing expertise in an area can implement much quicker than someone on staff. Branching out into new techniques always carries some risk. No organization wants to spend three months learning podcasting best practices and find out it's a flop with their buyer personas. Hiring an agency facilitates agility. If you find something's not working, you can quickly move onto another idea.
7. Your Marketing is Mediocre
Creating custom content is no longer remarkable. The vast majority of organizations are now engaged in content marketing, and 70% are creating more custom content than a year ago. If your team's efforts at writing eBooks, blogs, and social media engagement are mediocre, you're probably not meeting your key performance indicators.
In order to increase traffic, generate leads, and close new customers, your content must be relevant. To improve your search engine rankings, you must produce resources that are unique, in-depth, and objectively valuable. If you're struggling to elevate the quality of your marketing, working with a subject matter expert can help you transition from mediocrity to excellence.
Making the decision to outsource can lend remarkable benefits to marketing teams. From gaining perspective on your ideal customers to finally having time for strategy, you may need outside assistance in order to break out of a rut. If your company has set aggressive targets for 2016 marketing metrics, make it a resolution to ask for expert assistance.