Everyone wants a guaranteed return on investment when committing to a large financial expense for their business. This is especially true when it comes to outsourcing any area of online marketing including content development, social media management, and search engine optimization. But don’t forget that you are paying for a lot more than just results. Here are the things you are really paying for when you outsource your online marketing efforts to a consultant or agency.
When you choose a well-established consultant or agency, one of the key things you will be investing in is the experience of the person or team working on your campaign. Choosing someone with experience can be the difference between trying a few different strategies to see what works best for your business and starting with strategies that have been proven effective with businesses in your industry. It can also be the difference between investing in a campaign that is likely to get your website penalized in the long run and investing in a campaign that may not bring immediate results, but instead lead to long term rewards.
Online marketing (especially search engine optimization) takes time – you generally won’t see a huge boost in traffic one week into your campaign. That said, if you try to build an in-house team to work on your SEO, you will have to wait for them to come up with a strategy and then learn what it will take to implement it. An experienced consultant or agency can usually do some research about your company and your competitors and whip up a strategy that they can implement quickly. Because they know what they are doing to start with, you won’t have to wait for your campaign to get started after your in-house team makes it through the steep learning curve.
Because the online marketing world is evolving at a fast pace, you need the person or team managing your campaign to be on top of current news. They need to know when Facebook changes their layout, when Google changes their algorithm, and what new strategies will replace the ones that have become obsolete. Most consultants and agencies live and breathe online marketing news. You can tell which ones do simply by visiting their blog and seeing the content they publish.
If you want to confirm your consultant or agency is knowledgeable, you can always take a passing glance at the top blogs for search and social media marketing, see what everyone is talking about, and ask the consultant or project manager that you work with what their thoughts are on specific topics.
Throughout your online marketing campaign, you will need a variety of people: graphic designers, web designers, copywriters, content developers, analysts, social media experts, search marketing experts, and so forth. Tracking down someone who has experience in each of these areas can be a long, daunting task. Fortunately, most consultants and agencies are well-connected. What they can’t do themselves, they likely know someone who can do them. Your consultant or agency will even be the middle man in most cases, so you can have one point of contact to make everything happen.
If any part of your online marketing campaign needs promotion, consultants and agencies are more likely to have a large list of connections that can help spread the word about your latest blog post, video, infographic, or other piece of useful content. This can really come in hand if the words “viral content” are on your mind.
Almost every area of online marketing requires a healthy tool base, and the best tools typically have a hefty fee attached to them. For search engine optimization, you’re talking about tools for project management, link management, link research, rank monitoring, analytics, reporting, and much more. Consultants and agencies not only have these tools in their toolkit, but they know how to use them. This will save your business the individual cost of the tools as well as the time it takes to learn how to use them effectively.
Long Term Results
Assuming you invest in quality online marketing services, you will be rewarded with long-term benefits.
If your consultant or agency can move your business from beyond page ten to the first page of search results and keep it there, then you are going to see steady leads and revenue from search visitors. If your consultant or agency can help you build a targeted email list, then you will be able to connect with your potential and current customers on an on-going basis for years to come. If your consultant or agency can help you establish a large social following, then you will have the perfect platform to engage with people in order to develop dedicated brand advocates who will help your business through word of mouth marketing.
These are things you can continue to benefit from, even after you part ways with your consultant or agency.
What You Shouldn’t Pay For
For the most part, you get what you pay for, and anything in the online marketing service arena is no exception.
If you pay for cheap SEO services, you’re going to get low quality links and copy that may put you in the Google penalty box. Then you will have to invest even more to have someone help get you out of it, which can be quite time consuming and expensive. If you pay for cheap content, you’re going to get content that *might* be alright for search engines, but it will not be impressive for your clients. If you pay for cheap social media services (like buying followers in bulk), you’re going to get big numbers but zero engagement or conversions.
What it boils down to is remember that it will be much more expensive to fix bad work than to invest in quality work in the first place.
What do you expect from your consultant or agency when outsourcing your online marketing campaign? Please share in the comments!