In-House or Outsourced: The Showdown of Small Business Marketing

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Believe it or not, you have the skills to perform small business marketing strategies and campaigns.  Whether you trust your judgment and skills is an entirely different discussion topic.

Successful small businesses got where they’re at because they offer a mix of good products with services. They’re experienced with some forms of advertising to have gotten there. The same for entrepreneurs with their use of social media.

Here’s the big marketing question: Do you develop the in-house team or outsource?

A small business could certainly keep their marketing efforts in-house or completely pass the task onto third-party services. Let’s find a middle-ground of value and return on investment.

The Small Business Marketing Tasks to Keep In-House

A marketing company or professional will try their best to understand your business and culture, but they won’t always get it 100%. The little nuances are what makes your business unique — it’s what drives many through the doors and buying your products or services.

These are the items to keep in-house:

  • Storytelling the business history and operations create a powerful bonding and branding opportunity. This is gracefully done through interviews and contributions or user submissions. Storytelling is heartfelt and delivers unique perspectives creating customer attachment.
  • Cold outreach through phone, email, and social chats are hard to replicate for third-party providers because they don’t have full access to business data. This personalized connection and rapport build a better relationship with prospects and customers.
  • Trade Shows are a great way to build face-to-face time with would-be customers. You, or those on the team representing the business, are the ones picking up the phone when interested parties call in. This boosts engagement because the prospect has a face/personality attached to the voice, but will require extra planning and execution.

The pros and cons of in-house marketing:

Full control of the marketing campaignExtra tasks for already tapped employees
Lower costs from wider optionsA steep learning curve for newcomers
Great understanding of brand guidelinesScope creep from trying to perfect everything

The Small Business Marketing Tasks to Outsource

There are many marketing services out there, ranging from experienced powerhouses like Allegra to those listing on platforms like UpWork or Fivver in an attempt to get their foot in the door. These services typically contain A) specialized strategies, B) broad options or C) a bit of the two.

It’s intimidating and scary passing marketing efforts to third-party services. Your businesses’ future is in their hands — a good campaign could send it soaring, a bad campaign could ruin everything.

What should you consider outsourcing to third-party marketing providers?

  • Technical SEO goes beyond selecting keywords and fine-tuning Web pages. This requires a host of technical skills from analyzing analytical data to make conversion optimization improvements to configuring databases and media for optimal performance and speed.
  • Print designs and materials are fairly easy to develop using templates, but many small business owners pass the tasks on to amateur professionals. A truly professional team will have a host of design professionals studied and proven in various print offerings. This includes the full suite of conceptualization to realization in business cards, brochures, flyers, and more.
  • PPC campaigns quickly become massive investments even for those small businesses practicing smart campaign budgeting. Professionals honed countless hours and tactics understanding the analytical data and pay-per-click platforms to deliver high-value returns. Their dedication and monitoring prevent massive losses many businesses see expecting their PPC to run on autopilot.

The pros and cons of outsourced marketing:

Leveraging professional skillsHigher, often recurring, costs
Continually updated for best practicesProlific bait-and-switch from shady providers
Offers more time for business operationsSets a new team to macro manage

Marketing Middleground: In-house and Outsource Efforts

There are a dozen+ major avenues for small business marketing. Each provides a stellar return on investments for those dedicated, learned, and willing to invest resources. Many are handled without trouble in-house (e.g. storytelling) while others are best left to the professionals (e.g. technicals).

Finding the balance should include:

  • Budget
  • Resources
  • Time

Small business operations often tap employee throughput to the maximum.

Piling the new task of learning and implementing small business marketing campaigns could overload the team. Discover the skills and opportunities from within your business — but realize professional value when your budget, resources, and time push past the tipping point.