As an entrepreneur, one of the biggest questions that you will have to ask yourself is whether or not you should outsource some of your business processes. It’s not unlikely that you’d prefer to keep every in-house and to cover every aspect of your business with your employees, instead of relying on service providers. However, when it comes to factors as essential as marketing activities, it is important to understand that you need to trust an expert with your strategy. In other words, there are situations where you can entirely rely on your team, such as for the creation of targeted and specialist content – after all, who else than your employees can write best about your company’s offering and solutions? –, and there are situations where you need a qualified professional to take over one project, such as designing your new website, for instance. Additionally, there is also a thin line between being able to recruit an expert as a full-time employee – and consequently having the budget and the level of activities to keep them – and contracting experts for a set number of hours per period. Finally, you need to be aware that while you may train employees to adjust to the requirements of a marketing campaign, it takes an external expert to be objective about the result of a strategy and the way your audience perceives you. Below you will find five key examples that illustrate the difference between in-house trained staff and professional marketing service suppliers, and more precisely the way expert strategies can transform the audience’s perception of your company.
You Appear On Top Of The Search = You Are Trustworthy
With over 90% of customers looking for a product or a service online, it is almost impossible for companies to survive if they have no digital presence – for the sake of this article, we’ll ignore every small local business such as the independent grocery shop or the antiquarian’s, which can still exist without having a website. But having a digital presence demands more effort and dedication than just launching a website. Indeed, having an online presence doesn’t mean that your company will be visible online. For this, you need to make sure that users can find your website in the search results. In other words, you will need an efficient SEO marketing strategy. Unfortunately, Search Engine Optimization is the combination of complex activities, from ensuring that your website is accessible to search engines – which means being able to work in the source code of the site – to producing content that supports your keywords. Additionally, you will need to be able to monitor the performance of your keywords, which requires the purchase of additional tools. More often than not, companies choose to divide the tasks between in-house employees who provide either information for the creation of the relevant content or who sometimes create content too, and expert agencies that possess the necessary tools and experience to maximize your digital presence. Choosing to work on your online presence on your forces you to work with fewer tools, and also with less time: Indeed it’s likely that your in-house team will have to juggle other roles on top of the SEO project. In other words, you may find yourself unable to commit to a full SEO strategy. Consequently, your website is likely to appear low in the search results against the national and international competition for your selected keywords. Unfortunately, from a user’s perspective, companies that appear on page 2 or beyond tend to be perceived as of lesser quality. To sum up, if you don’t work with an expert agency, it’s likely that customers who find you will not trust you with their problems.
You Run An Engaging Social Media Account = You Understand People’s Needs
More and more small businesses like to manage their social media strategy in-house. The idea is that social media gives you access to your audience. Consequently, you need to be sharing information and interact with your audience as often as possible. However, it’s likely that the task of managing social media is entrusted to an employee who also has other responsibilities. In other words, a constantly evolving platform is the responsibility of someone who doesn’t have 100% of their attention on it. Ouch. You’re bound to miss important real-time events. Indeed, one of the worst mistakes of small businesses is to rely entirely on automatic posting, a tool that allows people to prepare their posts in advance for the week to come so that everything can run smoothly while they work on something else. While this is a gain of time, it can be devastating if your timing is wrong. Imagine posting a sales message about your latest flight offers just after the news of a plane crash. You can bet that your followers won’t be impressed. Additionally, the auto-post function sounds a little too mechanical, making it obvious that nobody is monitoring the account. Social media being a platform for real-time digital interactions between people, automatic posts are somehow defeating the interactivity. Another important thing to do is to be able to respond in real time and in the best possible way to tragedy. This means that you shouldn’t try to use a tragedy to sell your products, for a start, and that you should post as close as possible to the time of the tragedy. Wait too long, and your followers will find that your company is insensitive. As a rule of the thumb, it’s best to work with a dedicated social media expert, either in-house or contracted, so that you are guaranteed to show your best side at all times. Besides, it’s best to be able to reply in real time to queries and social media trends, so that your users feel listened to and understood.
You Send Relevant Newsletters = You Are Inspiring
The main problem with newsletters is to make sure that you keep the number of sign-ups high and the number of unsubscribes low. More often than not, your newsletters might get hit by a wave of users who click on the unsubscribe button. This is not only disturbing, but it can also be difficult to understand. Indeed, the internal marketing team works very hard on the newsletter, so why don’t people like it? The best way to understand what goes wrong is to observe what successful newsletters have in common. Most people create a newsletter because it’s said to be positive for the business. However, your customers are too busy to waste time with newsletters that are not valuable to them. In other words, they probably don’t care about the title of today’s latest blog post. They want you to tell them something relevant and entertaining. Consequently, the first step is to go professional with your newsletter, by using professional design and a professional newsletter solution – such as Mailchimp, for example. This is where you may want to get in touch with an expert, as it’s likely that the in-house solution will not do. Then you need to talk about your customers’ issues, instead of presenting your latest products, as this will make the newsletter more relevant and relatable. Finally, create an interactive newsletter where your customers can click to engage, to read or even book an appointment.
You Support Valuable And Important Charities = You Have Values And Are Not Money-Obsessed
Everyone likes a generous company, especially if you are giving to support valuable causes. Companies that work with charities are perceived positively by their customers. Thankfully, in this case, the only expertise you need in-house is someone willing to pick a worthy charity organization. The choice is vast, from giving to medical research to helping to build a better future for an unprivileged population, so it’s likely that you will easily find an inspiring organization. Then your task is simple: You need to make your action visible, on the website, and maybe via your newsletter too. Admittedly, your customers will only be impressed if you are giving a significant portion of your profits to charity.
You Have A Loyalty Program = You Value Your Customers
The dream of every company is to have customers who keep coming back for more. It is even better if they promote your offering to their friends and family. However, loyal customers, while they are not a rare thing, demand a lot of work. This starts by ensuring that you have the right loyalty program in place. Indeed, the time when the business manager chose to offer a retail discount to loyal customers is gone. People want to something more exciting than a program that rewards purchases only. Indeed, loyalty doesn’t need to be measured in a number of purchases but interactions. This is where it’s important to rely on an expert in customer relationship programs so that you can create interactions that will put your brand at the top of your customer’s minds. You need a dedicated expert who can analyze your customer’s’ choices and personalities to adjust loyalty offers appropriately. Indeed, not two customers are the same. Consequently, you need someone who knows them to find the right reward. Relying on an external loyalty expert is the best way as you’re more likely to benefit from an unbiased opinion – in-house employees might feel the need to promote specific products over others as these are more exciting for the team.