Sigh! It can be incredibly frustrating to feel like the vision you have for your business is moving excruciatingly slow. You have zillions of brilliant marketing strategies. The problem is there is never enough time in your day to execute or manage it all especially without a marketing team
I have found the biggest cause is from something called the Marketing Strategy Execution Gap. You need more soldiers on the ground to deploy multiple marketing strategies to free you up to shine as Chief Visionary. You need a marketing team.
You probably already tried outsourcing to a marketing agency only to be disappointed with the results. According to digital.com, 76% percent of small business owners report facing marketing challenges.
The core challenges of marketing fall into these 5 areas:
Generating traffic and leads
Training your team to generating traffic and leads
Lack of resources (budget / people / time)
Hiring talented people
I mean, starting a business is hard enough. Can’t leads just come you? You have a great business idea, right? You should be overwhelmed with leads, right?
After All, There are amazing musicians who, based on their genius of talent, should be worldwide superstars. But instead, they starve and struggle for decades because they were never ‘discovered’ by record labels who can market the heck out of them.
Your genius business idea is no different. Doing all the marketing yourself should no longer be an option.
As the visionary, how will you close that ‘Marketing Strategy Execution Gap’?
Option 1: Outsource your marketing to a bunch of freelancers or to a marketing agency.
Option 2: Hire your own in-house marketing team.
Which is better for you? …
I’ve rounded up 10 small business entrepreneurs to weigh in with their opinion on this decision. Find out the pros and cons they have experienced with outsourcing vs hiring an in house marketing team. At the end I will also share my own experience from everything I have tried over 26 years of being an entrepreneur to help you make a more informed decision for yourself.
Ambroise de La Gorce shares, “Outsourcing and in-house marketing both have their pros and cons. Each option can be better than the other in different situations depending on numerous factors, including type of management, marketing tools used, sprints management, business stage.
In my opinion, outsourcing at the very beginning of the business can offer more flexibility. Recruiting in-house is necessary when the product/market fit is validated, to give more stability to the business. Then outsourcing 20% of the team or so when scaling the business can be interesting to gather the resources we can hardly find on-site.”
Kerry Maybank shares, “I mostly do my own marketing, but I have team members that are great at marketing and create more of the significant pitch documents for us. I also have gotten free advertising by doing interviews with the media.
My company does not have employees. We have team members. People come onboard with exceptional talents in particular areas of the business that significant interest at the time. Sometimes we provide equity if the need is that great or we barter and provide their companies something in return based on our expertise. It keeps costs down, and creates mutually beneficial relationships, while increasing the exposure of our firm.”
David Shares, “We keep our marketing in-house because it allows us to harness our own data and learn to understand how our customers interact with our business. Combining marketing customer data, building segments, and then activating those segments in your communication is something that really draws growth.”
Peter Shares, “You need both. You need in house because no matter how much you pay an outside agency or group of freelancers, no one will care about your business or know your products/services better than you and your staff. However, there is so much to manage and oversee that you need outside agencies that specialize in the various verticals.”
Mark Walerysiak Jr. shares, “I’m early stage, and do all the marketing myself (at the moment). I could see the benefit of outsourcing particular tasks related to content / SEO. The more weedy stuff. But when it comes to telling compelling on-brand stories I would prefer to have someone inside the team and as close to the product as I am. When you eat, sleep, and breathe a product (and not worrying about other clients), you can communicate much more passionately about it in just about any form, and I think the audience can pick up on that. So the preference would be in-house if it’s doable.”
Laurie shares, “Our marketing needs are managed with both internal and external resources. Our internal team has a great deal of experience in marketing and PR – so we can typically tap into our own knowledge and experience for basic initiatives like drafting corporate communications and pitches, social media posts, email marketing, etc. We outsource for marketing tactics outside of our areas of expertise, or if our bandwidth is tight – such as more complex social media campaigns, SEO and digital advertising.”
Gary Shares, “I’ve always done my marketing in-house. I’ve only worked in or ran marketing companies, so outsourcing my marketing would be really weird, lol.
The one piece of advice I would give entrepreneurs that feel weary about or otherwise unable to fully carry out marketing duties, still be involved. As a consultant, part of my job is to learn as much about my client’s brand as possible because the person or people leading the business know the most about their brand. I can help a client focus. I can help a client develop. However, no one can create someone else’s brand on their own.”
Staci shares, “As a new one-woman consultancy, I’m doing it all right now — marketing and business development as well as everything else involved in the business!
Honestly, while that requires more time and effort from me, I think it actually helps build trust and is part of my business values. With me, it’s personal, and my clients know that they can trust Blue Moss for personal dedication and utmost quality.”
Keith Kirkpatrick Principal & Founder of 4K Research & Consulting
I have done all three options throughout my 26 year journey owning 4 different businesses. I once did all the marketing myself. But I quickly found that not to be the best use of my time as the Chief Visionary and Strategist. Just because I know how to do the marketing, doesn’t mean I should be the primary person executing it all. So, then I spent many years outsourcing to freelancers.
While it’s a good choice for one time projects, the danger is you end up spending way too much time vetting and project managing freelancers, which prevents you from acting as the Chief Visionary and Strategist. The other common pitfall with outsourcing is the temptation to hire the lowest priced freelancer. Like with anything else … you get what you pay for.
You risk super sloppy mistakes and oversights that cost you your brand’s reputation. Here’s an example a realtor friend of mine forwarded me. She subscribed to be on an email list from a marketing provider in her industry … to her surprise here’s what the email read:
My realtor friend was so confused! …. Here she thought she was signing up to let this marketing company do her social media posts and email marketing for her. Instead of getting info about the done for you marketing services she was expecting, an email template and an email from a weight loss company came instead. Certainly people do make mistakes. But, when you outsource to the cheapest provider, sloppy mistakes just seem to occur in high frequency.
Marketing is not a mindless task any monkey can do.
When I exhausted my patience for chronic sloppy mistakes from outsourced VA’s and freelancers I decided to let go the reigns and hired a marketing agency to take care of it all A-Z. I hoped outsourcing the majority of my marketing to an agency would remove the project managing off my plate.
I hired Several different agencies, but in each experience I didn’t see the ROI to renew. Instead, I discovered the project managers who were assigned to me were skilled at project managing (which is a good thing), but so many critical details got missed because they weren’t skilled enough in all things marketing. [CONTEXT] There are many great marketing agencies out there who have highly skilled marketers as project managers, but these agencies are often geared to Enterprise size clients, not so much for the SMB community.
What I do now, and my advice to other SMB’s (small-medium business owners) is the 70-20-10 mix.
70% of our core marketing is done in-house
20% is outsourced (one time projects or a specialty area we don’t have in house yet)
10% still is done by me (like recording videos, giving interviews)
I finally found the key to taking project managing off your plate as a small business owner is to make sure the project manager is a well trained Full Stack Marketer.
Ok … there you have it. You just heard from 11 of us about our experiences and opinions on whether it’s better to outsource your marketing or hire your own in-house marketing team.
Whether you decide to outsource or hire in house, the next set of decisions you’ll need to make are things like:
Who should you hire first?
What’s the going rate for this and that?
What is the best marketing strategy they should be implementing for your business?
Where can you go to find marketers who know what they’re doing?
What should you look for when hiring your marketing person/team?
My answer to all of the above questions is this:
I would answer all of these questions differently depending on each unique business owner, bandwidth, budget and brand. If you want to get clarity on best way for you to eliminate the marketing strategy execution gap in your business why not take me up on my free offer? For a limited time, I am offering a FREE 45 Minute Strategy Call to help you work through this.
FREE THE WIZARD
Click the link below and Eliminate Your Marketing Strategy Execution Gap!
QUESTION: What other questions would you add to the list of 5 above? Share your comments and questions below.
It’s a scary time for everyone during Covid-19. We all know this pandemic has forced a lot of business owners to go out of business. 😢😧
If you are blessed to be among the lucky group who are NOT facing going out of business here’s a short video that shares 5 free effective ways to build your digital presence, so you can boost more visibility for your business during and after covid.
We are also offering free help, guidance, feedback, support for business owners on Tuesdays from 12noon-1pm EST on Zoom through the end of April.
Just comment below “Business Owner Public Service” and we’ll message you the link to join.
Take it from the CEO of Jetsmarter (a.k.a the Uber of Private Jets), Sergey Petrossov: reducing time and effort wasted on inefficiency can revolutionize your whole business. He upped his company’s annual business by over seven times, simply by spotting an inefficiency.
Common inefficiencies stem from a lack of communication, getting stuck in outdated procedures and a constant search for something new (the shiny object syndrome). Therefore you have to root out these inefficiencies so that your business can run smoothly.
Knowing every inch of your business means observing what you are currently doing and asking yourself:
Do I have a clear understanding of what’s important and what’s not?
Am I simply focusing on each task or crisis as it comes along?
Can these tasks be systematized?
Observe your current patterns to determine your strength. Then, apply those useful principles to the rest of your business to systematize the entire process. You can‘t really be objective about your company’s situation if you’re constantly carrying out daily tasks, as the ‘doer.’ You have to step back, zoom in and observe.
“Those who are most successful are capable of ‘higher-level thinking’ – i.e., they are able to step back and design a ‘machine’ consisting of the right people doing the right things to get what they want.” – Ray Dalio, Founder of Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund
This is the only way to create a system that allows you to remove yourself and let the business take care of itself. Principles by Ray Dalio is a great resource to learn more about this approach. As is Work the System by Sam Carpenter.
Once you’ve built your machine, improve it over time. Create a solid diagnosis of your goals and the problems blocking their path so that you and your team can stimulate creative solutions.
Would you agree? If so, you may benefit from a mastermind group that allows you to brainstorm core business challenges with fellow CEOs. Get that conversation started.
#2: Determine What Your Communication Strategy is Lacking
Don’t just say: “I can’t transfer my knowledge to my team.”
Instead, Ask yourself:
Which team member, and why?
Is it a problem of time or a lack of shared language?
Lack of clarity?
It’s Only when you’ve identified a problematic pattern can you get to work designing a solution. Get your team in the habit of raising issues and risks that they feel are out of their control or impossible to deliver.
Communication is a tricky problem for most organizations, but it is absolutely your responsibility as a business owner to get it flowing.
So, Make your vision and your values available to your team in file that is accessible to everybody in your company. This way your employees and contractors can keep coming back to whenever they are unsure of the direction of your company. Having a set of principles accessible to everyone means you don’t have to constantly re-exert effort to explain yourself. Document everything, including common Q&As, guidelines etc. Have them organized and updated, often.
Good ideas come from all places. If you have a team that understands company goals, encourage them to ponder and speak up. Let them bring their disagreements into the open where it can be discussed and settled logically.
Are you taking advantage of communication tools like Slack, Basecamp or ProsperWorks? Use communication technology to automate internal processes while decreasing inefficiency, human error and unnecessary delays.
Bonus tip: Outlaw long and complicated emails. Communications should be razor-focused on a task, an update, or a process.
#3: Remove Bottlenecks with Technology
Leveraging technology is the best thing you can do for your business. The benefits are endless: smoother operations, greater customer experience, increased productivity and higher profits.
Jetsmarter made it easy for customers to access technology and information by letting them directly schedule their flights through an app.
As a result, agents were removed as a booking bottleneck and re-directed towards other tasks.
For better or worse, every company is now a software company. There are hundreds of applications that can be used to run business tasks. It’s all about connecting people, processes, technology and data.
For your business to run smoothly and be highly adaptable to market needs, it needs digital integration. Use the proper tools to get you from knowledge to action in a systematic way.
How can you empower your business with technology?
Every industry has different needs.
Companies with manufacturing, transport and large investments may need to improve operations and take advantage of their infrastructures.
Other companies may want to focus on customer relationships and platforms.
Use technology to support your own goals, decreasing the amount of time and effort that you as a business owner need to focus on daily operations.
#4: Get Help So You Can Focus on the Big Picture
This means passing along some responsibilities when it becomes highly problematic or time-consuming. In other words: seeking help.
Escalation is not a failure — it’s recognition of responsibility.
Your business is meant to grow and run smoothly without your constant input. Because it becomes successful only when treated as a separate entity worthy of investment.
If time is the problem, get a virtual assistant to help you in a variety of areas, including administration, research, invoicing as well as marketing, sales and operational support.
#5: Define the Roles and Responsibilities of Your Staff
Did you know that there is a significant relationship between employee performance and clarity about roles and responsibilities?
According to one study: “Role ambiguity, which is absence of clarity for the roles, is considered to be one of the great bottlenecks for the effectiveness of the team.”
The research went on to indicate that employers who are clear about performance, evaluation and delivery improve their business tremendously. Not only are employees happier with their own performance; they uplift the entire organization.
We’re talking about goals, priorities and boundaries.
Your Employees need to understand not just how they fit into the puzzle but how the other pieces fit in, too, and how the whole thing comes together.
There is a freedom and passion that comes with clarity.
This includes you as the employer, CEO or business owner. The only thing you should be focusing on is making the best decisions for your business. Remove all the other noise from your head – you’d be amazed at how many different tasks there are that you can get someone else to do for you.
Are you ready to find out what it means to run a business that is so effective that you can pursue bigger and better goals? It’s possible. Schedule a 30-minute complimentary sessiontoday and find out exactly how you’re going to do it.
QUESTION: What inefficiencies have you found in your business that have allowed you to pursue bigger and better things? Share with us in the comments below!
Katrina McKinnon is a leading online innovator with over 20 years’ experience building and operating high performing businesses. In a market hungry for skilled online professionals, Small Revolution powered by Katrina McKinnon’s proven insights, is the fastest, most effective way to get the expertise to tap into this growing opportunity.
The proven process of scaling a business is a slow and winding one, and is more involved than basic growth. As a small business owner, it can be difficult to remember that every Fortune 1000 company started just as you are. And while it may be tempting to seek out shortcuts and quick schemes that promise to speed up growth, your results will likely be as fleeting as the path was to get there.
To ensure you’re taking the right steps for long-term success, we’re highlighting six essential tools for strategically scaling your business.
Success stems from customers. Happy customers are more likely to become repeat customers, and oftentimes can also be your biggest advocates.
However, given that business growth is only sustainable with a reliable customer base, a decline in customer satisfaction can have a significantly negative impact on your growth plan. Keeping this in mind can make all the difference in the speed at which you scale your business.
For this reason, establishing a strong customer service model is essential. This allows your team to provide the service your customers have become accustomed to, while also catering to new customers.
Many small businesses, particularly ones with plans to scale, have begun implementing chatbots. This eases the workload of increased customer queries and also maintains high-quality service.
As chatbots become increasingly more advanced, more and more businesses are relying on them for the bulk of their service requests. This not only enables businesses to successfully grow their customer base (and, thus, take on larger workloads), but it also meets modern customers’ requests for on-demand service. In fact,more than half of consumers would rather talk with a chatbot, than a human, in order to save time.
2. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System
A dedicated CRM system can be a big help as you grow your customer base. It cohesively manages all of your company’s relationships and interactions with new and existing customers. This allows your team to effectively work toward improving business relationships as you grow.
Along with the increased customer connections, a CRM system can also aid in user data management and improve team collaboration—particularly between your marketing and sales teams.
Budget: Seek out cost-efficient options capable of growing with your business without breaking your initial budget.
Customization: Certain datasets are more relevant than others in the early stages of growth. So, tools that allow you to look at the bigger picture can reduce the sense of overwhelm.
Integration: Make sure the system you choose integrates well with other tools.
Customer support: Overall, SMBs have smaller teams. Therefore, a reliable support system helps get you up and running with the new technology.
HubSpot CRM is a popular free option for small businesses, thanks to its easy to use built-in interface. Since everything is deployed in the cloud, there is no need for complicated installations and/or navigational training.
Salesforce CRM is another excellent option, for it’s easy integration with external business solutions and sales assistance tools.
3. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) System
Organizational software can make all the difference when it comes to achieving your business scaling goals. Generally speaking, small businesses can get away with simple record-keeping processes, and basic accounting solutions. However, as you scale, you’ll likely grow out of these preliminary tools. Therefore, an ERP can help automate and coordinate the growing number of complex business processes that your scaling business will inevitably accumulate.
Since the introduction of cloud-based systems, top quality ERP systems, once only available to large corporations, are within reach of smaller companies—both financially functionally. A modern ERP cloud solution can help streamline operations, ensuring your entire organization is working in sync, and on pace with technology.
For business scaling in particular, software that you can both, trust to update autonomously, and grow with your business, is essential. You can avoid any unnecessary complexity by choosing a solution that is specific to the cloud, as opposed to the on-premises solutions that have been rewritten to service in the cloud (for instance Infor ERP products).
Today’s industry leaders recognize the power that small businesses hold. As a result, they are increasingly targeting small and medium sized businesses with cloud-based versions of ERP software. Depending on your specific business environment and goals, there are several available options to help you meet your scaling goals.
4. Inventory Management Software
Increased volumes of business are expected when scaling. As is the amount of inventory and information you need to keep track of. Although a spreadsheet may have been suitable as a small business, the larger you scale, the more difficult effective management becomes.
Inventory management software relieves this pressure by simplifying the tracking process of whatever it is that makes your business function. Comparinginventory management software, based on their offerings, pricing, and your specific business needs, can help you make the right choice for your business.
5. Email Automation
A digital marketing strategy is fundamental in modern business success. As you scale, however, your traditional marketing efforts will likely need a reboot.
Automation is a lifesaver when it comes to scaling a business. Extending your reach without additional effort is possible through the many tools designed to help automate marketing tasks.Mailchimp, for example, is an easy-to-use platform for email automation.
To build your customer base, it’s important to put adequate effort into spreading your message. This means alerting all potential and existing customers of your latest offering, and generating new conversion whenever possible.
6. Social Media Automation
A strong social media presence is critical to successfully promoting your business. However, in the early days of your scaling, you probably don’t have a dedicated social team.
Not to worry, though. Social media automation tools have made it easier than ever. They can pre-schedule content to share across your various networks and profiles, track performance, collaborate with fellow social media users, and manage a consistent reposting schedule.
Tools likeAgoraPulse andHootsuite are very popular platforms that can help you improve your social media presence while also saving you time.
Ultimately, There is no one-size-fits-all method to scaling a business. As you go through the process, you’ll recognize what works for you, and what your business needs to achieve success.
QUESTION: Which of these tools interests you the most? Let us know in the comments below!
Running your own business is hard. Running your business all alone is even harder. 😩
There’s so much advice out there it’s hard to know what to do and what to focus on first. You’re worried about following the wrong advice, or just as bad …. The right advice at the wrong time.
You can commit to working harder …. But, what if you’re working hard on the wrong things? You’ll easily waste months and even years spinning your wheels. 😭
Your friends and family don’t know what it’s like to be an entrepreneur. They don’t understand the challenges you face running your own business or how to solve the problems that keep you up at night.
Right now, you have no one to talk to who can give you meaningful support and actionable advice.
📍You need to FIND YOUR PEOPLE.
Take the first step … right here … right now.
✅ WHAT IS ONE DECISION YOU NEED TO MAKE IN YOUR BUSINESS RIGHT NOW?
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. By sharing a decision you’ve been delaying to make or a challenge that’s got you stuck … not only could you receive some 💡great ideas 💡 to help you … you’re also helping so many others who are facing the same challenge in their business.
As you know, one of my goals with this blog is to help you find new, better and more efficient ways to increase website traffic, build your email list and improve conversions and sales of your products and services
That’s why I’m always on the lookout for great new tools and resources that can help accelerate your results.
A while back my friend Cary Richards over at Infostack produced an amazing bundle of resources called: “The Traffic Secrets Super Stack,”
It was hugely popular but there was one problem.
It was only available for a week and a bunch of people missed out on it…
Well… I’ve got good news today!
The response was so great that they have decided to bring it back and make it available for another few days.
“The Traffic Secrets Super Stack” is a hand-curated collection of over 25 premium eCourses, video training, memberships and workbooks that include information like:
How to grow your email list to 10,000+ subscribers
Master Facebook advertising so you can crush your next marketing campaign
Behind the scenes of YouTube traffic
How to get referral traffic from influential people in your niche
Social media hacks (how to use platforms like Instagram to grow your reach, influence, and profit)
How to use cold email to get results (without burning bridges or looking like an amateur)
And much more.
Now, typically, you’d have to spend over $3,000 + to get your hands on everything packed inside the Traffic Secrets Super Stack…
But this week, (for a limited time) you can get everything for over 98% off.
But don’t hesitate, because after next Monday the stack goes away probably for good this time.
As you know, I very rarely make offers to my blog.
I only share things that I feel are a tremendous value that you can’t miss.
When I learned about “The Traffic Secrets Super Stack”, I knew immediately it was a winner. Seeing the final lineup of ebooks, e-courses, and more – it’s clear that this bundle is well worth the insanely low price you pay to get access.
So that’s why I’m sharing it with you.
My hope is that you’ll take a look, and, if it feels like the right fit for you, you’ll take action before this amazing deal expires.
P.S. I forgot to mention: there’s absolutely no risk to check out this deal. You see, the guys over at Infostack have a best-in-class, 60-day, no questions asked, money refund guarantee. That means you can get instant access to everything in this bundle today, and take the next 60-days to decide if it’s the right fit for you.