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.
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 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’ve received 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 Murumbi 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 Rigas 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 Kessler shares, “My 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 J. Nix 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.
The one piece of advice I would give entrepreneurs that feel weary about or otherwise unable to fully carry out marketing duties, is to 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 Schweitzer 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, LLC
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.
Victoria Treyger shares “There’s a reason email marketing ranks high on our list of recommendations for small businesses and startups: It works. Regardless of industry or organizational size, marketers across the board point to email marketing as the tactic that produces their highest return on marketing dollars invested. ExactTarget.com’s 50 Email Marketing Tips and Stats for 2014 reported that marketers received an average return on investment of $44.25 for every $1 spent on email marketing.
Not only is it effective, it’s also desired. In study after study, consumers regularly say that email is their preferred channel for brand communications. According to MarketingProfs.com, a study suggests that for nearly one-third of all consumers, email is the communication channel they prefer when it comes to marketing.”
Chris Dunn says, “According to the Pew Research Center Report of Social Media Usage: 2005-2015, nearly two-thirds of American adults use social media now. This is a near tenfold increase within the last decade.
Popular social media channels include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit, LinkedIn, Google Plus and Snapchat. Each of these social media platforms are unique in its own right and require unique ways of engagement. Rather than try to master it all at once, choose a few you like and try to master those first.”
Megan Marrs shares, “I don’t think I even need to say this, but it’d be neglectful not to mention the importance of kick-ass content. If you can create it yourself, all the better (isn’t free always better?). Even if writing isn’t your strong point, you shouldn’t have too much trouble getting someone on your team to crank out some articles for your blog. Try top 10 lists, tip collections, best practices for your industry, etc.”
Susan Solovic shares, “I started my corporate career in the field of public relations and the business has changed significantly because of technology.
Today, a small business owner can accomplish a lot without hiring a professional firm. Subscribe to Help a Reporter Out. You can respond to reporters’ queries that are looking for story ideas and resources. Some are small media opportunities, but others are major media outlets that use this service too.”
As you can see, marketing your small business doesn’t have to be daunting. The tools you need are more accessible than ever, and with these tips (along with a little creativity), you can build an effective strategy for your business.
QUESTION: Have another Tip (or question) for marketing your small business? Share with us in the comments below!
P.S. If you want to see the best results from implementing these expert tips, it’s important that you first know who who your ideal customer is, where they are, and what they will buy. Instead of using a spreadsheet, be sure to Download our FREE Customer Avatar Template Worksheet to get clear on exactly who you’re selling to.
Making an impact on social media is not an easy task especially if you do not have any social media tips from renowned experts. If you think about it, an average user’s timeline/feed gets updated with thousands of posts in an hour. This number increases drastically when users search for popular keywords. Businesses of all sizes have adopted social media platforms to get noticed. If you’re looking to stand out on social media, here are 12 expert tips to help you out:
Social Media Tips #1: Get inspired from your competitors’ content.
Social media expert and founder of RazorSocial, Ian Cleary, reckons that getting inspiration from your competitors’ content is the key to resonating with your customers. Don’t copy, get inspired and think about different angles. Different unique angles also increases the potential virality of your content.
Social media marketing guru, Jeff Bullas, says that a brand has to be memorable in order to be noticed on social media. All the text and visual content has to be high quality. Constant promotion is also the key. This will help businesses grow their audience as people are more likely to share your content.
Social Media Tips #3: Don’t try to use all platforms
Founder of the Content Marketing Institute, Joe Pulizzi, says that small businesses need to have a clear social media channel. He urges brands to not make the mistake of trying to use as many platforms as possible. By focusing on 2-3 social media platforms, businesses can post better content and keep track of their results more accurately.
Social Media Tips #4: Re-purpose more popular social media posts into blogs.
Ted Rubin is a renowned social media strategist, speaker and author. By using popular social media posts for blog posts, the potential virality of your posts increases greatly and the interest among your audience is peaked.
Social Media Tips #5: Create high quality visual content
Neal Schaffer, a business social media expert, notes that pictures are a prominent part of social media. Brands that use high quality images to supplement their posts, capture their audience’s attention and turns them from random viewers into loyal readers.
Social Media Tips #6: Be consistent at posting your blogs.
Kissmetrics Founder and expert blogger, Neil Patel, has observed that brands do not need to have unique content but consistency is a must. Consistency will help you get more traffic and consequently more leads.
Jay Bear, marketing expert and author, recommends looking into “micro- opportunities.” These opportunities are very small time periods when your audience is most likely to be on social media. For example, if you’re target audience involves businessman then posting between average meeting times will get their attention. Small businesses that are B2B can use this system to get more views.
Social Media Tips #8: Hire content writers who are passionate about your field
Kim Garst, CEO of Boom Social, advises that those in charge of creating content have to be passionate about their field. When a marketer or writer is passionate, it shows in their work and becomes contagious. Users will like and share your content on their own channels and thus your content will reach more people.
Social Media Tips #9: Establish a consistent brand in all your social media images.
Canva founder, Zach Kitschke, says brands have to establish a visual style that is recognizable by their audience. To do this, consistent use of the same fonts, colors, logos etc are required. Every image doesn’t have to be the same but the tone has to remain consistent. When users start to recognize your visual style, they can spot your content more easily in a flood of social media updates.
Social Media Tips #10: Join the discussions on social media.
Mike Volpe, HubSpot CMO, recommends joining communities and taking part in discussions when brands first get on social media. Meaningful discussions will drive people to check out your account and consequently your website.
Social Media Tips #11: Share great advice on social media.
Adam Connell, an expert blogger, asks businesses to lend a helping hand without expecting any returns. By offering solutions to your users’ most common problems for free, you build trust and loyalty. Great advice will turn readers into potential customers.
Marko Saric, founder of HowToMakeMyBlog, advises that rather than randomly following people on social media, businesses should target peers and influential members in the industry to bring attention to their own blog/brand.
How do you stand out from the competition?What is your strategy to win new clients? Do you have one?
We all know that the best prospects to focus on are the people who are already looking to hire someone like you. But, all too often when I search on the Internet for various professionals – whether I’m searching for a photographer, an electrician or a chiropractor, I see very few businesses (if any) whose message truly stands out.
If you managed to land on page one on your prospects’ Google search, you can celebrate getting to first base. But, you still need to get to second base. Before you can win the customer you have to first win the click.
The key in winning the click is standing out among the competition. Here are 5 simple steps you can implement today:
1. Communicate the outcome that your customers or prospects would like to achieve when working with you or buying from you.
It’s not enough to simply tell people your occupation or industry you’re in. If you want to stand out among the sea of sameness go further and tell people what specific problems you solve. For example, one of the members in my 6 Figure LinkedIn Secrets course is a registered dietician and nutritionist.
Understandably, that’s what she wrote on her LinkedIn profile. But, what was much more effective at helping her stand out from the thousands of other nutritionists on the Internet was simply communicating the key problems she solved and who she solves it for. Her tagline now included “weight loss specialist for busy entrepreneurs”. This immediately got the attention from the right people she was looking to reach on LinkedIn. Her specific outcome message distinguished her from thousands of competitors who simply stopped at stating their occupation.
2. Offer a result based guarantee.
Offering a guarantee takes the risk out of doing business with you. At the same time, having a unique guarantee that competitors do not offer is a great way to help you stand out and differentiate.
The restaurant chain, Olive Garden, offers the 45-minute pronto lunch guarantee. If your lunch is not served in 45-minutes it’s free.
One of my private clients is the leading expert in sports facility construction. In their industry the standard warranties for installing running tracks are one to five years. My client differentiated among his competitors by offering an unprecedented level of protection with their ten and fifteen year warranties. This level of guarantee is truly unheard of in the sports construction industry and is one of the factors that make his business stand out.
What are some guarantees you could offer that no one else in your industry would dream of doing?
3. Communicate the difference.
When I work with small business owners to help position them as the go to experts I often hear my clients ask things like, “How do I stand out when we all really do the same thing?”
One dentist told me, “Teeth cleaning isn’t rocket science. I’m sure all the other dentists in town are competent at cleaning teeth.”
We didn’t focus on the service. Instead, we focused on the experience – specifically, taking the fear out of the experience by making a visit to the dentist fun! He turned one of his storage closets into a small, cozy game room that fit 3 full size arcade games. Kids now loved coming to the dentist since their reward was unlimited free games in the arcade.
4. Leverage your past experience.
One of the members in a mastermind group I lead is an IP attorney. She is also a former competitive cellist. One of the niche markets she serves is the creative community. Musicians, artists and other creatives instantly bond with her because of her past experience as a trained musician herself. Although her market has access to a dozen other IP attorneys she is the clear stand out because of her past experience helps her understand the unique needs of their creative businesses.
5. Make a unique offer.
You want to put yourself in the shoes of your own customers. Imagine them trying to compare and choose between you and five of your competitors. Take a look at what others are offering. (You’ll be surprised some of your competitors aren’t making any offers!)
By you making a unique offer you are helping your business stand out among your competition. A memorable unique offer I came across was of a
CPA – 100% refund tax guys. Clients receive 100% refund on their tax preparation when they refer 4 new clients to the firm.
Once you’ve developed a list of what makes you stand out among the competition you want to articulate that message into short sound bytes that you can use as headlines and sub headlines on your website, print brochures and business cards.
For specific tips and tricks to helping you get the click from Google search results, check out this related post on “How to Get More Clicks.”
QUESTION: How do you communicate your difference when you explain what you do? Share your elevator pitch here: