Outsourced Marketing – Pros, Cons, and Best Practices

Depending on the type of business you are in or even depending on your budget, you might be wondering whether it is time to outsource marketing or keep it in house. 

In today’s article, we’re looking at the best time to outsource digital marketing depending on your various needs, how to go about when it comes to finding the right professionals, and how much it is likely to cost. 

What are outsourced marketing services?

We decided to start with a short definition. If you’ve never outsourced any part of your business process, you might not know the basics of outsourcing marketing in itself. 

The process seems simple, but finding the right person for the job can take a while. You might also go through some trial and error before you discover the right marketer, the one that can tackle your challenges as best as possible. 

In a nutshell, outsourced marketing services mean working with someone in a completely different area, someone that is not going to come do their job in your office. But even in this case, things can be different depending on where you do your business and the type of outsourcing you want to do. 

For example, you might be based in the United Kingdom and might be interested in working only with UK-based freelancers. This is also possible and you can also hire someone to work remotely for you with a standard contract. 

Whether you get them to collaborate with you part-time or full-time, the process of hiring someone from your country is going to work pretty much the same as if you were to hire a person to come and work for you in-house. 

The other choice you have available is to work with someone based in a completely different country (which can come with advantages and disadvantages, which we’ll describe in a section below). 

For this, the best way to do it legally and get a bill is to either sign a contract with the freelancer or use freelancing platforms that will make handling your expenses a lot easier and more convenient. 

When to outsource sales and marketing 

You can’t keep up with your deadlines

Whether there is something wrong with your business strategy or you’ve been growing your number of clients in the past months and you haven’t managed to hire a lot of people in-house to handle all the new tasks, it’s definitely time to outsource at least some parts of your marketing process. 

Knowing that someone will handle the so-called ‘grunt work’, meaning the very repetitive tasks that your team could do without, can put you in a great place mentally. It will leave you the energy to focus on the more important things, such as constantly communicating with your clients or closely working with your project managers. 

You have a set budget and want to stick to it

This can be especially true if you manage a startup. Before finding investors, startup owners have to be very careful with how much money they spend on every part of their business process. 

And let’s face it — outsourcing marketing can be much cheaper than hiring someone in-house, especially on a full-time position. Sometimes, you might just want a number of specific tasks to be completed, so you can simply work with someone on an hourly basis or per each task completed. 

For instance, most content writers charge a set fee per every article, either depending on the topic and the amount of research they have to do, or depending on the word count that the final post needs to have. Naturally, if you also want the writer to provide images, shoot videos, or publish the content on your site, the fee might be higher. 

Your team is overworked

If your marketing team is overworked and you keep getting new clients, there’s a very important risk that you are taking — your employees might start looking for work elsewhere. 

Even the most loyal staff you have in-house can suffer burnouts and might want to switch employers if they’re constantly being overworked or if they always seem to have to complete tasks that they’re not normally supposed to handle. 

Outsourcing some parts of your marketing can make your team less stressed and can also allow you all to better concentrate on your work. 

You have specific tasks that need to be completed

You might think that your online marketing efforts are a bulk, but they can actually be split up into several different tasks. You could have someone handling your content marketing, a different person that does search engine optimization, and someone else handling your email marketing. 

Or you could have a freelancer manage all of these tasks and therefore, lowering the task number that your in-house team needs to manage. Marketing employees know how to perform a number of different tasks, but they might be unwilling or simply unskilled to take care of others, such as web design or specific things of marketing like lead generation. 

You’re just tapping into digital marketing

If you’re an established business but you have been using traditional marketing, you’re missing out on a lot of customers. 

In the past two years or so, most startups and small businesses have switched their marketing efforts almost entirely to the Internet, and that’s because people use it far more often these days. 

You can, of course, train your in-house marketer so that they can eventually handle all of your digital marketing tasks, but this can take time — whereas outsourcing these activities, at least for a while, can be far easier and more convenient. 

When to keep marketing in-house

Your team is doing a good job 

It goes without saying that if you’re already seeing excellent results from your marketing efforts, it makes no sense to look for someone new to handle the same tasks that your team seems to be on top of right now. 

Besides, if someone leaves your company and you suddenly decide to outsource their job, some of your employees might feel a little threatened. 

You can’t afford to hire someone new

Before deciding to outsource at least some parts of your marketing, you have to know for sure whether you can afford it. An experienced marketer can charge a lot on an hourly basis, so you will have to decide on whether it makes sense for your budget to do this. 

Sometimes, training someone in-house can be much more rewarding, and if you have nothing against this time-consuming task, you might get a loyal employee to work for you and handle all your marketing. 

Your in-house marketers are specialized and experienced

This might sound somewhat similar to what we discussed in the first part of this section. But as we have noted above, sometimes it can be challenging to have someone to handle several different tasks if they’re particularly specialized on something. 

If your marketers are seasoned, have gone to plenty of conferences, and have completed many courses on different parts of marketing, it makes no point for you to look for someone new. 

You want to have complete control over everything

Some of these marketing professionals can be based in many different areas in the world, which can make the task of communicating with them a bit of a challenge. Sure, you can have set meetings such as on each Friday or each Monday, but getting several different marketers together at the same time, even online, can be difficult. 

On top of everything, outsourcing some parts of your marketing can inadvertently force you to give these individuals access to potentially sensitive information, such as the folks that have signed to your newsletter or the login data to several different websites, including some of your clients’ sites. 

If you do not want to handle all of this hassle and you also want to make sure that all of the tasks are performed at the right time, there are no mishaps in terms of communication, and no one gets access to any sensitive information — you should not be outsourcing marketing. 

What type of marketing can you outsource?

The sky’s the limit when it comes to the different kinds of marketing you can outsource and you will find highly skilled professionals in many countries across the globe for all of the tasks that you need done. 

For example, if you’d like to outsource some parts of your content marketing strategy, you can have people maintain your blog and update it regularly, write newsletters, shoot videos, or even help you with your podcast, or write white papers or annual reports. 

You can also outsource email marketing or outsource social media marketing. Naturally, you are going to have some concerns regarding security, but there are ways of circumventing this if you’d like to avoid giving the freelancer access to important information. 

Most startup businesses use freelancers for social media marketing or newsletters as these are the easiest tasks they can handle; besides, your managers can also easily keep track of what everyone is doing. 

Where to find the right freelancers

Several examples of platforms where you can find highly skilled marketers based in a variety of countries across the world are the following: 

All of these have their fair share of pros and cons. For instance, if you decide to hire someone through Upwork, there are hefty fees on both ends, which means that both you and the freelancers are going to be charged for the project. 

On the other hand, Upwork is definitely the place to go to if you do not want to waste a lot of time searching for experienced marketers — they have a long history of working with the best freelancers out there. 

How much do outsourced marketing services cost?

It depends on what parts of your marketing process you want to outsource, your budget, and who you want to work with. For example, hiring freelancers from the Western world is usually seen as more expensive than working with professionals from Asian countries. 

However, even inside the European Union, you can find freelancers that aren’t going to ask for a hefty hourly rate. 

If you have decided to work with a digital marketing agency as you might look at them as being safer and more reliable, we do have to note that the price can vary a lot. A monthly bill can set you back anything from $1,000 to $20,000 a month or more, depending on what you want to achieve.

Naturally, the higher price point usually involves corporate marketing where the agency not only has to take care of a lot of tasks, but they also have to give you frequent and detailed reports on everything. 

By contrast, hiring someone to manage two or several other social media accounts can set you back anything from $500 to $1,000 a month. If you feel more comfortable with setting fixed deadlines and tasks, you might have to work with freelancers that charge an hourly rate. 

The absolute minimum for a moderately good marketing professional is $20/hour, but this is just for people who are starting out freelancing. If you want to work with an experienced freelance marketer, you can expect to pay $50/hour or more. 

Final thoughts

To sum up, several reasons to outsource marketing range from it costing less compared to hiring someone in-house. There’s also a wide range of highly skilled marketers that might be based in different countries across the world, and the platforms that we’ve noted above can help you find the right person. 

On the other hand, if your marketing team is already doing a great job and aren’t bothered by switching some things here and there depending on your marketing goals, outsourcing might not be the right solution for you. 

If you decide to work with a freelance marketer, we suggest you set up a schedule where you check the work they’ve done and also communicate with them on a regular basis — just to be on the safe side of things. 

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Craig Campbell

I am a Glasgow based SEO expert who has been doing SEO for 18 years.

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