As a small business owner, there is so much to do (and be). You need to be an expert general manager, customer service manager, marketer, copywriter, sales leader, and so much more, which is why outsourcing can be so useful

Outsourcing can save you time and money and allow you to spend your hours focusing on areas to grow your business. But how do you know which marketing projects to tackle yourself and which to outsource?

Marketing can be an all-encompassing undertaking, and there are no set parameters around which strategies to outsource and which not to. Deciding where you could use some external help ultimately depends on your circumstances, needs, and area of expertise. And when you do decide to outsource, your primary focus must always be on the quality of the work that’s being outsourced

Here are some questions to ask yourself while you consider whether or not you should be outsourcing that particular marketing project.

1. Do You Have a Strategy? 

There’s a lot that goes into a documented marketing strategy. If you haven’t had a chance to assess your audience base and put together your buyer personas, along with your overall goals and methods for reaching them, then hiring someone to outsource might be a serious waste of money. 

You need to have at least some kind of basic marketing strategy in place before you begin; otherwise, how will you know whether or not your plan is adequate? For example, if you are posting to your social media accounts without much of a theme or purpose, you might as well save your money and do it yourself until you have time to sit down and cultivate a plan. Then you can tap into external sources to help you put things in motion. 

Another option, however, would be to include a strategy deliverable in your outsourcing. Just know that if you choose to go with an agency that also provides a high-level strategy, then the outsourcing fee may be higher. 

2. Do You Have the Knowledge? 

When you have carefully assessed your marketing needs and in-house talent, and have discovered that you are missing a particular skillset, then you have two choices. You can either: 

  • Do some training to boost your skills and that of your team, or
  • Outsource it to someone who already knows how to do it, saving you time in the process

If the learning curve is huge and the time required to pick up the skills is extensive, then outsourcing may clearly be the way to go. However, if these skills are part of a long-term strategy, then it could be valuable for your team to educate themselves through available courses and content.

3. Do You Lack Inspiration?

Sometimes you know what you want to say, but the words just won’t flow. Hiring someone to create content or a marketer to put your thoughts down on paper and fine-tune it, so you have a professional piece of text or graphic can be beneficial. 

Everyone suffers from writer’s block at one time or another, and utilizing a copywriter to assist you during these periods can help you maintain your focus. There are many different types of freelance content creators out there; it is just a case of finding one which works for you.

4. Are You Failing to Connect with Your Target Audience?

You may believe that you are handling your marketing A-OK, but the proof really is in the stats. If the marketing statistics show a disconnect with your target audience, then it may be time to outsource to a professional to improve the results. 

You want to know that every minute you spend on your marketing is contributing to a good return and that it is worth the effort and money being spent. A professional marketer and up-to-date marketing software can often improve your analytics and provide you with quality results to elevate your marketing reach.

5. Are You up on the Latest Trends?

Professional marketers will know the tricks of the trade and perform the necessary research that keeps them up on the latest marketing trends. But as a small business owner, finding time to research these trends and educate yourself just doesn’t exist. 

If you decide to outsource a marketing agency, it’s important that they know the best channels to tap into so you can find new audiences to increase your lead pool. They should also know the right approach to using those channels best, be it creating guest-contributed content, paid social ads, or video marketing

6. Are You Task-Driven?

If you find you are more focused on tasks than strategy, hiring a marketer to help you move forward and grow your business will be beneficial. You may feel like you’re getting through your to-do list and posting online, but unless each act is part of an overall strategy, you are just greasing the wheels and keeping the lights on. This is not the same as intently and thoughtfully growing your business. Your marketing aim is to generate new leads through whatever means are available to you, so if you’re able to execute just not on strategy, outsourcing could be the route to go. 

At BenchmarkONE, we know that outsourcing isn’t typically easy, especially for small businesses. There’s a budget to consider and the time needed to look into possible outsourcing solutions. We hope that this checklist will help you make the decision more easily without spending too much of your precious time doing so.