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When Should You Outsource vs Doing It Yourself?

One of the biggest challenges an owner will face with the launch or relaunch of their website will be whether they should do certain things themselves or should they hire outside help.

Many have no problem paying for a web designer to come in and give their site a fresh look, but many owners assume that when they hire a web designer they are also hiring a developer, social media manager, copywriter and information technologist all rolled into one. This is rarely the case.

Now some designers and agencies can offer a combination of any of these services – but if you aren’t careful you could end up paying for services that you don’t really need or can use. So how do you decide?

First, let me remind you that a good website should be at the cornerstone of any of your digital marketing or selling efforts. At the end of the day you want to build a relationship with your audience that you can control. The only way you can really achieve that is via your website and your email list, which you can read about more here.

In short, everything you do online should lead your customers and prospects back to your site and if you’re not ready for them once they arrive there – then all of those marketing efforts would have been in vain.

Make Sure You’ve Got Your Ducks Lined-up in a Row
When I work with my clients, I always take the time to assess where their businesses currently are, what their goals are for their site and do they have the right tools, training, time and technology in place to achieve those goals.

If you know how to “copy and paste” or “click and drag” you should be able to make minor updates to your site without having to bring in a programmer (aka a developer) and to be quite honest most developers don’t want to do this kind of work anyway.

If you aren’t tech savvy or you just don’t have the time, many small businesses have an intern or a virtual assistant do it. Virtual assistants are very affordable and offer flexible packages. But this also depends on how difficult or how easy it is to use the back-end of your site.

If your site isn’t set-up with the right tools and technology to execute your digital marketing strategy, then you or your virtual assistant’s hands are tied. So make sure you have your “ducks” lined-up in a row first.

Make an Informed Decision
I always recommend taking the time to educate yourself about how you can market yourself online FIRST before you start investing in designers, social media strategists or virtual assistants.

This way you’ll be making a more informed decision. If you don’t you could be spending hundreds, in some cases, thousands of dollars for products and services that can’t be used to their fullest potential.

Reach Out to Your Network to Find Reliable Resources
I’ll use myself as an example, in this instance. I have another site where I started a blog and I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of blogging, so I did everything myself. I would use the voice memo app on my iPhone and dictate the post in about 10 minutes.

This was great – I cranked out about 5 or 6 posts in an hour. The problem was – it took about 1 1/2 hours for me to type out each post. I managed to eek out about two months worth of posts in a marathon weekend, but I soon fell behind because of my client workload.

Then while watching a webinar on writing an e-book, the host mentioned that she sent her dictations for her book to a transcriptionist and eureka!

I asked around in one of my Facebook groups and found a VA who offered transcription services, she only charged $5 for every 10 minutes and she was fast and reliable. I sent her three posts (that I had sitting on my computer for 3 months) and got them back in four days – at a cost of $20. Awesome!

All I had to do is make the final edits pick a photo and schedule it to publish on my blog. I had three weeks worth of posts – done. Was it worth the $20? Heck yeah!

There are all types of VAs – some will only do social media, others will ghostwrite posts for you and others only provide site maintenance. Whatever your needs are there is somebody out there for you.

If you have a more extensive project and want a more “hands-on” approach then you may need to invest in a specialist like a social media manager, a copywriter, videographer or photographer. This all of course depends on the project.

You may need the services of all of these people, at some point, but if you’re like other small business owners with little time and an even smaller budget, I would advise you to fully implement only one project at a time, to keep your sanity.

If you’ve never really done anything online before give yourself at least 60 days from concept to implementation to measuring your project for results. This will take some of the pressure off of you and should give you enough time to make it apart of your routine – should it prove to be effective.

Bottom line? Do your homework first, devise a plan and then determine based on your own schedule, capabilities and budget what you should do yourself and what you should outsource.

If you find after doing your research that your website isn’t up to snuff – but you don’t have the money to upgrade it, try a different channel like starting a newsletter. You don’t need a website to do that, just an active list or you may want to try out a new social media platform.

Get your feet wet first before jumping into the deep end of the pool.

Question?: If money were no object, what part of your marketing plan would you like to outsource? Writing for your blog? Posting on social? Answering questions on review sites like Yelp or Trip Advisor? Share your comments and questions below.

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Note: This post was last updated August 6, 2018

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