8 reasons to outsource your marketing

'We have done bits of marketing in the past, but we don't really have a consistent or structured approach to promoting ourselves and generating new leads'

This is a common situation especially amongst small to medium sized businesses where it's difficult to justify having a full-time marketing resource in-house, yet you know you need to invest in marketing to stimulate new business. If you feel that marketing is taking a back seat because you simply don't have the resources or expertise in-house perhaps you should look at how an external agency could help.

Here are 8 reasons why it makes sense to outsource:-

1. Start generating additional leads immediately

You can be confident that when using a reputable agency you won't have to chase or manage them for results. Professional firms know that they need to take the initiative and get things moving. This means you don't need to waste your own resources managing the marketing mix or indeed managing an in-house resource. Expect therefore, an abundance of upfront creativity and the first lead generation campaign to roll out within the first few weeks and watch the momentum build within a six month period.

2. Save £s compared with hiring in-house

If you hire a marketing manager that knows what they're doing, you're unlikely to get little change from £30k a year. On top of that you'll probably need administrative staff to support any marketing initiatives taking the grand total close to £45k and that doesn't take into account the recruitment fees (on average it costs £4,000 for each employee if you use a recruitment firm). If you take on an external agency, you only pay for a certain number of days per month, giving you the resources of a senior marketing professional and access to their team of administrative staff. So for the average marketing package you're probably looking at half the amount of expenditure, paid on a monthly retainer.

3. Plan, implement, reach, engage

If you don't have a marketing plan, then why not use an agency who already understands your market, to recommend what marketing elements are likely to work best for your business. Most agencies will have expertise in certain areas such as 'technology', 'public sector', 'b2b' etc, so it's worth taking advantage of one that is already familiar with your sector, so you can benefit from their mistakes. Alternatively why not ask an agency to do some 'ad-hoc' work to see how you get on. Perhaps ask them to research and write a customer case study. Most agencies are happy to work on a 'suck it and see' basis, to gain your confidence.

4. Keep your salesmen motivated

Having a marketing plan in place should reassure the sales team that the company is being promoted as much as possible, making it easier for them to gain and follow up on potential leads. Ever hosted a sales meeting, where your sales personnel complain that no one's heard of the company or if only they had the right sales literature they would be more successful. A lack of marketing is often the scapegoat for many a sales professional, but with an on-going marketing programme there are no longer any excuses. What's more, a well-structured and targeted marketing campaign will ensure that prospects will have already heard of your products/services, making the company more credible and it easier to close a sale.

5. Leverage your existing customers

We all know that third party endorsement is perhaps the most important way of winning new business after word of mouth. Let your existing customers sell for you. Developing case studies and testimonials as part of a consistent and structured communication with existing and potential customers can maximise the chances of securing new or additional business. Think about how many satisfied customers you have and use an agency to approach them for an endorsement that you can use for future marketing.

6. Liberate time to focus on what you're good at

If you decide to do your own marketing you may find it distracts you from your key activities and because you do not have the expertise you will spend too much time on tasks that could be carried out by a specialist much faster and with better results. Don't be fooled into thinking marketing is easy - it isn't. It involves hard work and sustained dedication for campaigns to work. If you dip in and out, you'll find that the long-term results will be disappointing.

7. Make your website work harder to bring more business

Most businesses now have their own website, but keeping it updated seems to be an on-going slog for most, as they don't have someone whose key job is to look after it. Your website can be one of the most cost-effective methods of drawing in new business, and with a little bit of time and effort could become a very profitable shop window. By sub-contracting the management of the website to a third party, you don't need to worry about updating content or indeed generating it in the first place. All content that you are using for marketing campaigns can also be replicated on your website, but remember content that works best will offer 'value' to readers, not an excuse to sell. By loading your site with impartial information you will boost your search rankings and maximise traffic.

8. Understand and benefit from new trends such as social media without being an expert

Before you start rolling your eyes, have you ever thought that social media actually could benefit your business, but you've dismissed it already based on what you think it delivers. An external agency will be able to evaluate whether Twitter, FaceBook or LinkedIn is relevant for your business and formulate the best ways of maximising these mediums. For instance if you sell B2B, Twitter could be a very lucrative and low cost way of building up a following of potential buyers and starting a conversation with them in non-salesy way. You don't need to be an expert in understanding social media, you can rely on an agency to guide you.