From now on, digital marketing is a necessity for all companies, whatever their sector, their market or their size. In fact, it’s all about bringing a website to life, securing a social media presence, converting your visitors into customers, or even building your online business. All of this requires skills that few micro-enterprises or SMEs have.
Outsource or internalize your digital marketing?
Every business leader is sooner or later faced with this question: who will I trust with my digital marketing? How can I really develop my Internet presence without breaking the bank? And what budget to devote to it?
Faced with the plethora of experts, consultants, freelancers and agencies, you are probably wondering where to turn. The choice is often dictated by your budget constraints. And the temptation is great, especially at the beginning, to do it all or part by oneself. It is a good idea ?
When should you consider hiring and building an internal team? Who will advise you best? An independent consultant or a versatile agency? So many questions that will have to be answered appropriately and taking into account your particular situation. Here, as in most cases, there is no standard solution. Every business has its strengths and limitations.
Of course, you will find many tips on the Internet. Unfortunately, recommendations are often biased, depending on whether they come from a consultant, a freelance platform, or a web marketing agency.
In the United States, Smartinsights conducted the survey to determine which areas of digital marketing have been outsourced or outsourced. Here are the results of that survey:
In this unbiased article (I don’t have a service to sell), I’ll try to shed some light on it, based on my long-term experience, on both sides of the border (customer and service provider).
Trust your digital marketing to a freelancer
This is the solution I generally recommend for smaller structures, (e-)traders, liberal professions, or any sole proprietorship.
When to use a freelancer?
Going to an expert is always a good idea since digital requires a series of very specialized skills. If you find that your website is not attracting the traffic you want, if you are struggling to get your community off the ground on social media, in this case finding a specialist who can accompany you for a while is certainly a good idea, even if your budget is limited. is limited.
These are the main assets of a (quality) freelancer:
- Flexibility: You can shorten or lengthen the collaboration, depending on the results obtained or your budget restrictions.
- Cost : a freelancer is cheaper than an agency or an internal resource, because you only pay for the work done (virtually no fees, taxes or administrative costs, etc.).
- expertise : often versatile and perfectly autonomous, in addition to his experience, he will bring a new perspective to your activity, nourished by his experiences with other clients.
- Approach: a freelancer concentrates more on your project if he has few clients. On the contrary, the interest that an agency will take you generally depends on your budget.
How to find a freelancer?
- First of all, it is about precisely define your needs and set your budget.
- Then, to find the rare pearl, go to one of the following channels:
- your own professional network Y mouth to ear
- Compare profiles establish a shortlist (check each other’s technical expertise, but also their achievements and their fit with your own values).
- Contact the selected people to tell them about your project and ask a modular quote for the services sought. Make sure it’s not a standard quote, not a personalized one. I always recommend the modular approach that allows you to prioritize and spread investments over time and stay within your budget as best as possible.
Risks and disadvantages of being self-employed
Working with a freelancer certainly has many advantages, but also limitations:
- Control – the freelancer manages his work as he sees fit. Define together clear criteria (KPI) to be able to evaluate their performance.
- Privacy – If the freelancer is required to handle confidential information, ask them to sign a non-disclosure statement.
- Specialization – have clear ideas before hiring a freelancer. Some freelancers specialize in one or another branch of digital marketing. What experience are you looking for exactly? A creative, a copywriter, a webmaster, a community manager or a strategist to define and plan your digital communications? It is better to find the expert who best meets his expectations.
Work with a digital marketing agency
The main advantage of an agency is to gather complementary knowledge and approach each project in a global way to allocate the necessary resources to succeed in the mission that has been entrusted to it.
When to go to a marketing agency?
Digital marketing is increasingly complex and requires increasingly specialized and diversified skills (SEO, content and video marketing, data analysis and automation, inbound marketing and lead generation, influencer marketing, etc.).
When your company is growing or when you want to outsource a bigger project (the launch of a new product for example), it is better to contact a (good) marketing agency specialized in digital.
A “project manager” will be your primary contact. He will assemble the necessary team in the agency, prioritize and coordinate tasks, and provide you with regular feedback. You will also ensure that deadlines and instructions are respected.
We can summarize the advantages of an agency as follows:
- multidisciplinary experience: the agency selects and coordinates the most relevant profiles to carry out your project. You don’t have to do this tedious research.
- Consistency: agency experts decide together the best strategy. Conversely, if you work with multiple freelancers, you won’t get the same level of consistency, each working independently.
- Project management : the agency has the necessary resources to carry out more complex and longer-lasting projects. And in case of illness or vacation, it will be in charge of replacing the missing profiles to ensure the continuity of the project.
- long term support : A versatile agency has the structure and skills to support you over the long term and vary the resources assigned to your project according to your specific needs.
How to find a digital marketing agency?
- it’s imperative precisely define your needs (we will talk about brief or specifications) and plan the budget allocation.
- For select an agencyyou will use the same channels:
- Google (search “digital marketing agency + localization”)
- social networks (LinkedIn or Facebook)
- the sortlist platform
- mouth to ear
- Compare agencies is essential (your experience, your values, your achievements and consult the opinions of the clients). Keep a maximum of 2-3 that you will invite to meet.
- Invite selected agencies for a detailed overview and a reciprocal introduction. It is not only the skills that count, it is also necessary that the current passes between the different interlocutors. Collaborating remotely without trust never pays off!
Internalize digital marketing
Of course, bringing your digital marketing in-house gives you full control over your communication and marketing campaigns. But it is an investment that needs careful consideration.
When to internally manage your digital marketing?
Many very small businesses are getting into digital marketing DIY and learning on the job by watching YouTube videos or following niche blogs. Very often, they are disappointed with the result and quickly get discouraged…because it takes a long time to learn and practicing digital marketing is very time consuming, especially if you don’t have effective tools and routines.
Internalizing your digital marketing implies, above all, having reached a certain digital maturity. Recognizing the importance of digital to your business means understanding the impact that fast, targeted and coordinated internet marketing campaigns can have to truly boost your company’s reputation and profitability. Having competent internal resources is, of course, a major asset in terms of speed of execution and reaction.
Among the advantages of internalization, we must especially mention the better governance. Directly involving employees in corporate communication is an excellent way to develop their commitment and sense of belonging.
Other benefits of outsourcing include:
- Better knowledge of products/services : The enormous advantage of an internal team is to be able to consult the experts and the different departments of the company at any time.
- company culture: the cohesion of an internal team can enhance the communication of the company and provide it with a more coherent, close and authentic image.
Towards a hybrid formula
Insourcing or outsourcing your digital marketing is probably not the heart of the problem. Both options have their advantages and limitations. Take the time to weigh the pros and cons and don’t consider budget as the only selection criteria.
The best solution is probably hybrid : internal management with collaborations, possibly occasional, external. The key is to understand the importance of digital marketing for your business: attract and retain new customers, make yourself known and recognized, sell and advise, share your values and develop a community. The resulting competitive advantage is priceless!
Last but not least, do not forget that digital marketing is changing so rapidly that you will have to constantly adapt your practices and actions. This involves train and of stay informed. To take the measure of technological innovations, understand the evolution of consumer behavior or even, anecdotally, learn about changes in algorithms.
In short, whichever option you choose, you will have to invest personally in this digitization process to understand where and how to direct your business. Because, in the end, whether you internalize or outsource your digital marketing, you are the main contractor, you who will have to set the course and the common thread.