Why You Should Hire an Online Marketing Company: The Death of DIY
Whether you’re a business owner, manager, employee, or intern, you’ve probably heard of this thing called the Internet. It can be pretty useful for sales, marketing, accounting, networking and, oh yeah, every other aspect of business. In fact, it’s no great leap to say that in the year 2015 every business needs an online presence to meet the status quo and maintain business as usual, let alone grow.
So what must a business do to maintain an adequate web presence? Gone are the days when the CEO could purchase a year’s worth of domain hosting from GoDaddy, then forget about it and continue offline activities per usual. The markets are simply too competitive, the competition too fierce, and the profit margins too thin to afford any competitive advantage, online or otherwise.
In this competitive economic climate, stagnation is death, and businesses must constantly expand their Internet presence through a coordinated online marketing strategy.
To oversimplify a bit, there are essentially two ways to accomplish this: by creating and expanding an Internet marketing department, or hiring an outside online marketing company to handle all Internet endeavors.
Designing an Online Marketing Strategy
Let’s say a business owner is looking to save money on nonessential expenses, and chooses to handle their Internet presence entirely on their own. Where to start? Our CEO likely knows that most of her online business comes from one source: Google. She likely also knows that more than 70% of users clicks on one of the first five links in a search engine results page, so she determines that the best way to get more traffic from search engines is to position her company in the top few results. And she’s right.
So our business owner reads up on search engine optimization, or SEO, to determine how exactly to get her site noticed. She learns how much weight search engines give to sites that host content about popular, searched-for keywords within her industry, and she decides to make onsite SEO a company priority. She assigns her marketing team to optimize her site for relevant, popular keywords to ensure Google is sending interested traffic, and potential customers, to her site.
As our business owner gets a little deeper into her book about SEO, she learns that along with onsite SEO, offsite SEO is an important ranking factor as well. Having many trusted and popular websites linking back to her site will help her move up search results pages, but she doesn’t know how to get these links. Her sales team is on commission and isn’t interested in insignificant increases in traffic unless they lead to direct sales. Her marketing team is concerned with tradeshows, mailers and whitepapers, as well as their new content optimization duties. So our business owner bites the bullet and hires an SEO manager to handle all content published on her website as well as begin to build a network of domains linking back to her site. After three months of full-time SEO, our owner sees an undeniable boost in search engine rankings and traffic. This is easy, she thinks. Why would anyone spend money on an online marketing company when they can do it themselves?
Thinking Beyond SEO – Content Creation and Promotion
After the initial bump, our owner finds her traffic and search engine rankings have stagnated. Her pages are fully optimized for industry keywords, but they seem to get the same amount of traffic every month. Even worse, she finds that her competitors are passing her in search engine rankings. She has a conversation with her newly hired SEO manager, who explains that while SEO is a huge part of an online marketing strategy, it won’t bring a growing number of new users to their site. He explains that as the Internet grows more sophisticated and complex, so do user’s search terms. While an online consumer circa 2008 may have searched for “buy furniture,” his 2015 counterpart is instead searching for “buy overstuffed black leather recliner,” an example of a long-tail keyword.
The SEO manager explains that the best way to capture traffic searching for these “long-tail” terms is to consistently produce high-quality content optimized for various keywords, most likely through a blog on the company’s website. So our business owner hires a copywriter and borrows engineering resources to set up a blog hosted on the company website. But oh right, her SEO book also explains that they need a platform of social media websites on which to share and promote their content, hoping to pick up new followers (and eventually customers) in her industry. So she assigns the marketing department all the social media management duties, who in turn have to hire an intern to deal with the increased workload.
Going It Alone in A Competitive Market—The Do-It-Yourself Dilemma
Let’s take stock of where our CEO ended up. She’s created a passable online marketing strategy to optimize her site and publish and promote new content. Between onsite SEO, offsite SEO, blogging and social media management, she feels pretty good about the modernization she’s brought to her business. She has also hired one employee and one intern, borrowed engineering resources, and increased the workload on her marketing department.
She can ill-afford another employee or devoting more resources to the campaign, but the fact is, there are still many gaps to fill in her online marketing strategy. What if this new influx of traffic knocks her servers offline? What if industry research tells her that her users prefer e-books to blog posts? Are these new visitors actually becoming customers, or simply reading the content and leaving?
The fact is, in today’s burgeoning online commerce space, it has become nearly impossible for a small business to successfully execute a do-it-yourself marketing campaign. There are simply too many variables to control the time, money and energy necessary to manage them all is detrimental to normal business activities.
Our CEO is now paying the salary of an online marketing manager, a social media intern, and has strained her engineering and marketing departments significantly, all to create a bare-bones online marketing campaign. She could have simply contracted her campaign creation, monitoring and expansion to an experienced online marketing company. In fact, it would have cost her significantly less money, time and effort to ditch the do-it-yourself method and let the experts take over.