By: Becky Harris
Digital Marketing and Fundraising Professional
It’s 2021 and we are still making arguments about why your business needs to invest in digital marketing. It is understandable that not every business has the financial means to hire an internal team of marketing experts. If you don’t have the background, digital marketing can be an intimidating mountain to climb. However, the sheer amount of blog posts about this topic should be enough to tell you that investing in your digital marketing is indeed something you need to consider.
First, let’s discuss the steps you need to take before hiring a digital marketing expert.
Step 1. Establish Your Digital Marketing Goals
As is often the first step, you need to determine your goals. What is the purpose of your organization? To sell a product or service? To raise money for a cause? Your marketing goals should tie into your overall organizational goals. This will help you determine where you want to see results.
You will need to clearly explain these goals to the marketing experts you hire. This will help these individuals establish metrics to track the success of your marketing efforts. For example, if your marketing goal is to increase sales of your product, your marketing metrics may be to track conversions on your e-commerce site. Or if your marketing goal is to increase sign-ups for your charity walk, the metrics could be online registrations. The more clearly you can define and explain your goals, the easier it will be for your marketing expert to help you achieve them.
Step 2. Set a Digital Marketing Budget
This one should be a no-brainer, but it is often where people get stuck. Yes, you need to have some money set aside for digital marketing. Yes, it is important. There are many things you can do for free to boost your digital marketing efforts (claiming your Google My Business profile, setting up social media, etc.) but nothing in digital marketing is “set it and forget it.” If you establish social media pages, you will need someone to monitor them. If you have a Google My Business page, you will need someone to make updates to it and monitor reviews. How much money you should invest in your digital marketing efforts depends on a multitude of factors. Some suggest new companies allocate at least 12%-20% of your gross revenue to their marketing efforts.
Step 3. Develop a Basic Digital Marketing Strategy
What do you know you want in the way of digital marketing and what do you need more consul on? Before you hire anyone, you should have the very basics of a digital marketing strategy in place. Otherwise, you won’t be able to distinguish between quality vendor offers and spam.
Once you have these basics in place, you will need to determine what makes the most sense for your business. There are a few different ways to structure your digital marketing efforts:
Outsource Your Digital Marketing Efforts
Outsourcing can be a great solution for businesses who have small, one-off digital marketing projects or do not have the money or resources to hire someone internally. For example, if you need someone to write blogs for your website, that is the perfect project to outsource. Outsourced projects are typically ones that do not require a deep understanding of your organization to complete.
Hire Internally and Build A Team
Investing in creating an internal digital marketing team is a more expensive option, but can be worth it in the end. For one thing, internal team members tend to stick around longer with your organization (a few years at least) and you can train them to do the job how you want it done. Additionally, because they stick around longer, they will gain a more in-depth understanding of your organization and can track your marketing efforts year over year. If you have the resources, time and money, this is a highly recommended option.
DIY: Do It Yourself
If you have just about $0 for outsourcing or building a team, you can always learn to DIY. However, this will take time and patience that many entrepreneurs or business owners simply don’t have. This option is not highly recommended for more complicated tasks like improving your website’s SEO (which we’ve published an article on here), or for tasks that require regular maintenance like managing your social media profiles.
Another idea to save costs here is to hire an intern seeking college credit or a student looking for experience in digital marketing. These individuals may have a fresh take on your digital marketing efforts, but you do not need to pay them a salary and benefits. In addition, you are giving them invaluable real-world experience that will directly benefit them in their careers down the road.
Investing in your digital marketing efforts is not something you will regret. If the prospect intimidates you, start small and grow. And don’t be afraid to make mistakes! As your business evolves, so will your marketing strategy, and you need to be flexible with these changes.