With the growing complexity of digital marketing, we’re often tasked with having to wear multiple hats across a wide variety of disciplines.
Having to understand and manage SEO, SEM, Social, Content, Affiliates and now increasingly UX, Data and the Web, means that there will come a point where certain aspects of our work will need to be offloaded to somebody else, whether internally or externally.
If internally isn’t a realistic option or if externally sounds like a good idea to you, then you’re in the right place.
One of the biggest concerns when people outsource their marketing (or almost anything for that matter) is that of perceived risk.
In other words, whether or not the benefits from the time saved in outsourcing the work outweighs the risk of quality, cost and timeliness that is associated with getting somebody else to do something we feel we can realistically do ourselves.
Managing risk, therefore, becomes a matter of setting and managing expectations of those we outsource to and to ourselves. Below are Core dna’s four steps to help you outsource your marketing like a pro.
As marketers, we hate it when a client or neighboring department scraps together some half-assed, unclear and poorly articulated brief.
Why should we allow the same for the freelancers or firms we outsource to? Since outsourcing is a result of overwhelming quantities of work, we can sometimes feel as if we need to outsource everything at once, often demonstrating no clear priority in mind.
This is the equivalent to a client coming to us with an unclear objective and passing the blame when things don’t work out the way they envisioned. Be clear and be concise.
Secondary to simplifying the brief is to clarify your expectations. What sort of results do you expect? Are you the best person to judge this?
Judging competency in a freelancer or other external hire is incredibly difficult, especially without a prior working history. As a result, set strict expectations from the beginning, then loosen the reins a little if the relationship is working.
Michael Hyatt, one of the world’s most prolific leadership bloggers, has an ingenious system for delegating tasks and setting expectations of which he calls the ‘five levels of delegation’. It works like this:
Level 1: Do exactly what I have asked without deviating from the instructions.
Level 2: Research the topic and report back – we will discuss it together and I will make the decision on what to do next.
Level 3: Research the topic and present a recommendation on what to do next.
Level 4: Make a decision, but inform me on what you did.
Level 5: Make whatever decision you think is best.
Applying a concise framework for delegating tasks and communicating which tasks require what level of response presents the freelancer with a clear understanding of what is and is not expected of them.
This ultimately makes their job easier to interpret and you are less likely to face disappointment.
Whilst it’s helpful to break down requirements into their simplest form and clarify your expectations, it’s impossible to guarantee a perfect freelance fit.
As a result, a little extra work (and possibly budget) should be put aside to set up a test project and evaluate multiple service providers before committing to one over the long-term.
When outsourcing for the first time, it’s understandable why some marketers lack the patience to test a few different options. However, this lack of patience can result in far greater costs and more managerial headaches down the track.
Outsourcing tasks often involves multiple back-and-forths in communication; email, instant messaging, and video calls are but a few examples of communication channels that could involve the discussion and collaboration on a minor task.
Keeping and maintaining a central task management system such as Trello, Basecamp, or Core dna’s own TeamFlow helps ensure that no matter how many adjustments to a brief or new suggestions are made to an outsourced task, both the client and freelancer have an up to date reference to work off.
Maintaining the system is the key skill here: after every new request or adjustment to a brief, it’s up to the client to update the task management system to reflect the new direction.
Have you ever outsourced a marketing task? What was your experience? What other tips would you recommend? Let us know in the comments below!
P.S. If you’re interested in reducing the time you spend doing maintenance on your website to focus on your marketing campaigns, schedule a demo with the team at Core dna and see how we can help you deploy quicker, with better security, and hassle-free maintenance.