Don't Let The DIY Craze Hijack Your Marketing
Last week, I was talking with our digital marketing manager, Leah DeMasters, about her quest to renovate her newly-purchased home. Leah recently moved, and she decided to take on the majority of the renovation process in a large-scale DIY experiment.
She painted her own walls and ceilings, ripped up old carpets for new, and built a custom dream closet. However, three months later, she still hasn't quite finished.
Even though she has experienced elements of satisfaction throughout her DIY process, she still did not end up with the Pinterest-quality finished result she was hoping to achieve. She is a very smart girl, but she has come to realize she is no carpenter. After the many blisters, sleepless nights, sweat and tears throughout her DIY process, she offered me some sage advice:
"Hire a professional!"
The DIY craze has overtaken so much of our world that we are tempted to translate it into aspects of business where it doesn't always belong.
"Should we really shell out money to a professional firm to do our marketing?"
"Can't we just handle it ourselves?"
"How hard can it be?"
These are common questions that business owners ask themselves. With so many free and low-cost tools readily available online, one may be easily persuaded to keep the marketing to-do list in house.
The Easy DIY Things You CAN and SHOULD Do
Don't get me wrong- there are definitely things you can handle yourself such as:
- Social Media: Organic Posts
- Content Creation: Blog Posts
- Strategy for Customer Reviews
An aspect of marketing that can be kept in-house is organic posts to social media. You shouldn't feel the need to pay an agency for organic social media posts, because you can manage your social media accounts on your own. You know the in's and out's of what is going on with your business on a daily basis (i.e. promotions, events, etc.). But then again, social media might be a place where your company wants to invest in professional help to guide your marketing strategy with the right targeting for ad placement. Social media spending depends on each company's financial situation and priorities.
Content creation is another marketing effort that can be kept in-house if your company has extra time to blog about your experiences and advice. It's an effective, low-cost way to drive traffic to your site and engage with consumers, as well as provide material for email marketing. Businesses often know their industry in a way that a marketer never will.
An extremely underrated marketing effort that should be a part of every marketing strategy is encouraging customer reviews. The power of customer reviews should never be overlooked. According to Yelp, the crowd-sourced customer review site, 72% of consumers will only take action after reading a positive review.
Asking your loyal customers to write a positive review about your business online is simple, but can be an incredibly effective marketing effort. According to the same Yelp report, on average, a one-star increase on Yelp leads to a 5% to 9% increase in a business's annual revenue.
Why Hire An Agency?
The biggest challenge that many entrepreneurs face is tackling the creative and programmatic elements of marketing. A busy entrepreneur (which, let's face it, is every entrepreneur) who has little experience with the digital world can end up with an incomplete marketing strategy missing key elements (like email marketing, SEO, and PPC) or an unresponsive site filled with a poor design, broken links, and outdated graphics.
- Website Creation, Hosting, & Development
- Branding & Graphics
- Search Engine Optimization
- Content Strategy
- Online Ad Placement
- Email Marketing Campaigns
Think about the potential effects of hiring a marketing agency to complete some or all of this list. For example, in the first month of a campaign an agency starts for you, we may generate two blog posts, add two new pages with highlighted keywords for SEO, and create a facebook ad that increases 100 new followers on social media, giving you an additional 16 leads. The next month, we may create 2-3 more blog posts, boost more content as a part of the campaign, show up on page 1 of Google's SERP for five keywords, which generates 37 leads. By the sixth month, we may have published a total of 10-15 blog posts, created 5 new content pieces for your site, and implemented 10 facebook lead ads generating a total of 240 leads. The compound effect of creating those assets over time didn't just double your leads in two months, but they generated 10x the results in only a few short months because of the quality of content and strategy the agency produces due from their expertise and skills within the digital industry.
Once a business has grown, the age-old, "time is money" platitude rings true. If you're investing a significant amount of time into learning the tools of how to market your business, you end up working in your business instead of on it.
There comes a tipping point in every business's life cycle when you should outsource what is costing you precious time and energy to do yourself. Just because you can DIY an aspect of your marketing doesn't necessarily mean you should.
Take a step back and examine your current marketing efforts. Think critically about what you believe can be comfortably managed in-house and what would be best put in the hands of a capable marketer.
You learn from making mistakes, but in a business environment, those mistakes might end up affecting your bottom line.