Deciding to outsource any part of your business is no easy decision to come to. Your business is your baby; you’ve watched it grow from just an idea into an enterprise in its own rights. Finding the right agency to entrust with your business takes much more than a pretty presentation and friendly smiles.
There are many reasons why business owners might feel the need to outsource aspects of their business. However, outsourcing enables you to bring in specialists in different fields, so you can concentrate on the areas of your business you know best. You might be outsourcing your HR department to save on staff wages or outsourcing aspects of your marketing to find new customers, by growing traffic to your website, building a stronger brand or just to engage further with their customers.
Whatever the reason is, you’ll need a team that you can trust with your business. You also need to know that you can work well together and that they can handle your workload. You’ll also need to understand how they deal with their existing clients and finally, you’ll need to know what questions to ask to put your mind at ease.
Steps to follow before deciding on an agency
Define your goals
The first step is to think about what you what to achieve. Are you trying to increase traffic to your site? Or increase leads? Or improve engagement with social media? Whatever your goals are, they have to be SMART. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound.
Hire a coordinator
Hiring an in-house coordinator provides you with a go-between. They can act on behalf of the company and be responsible for communication between your company and the agency. They’re also involved with the process of identifying and qualifying agencies. Ideally, the coordinator would have the relevant experience either working in or with an agency.
There are questions you need to ask before narrowing down your agency choices. Do you want the agency to be local? Do you want an agency that specialises in your specific business industry? These are all questions that need answering before you decide on an agency.
Questions to ask before contracting an agency
Are your clients satisfied?
Although a simple question, the answer can go a long way to helping you choose.
What’s the size and experience of your team?
The size and experience of the team that’ll be working on your projects will allow you to identify where their skill lay. You’ll also be able to depict how long it’ll take to complete tasks.
How do you manage projects?
Having an idea of how the agency works and how they plan to manage your company gives you an idea about the quality of their work and an estimated timeline.
Can you show any previously completed projects relating to my business?
Viewing projects that they’ve worked on will give you an idea of how they work and what to expect with your project. It is also a good chance to talk about how your project will be different from their other projects.
Asking these questions before contracting an agency can help you understand more of how the agency works and how they can help you achieve your goals.
Pros and cons of outsourcing
There are various advantages of outsourcing aspects of your marketing efforts including;
Outsourcing some of your marketing efforts allows you to concentrate on other aspects of your business. For example, you can focus on staff management and business development.
A major advantage of outsourcing is the chance to reduce business expenses. When you outsource aspects of your marketing efforts you are saving on the cost of hiring and training employees. These costs are then passed on to your customers which could mean an increase in brand loyalty.
When you outsource aspects of your business, you’re bound to notice an increase in efficiency. This is because you would have chosen an outsourcing company that specialises in a particular skill or service that you require. For example, to outsource elements of your search or content marketing efforts, you should outsource to a company that specialises in SEO and content marketing.
This comes with improved efficiency when you hire a specialist in a specific area they can carry out the tasks faster than others might as it is their expertise. And because the agency is not working according to your holiday schedule you don’t have to worry about tasks or projects running behind the agreed upon timeline.
Outsourcing to an agency allows room for innovation. An agency that specialises in an industry that your business operates in will keep up to date with the latest news and updates in the industry and apply any changes to your business.
As with anything, there are also some disadvantages to outsourcing aspects of your business including;
Loss of control
It could be a bit of a change to relinquish control of part of your business to another person. If work is done in-house, you’ll be able to monitor and oversee tasks, but at an agency, you’ll have to wait until you get the deliverables.
Loss of jobs
Depending on your reason for outsourcing you might be required to let some staff go. In most cases, an organisation might consider outsourcing because they don’t want to take on the costs of hiring a full-time employee. However, in other cases, an organisation might consider outsourcing to cut down on outgoing costs like salaries, pensions and overtime.
You should consider privacy and intellectual property issues when considering hiring an agency. There are regulations in place to protect businesses and intellectual property in the UK. If you’re hiring a company in a different region you must make sure that you’re protecting privacy and your intellectual properties.
Expectation VS Reality
A major concern when outsourcing is aligning your expectations to the deliverables an agency is able to offer. In most cases, business will have an idea of what it is they want and how long they think it’ll take to achieve. For example, you might go to an agency wanting to increase your organic traffic. In this case is the responsibility of the agency to guide you with regards to your expectations and timescale. By locking down KPIs for factors such as domain authority, links generated, organic traffic etc you will be able to ensure you can hold your new agency to account.
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