From time to time I offer SEO tutorials to clients or speak at events where small business owners come for a do-it-yourself SEO overview. I’m always happy to educate people around search engine optimization and all the techniques we employ in our daily work at the marketing agency. Somebody once asked me if I wasn’t afraid of “giving away” my expertise, but I love what I do and I enjoy educating others on how to leverage their websites to meet their business goals – that’s why I’m in business!
I’ve never worried about giving away expertise – the expertise is out there for anyone and everyone to find and study for themselves. The thing is, even when armed with the necessary knowledge not everyone has the time to work on their own SEO and content marketing – especially not the small to medium-sized business owners we work with. And if there is a single lesson I try to impart during my talks and tutorials, it’s that SEO and online marketing requires commitment and consistency. In almost every case I recommend that businesses – even those with in-house webmasters, design teams and marketing departments – outsource their SEO. Here are the three main reasons why
1. When it comes to DIY marketing, time is not in your side. Speaking from experience, I know how difficult it is to carve out time for your own online marketing. Some business owners really take to blogging and social media, others not so much. When we ask clients if they can commit to 15 minutes each day to attend to social media tasks they always insist they can do it. In reality, very few manage it (and even those that do usually require a certain amount of nagging and cajoling).
We know how it is! You get to your desks and your own clients’ and customers’ demands are waiting for you. The phone rings or the email dings with a new prospect and you spend the rest of the morning working the lead. Your receptionist calls out sick and you spend the afternoon trying to de-mystify your own scheduling software. There are a thousand things that impose themselves on the business owner every day. It’s a pipe-dream to think you will really make sifting through Tweets and Facebook posts a daily priority.
2. One marketing assistant does not an SEO agency make. One of the risks we take as an agency that is willing to continually coach and empower our clients to take charge of their own online marketing is that sometimes a client may decide to take all the work in-house and hire a marketing assistant to manage everything. It’s happened to us from time to time, but it rarely works. Even an especially talented marketing person – one who can write, use graphics software, read and interpret analytics data and spot trends, manage email and paid search ad campaigns, seek out backlink opportunities – is likely not going to have the other resources necessary to do the job an internet marketing agency will.
As an agency we have access to a variety of tools that not many businesses will want to pay for, and a pool of experienced freelancers to draw on when we are especially busy or when a project presents us with is a skill gap that we need to fill. While we never discourage a client from hiring an in-house marketing person, we think it works better when we partner closely with that person and provide her with all the resources she needs to do a great job!
3. It’s an investment that pays for itself over time. Unlike advertising, which generates leads or sales for a given period of time, or social media marketing, which is great for brand exposure but is ephemeral in nature, SEO and content marketing are forever. The effort you put into providing your website visitors with an informative and satisfying experience isn’t wasted. By adding fresh content to your website or blog you are building up your web equity. With the stakes no less than the success of failure of your investment in your website (and possibly your business) why would you opt to do it yourself?
Again, we never discourage clients from being an active part of their online marketing initiatives – in fact, we can’t do it in a vacuum. We are in constant communication with our business clients to discuss their recent activities, our progress, and to continually refine the online marketing plan to drive more qualified leads and larger and more frequent sales.