Many small business owners try the DIY approach to digital marketing only to find minimal returns for hours upon hours of their own precious time. The result is that they spend more time getting less done and with less to show for it compared to hiring a professional digital marketing agency.
While doing every single bit of your digital marketing yourself is possible, know that it will be gruelling and that you will be forcing yourself to constantly make a lot of hard choices. Some DIY marketing approaches may even tarnish your brand, hurting business and making new customers harder to come by. With so much for you to take care of, you can never possibly dedicate yourself to normal business activities and to the regular attention your digital marketing campaigns deserve.
You Can’t Replace the Time You Spend on DIY Digital Marketing
Time is the only thing you can’t make any more of. Any time you spend trying to market your business online is time that could be spent performing other valuable tasks, like working to improve customer experience.
Say hypothetically that you were to dedicate 100% of your time just to marketing activities. If you spend an hour on a task that generates one lead, you can get 40 leads per week if that’s all you do full-time. Crunching the numbers on the conversion rate for the typical lead, you may find that you spend dozens of hours every week generating just a few $100 worth of value.
Find ways to generate leads that cost money, not time. You can spend more to scale your digital marketing efforts across an agency staff, but you can’t magically turn back the clock on your own time.
Also, as the numbers show below, the value you get out of all the time you spend likely won’t equal the returns compared to outsourcing your digital marketing tasks. ROI is math. If you find a marketing solution that costs $10 per acquisition and you make $100 profit on that client, you’d be foolish not to continue spending more to then make more.
DIY Marketing Means You Are Not Paying Yourself Enough
What’s your billing rate to yourself? After all, a lawyer or a plumber charges you by the hour. Your time is just as valuable, so what would you need to charge to make ends meet?
You could discover your billing rate by taking your annual salary and dividing it by the number of hours you would work in a year, but this number still leaves out quite a bit. You also have to add on the value of any business activities you handle, such as speaking with clients and all the work you put in. You also have to consider the costs of overhead. Putting a roof over your business isn’t free, either, so there is value you are generating that goes directly to the business rather than your own pockets.
To truly calculate the costs of business, you have to think like a freelancer. A recent, wonderful infographic on the CreativeLive Blog helps you break down your hourly rate and, through their formula, you may discover that it would be surprisingly high, somewhere around $50 to $100 an hour.
Once you know your hourly rate, you can add up all the time you spend performing marketing tasks, like writing blogs and managing social media. Looking at social media, you may spend 10 hours or so a week researching information to share, writing content, creating graphics, publishing, responding to commenters, finding new followers and more — not even including the management of paid ad campaigns. That right there equals $500 to $1,000 a week. Compared to the typical cost of a social media management agency like Optimized Scribes, which is around $200 a week, outsourcing is a bargain.
Similarly, a non-professional writer usually takes 3-4 hours or more to research, write, edit and publish a website blog. That’s $150 to $400 a blog, compared to a content writing agency capable of writing a blog for $40 to $50 apiece, including SEO, research and follow-up.
Put simply: spending your own time performing labor-intensive tasks tells you that you don’t value it as much as you should.
Added Overhead of Social Media Management and SEO Software
Managing a business’s diverse digital marketing portfolio effectively would be impossible without a slew of available tools. With the right software and cloud-based services, you can more efficiently monitor your online reviews, manage social media, review that you’re following SEO best practices, oversee all citation links and more.
Each of these pieces of software accomplishes a lot, but their costs add up. The average business could spend more than $500 a month on user fees alone. Additionally, there is all the extra time spent learning software and practicing how to use it.
A dedicated small business digital marketing agency can afford all of these subscriber fees because they can use their tools to manage multiple clients. That way, they have the best toolset available at a lower average cost, and they can pass the savings onto their clients. Clients essentially pay pennies-on-the-dollar for best-of-breed, agency-level software that helps them manage their digital channels as effectively as possible.
Pros Get You Professional Results
The internet has spoiled us by allowing us to try out new things more than ever, but the DIY approach doesn’t always work well in this area. When it comes to trying cute-themed baked goods for your kids’ birthday, it’s okay if the whole thing turns into a horrific mess. But, if the product was meant for your business, the resulting embarrassment and brand damage could cause lasting impacts to revenues. In fact, if you do such a poor job, your business could even go viral for all the wrong reasons.
Instead of trying to learn how to perform marketing through trial and error, you should trust experienced professionals to manage everything for you. Through their knowledge of crafting well-written material, engaging audiences, managing campaigns, and continually improving everything through monitoring, they can generate far greater returns than any amateur still learning the ropes.
After all, your business is like your most important and most demanding kid. And, even though we can try and claim that we can do it all ourselves, we love our kids enough to send them to real professionals when they need something like dental work. Show your business some love by letting someone else do the work for you.