90% of small businesses are outsourcing business functions this year.
You read that right. Nine out of ten companies outsource various business functions to save time and resources and focus on more critical tasks.
And outsourcing can work, but only if you avoid common mistakes that many startups and B2B companies make.
When you get it right, you can build fruitful relationships with marketing teams or freelancers that benefit both parties over time.
Yes, you’ll need to relinquish some control, which can be scary… But when you see results and how well outsourcing can work, it will be worth it.
How do you ensure you find a great outsourced marketing service?
Let’s look at the most common challenges outsourcing can bring and how to solve them so you can hire confidently and drive growth in your business.
So they either try to market their products using any popular marketing tactic or don’t do any marketing!
When you outsource marketing to the right partner, you open up a world of benefits:
- A broad skill set and a marketing team at an affordable rate
- The ability to run specific campaigns
- Only paying for what you use
- Saving time to work on more critical tasks that match your skill set
- Start small, utilize your budget, and scale
But without proper due diligence, you can waste time, effort, and money on outsourced marketing that doesn’t make the grade.
1. Misalignment of Expectations
Misalignment of expectations is a common problem when working with an outsourced marketing agency.
If you don’t set clear expectations, goals, and KPIs, you can’t align on what success looks like. Instead, set up clear standards and expectations around the project at hand.
It’s not just a matter of clarifying your goals—you also need to ensure your partner understands them.
Don’t assume they will automatically do so; if the team doesn’t know where they’re going, how can they get there?
To help avoid misaligned expectations in the future:
- Set clear expectations. If your expectations are unrealistic, an excellent agency will be honest, and you can collaborate and align on more realistic results.
- Schedule regular meetings to discuss progress, share ideas, and iron out any issues.
- Ensure that you’re open to change. “This is how we’ve always done things” is a phrase you should throw in the trash. Trust the process.
2. Lack Of Communication
To piggyback on the previous challenge, the main reason misalignment crops up is a lack of communication.
Imagine the scenario.
Your outsourced marketing team is writing a batch of content. They send a message asking for keywords that will resonate with your audience. You don’t provide the keywords.
So the team guesses and produces the content. You don’t think the content aligns with your audience, and you express your frustration.
Can you see how a lack of communication causes problems? You can apply this across the board.
Any marketing campaign is somewhat of an experiment, but you must align with the team on every campaign element and keep open communication lines.
Set expectations early:
- If either side has a query, it must be answered within 48 hours.
- Be clear, specific, and to the point.
- Decide on communication channels, and don’t blur lines.
- Document any oral agreements.
For example, suppose your agency is working on a project but won’t complete it by an agreed-upon deadline (which happens quite often).
In that case, there should be clear communication between you and them about what went wrong and what can be done differently next time around so as not to repeat these mistakes.
Communication is key to understanding each other’s expectations, needs, capabilities, priorities, and timelines. If you want a smooth process, communicate effectively.
3. Lack Of Accountability
This works both ways. Who’s accountable for the success or failure of a campaign?
Some agencies promise the world but underdeliver. If they’re not invested in your success and you don’t set clear expectations, you’ll have problems.
Other agencies take on some responsibility. For example, we strive to deliver quality over quantity at Lean Labs.
As our reputation hinges upon the quality of work we do, we guarantee we’ll provide value before we profit.
Likewise, you have skin in the game. You can’t hire an agency and take no accountability for the results.
If you’re communicating effectively and setting expectations, both parties know who is in charge of what.
You might need to provide a lot of guidance at the start of your partnership. Nobody knows your ideal client better than you.
4. Lack Of Transparency
Lack of transparency is a common challenge with outsourcing digital marketing.
You may have difficulty understanding what’s happening in your account or getting the information you need to track the progress of campaigns.
Without visibility into analytics and reporting, you don’t know what’s working and what needs to change. You can’t optimize.
Related Read: The Ultimate Guide to SaaS Metrics For Massive Growth
You have to wonder why agencies wouldn’t share their processes and tactics. Are they using underhand tactics to drive results?
For example, they could use black hat SEO tactics to go against guidelines and manipulate search engine results, which might damage your reputation.
Instead, partner with an agency that works transparently and is willing to share its processes, plans, and progress.
With transparency, you can focus on the right activities to achieve the right goals and build a long, fruitful relationship.
Again, transparency works both ways. You can’t be afraid to speak up when necessary.
- Communicate when something isn’t working so you can realign.
- Ask questions! Don’t hesitate to ask for clarity if something doesn’t make sense.
- Be proactive with problem-solving.
A Better Avenue for Outsourced Marketing
The benefits of outsourced marketing outweigh the challenges. But there is a better way to outsource marketing and eliminate potential challenges altogether.
Lean Labs is a hybrid growth team. That means we take on marketing responsibilities but work with you instead of for you. We’re invested as invested in your success as you are.
We have one goal for your business: Massive growth.
We share our plans, processes, and expertise to level up your team. We drive growth using the six levers of growth, and you play a role in every part of the process.
Every outcome is measured, analyzed, and optimized. And using HubSpot, you have complete visibility into every campaign.
If you want to see exactly how we plan for, budget for, and accelerate growth for our most successful clients, check the Growth Playbook.