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Outsourcing Online Marketing? Numbers to Consider

Joshua Steimle, the founder of MWI Digital Marketing, wrote an interesting article for Forbes.com about outsourcing online marketing that’s worth checking out. While we liked most of the post (and encourage anyone in marketing to look it over), a few of his comments stuck out more than the others.

Let’s start with this one:

Let’s talk about cash and outsourcing first. If your online marketing budget is less than $200 USD per month then you do not have the budget necessary to outsource. With extremely rare exceptions, anyone who tries to sell you SEO or any form of online marketing service for a few hundred dollars a month, promising you all sorts of business from it (and if they’re promising anything else, why are you paying for it?) will either take your money and do virtually nothing for you or they are going to lose money and go out of business

While $200 is not the right amount, we do agree with the basic point here: It’s very hard to obtain marketing services of value without spending hundreds or thousands of dollars each month (more about hiring in this article).

Joshua goes on to point out that many of the companies selling cheap online marketing services are scammers:

…the online marketing firms operating at this price level are scam operations. Their business model consists of hiring very good salespeople to get you signed up, locking you into a contract you can’t get out of, and then doing nothing for you…

Couldn’t agree more – we’ve seen this scenario time and again.

Joshua also shared some interesting math:

…running an effective online marketing campaign will cost you at least $3,000 per month, and your competitors may be spending several times that. The cost of hiring an in-house SEO professional worth his or her salt will run at least $50,000 per year…that’s for an entry-level SEO professional, wet behind the ears, with a few months of experience. An experienced SEO professional…will run you around $70,000 in the most affordable markets…

While it’s important to point out that Joshua runs an SEO agency, his math is pretty sound. Hiring one person who knows the basics is going to cost $4,000+ per month. Hiring an experienced person will cost more. Hiring a team? It gets very pricey.

Agencies like Joshua’s company or – cough – Spork Marketing can often be an affordable way to upgrade your marketing without making a big financial commitment. However, agencies usually want several thousand dollars a month for marketing services.

Also, it’s important to note that hiring one person doesn’t usually solve all your marketing problems:

  • Someone who is good at content and social media might not know how to manage pay-per-click ads or do search engine optimization.
  • All employees have relative strengths and weaknesses…a good writer might make your blog perform really nicely, but struggle with designing email banners.

When you hire an agency, you usually get to leverage a team of people that includes SEO experts, content experts, pay-per-click experts, etc.

Summing Up

Outsourcing can be cheap, but good marketing is NOT cheap. If you’re trying to figure out how to get the most “bang for your buck,” focus on hiring an agency that’s cost comparable to hiring a skilled employee. And if hiring an agency or skilled employee isn’t in the budget, try and build your team of outsourced help one expert at a time.

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