How to Tell If You Should Be Doing Your Own Marketing (Don’t Worry, It’s Easy)

Get paid to outsource your marketing…

One really cool thing about digital / inbound marketing is that if it’s done right it’s better than free.

In fact, it can pay for itself many times over each and every month, while at the same time letting you focus on what you’re best at in your business.

Think of it like this:

If I showed you an ATM that you could (legally) get $5 out of each time you put $1 in, how many dollars would you put into it?

I hope your answer is every single one that you own 🙂

If you work with us, that’s what we aim to be. An ATM machine that spits out $2, $3, $5, $10 dollars for every one you put into your monthly marketing campaign.

Here’s the tricky thing though:

You have to let go of wanting to do it all yourself.

The dilemma of trying to do it all yourself

You probably know this dilemma. You know you need to market your business. And you love your business. And you want to be involved in every part of it.

So you think about doing your marketing yourself.

But then you don’t know where to start. So you get confused. Or someone’s given you bad info on how and where you should invest your efforts for maximum return.

So you waste money. And you waste time. And then more time. And then the time adds up. And you still haven’t got the results you want (but you have found a good way to get increasingly frustrated…).

And all that time you spent (badly) marketing your business is time you could have been making money serving clients and doing what you’re best at in your business instead.

What’s worse is you might have nothing to show for it.

So you get disheartened. Decide marketing doesn’t work and wait for new clients to come to you instead (which they don’t).

An extreme case maybe 🙂 But you probably know what I’m getting at.

If you can afford it however there’s a much better way to go about marketing. I’ll tell you what that is below, then tell you a few easy ways to know if you should be doing it.

The most successful business owners don’t try to do everything

The most successful business owners we’ve worked with don’t try to do everything themselves.

They compartmentalise and hire specialists for each component of their business.

They focus on what they’re good at (customer service, sales, service delivery etc.), and let marketing experts focus on increasing visibility for their businesses in the areas where those skills are needed most.

The business owners that struggle are the ones that try and do everything themselves. And in our experience they stress a whole lot more too…

In some cases though you might have to do it all yourself. Especially if you’re just starting out. Or your average customer value is low. Or you just can’t help but get involved in all aspects of your business (try to resist).

But how do you know?

Here are some easy ways to figure out if:

a.) You should be doing your own marketing.
b.) You would make a lot more money outsourcing your marketing instead.

A few easy ways to know if you should outsource your marketing

You have capacity for more clients

This probably goes without saying. But if you don’t have capacity to take on more clients. Or can’t change your systems to accommodate growth… Don’t do more marketing. You’ll just be wasting your money on visibility that won’t ultimately help you!

A single client is worth more to you than what you pay on marketing each month.

If your profit from a single client is worth more to you than your expected monthly marketing cost you should be paying a specialist. This a no-brainer.

Not sure how to figure that out? Check out our ROI calculator walk through here.

We have a video production client for example. They work for big companies and organisations; government bodies, not-for-profits, Dell, Microsoft…

A single job can be  worth more than $40k (plus they get to fly cool places). If we send them just one client like this every six months they’d still make a big profit on their marketing spend.

So why would they bother trying to market themselves?

Businesses this could apply to:

  • The demolition company who averages $15k per domestic demolition / deconstruction
  • Every kind of dentist or surgeon doing major procedures or operations
  • Travel or adventure tour companies
  • Lawyers
  • Pest inspection and control

You get the gist 🙂

Average lifetime customer value (ALCV) greater than $1000

Not going to lie. Effective marketing services are not cheap. Anyone who thinks they’re going to get results for $100 a month is either:

a.) Kidding themselves
b.) Has been reading too many generic spam emails offering “first page on google” or “improve your Alexa rank” with ranking proof that is not going to grow your customer base.

That aside…

Businesses that have higher ALCVs are in an excellent position to afford recurring marketing services.

While they might not be profitable on their marketing immediately, if you make $1000+ over the lifetime a customer or client is paying you it all adds up. Even while paying $1000 – $3000 a month to get new leads. Keep converting traffic and you have easily made much more than your money back in the long run.

Anything less $1000 ALCV and paying higher recurring marketing costs doesn’t make sense.

So how do you calculate ALCV? Easy.

Pick 10 average clients. Figure out how much on average they are likely to spend per visit / consultation / tune up etc. Multiply by average number of visits / consultations / tune ups.

Here are some examples:

  • Mechanic who charges $300 on average per service and has high customer loyalty. Customers regularly get their car serviced every 6 months for a number of years.
  • Chiropractor who charges $90 per treatment and whose clients return on average for 13 to 15 treatments
  • Illustrator who charges $500 per piece of artwork for a magazine and gets a new commission every 2 – 4 months

You’re already doing well, but want to grow your business further and faster

Honestly, the best way to grow your business is through referrals (if you need help setting up a system for that get in touch).

The next best is digital marketing.

So if you’re already:

  • Run off your feet
  • Not getting as many referrals as you’d like
  • Have a good reserve of cash for marketing
  • Want to grow your business further; and
  • Can handle the extra capacity…

Then now is the time to reach out for help, even if you don’t meet the above two criteria strictly.

You’re an enterprise company

You’re big — you can afford it!

When you probably can’t help but do your own marketing

There are going to be some instances though when you should do your own marketing.

You don’t meet the above points

If you’re a barber charging $20 for a haircut you’re going to need a lot of new enquiries to pay off $1000 worth of marketing a month.

You’re just starting out and have no capital

If you’re starting with a brand new website or business, getting traction online can take time and money, particularly in competitive markets.

Google has a sandbox. Your website won’t want to play in it, but sometimes it doesn’t give you a choice.

Google’s sandbox means a website starting from scratch can be looking at 2 – 3 months to start seeing any results.

If you don’t have much money to begin with, going broke while waiting for marketing to kick in is not going to do your entrepreneurial morale any good.

In your case it’s better to go grassroots. Market in your local community and to your network. Check out Facebook groups in your niche. Let everyone know what you’re doing and ask for referrals. Do free work for loss lead purposes.

Think about paying for recurring marketing services to grow once you’re on an upward trajectory and already have a decent amount of exposure.

You’re broke or are planning to put marketing spend on credit

Total honesty here. Sometimes digital marketing just doesn’t work.

Usually you can tell in advance, but sometimes a surprise will come out of the blue.

If you’re broke and you put marketing on credit, be careful you’re not just digging yourself a bigger hole — especially if the agency you go with can’t prove results.

You’re going to micromanage the agency you hire

Seriously, do this and whichever agency you hire will probably end up firing you.

Think about how you felt the last time someone told you how to do your job. Not good right?

So if you’re going to hire an expert, let them be the expert. That’s what you’re paying them for, so you can focus on growing your business and serving your clients.

When paying for marketing is just burning money

This isn’t a way to tell if you should be paying someone else to do your marketing. But it is important to throw in for good measure.

If your website isn’t set up to convert traffic into enquiries then any money you spend on marketing it you may as well be burning (and that’s bad for the environment)..

Fix your website first or make sure some conversion rate optimisation is built into any new marketing contract.

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So there you have it. Have I missed anything? If you’re paying to outsource your marketing to experts (and I don’t mean a yellowpages ad..) how did you come to the conclusion you needed to do it?


Image source: Brad Montgomery Creative Commons License CC by 2.0

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