You can think of your inbound marketing plan as a grand structure supported by three central pillars — content development, social media, and SEO. But should you manage all of these pillars yourself, hand them all over to an agency, or attempt something in between? Let’s look at some pros and cons of each approach.
The In-House Approach
In theory, keeping all your inbound marketing activities under your organization’s roof has points in its favor. The content development pillar is well served by the fact that your own people are bound to understand your industry better than any third party could, at least at first, allowing you to get that initial burst of content up and running quickly. In fact, you can experience relatively high efficiency in general through this approach — but only if everyone under your marketing roof is on the same page strategically and tactically.
Your social media and SEO pillars, however, are more likely to run aground when you handle them yourself. These are two distinct specializations, each of which requires considerable expertise, time, effort and concentration. If your team can’t spare many hours of labor, follow-up, monitoring, and (in the case of social media) interaction with your audience — or if you lack the sophisticated analytics resources to turn your data into a dynamic SEO battle plan — you really need to outsource these activities.
The Hybrid Approach
Can you keep your content development pillar in-house while outsourcing your social media and SEO pillars? Under certain circumstances, this hybrid approach to inbound marketing might be a viable option. Keep in mind, however, that just as a building with misaligned supports may not be stable, these three pillars will not support your marketing plan if they aren’t all following the same blueprint.
A mix-and-match combination of in-house and outsourced marketing activities can quickly turn into chaos if all parties aren’t in constant communication with each other. Your social media channels are only as effective as the content you develop for them, while the content itself will only produce results if it’s integrated with your SEO efforts. Remember, too, that all these tasks must provide congruency — a consistent voice, tone and user experience throughout your brand. This can be tricky to achieve when two (or more) different organizations are following their idea of what they should be doing.
The Agency Approach
Outsourcing all three of your inbound marketing pillars to an agency may feel like sitting behind the wheel of a self-driving car at first, and it’s a major investment that needs to be handled correctly by selecting just the right team for your needs. But it also offers some huge advantages that cause it to pay for itself many times over. Chief among these is the sheer relief of having the burden off these complex, difficult marketing activities lifted from your employees’ shoulders so they can be productive in other lucrative ways. There’s also the fact that a dedicated inbound marketing company can probably run rings around your own people at producing professional-quality content, optimizing it for the Web, and broadcasting it through the most effective social media strategies.
There’s one other important point in the agency approach’s favor. Underlying your content development, social media and SEO pillars is the bedrock of all inbound marketing — data. Everything you do needs to be based on a strong, consistent foundation of data analytics, and full-service marketing agencies are most definitely the keepers of this particular flame. When your agency builds your entire inbound marketing program on a rich, diverse, intelligently-interpreted pool of data, you can’t lose.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which of these approaches best suits your plans, budget and comfort level. But you might be surprised to learn just how sensible and cost effective it can be to outsource some of all of your inbound marketing to a company like LeapGo. Contact us to request a quote!