Marketing Know-how

5 Things to do Before Outsourcing your Marketing

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Juggling your marketing on top of all of your other daily responsibilities can become tricky. So as a busy small business owner, there may come a time when you start considering handing over your marketing to someone else. Whether you’re thinking about hiring a (junior) marketer or outsourcing your marketing to a freelancer or an agency, this isn’t something to be rushed into on a whim!

In this post, I want to run you through five things to do before you hire someone to support you with your marketing. Some of these you may already have in place, while others you won’t consider until the time comes.

Whether you are planning to outsource all of, most of or even just some of your marketing, by taking the time to work through these steps, you’ll set yourself up for outsourcing success!

Not sure who to choose to help you with your small business marketing? Find out about the differences between a marketing consultant and junior marketers/freelancers as well as marketing agencies.

1. Establish your branding

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First things first, have your branding in place. Before outsourcing your marketing you need to have a really strong grasp of your brand identity. This is important for both you and for the person who takes on your accounts.

This means having your visual identity (your brand logo, colours and fonts) down, as well as your tone of voice and your brand values. I have an entire post dedicated to building a successful and consistent brand, which you can check out here.

You know your brand better than anyone. You know why you started your business and how you want customers to feel when interacting with your brand. So it’s crucial that you have a handle on this before putting someone else in the driving seat.

A good way to ensure you are fully prepared is to build yourself a brand guidelines document, which you can share with the person you are outsourcing your marketing to. This document will include all colours, logos and fonts. You should also include information on your values, examples of your brand voice and the look and feel of your brand – be it imagery or social media visuals. This way, the person you’ve hired can follow along and keep everything consistent.

2. Establish your strategy & marketing plan

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If you’re hiring someone to take care of your day-to-day marketing, you need your strategy and plan to be in place first.

I’ve written extensively about creating your strategy, so be sure to go on and read more if this is something you are struggling with! And you can find out more about how to create your marketing plan as well.

The bottom line is you need to know a) who your target audience is, b) what makes you different from your competition, c) what platforms you are using to reach out to your ideal clients and when as well as d) what you’ll use to measure your success.

Having this all in place makes it easier to hand over the reins to whoever you hire. They’ll have a game plan to follow, which you are both fully aware of. Your strategy is at the heart of your business, so this is a really crucial step.

Without outlining this, you run the risk of whoever you hire using tactics you don’t agree with or focusing on platforms you don’t feel comfortable with. It’s also important to make sure your customer flow is maintained with a consistent message across all channels.

3. Set yourself a budget

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I’m sure I don’t have to tell you this, as money/budgets is usually one of the first things we think about! But in terms of hiring someone, you actually have a few budgets to consider.

First things first, you have to budget for paying the person you hire. Be realistic and know that the more tasks you outsource, the more you are likely going to have to pay. But make sure you know the maximum you can afford to spend each month before jumping in.

In addition to the person you may also have ongoing subscription fees. This might be to editing software or scheduling platforms that the person you hire needs to do their job. These need to be factored in to your budget.

And finally, you also need to have a budget for your new campaigns. That could include paid ads on Google or social media, flyers or print ads, a booth at a trade show or tickets to a networking event you want your new marketing help to attend. Set yourself a firm boundary here as it’s easy to get swept up in the excitement when you’re bouncing ideas off someone else!

4. Do your research

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When outsourcing your marketing you need to do your research. Make sure you talk to more than one person. When you’re new to this, the first person you speak to might seem perfect! But give yourself options. From cost to personality to skillset, there is a lot to consider.

Obviously, straight off the bat, you need to decide if you want to hire someone to join your team, or to hire an external agency. There are pros and cons to each option, so be sure to really think it through.

When you hire someone as a staff member, you can set out exactly what the role involves. If you do go for a freelancer or agency, however, it’s important to figure out exactly what they are offering. Know what it is you want to outsource to them and ensure that’s something they do. Don’t make any assumptions as all freelance marketers and agencies work differently.

By not rushing in, you can make sure that the person you hire is the right fit for you and your business. And that, by taking your day-to-day marketing off your hands, it will reduce your stress and give you time to focus on the areas of your business that you really love.

5. Get Organised

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And finally, whether you are hiring a junior marketer for your team, or outsourcing your marketing to an agency, there are a few basic things you have to have in order. Getting this organised in advance means you can hit the ground running once you find the right person.

Firstly, it’s handy to have all assets like files and fonts, image databases, photos and videos in one place. This could be a master folder you send via a site like WeTransfer, or a file storage site like DropBox or Google Drive you grant access to. This ensures the person/team has everything they need to start creating on brand content.

Next, organise any NDAs, privacy notices or legal documents to make sure any sensitive data is protected/being handled safely. This is really important when outsourcing your marketing. Having this in place gives you the peace of mind of knowing your information and your customer information is safe.

At this stage, you’ll also have to organise any log-ins or passwords required for software and tools you use for your marketing. This might include analytics tools, mailing list and scheduling software, and even just access to your website.

And finally, set out in advance exactly what your process for briefings, updates on progress, approval and measuring response will look like. Being able to tell the person or team you’re hiring how often you expect to debrief and what you expect in terms of updates (e.g. a casual email vs. a detailed presentation on zoom/in person) will help to manage expectations from the get-go!

Final Thoughts…

I hope this has been a helpful rundown of everything you need to consider before outsourcing your marketing. It can be a total game-changer when you get it right! So go forth and set yourself up for success, so that when the right person comes along, you’re ready.


If you are interested in reading more about this topic, have a look at these:
Marketing Consultant v Marketing Agency – the Need to Know Differences
4 Ways a Small Business Marketing Consultant Can Help You
FAQ! 12 Questions I Regularly Receive as a Marketing Consultant
Hiring a Junior Marketer vs working with a Marketing Consultant

Denise Strohsahl brand and marketing consultant for small businesses

Hello, I’m Denise from sandstonecastles, a brand & marketing consultancy based in Edinburgh, Scotland.

I help small business owners like yourself to find the right marketing that’s in line with your brand and values.