Bring your digital marketing firm into the black with these tips
Because it takes place entirely online, digital marketing is extremely scalable, flexible, and prone to disruption. Firms that ride the wave and keep costs low enjoy sustained, long-term profits, but staying still is not an option. Here are a few simple ideas for your marketing team to stay on top.
Too many online marketing firms get bogged down trying to pursue all possible revenue streams and strategies at once. Pay attention to your clients’ analytics, and set a minimum bang-for-buck standard. If everything you’re doing satisfies your minimum standard, it’s time to raise the bar. By this process, you can continually refine and polish your marketing strategy without waiting for a single stroke of genius.
Some effective strategies take time to bear fruit, so you have to approach this process intelligently—but set a deadline to take stock of a low-performing strategy’s impact. Decide ahead of time when you will pull the plug, and follow through. Focusing on what works will save you thousands of dollars in wasted work-hours.
2. Stay virtual as long as possible
As satisfying as it can be to have your own office space, ask yourself whether it really makes sense for your business. Before you shell out hundreds or even thousands a month on commercial office space, see if you can accomplish the same level of team-integration and cohesion by paying $10 a month for group video calling. It also helps if you can accept credit cards from wherever you are—so check out mobile payments from Intuit.com
Managing a telecommuting team requires a different set of leadership tools, but it also has benefits: you get to choose from a global talent pool, rather than the people who can drive to your office every morning; and freedom from the weekday commute is a huge perk that will make it easier to find high-quality talent.
3. Keep your team tightly integrated
Particularly with contractors and telecommuters, duplicated effort can be a huge source of waste. If your team has individual records and contacts, integrating can save everyone a great deal of time and effort. Google Docs and Dropbox are an excellent, free method of sharing work and comparing notes. If at all possible, connect your entire team to an open stack cloud infrastructure—it’ll save thousands of dollars versus individual PCs for each employee, as well as keeping your data more integrated and secure.
4. Make extensive use of contractors
Even if your team has the chops to do your design, web development, bookkeeping, etc., it nearly always makes more sense to contract those tasks out and keep your employees focused on what they do best. It might seem to cost more on paper, but pulling full-time employees off their primary job description is almost always more costly than hiring a specialist.
Tasks like PPC and link-building are simple to track and reward on a piece-rate, so consider handing those jobs out to contractors as well—they’re far less expensive than salaried employees, and since you only pay for performance, they’re much lower-risk as well. Using contract labor also keeps your business flexible—it’s much easier to give a contractor more or less work than it is to hire or fire a salaried employee.
Aimee Watts is a staff writer for Going Cellular. She has spent ten years telecommuting full-time, and loves spreading tips and advice for fellow work-at-home parents. She loves gadgets, new ideas, and skiing with her two favorite people: her husband and teenage son. They live in Evergreen, Colorado.