According to online marketing guru Neil Patel, outsourcing “will save your life” and we can’t help but agree.
When you run your own business, chances are you are bombarded with a million things that you need to do every single day.
By outsourcing some of these tasks however, you can then spend more time focusing on the stuff that matters and less time stressing over the stuff that didn’t get done.
Outsourcing also allows you to focus on your strengths and gives other tasks, that may not be your strength, over to people who are experts.
Outsourcing comes with many benefits, and statistically it has been shown to-
- Increase innovation
- Conserve Capital
- Reduce Costs
- Improve Quality
- Increase speed to market
Ultimately, outsourcing helps you to grow your business faster and gives you more time in the day to work on the things that truly matter.
Even though outsourcing has many benefits, a lot of companies are scared to outsource.
Firstly, they are worried about the cost involved and secondly, they are worried about being taken advantage of or screwed over.
Outsourcing requires you to often trust people that you have never met to complete a task online. Often payments are required upfront and there could be no telling whether who you have outsourced to is going to deliver quality work.
Many companies are also worried that the quality of the outsourced work won’t be up to scratch or will cost the company more time and hassle than it is worth.
While all of these are possibilities when it comes to outsourcing, there are a few measures that you can put into place to protect yourself and your company.
- Finding reputable outsourcing websites that offer reviews and guarantees
- Asking for a folio or examples of work completed
- Receiving referrals from networks or associates
- Speaking with your freelancer over the phone, video chat or in person
- Sticking within your budget and finding freelancers in or below your price range only
- Being open-minded about where you find your freelancer (don’t be afraid to go global)
- Double checking the freelancers work before sending payments
- Never giving out client information or personal information
- Giving separate usernames and passwords if granting access to your website or various accounts
- Creating a contract between you and the freelancer before payments are exchanged
- Signing a privacy or non disclosure agreement between you and the freelancer if necessary
Another solid way to protect yourself when it comes to outsourcing, is to outsource tasks that you don’t have the resources to complete in-house.
This way, no matter what the end product is, it will still be better than anything you or your team could have created.
Even if the task is not completed with perfection, at least it will be done. As Neil Patel states- “I’ve realised that done is better than perfect.”
When it comes to outsourcing, here are some specific tasks that you can get started on straight away-
Content Writing and Blogging
Statistics have shown that 64 percent of B2B marketers outsource their company blog and other content writing services. So if you are thinking of outsourcing your blog content, you are not alone.
Having a regularly updated blog is a necessity for most businesses, but it can cost a lot of your time and resources.
If writing is also not your strong point, it may make sense to outsource it to professional writers and bloggers.
If you are uncertain about having your entire blog or content outsourced, you can also hire writers to help you manage your comments, come up with article ideas, collate research, manage the scheduling of blog posts and so much more.
In fact, here are 25 things that you can outsource through most professional content writers and bloggers-
- Blog posts (you can always start with outsourcing just a few, and write a few in-house)
- Responding to and managing blog comments
- Researching information for upcoming blog posts- this could include statistics, data and quotes
- Managing the schedule of your blog posts
- Proof reading, formatting and grammar/spell check
- Finding images, screenshots and videos to accompany your blogs
- Adding basic SEO to your blog posts such as meta data, tags and alt text to images
- Revamping old blog posts so they can be used again and again
- Keeping inventory of keywords used
- Creating copy for landing pages
- Attention grabbing headline creation
- Crafting pitches for guest posts
- Finding inspiration for future blog posts and topics to write about
- Co-creating or co-writing with other members of your team
- Filtering spam and moderating trolls or negative comments
- Market research on topics that are trending in your niche
- Whitepaper creation such as ebooks, templates and so on
- Monitoring competition and competitors content
- Categorising blog posts for easier navigation
- Writing newsletters for your email list
- Writing email templates for common questions or customer queries
- Creating content for your website such as FAQ, About, Mission Statement etc.
- Watching for plagiarism or for other sites ripping your content
- Creating content for SEO purposes
- Putting in links to existing blog posts
As you can see, there are so many things that you can outsource that you probably don’t have the time to do in-house.
By making the small investment to outsource these tasks, you will not only see a dramatic improvement to your content, but you will also be able to write more informative and well-developed blog posts.
Graphic Design/ Web Design
Having an eye-catching logo can be a great way to establish your brand and have it be recognised online and with your customers.
Logo design can be very expensive if you go through a graphic design company, but choosing a freelancer can be more affordable and the results can be just as good.
Graphic designers can also help you with a few other tasks besides logo design too. These include-
- Designing banners, icons, ebook covers, headers and more
- Creating infographics, slides and alternative content types
- Creating product sketches or mock ups
- Designing landing pages or sales pages
- Designing opt-in pages or opt-in boxes
- Basic video editing or video creation
- Image enhancement and editing
- Optimising images for social media
- Creating email templates or letter head templates
- Creating branded material (invoices, email signature etc.)
- Creating pitch decks and internal presentations
- Taking product photos
- Hand designed illustrations or graphics for blog posts
- Uploading your logo and banners to social media profiles
SEO is one of those things that you don’t want to outsource to just anyone. While a bad blog post is unlikely to harm your business, bad SEO definitely can.
When it comes to outsourcing your SEO, it is highly recommended to go with a reputable company or digital marketing agency that has experience and proven track record.
This can be a costly investment for your business but it is definitely worth it in the long run.
Depending on what stage of growth your business is at, hiring a reputable company to do your SEO may not be viable. If this is the case, there are some simple tasks that you can outsource to freelancers.
There are plenty of great freelancers out there that can help take care of the nuts and bolts of your brand’s SEO, including performing keyword research and creating a sitemap.
Here are 12 more SEO tasks that you may want to consider outsourcing to help grow your business-
- Monitoring and keeping up to date with Google’s search algorithms
- Keyword research
- Analysing what the competition is doing in regards to SEO
- Building a sitemap
- Submitting content to directories
- Commenting on other people’s blogs
- Monitoring the position of your content on search engines
- Improving and monitoring site speed
- Making suggestions for mobile pages
- Performing SEO audits
- Editing and optimising landing pages to be SEO friendly
- Selecting appropriate keywords
Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest, Vine, YouTube, Reddit, Google+, Tumblr – social media can be a lot to manage!
Social media is one of the easiest things to outsource and can free up a lot of time in your day.
Social media is also relatively simply to manage even for novices, so it is a great place to start if you are new to outsourcing, or nervous about trusting your brand with someone you have only met online.
With social media being such a crucial part of online marketing, outsourcing your social strategy is a great way to start building a strong presence without a huge investment or a huge risk.
Just be sure you create an appropriate account for your freelancer and give them a different username and password. This way, if anything does go wrong you can always block them from gaining access.
Here are 25 tasks that you can outsource when it comes to improving your social media marketing strategy-
- Managing the basics of the social platform
- Sharing content across all the major networks
- Curating new and interesting content
- Replying to comments, tweets and likes
- Finding or creating quality images
- Inviting people to like your page
- Managing friend requests and adding new friends
- Creating events and inviting followers
- Scheduling and managing posts across various platforms
- Keeping track of “@mentions” and tags
- Uploading videos, images and status updates in real time
- Creating polls, questionnaires, surveys or discussions
- Engaging with followers and fans of your brand
- Updating user profiles and managing the overall look and feel of your social pages
- Welcoming new followers or subscribers
- Managing the content released using a content scheduler
- Tracking the effectiveness of certain campaigns
- Boosting posts or sponsoring posts on certain platforms
- Cross promoting on all social platforms
- Growing followers, likes and shares
- Sharing your content on groups and across a wide variety of social sites
- Sending out birthday greetings to fans and followers
- Researching relevant hashtags
- Tracking what competitors are doing on social media
- Liking and commenting on relevant pages and accounts
Statistics show us that round 72 percent of large organisations and around 33 percent of smaller organisations outsource their copywriting.
Copywriting does take skill and finesse, so finding someone that is able to capture the tone of your brand and effectively communicate your sales message can sometimes be tricky.
Whichever way you look at it, your brand needs effective copy if your are looking to create a scalable business online, and as we mentioned earlier, sometimes done is better than perfect.
When you have the shell of your copy, it is also easier and far less time consuming to make small tweaks and changes.
To keep up with the demand when it comes to online marketing, copywriting is going to be something that your business will always need.
While most companies will have an in-house copywriter, here are a few important tasks that you can also outsource for convenience-
- Writing catchy product descriptions
- Creating content for your sales page
- Researching trending topics
- Building spreadsheets for scheduling publishing
- Repurposing content as slides, movies, infographics etc.
- Backing up content to the cloud
- Ensuring content is mobile friendly
- Creating compelling call to actions
- Finding appropriate images and writing catchy captions
- Coming up with targeted headlines
- Editing blogs to be more compelling
- Creating new buzz words for your brand
- Writing social media captions
- Designing new hashtags for social sites
- Implementing deadlines for content or blogs
- Coming up with a content marketing strategy
- designing strategies to generate leads from content
- Email marketing templates or content
- Creating content for sales process or sales emails
- Tracking analytics of content
Web analytics is a great one to outsource because often it is very time consuming and needs constant monitoring.
Setting up analytics can also be tricky, especially if you are struggling to find the right tools and tracking software.
For most companies, even if there is a highly sophisticated and intelligent tracking system set up, analytics still need monitoring and of course, human interpretation.
In fact, being able to effectively manage and interpret your web analytics can often determine the success and effectiveness of your campaigns.
Your analytics can also determine any changes that need to be made to your marketing message or strategies.
Even though web analytics can be overwhelming, there are plenty of tasks that you can outsource for greater ease and convenience. These include, but are not limited to-
- Tabulating web statistics and analytics on a daily basis
- Generating weekly and monthly repots
- Analysing engagement rates
- Monitoring traffic sources
- Identifying long an short term patterns
- Identifying trends
- Analysing performance (conversions, clicks etc)
- Monitoring mentions and links on other sites
- Collecting search result enquiries
- Graphing growth of traffic, conversions and new customers
- Creating sales reports
- Tracking social media analytics
- Monitoring site up time
- Suggesting data driven improvements to increase traffic and conversions
Customer Service Management
Chances are if you have a business you also have customers. Whether you cater to consumers or other businesses, it is crucial to have some sort of customer service team in place.
If your business is struggling in the customer service department or if you can’t justify spending huge amount of money hiring customer service staff, the next best thing is to outsource.
There are many customer service strategies that you can outsource for convenience, but keep in mind that you want to make sure you are still offering a personalised touch.
Here are a few things you an outsource when it comes to helping managing your customers-
- Monitoring customer reviews from around the web
- Replying to customer reviews or feedback in a positive way
- Deleting negative or troll comments
- Responding to customers who have questions or queries about a product or service
- Live chatting with customers who are looking for extra assistance
- Writing follow up or thank you emails to customers
- Managing refund or exchange emails or updates
- Collecting any necessary press on the business
- Listening to feedback about the brand across all social networks
- Tracking customer experiences and expectations
Most businesses will eventually need an in-house admin officer, however if you are just getting started or looking to lighten the load of your admin team, outsourcing can definitely be a good option.
There are many administrative tasks you can outsource to people all around the world, but here are some ideas to get you started-
- Scheduling meetings and phone calls
- Collecting payments and sending invoices
- Managing payments
- Making spreadsheets or keeping track of appointments
- Basic online bookkeeping (Quickbooks, MYOB)
- Personal errands (eg. buying gifts online etc.)
- Ordering office supplies
- Organising documents into folders
- Responding to general enquiry emails
- Data Entry
- Preparing PowerPoint slides or keynote presentations
- Making travel arrangements and bookings
- Sending birthday emails or thank you emails
- Building databases or updating contacts
- Managing the office calendar
- Sending out reminders
- Opening voicemails
Email marketing is an important part of any brand’s overall marketing strategy.
Through the years, email marketing is still one of the best ways to reach your audience directly and educate them about your products and services.
Email marketing can be very time consuming however, and can also take a lot of monitoring and tweaking.
By outsourcing part of your email marketing strategy to freelancers, you can not only more quickly and accurately determine what is going to work, but you can also grow your email list at a much more rapid rate.
Here are some of the top suggestions when it comes to email marketing-
- Writing and creating weekly or monthly newsletters
- Writing copy for sales emails or general emails
- Proof reading and editing emails
- Responding to email enquiries
- Sending out bulk emails
- Scheduling emails
- Tracking email performance and open rates
- Creating an organised work flow or funnel of emails
- Set up multiple lists and targeted segments
- Optimise lead forms to get more subscribers
- Create different lead magnets (eg. ebooks, downloads etc.)
- Brainstorming ideas to offer value to email readers
- Tracking unsubscribers and the reason why
Word Press is a common platform that most businesses use to run their website. In fact, 26 percent of all websites on the internet are run by Word Press.
Even though Word Press is fairly easy to use, if you do want custom coding or help managing the back end of your website, outsourcing may be just the perfect option.
What you choose to outsource for your Word Press site will of course depend on what you need done on your website, but here a few good suggestions to get you started-
- Custom coding for design purposes
- Installing and updating plugins
- Monitoring and managing effectiveness of the site
- Providing Word Press support when needed
- Managing and monitoring security features
- Adjusting and reorganising templates
- Importing text, content and images
- Uploading logos, images and other branded content
- Adjusting style and theme of site
- Creating a clean, clear design and layout
- Social media integration (share bar etc.)
- General site maintenance
Popular Outsourcing Websites
When you are first getting started with outsourcing it can help to go through a reputable website.
Here are some of the top freelance and outsourcing websites around-
- Upwork (Formally oDesk)
- People Per Hour
- Bitsy Task
- Hire the World
When it comes to running your business, there are so many things that you can outsource.
Especially with the growing emergence of technology and online software, you can truly have employees working all around the world to help you grow your business.
Like anything, outsourcing does have some risks, however it definitely seems that the benefits outweigh the risks.
While the work that you receive from outsourcing may not always be perfect, it may be better than struggling to do all the work yourself.
Outsourcing also gives you an affordable and easy way to get things done and to rapidly grow your business without forking out a huge investment.
Be smart about what you choose to outsource by using this article as your guide. You may also want to start small before you launch into outsourcing a major project.
Overtime, you will get savvier about outsourcing and eventually build up a team of strong freelancers to help you every step of the way.
So, try outsourcing your next project and see if it helps you to save time, money and improve efficiency.
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