Pretty Only Gets You So Far
Chatting to a client yesterday we drifted from EMI shareholder agreement discussions to how much time they had saved by using an external service to manage all of their social media. This is a 10 person team working in B2B service delivery. They were overwhelmed in-house by Twitter and Facebook and so had started to pay £350 per month to an external agency to do it all for them. I asked them what their ROI was before they had outsourced it all. They said around 10 hours a week over a 3 month period to bring in £200 worth of business – in that 3 months.
Outsourcing is brilliant – just not when its a waste
My view on this is there is absolutely nothing wrong in outsourcing, if you are finding your own activity useful and it’s yielding dividends then work out what the activity is costing you in house and what that activity is worth to you in terms of business, then outsource it within budget by all means. Where there is so little ROI, take paid for advice on what you are doing and do it better – build it up and then re-evaluate the numbers and outsource if needed. These packages of outsourced activity are seductive. They sound like a real time saver but really in this case you are just swapping payment for wasted time as it was not working properly in the first place. You are saving time by outsourcing but, as the outsourced team was tasked with doing exactly what you were already doing, nothing is changing except you are not using your own time but paying for someone else’s. You have ring-fenced a waste but not removed it. In anyone’s book this is bad business.
Sell as though your life depended on it
You are in business to sell, get noticed and to sell, go on Social Media and draw in more people who like what you say and are drawn to your business; the end goal is more people know about you and you sell more as a result. If any of your marketing activity is not doing that simple thing and you cannot, having put all the systems in place to measure what you do, identify any real benefit then stop it. Just stop it and move onto something that works! This client’s PPC activity was working really well and yet they hived off money into Social Media ‘cos its pretty and everyone else is doing it. Madness, and each and every one of us in business does the same thing by not being awake and getting sucked into pretty rather than effective.
As with all business discussions the journey home got me thinking about what is easy to see in someone else’s business as an issue and poor practice but so much harder to see in your own as you are too close to it. I take time a couple of times a month to do a walk through and yesterday evening I found things on our own site which were problems needing a fix. Stuff our measuring traffic metrics had not alerted us to and we had missed over the 10 days since our last walk through. Do it in your business today and see what you find, and share it in the box below. I found our Free Docs page is not working at all – techies are on it now and it will be fixed over the next 3 days, also our blog page is not showing on our header bar – another techie issue to resolve. Poking about in the money side of things I found 2 subscriptions to things we no longer use and cancelled them. On the top level all looked pretty but, as I said, pretty only gets you so far, you need to dig under the surface in your business to see what is really happening.