Why outsourcing isn't always the magical pill.



Can I be really [really] real with you for just a hot minute?



I mean, let’s be real … have I ever been anything other than really really real with y’all since the beginning of you following along here on this TDP journey? #lol.



We uh, how do I say this politely … reject more prospects than we say ‘yes’ to them, and it’s not a laziness thing, or a snobbery thing, but instead? It’s us > loving you enough to say, “you’re not outsourcing for the right reasons” or “you’re not ready for the outsource”.  



Because y’see we’ve done this for a *long* time, and we’ve become really-bluddy-good at working out the outsource-for-the-wrong-reasons and the not-ready-for-the-outsource’y types.



Saying no to these prospects reminds me of the conversation a Director of a childcare facility I put my son into when he was two had with me, i.e she pulled me aside and said “we can keep taking your money.  Daily, even.  But your son isn’t coping in childcare, and he spends every day crying … he might just need another 12 months home [some kids do], and then you can try again when he hits 3yo kindy age”.



When she said this, I was offended, insulted, and felt like saying … “so accommodate for him”, but she was right: accommodating for him would have meant having a 1:1 carer to him 24/7 while he heave-cried for me/my huz for a good 3/4/6/12 months [ha!], and ultimately? We’d have burned through a year’s worth of childcare fees with multiple calls per day saying, “you need to come and pick him up”.



When we say no to our not-outsourcing-for-the-right-reasons or you’re-not-ready-for-the-outsource prospects, it’s not a “no, forever” … it’s just a “no for now”, and that no comes from a place of absolute kindness, i.e we don’t want to be the childcare facility burning through cash before you were ready for the agency outsource / subsequently have you feeling like there was no ROI from your outsource, anyway.



So in saying all o’ that? … let’s explore some of the reasons why outsourcing might not always be that magical pill.





Sometimes, you’re not quite set up for success from the beginning



Y’see, a digital marketing agency can only do so much, i.e if you’ve got a bangin’ product, but a terrible website / zilch investment in imagery / poor UX / astonishingly high postage rates resulting in a surge of abandoned carts that we just-can’t-close-the-paid-ads-loop-on [the barriers-to-ROI-success list really could go on] … no amount o’ paid ads will be that magical pill for success [and the kinda ROI you’ve seen in our successful campaigns that we share across our social platforms].



The prospects we reject? … we’d be wasting their time and money, and so we’re honest [to a fault], and let them know where the deficits are so that they can work on them before they come back to us again [somewhere down the track].



Sometimes? They don’t take the advice, and they go to another agency who whisper all o’ the sweet nothings to them and then a year later? … they’re back emailing us, and telling us about the 60-100k down the drain in paid ads spend / minimal ROI.



*breathes into a brown paper bag* because #empathLYF, ha!






Because you have to cover your retainer, which is expensive



This one’s obvious.



Nobody ever made a successful business without some kind of [usually big] investment, but if we get the inkling that we’re going to be you investing everything you have [and we know that this can’t be stretched beyond 3’ish months], or worse? If we’re your very last hope before your business folds? … we’ll – again – be incredibly honest, and let you know how uncomfortable that makes us.



Why? Because honest-to-a-fault [yet again], and business ownership requires investment, but if we know your mortgage / family / livelihood is riding [and potentially dying] on it, we’ll connect you with a freelance marketer who’ll be able to come in at a lower retainer … and the focus’ll be that they get you up to agency readiness within 12’ish months or so.



We’re always thanked for this, and you’re welcome … because takin’ your very last dollar, and hoping [to God] that it pays off? Pretty uncomfortable for us too, if we’re being real.






Be realistic about expectations management, i.e what are you expecting from this outsource?



Here’s where I’m going to get really honest with you, and I’mma break it down [fairly] simply;


  1. You outsource your organic socials for mental load reduction, and
  2. You outsource your performance marketing to increase conversions / leads generated / overall brand awareness



Outsourcing all organic content is expensive [and I’ll be honest, of all of the work that we do? … that aspect is the least profitable for us], but we do it because a) we love social and b) paid ads perform better when we’re significantly uplifting the organic content experience and c) we strictly cap our SMM portfolio, due to that being the least profit-driving activity our agency does.



The reason why it’s hard to drive profit here? … it is a lot of work.  A lot.  So much.  And so when you outsource that? I’d encourage you to consider the outsource a) a [significant] mental load reduction with b) a side bonus of amplifying your organic footprint [which drives more paid ads conversions].



The a) in this equation is why you outsource, and the b) is the SIDE BONUS.





For small[er] businesses, your presence will *always* be more authentic when it’s done by you



For as long as possible, we’d recommend keeping organic content in-house [i.e you] because nobody knows your business quite like you do … unless of course you’re in the a) category I mentioned above, i.e the mental load reduction is necessary, and so therefore? That outsource is necessary.




Outsourcing doesn’t mean not doing anything at all



A lot of folks think once they outsource that that’s pretty much it, i.e they hand over the keys to their [social media] car and expect you [as the agency] to drive it around.



We wish it worked like that.  



Truly? One of the biggest reasons agencies find it hard to make SMM hard is because of client comms [countless client comms, tbh], but the client comms are all-important because if we simply took the keys to your car and drove it around … the presence is managed, sure, but it ain’t good.



The best client accounts we manage? … the clients are involved.  Guiding tone of voice.  Lending what they know about their business to what we know about social and digital strategy, to create the ultimate [collaborative] powerhouse brand presence.





And finally? If you lean towards perfectionism? Outsourcing is hard



For some? It’s really hard to give those keys away, and if you lean towards perfectionism … you’re going to feel like the outsource isn’t worth it [not because you haven’t outsourced to the right agency.  You likely have.  But because you just can’t step away, try as you might].



If that’s you, we respect that completely … and will always tell you to wait a little longer until you’re really [genuinely] at outsource point, i.e you simply cannot manage it all solo any more.




Has this been helpful?


Have I missed anything?


LMK in the comments below! 🙂