Traditional forms of marketing are dead. As a small business or startup, it’s just not feasible to spend large amounts of money on cumbersome marketing campaigns and waste hours meeting with agencies to perfect the message you’ll slap on a billboard or pay high fees for a newspaper ad. Thankfully, the internet age offers a solution and thanks to outsourcing, it has never been easier to do your marketing online.
As Marc Andreesen once said, “Software is eating the world.” and he couldn’t have been more right in his observation. If we look at a few examples, it becomes abundantly clear where the world is heading. Do you remember Borders, the bookstore? Well it was eaten by digital bookstore, Amazon. There was once a time when we would listen to CDs or turn on the radio to enjoy the latest tunes. Today, digital solutions, like iTunes and Spotify, replace older technologies. Digital advertising agency, Google, is now the largest advertising agency in the world.
Looking at this global trend shows us the way businesses are heading and it also forces businesses to redirect the way they deploy their resources — forcing more into digital advertising. Why would you write a book when you can write an eBook? And why would you take out an ad in your local paper when you can buy an ad on Google and potentially reach 100 times the audience?
Traditional advertising is OUT and DIGITAL advertising is IN.
Why digital advertising works
There are two key reasons why traditional marketing doesn’t work for businesses today.
Firstly; it is clumsy, expensive and very difficult to measure ROI from traditional advertising. Imagine you coughed up the big bucks and paid to have two billboards on major highways. When they go up, your revenue nearly doubles, which is fantastic, but you face a significant problem. Firstly, which billboard performed the best? Was it highway 1? Highway 2? A combination of both? Or perhaps neither at all! The problem is that you cannot measure how well your billboards actually perform.
For the sake of the argument, let’s assume it’s the billboard on highway 1 that causes the huge spike in revenue. We have a huge, expensive black hole on highway 2 that is doing nothing for your business and costs a lot of money. Compare this with Google AdSense, for instance, where you can track absolutely everything – how many people see your ad, how many people click on your ad, how many people move around your website and how many people pull out their credit cards and buy something. Not all ads are equal. If an ad is not effective, then replace it with a new piece of copy or a different angle. The great thing with Google AdSense is you can create 5 different ads within the same budget, spread them around and cull under achievers.
Secondly, your customers don’t look at billboards anymore when deciding what to buy. They are online! That means you must be, too. According to Forrester Research, by 2016 more than half of the dollars spent in US retail will be influenced by the web, making it very important that you position your business to benefit from this shift.
I already mentioned Google AdSense, but that is not the only way to gain traction in online advertising. SEO, email marketing, Facebook ads, blogs and other tools help you turn your digital advertising (inbound marketing) into revenue. Just like with your Google Ads, you should try a number of different forms of online marketing because you won’t know which will perform the best for your business until you try them!
I am sure by now you’re convinced that online advertising is an exciting opportunity for your business. However some of you might be scratching your head and thinking, “How on earth am I going to have time to be a statistician, advertising expert, marketer and business owner all in one?” The great thing is you don’t have to be because you can focus on what you are good at and outsource the rest!
Outsource your digital advertising
With global crowdsourcing websites like Freelancer.com, it has never been easier to outsource jobs, freeing up your time to focus on running your business. Using a freelancer is great for two main reasons. Firstly, they are experts in their field so you have them focus on specific tasks, knowing you have the best person for the job. Secondly, having a global workforce at your fingertips means that there is always someone available to work on your project and charge you only for the hours worked. Using freelancers provides your business with the flexibility to complete jobs and grow when your business requires it, and also to scale back if necessary.
When using an online global crowdsourcing marketplace, there are a few tips to keep in mind.
1. When you post a project or a contest brief, make sure it is specific and detailed. The more effort you put in up-front, the easier it is for the freelancer to hit the ground running.
2. Every freelancer is different, so make sure you find the best one for you. When working online, freelancers have a work history in the form of past reviews, recommendations and previous work. It is vital that you get to know your freelancer before you start to work together.
3. Talk to your freelancers! Just because you are working with them online, in different countries or time zones, doesn’t mean that communication goes out the window. Utilize chat and email functions to interact with your freelancer and work together on the project.
4. Use a milestone payment system. Setting up milestone payments that will be paid throughout the course of the project gives you and your freelancer structure and security when working together.
5. If you are not entirely sure what you are looking for, then host a contest and crowdsource the perfect idea! For instance, you know you need a new logo for your business, but you are not exactly sure what you are after. Post a $200 contest and in days, you could have hundreds of ideas to work from.
This is a guest post from Nikki Parker, Regional Director at Freelancer.com
Nikki is a Regional Director at Freelancer.com, the world’s largest crowdsourcing and outsourcing marketplace. Freelancer.com connects more than 8 million skilled professionals from all around the world, allowing business owners to get just about any task completed quickly and at a fraction of the cost. Nikki travels around the world meeting with business groups and entrepreneurs, coaching them on online business building and effective crowdsourcing. Nikki is passionate about getting SMEs online and working with entrepreneurs and startups to grow their business through developing their online offerings and eCommerce capabilities. To join this outsourcing revolution visit www.freelancer.com.