Most business owners have the vague feeling that they could be doing more to boost their online presence, and often decide to experiment themselves with digital marketing channels. And you might think, why not? Shouldn't an entrepreneur have a hands-on approach when it comes to his or her business? Plus, Facebook and Google practically give away ad credits to anyone interested in trying their advertising platforms.
There's a catch though. When it comes to digital marketing, the challenge lies in its seemingly simple nature and low barrier of entry. There is no shortage of online content that teaches you how to run ads and do SEO. And at the same time, most entrepreneurs who tried to do it themselves will often tell you "Facebook doesn't work" or "SEO is dead", "I already tried these things". And there's an even more dangerous trap: Coming to believe that a skilled online marketer wouldn't do any different or any better, I mean, who can beat the tactics you just learned from Neil Patel?
Why a good marketer can do better than that?
A skilled marketer has way more experience than you will ever have as a business owner, period. To offer a comparison, most people would usually prefer having a business mentor, over a kindle collection of "starting a business" books. And bringing in a marketer to help you grow your business has a similar dynamic.
As a remote marketing consultant at Studio, I've worked with companies in over 10 different industries, both B2B and B2C in the last year alone. Internet advice might be a good starting point for the things we know usually work. But professional marketing advice can help you avoid the things that don't.
Working with someone as part of your extended team, doesn't necessarily mean a less DIY hand-on approach from your part. A good marketer should be able to offer the guidance you need in order to succeed when executing yourself.
And when the day comes that executing yourself feels time consuming, and more like working yourself in the business, rather on it, a good virtual marketing team might be the answer.
How a virtual marketing team can grow your business
Imagine a virtual marketing team as your remote marketing department. You get access to expert marketing professionals acting as a virtual extension of your team, which is perfect for online businesses and distributed teams.
Moreover, because a virtual marketing team is a "productized offer", it is very cost efficient. It includes auditing, marketing plan, execution and reporting, all in the price you would usually pay as a business only to hire a good marketing manager.
What are the benefits?
If you are starting a remote business, you are probably already familiar with the benefits of remote work as many companies already have a remote workforce, or work with external remote consultants or freelancers.
Compared to building an in-house team, you don't need to worry about team dynamics, cultural fit, effective management, approving holidays, sick leaves and running around motivating people. You are paying for expertise rather than physical presence, which tremendously reduces the office and human resources costs for a business. At the same time it allows you to work with motivated professionals who are experts in their fields.
Last but not least, because a virtual marketing team is a productized offering, every action is done according to a set roadmap (created by your virtual marketing manager) and executed by skilled professionals (your virtual marketing department).
Instead of approving the work of individuals, you are evaluating the effectiveness of the plan and its business outcomes as a whole.
What are the downsides?
On the downsides, it might be difficult at first to understand which virtual marketing companies to trust and evaluate their expertise. My recommendation is to conduct a robust LinkedIn research to evaluate the people who are running the team, and to review their business network and client testimonials.
Moreover, it is important to have cultural fit when working closely with someone. Many companies (we usually see this in large companies such as multinationals) are not ready for this, as they lack effective internal processes for cross-team collaboration.
Last but not least, it is important to understand that a virtual marketing team is a project-based team that executes according to a plan and focused to a goal. This means that you shouldn't expect 9-5 availability but rather weekly reporting and ad-hoc calls when deemed necessary.