PPC and SEO - Inhouse Vs. Outsource

Any small business owner in a B2B or B2C market has struggled with the decision - should you outsource your internet marketing to a full-service marketing firm, or should you bring employees in-house for your marketing team? First you need to define your marketing goals - are you building a long-term brand or just bringing a new product or service to market? Do you have sufficient capital to support a marketing team? Your budget for advertising (ie, Google Adwords, Yahoo Search Marketing) should be taken into account when considering your marketing budget - for online companies this is the largest single cost.

If you just want to get your name out there and you have a clear exit strategy within the next one to three years, I would strongly recommend that you look into outsourcing your internet marketing - a full-service internet marketing company will focus on SEO (search engine optimization), PPC (Pay Per Click management), affiliate marketing, email marketing and link building. Depending on your budget you may want to consider which one or two of these services is most important to you - most full-service firms have a strength in one or two areas.

When you hire a new employee, don't forget to project the cost of training them and retaining them. After you have spent a considerable amount of money training a new employee, you have to take into account the fact that they are more valuable to other employers and there is a good chance that they are going to leave unless you are willing to pay them a premium.

All concerns aside, I personally recommend that any company interested in a long-term business that requires a significant amount of marketing hire an in-house team. Another alternative is to hire a coordinator in-house that can work with third party vendors and make sure they are doing their job. Remember that PPC is like a sprint (you can hit the ground running with a PPC campaign), but SEO is more like a marathon - it is good to have a loyal employee constantly working with the third-party to ensure that your brand's "flavor" is consistent in all different mediums.

Preston Wily is an in-house marketing for a computer hardware company. He also does consulting for small business owners through Vizad, a full-service marketing company.

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