small business digital marketing

Small Business Digital Marketing: the Cost of Doing It Yourself

If you’re like many entrepreneurs, you’ve taken a stab at doing your own small business digital marketing. Whether you’re blogging or sharing on social networks, DIY seems much cheaper than hiring an agency or working with a freelancer.

When you’re deciding whether it’s worth your time to hire a freelance writer, don’t just ask yourself what you’re spending. Ask yourself what you’re giving up by going it alone.

For every blog post, social media post, or content asset you create, you give up an opportunity cost in terms of time and energy. When your work doesn’t get the same results as professionally created work, you close the door on potential revenue streams.

As an admittedly self-interested freelance writer, editor, and social media marketer, I think the question of whether to do small business digital marketing yourself depends on many factors. Don’t just assume that DIY saves money. DIY could mean giving up more money than you save.

The Opportunity Cost of Hiring Yourself

I met a therapist once who had an interesting way of setting hourly fees for her clients. When clients asked her how much she charged, she replied by asking them how much they were giving up to be there. In other words, if her client was an accountant, she asked the accountant what one of his billable hours was worth, and that’s what she charged for the session. After all, the accountant was foregoing that money anyway. Why shouldn’t he give it to her?

In the same way, many entrepreneurs give away billable hours when, instead of hiring a freelancer or agency to help with content marketing, they decide to hire themselves. They pay themselves nothing to create, edit, publish, and distribute content. They give up the value they could generate by spending time on other business activities.

How Valuable Is Your Time?

How much is an hour of your time worth as an entrepreneur? $50? $100? Especially when you don’t enjoy writing or visual content creation, why are you spending time on that task?

Let’s say you hire a freelancer to write a blog post, and you pay $100 for a post that would normally require two hours of work from you.

  • You create a quick outline in maybe 10 minutes. You read and approve the post when it’s done, which takes five minutes. If you value your time at $100 per hour, you’re giving up $25 of your own pay to outline and edit this blog post.
  • Instead of giving up $200 of your own time to do everything, you’re spending $99 to hire a blogger and only sacrificing $25 worth of your time. From this perspective, you save $76 by hiring a good blogger.

The Benefits You’re Not Getting

How much time do you spend looking for content to share on social media or uploading content to your social networks? Let’s say three hours per week, or $300 worth of your time ($1,200 in the average month) is given up for social media posting.

Now, imagine that you hire a freelance social media manager for $600 month, saving yourself (in terms of opportunity cost) $600. In addition, you get the advantage of outsourcing to an experienced social media expert who can:

  • Format your posts in ways that get the most engagement.
  • Research your competitors to see which posts get the best performance.
  • Identify opportunities to help you gain more followers and increase engagement with potential customers.
  • Find local influencers who might provide a boost to your business.
  • Monitor your networks for positive and negative activity so you can influence your brand awareness in real time.
  • Send potential new customers your way thanks to connections made on social networks.

Not only are you saving your own value to give to your business; you’re also getting more for your money. It’s just another reason that when it comes to small business digital marketing, you might not want to go it alone.

From Sweat Work to Autopilot

If you’ve ever done a weekend warrior home improvement project, you know sweat equity keeps cash in your pocket. What you never get back is your time – and the security of having a professional do your work.

Unless you love content creation and social media posting – not the interaction part, but the sweat work of curating and posting – there’s no compelling reason to give up time with family, and there’s no good financial reason to divert time away from running your business. What would the benefit be to you, in terms of energy and happiness, of hiring someone to take care of these routine digital marketing tasks for you?

It’s Time to Delegate Your Small Business Digital Marketing

You know from a management perspective that businesses thrive when the right people are doing the right jobs. Why not hire the right person to take blogging and social media posting off your hands?

Image by Carl Heyerdahl

Posted in Blogging Tips and Tricks, Your Copywriter and You.