When It’s Okay to DIY Your Marketing (and When It’s Not)

Marketing is the most essential aspect of any business. It involves two major things: time and money. Also, marketing research can be lengthy and expensive. That is the reason many small businesses today are opting for do-it-yourself (DIY) marketing and PR. However, to get it exactly right on your own, you need to find the right balance between time and money.

Marketing research is conducted to understand the likes and needs of customers. But, now with the Internet and accessible technology, you can communicate with consumers and reporters directly to discover their feelings and thinking patterns. This is no longer the domain of a large agency.

DIY marketing can be the best approach when you are just starting your business or experiencing a cash flow crunch.

When Should You DIY?

Each business has different needs. So, you need to base your decision on the target audience and goals specific to your business. Here is a list of marketing activities you can sometimes do yourself:

  1. Blog Posts – Blog posts are easy and can be assigned to your entire team.
  2. Email/Newsletters – Writing emails do not require any special skill. Also, you can keep this activity in-house to save money and time.
  3. Social Media Marketing – Social media is the most vital marketing tool for your business. You can get followers on social media and thus communicate with customers often with the help of willing employees.
  4. Graphics – There are many online resources or apps for graphics. These tools can be perfect for your DIY marketing.
  5. Search Engine Optimization – Basic SEO is the most effective marketing tool for any business. By yourself you can confirm all of your directory listings are correct and fix incorrect links to your website.

When Should You Not Use DIY Marketing?

Many businesses fail to realize the critical need for a strategy when they are scaling or hiring more employees. You need to understand that certain marketing activities can only have good results if performed by pros. Here is a list of the most common:

  1. Website Building – A website is the first impression of a business. Your website has to be mobile responsive and look professional. Also, websites without proper structure may not rank well in search engines. So, it is better to get professional help for website building.
  2. Logo Designing – A logo represents a business. A communications team knows how to represent a specific business, register the trademark, and be sure there are no perception issues.
  3. Professional and Artistic Graphics – Although there are many free tools for graphics, a professional can create more artistic graphics for marketing. This is especially important if you’re product marketing.
  4. Professional SEO – SEO can help you get traffic to your website. Thus, it can help you generate more revenue. So, investing money in SEO (done correctly) can be worth it.
  5. Measuring Social Media and Earned Media Metrics –There needs to be a proper method to measure these metrics and tie them directly back to your business goals. A professional who has proper knowledge and tools to gauge analytics can help.

Overall, as an executive, you need to know when to spend money and when to do things yourself. Doing it yourself can let you go through a series of trials and errors, thus saving resources for when you really need professional help. When that time comes, you need to make a good decision about which consultant to use or risk losing your cost savings.

Every business needs to analyse the pros and cons of DIY marketing before implementation. Heading into it with a good understanding of what can safely be done on your own and which should be left to the pros will help you get the best results from your marketing efforts.

Christine Wetzler has owned the boutique firm Pietryla PR & Marketing since 2002. It has offices in Chicago and London, and has been recognized as “Best Entrepreneurial Companies in America” by Entrepreneur magazine, and as one of the top 20 firms in Chicago by Expertise. She is also a member of Forbes’ Agency Council.

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