You have a website, you need to promote it, what is the best way to go about it?
1. Do it yourself with no formal help or training;
2. Do it yourself after taking a course;
3. Get consulting from a specialist and do the work in-house;
4. Do some in-house and outsource the rest;
5. Outsource everything to an agency or specialist;
6. Pull resources with industry partners and get someone in-house to do it for all of your sites;
7. Pull resources with industry partners and get a bulk rate from an agency/specialist;
8. Barter with a friend who knows about online marketing in exchange for your services.
1. Do it yourself with no formal help or training
Pros: You are in complete control, you don't have to pay anyone or rely on anyone else's expertise. You care about this site and have a personal, vested interest in its success. You can quickly change tactics if something's not working. Costs are almost nill unless you count your own time.
Cons: You might not know enough about web promotion, finding the time to devote to promoting the site and research might be difficult, you may not have all the tools you need easily accessible, you may not have the contacts or deals in place that an agency might.
2. Do it yourself after taking a course
Pros: As above but you are now armed with the stepping stones you need to begin. The training course has given you an overview of the basics and pointed you in the right direction.
Cons: Most courses cost something. You can't be sure the course material is up to date, accurate or even in line with established web promotion guidelines.
3. Get consulting from a specialist and the work in-house
Pros: The consultant will take an in debth look at your site and give you tailored advice which you can then run with and build on through research, testing, trial and error. This still leaves you in control but gives you a starting point from which to work. There is a cost but it's minimal compared to a service provider.
Cons: The advice given may not be completely accurate or may be time sensitive. Trends and rules may change in a month or two and the advice may then be out of date and useless. The consultancy may not be as tailored as it should but more of a "template" and thus not completely related to your site.
4. Do some in-house and outsource the rest
Pros: You do what you do well and outsource the rest to an agency or service provider that specialises in those elements of web promotion. Although you don't have complete control, you do own those facets that you yourself know well. By outsourcing the rest to an expert you ensure that all bases are covered professionally. The cost is kept down by keeping some in-house and may be further reduced by the fact that the agency will likely have deals or tools already in place.
Cons: You are paying the agency and still having to allocate resources in-house. You do not have complete control over the agency's work.
5. Outsource everything to an agency or specialist
Pros: You do not have to allocate resources, although you will have to keep an eye on what the agency/specialist does. You do not have to undertake research and there is no massive learning curve. The agency/specialist will provide a professional service, they can often call on other specialists if needed, they have the tools, partnerships and deals in place already.
Cons: The website promotion is completely out of your hands. Other than discussions you have with and reports you get from the agency/specialist you do not know exactly what they are doing to promote your site.
6. Pull resources with industry partners and get someone in-house to do it for all of your sites
Pros: If 4 companies hired one web promotion specialist to work on all of their sites that specialist would be able to use most of the same techniques, tools and partnerships for all thus cutting costs dramatically. If these companies often run joint promotions offline, moving this same concept to the web should be relatively straightforward.
Cons: Reporting, time allocation and preference may prove problematic if one company was more demanding than the others. Where does the specialist work? Who pays him/her? Who does he/she report to? If not carefully thought out this option may prove more trouble than its worth.
7. Pull resources with industry partners and get a bulk rate from an agency/specialist
Pros: As above but you have the added bonus of perhaps a more professional approach or more diverse skill set. The agency may also have deals, partnerships and tools in place. The agency won't hand in their notice.
Cons: The costs may be higher than hiring someone in-house. It depends on what you need done and how much the agency charges. You have less flexibility than with a member of staff. The agency may not feel as personally responsible for your websites' promotion as a member of staff would and thus may not put in the same level of effort or amount of time.
8. Barter with a friend who knows about online marketing in exchange for your products/services
Pros: Huge cost savings as you can supply your friend with a product or service which is effectively "at cost" to you. You have a direct line of contact and the level of communication and understanding between you is already well established. Your friend may even be able to teach you as you go along thus providing you with training as well.
Cons: Some people do not put as much time and effort into these type of deals as they would if they were being paid outright. The old saying "familiarity breeds contempt" may apply. Your friend may not give your work priority or you may expect more than is reasonable.
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