ABC’s for Outsourcing Online Marketing

Cutting marketing efforts during a bad economy can actually backfire. During the 1981-1982 recession, companies that maintained or increased marketing budgets found to obtain a significantly higher sales growth than those companies that spent less on marketing efforts, according to McGraw-Hill Research. The same study also found that corporations who spent more on marketing during this recession grew revenue two and a half times faster by 1985 than corporations who reduced marketing efforts. Point is…maintaining your online marketing campaign while your competition is cutting back can give you a jump start and increase profits.

Whether you’re thinking about hiring an online marketing service for the first time or already have an existing contract, now is the time to negotiate a for a better deal on services. Here are some of the ABCs to getting the best deal when outsourcing online marketing:

1. Do you already have a Web site, customer database, or information about a current online marketing campaign you can use? Do you have any specific problems with your current service? Before you start looking for a new vendor or try to renegotiate existing terms, examine your current service to make sure it is yielding the results you need. If they are not, make a list of the services you want, and how much you’re willing to pay. Having a “best possible outcome” in mind will help you keep negotiations on track.

2. If you’re happy with the work of your current company but want to spend less money, ask them if you can sign a contract or purchase a bundle of services to receive a discount. Most online marketing companies provide things like pay-per-click campaigns and SEO services.

3. If you’re just plain unhappy both with the outcome you’re receiving and the cost, tell your provider you want to make a switch. Most of the time the company will work with you to keep your business. If they don’t though, make sure you are not bound by a service contract.

4. Before you end your relationship with your current vendor, get all the data like graphics, advertising agreements, keyword research transferred to you so your campaigns are maintained during the switch. Shopping around for companies can also be a great way to get an idea of the “going rate” for the services you need, and place you in a better position to negotiate.

5. The best way to look for a new online marketing company is through referrals. If you’re unable to get a recommendation from a business in your industry, use an online matching service, where vendors compete for a contract with your business. If you’ve worked with an online marketing company before, you’ll know what to expect when speaking with potential vendors. Let prospective companies know why you left your old firm and what you hope to accomplish with an online marketing effort.

One item you can negotiate on with a new vendor is the payment terms. What you can’t negotiate on most of the time is up front payment. Most companies will require payment immediately when working with a new customer before they perform the work.

About the Author: Betsy Brottlund