DIY or Hire?: When To Ask For Help and When To Get Creative

With the move from paper and physical marketing to the domination of web-based campaigns, businesses are able, now more than ever, to take control over their own marketing strategies. Websites such as LiveJournal, Wix, and Weebly allow business owners or their employees to create streamlined, visually appealing sites with a few clicks of a button and text input.

With the rise of social media marketing through Twitter and Facebook, and apps like Instagram and Pinterest, businesses can not only directly communicate with their consumers and update them with to-the-minute information, they’re also able to bring business staples like lookbooks online with the option to continually update, creating a fluid visual mission statement that is able to be edited, reorganized, and redistributed with minimal effort.

With all these easily accessible and intuitive tools, many businesses are trying to go completely DIY. While this is often achievable for large businesses who can afford to have in-house social media experts and graphic designers, for smaller businesses this can often quickly become an overwhelming task that produces results that are less professional than desired.

We’re all for DIY projects, but bringing in a professional consultant or hiring out for certain projects can often end up saving you a lot of time and, ultimately, money.

What Kind of Project Can I DIY?

There are a lot of marketing projects that can be implemented in-house. Many times, companies will try to sell services pertaining to these projects, but really, they’re simple to do on your own. Primarily, we’re talking about website design.

A few years ago, it was almost imperative that businesses go to design firms to get a custom-designed website for their business. Self-created sites tended to look boring, amateur, and be overloaded with unnecessary elements, like flash components, or completely lacking in important information.

However, with the creation of intuitive and simple-to-fill template websites like the aforementioned LiveJournal, Wix, and Weebly, plus countless other sites, going to a web design website isn’t required to get a clean, professional-looking website. Templates are easy to customize with drag-and-drop elements and the option to include your own graphics or browse their gallery of free images. If you’re looking for a simple, informative site with minimal fuss, this is one of the best ways to do it.

Other marketing aspects that are fairly easy to do on your own include managing social media sites. For large companies, it may be easier to have this professionally done, but small businesses can greatly benefit from handling social media sites in-house. Transparency is one of the most prized aspects of social media campaigns currently since it allows businesses to forge personal connections with customers, but current and potential, while also curating their brand through their pages in an authentic manner. Companies who run their own social media come across as more connected to their customer base and more trustworthy.

If you have no idea where to begin, starting out with a consultant isn’t a bad idea, but there are plenty of resources online about how to build a personal brand on social media that can help impart value and leave a good impression on your customers. It can help to look at other companies you admire to see how they use strategies like transparency and visual storytelling to communicate their personal brand via their social media accounts and web pages.

What Should I Hire Out For?

Image via Flickr by Hamza Butt

Like we’ve said, there are plenty of chances to do some DIY with your marketing, but sometimes it is best to hire a professional. Copywriting is one of the biggest examples. Of course, be cautious when hiring a freelance writer and know what you’re looking for, but chances are, a professional copywriter will be able to represent your brand and your values more clearly than simply trying to write it yourself. We place a large premium on clear, effective communication, and that can be more difficult to achieve than many realize. Copywriters can be hired to create text for your website, as well as blog posts or other marketing text you may need.

Another task you may want to hire out for is graphic design. Photoshop and InDesign are tricky programs on their own, but trying to create your own visual advertisements or add custom graphics to your website can have undesirable results and cause a lot of frustration. Instead, hire a graphic designer to help you create a cohesive, representative spread of visual aids for your various marketing needs, from paper to digital, and you’ll have one of the easiest ways to present a curated branding campaign.

By using a graphic designer and a copywriter, you’re removing two of the most frustrating and difficult-to-manage projects from your workload, which means you can focus more on your DIY projects. Implementing the graphic and text products into your DIY marketing strategies can help professionalize your business’ appearance while simultaneously drawing in customers who will be attracted to the consistent, appealing marketing strategies.

Throughout this, we’ve talked about consistency quite a bit, and that’s another point to really hammer home: your marketing needs to be cohesive. Having multiple styles, multiple color schemes, multiple visual component types associated with your brand can create a displeasing and disorganized mishmash. Instead, before you start any marketing project, sit down and create your own mini-brand book to help you stay on track while you begin building your new approach. Refer to this frequently as you go forward, and be sure to share it with any outside professional you hire so that they end up on the same page.

DIY marketing strategies have never been easier to execute, but in order for your business to have a completely coherent and convincing strategy, it may be necessary to hire outside professionals to supplement your DIY efforts.  Whether you’re starting from the ground up or are looking to switch up your current strategy, combining these two approaches is one of the more effective ways to create a cohesive marketing strategy.

About the author

Megan Tilley