To have any level of success in digital marketing, you're first step is to take off your jaded glasses. 

If you tell us, "I'm having great success (in one or more digital channels)," we'll always ask, "What's your checking account look like?"

If you are having cash flow problems, getting junk leads, or otherwise can't grow, something really is wrong.

Your solution is to nail one or more of the 8 channels in digital marketing:

  1. Website (SEO)
  2. Inbound Marketing
  3. Facebook™ ads
  4. Instagram ads
  5. Google Adwords
  6. YouTube ads
  7. LinkedIn ads
  8. Email marketing (remarketing)

Now you have the channels, there are four possible paths to achieving a top-converting digital marketing plan in any of those channels:

1) DIY

DIY today is a myth (unless you're a mom & pop). This worked before 2016 -- when it was possible to be successful with DIY. Today, any money you "save" through DIY will cost you in lost leads and sales. 

History: The initial hype for the DIY concept came from Web 2.0 -- no need to learn HTML or CSS to edit a website. Companies like WIX and Squarespace, to name a few, mainly exist for DIYers. 

The path many have taken requires researching online and joining some user groups or forums.

Nevertheless...

Pros:

  • It's cheap. But you should account for your time, both the time you take to research and the time you take to implement, most don't.
  • You are totally in control. If you're happy or sad, makes no difference. It's all on you.
  • You're not alone. DIY, especially for websites, is exceptionally popular.
  • You might accomplish something, but you won't accomplish the best.

Cons:

  • You'll never do better than a professional.
  • You'll miss some key elements, like SEO.
  • You'll be hindered by some things that are too technical.
  • You can't possibly keep up with trends.
  • In the end, you'll lose tons of money.

2) Hyper-DIY / Corporate Internal FTEs

Corporate entities sometimes go this route -- hire internally and provide training or keep a consultant on retainer. This plan is similar to #1 above, but in this case you go all out.

The top FB courses cost at least $12,000. We can get you into Cat's top course at a discount. Just contact us.

Pros:

  • Like #1, you're totally in control -- and you can get a real ego-boost if you're successful.

Cons:

  • Too many to list... waay too expensive, more so than hiring an agency. For corporate, one or more FTEs is a far worse deal than hiring an agency.
  • There's simply way too much to learn. A small team cannot possibly hit their marketing on all cylinders. 
  • High risk of overspending and burnout.

3) Hiring a Freelancer

In the U.S. alone, there are about 40k digital agencies and about 10 million FB "experts" world-wide.

Often entrepreneurs hire a freelancer when all else fails -- basically if you've failed at DIY or have become burned out, finding a freelancer is often a consideration. 

Many go after a freelancer to get some cheap performance-based work. With pure PB, you only pay when you get results. But you need the plan and structure before you can get the results -- which is a quagmire for some as it means paying someone to set up the platform.

There is no such thing as a free lunch and there is no such thing as free ads -- yet another myth.

A freelancer will work for dirt cheap, maybe $1,500 to set up some stuff, then hit you with 10% or so commission on your sales (if/when you get them).

Sounds great, but often you pay the $1,500 to $2k and get zero results -- the freelancer walks away with the setup fee and you are left in the same place you started.

Pros:

  • Cheap work, cost-saving, they will do what you tell them. Basically you find the strategy and hire "hands" to execute it -- to do the work.
  • It's cheap. You can go on Upwork and hire someone for a few dollars an hour. 
  • You control the freelancer; they are "your hands."

Cons:

  • Most FB freelancers have no idea even what a FB Pixel is (check our Q&A below). This alone is a nightmare. 
  • Most freelancers know some things, but to round out their program they either take a cheap online course or sign up for some online franchise.
  • You get "cookie-cutter" work. Most online courses haven't been updated for well over a year. So you get outdated solutions as well. 

HR test: Before you hire a freelancer, ask, "why should I install a FB pixel on my web or landing pages?"

Then ask about the three kinds of Pixel installs: 1) Standard Events, 2) Custom Events, and 3) Custom Conversions. 

Most will have no idea what you're talking about and many will tell you, you don't even need a pixel. This HR test is like asking a medical doc, "What's a stethoscope and what do you use it for?"

Digital marketing today is highly strategic and technical. It's more about designing a blueprint than using a hammer. 

4) Hiring an Agency

A really good agency will be able to fire up your marketing on all 8 channels if you so desire.

And they'll be adept at high-end things like Google Schema SEO, not to mention being able to suggest tactics you haven't thought of, or telling you where you should or should not put your money to deliver the best results.

Pros:

  • Normally you'll get top strategy as your place to start. There is less focus on the work and more on the science behind what the agency will do. And a good agency will tell you.
  • There is little you need to do, leaving you with time to focus on your business, not on marketing.

Cons:

  • While you can sign off on things, you're not as much in control. If you're a micro-manager, better to hire a freelancer.
  • More costly than a freelancer. If you view your ad spend as an "expense" rather than as a "business growth investment," the added cost will most likely cool your zeal to hiring an agency. 

Conclusion:

Use your gut. If someone doesn't sound confident, they probably will mess up your marketing. 

With any digital marketing channel today, it's the long game. Don't fall into the trap of thinking if you spend a few hundred dollars, you'll be a millionaire tomorrow. With marketing, you start, build, and never stop. Happy marketing!

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