I’ve been surprised (but encouraged) this year at how many small and medium sized companies which I speak to have recently taken on somebody in-house to manage their online marketing. I don’t think that this is because the penny has only just dropped about the importance of the website. Maybe it’s more a case of how long it takes to convince senior management (even in small firms) of the return on investment.
Many of these (usually young) people are highly internet literate, but inexperienced with the needs of B2B online marketing. That’s fine, all they need is guidance and a good plan. At one or two of our clients, we now deal with people who’ve only been working in the sector for a year or so, and yet who are already doing a tremendous job. They all keep us on our toes.
The main tasks for an online marketing manager in an engineering or scientific company will be to organise:
– Website content
– Email marketing
– Search engine optimisation
– Pay-per-click advertising
In every case, the task could be outsourced, but that’s not really the point of having someone in-house. So where can their time be used most effectively?
Organising the website would be my first priority. This doesn’t mean a redesign, even if it might eventually come to that. Most just need sorting out so that they’re cleaner, meet visitors’ needs better and have decent calls-to-action. Then there’s the job of adding loads of content, both new and expanding on existing material. It’s also critical to ensure that Google Analytics and Google Search Console are both set up, recording properly, and the results being acted on.
Email marketing almost invariably needs an overhaul. Schemes need to be in place for growing the list, and any regular mailings could probably do with a simplified look.
And then there’s search engine optimisation: on an extensive site, getting this up to date could easily be a full-time project for many weeks, and a significant one after that. I would start with a proper SEO site audit to give you some firm guidance here (I’ll see if I can recommend someone and will report back tomorrow).
As you’d expect, because of what we do here at BMON, I’d recommend letting someone else do the pay-per-click advertising. It’s one of those tasks where an agency which does it full-time can provide enough efficiencies to completely cover their fees, freeing up time for no net cost. If you must keep it in house, do ensure you really know what you’re doing, because it’s easy to fritter away so much money, day after day, if you don’t.