This article originally appeared in the March 2015 issue of Inside Self Storage.

There are many companies out there hoping to sell their services to promote your storage facility via the internet. Their products are viable because the internet is an important place to have a strong presence. You could hire one of these companies to handle your business, but how do you know whether or not it’s right to outsource these services or manage them on your own?

The truth is, among the myriad of companies and services out there, you must weigh your time, resources, and the overall cost to determine when to hire and when to do it yourself (DIY). Here’s a couple of major things you or a company can do to improve your business:

  • Website Development: Creates a website for your company that utilizes intelligent layouts, modern appearances, and search engine optimization (SEO) in order to make the site user friendly and accessible to your customers.

  • Marketing: Creates a positive public image of your company through the use of branding, smart advertising, and publishing of releases and community involvement on social media platforms and your company blog.

These things increase the visibility of your company, thereby creating traffic, which creates leads, which brings your company money, etc. However, while they help to develop your brand and business, they can also hurt your wallet. The price of outsourcing web marketing services to a third party can be expensive and it’s important your results outweigh the cost.

You might consider doing some of these things yourself, but before you sit down and start committing your time, it’s important to first consider the pros and cons of both tackling such an undertaking and hiring a company to do it for you.

The Necessities, What They Give You, and the Pros and Cons

Website Development

Converting leads to move-ins is arguably the most important thing a website can do for your company. It takes a lot of know-how to make a website that looks good, convinces users to pick up the phone, and is also easily crawled by search engine bots. There are a lot of pieces that make up a good website:

  • Content – Writing good, fresh content takes time and must reflect an understanding of keywords and search terms.

  • Design – Good design and layout of your site is important for customer experience. It’s also important to have responsive website design for mobile devices.

  • Local – Development of your ranking in local search results is becoming increasingly important to the amount of click-throughs your site receives.

  • SEO – This dictates your site’s ranking through the use of its internal architecture, design, content, and your link building. It is difficult to understand and use effectively.

Pros of Hiring:

  • Companies have the knowledge to get results and develop link building with local organizations.

  • Technology is constantly changing—companies have the time and resources to continually learn.

Pros of DIY:

  • Taking on these responsibilities on your own time can save your company lots of money.

  • As manager of your web development, you’ll know exactly what you are getting out of your work.

Marketing

Many companies that develop websites also offer web marketing services to give your company a consistent look and feel. This time consuming effort keeps your business fresh and relevant to potential customers. Good web marketing is made up of these parts:

  • Branding – Your branding should reflect your company and be consistent with an image you are trying to convey to the public.

  • Advertising – Your ads should be effective and consistent with your branding, whether they are print, billboard, or pay per click.

  • Social Media/Blogs – Promoting your business through the use of social media platforms and blogs can increase your web presence and recognition.

Pros of Hiring:

  • With a company, you’ll get a professional, consistent appearance throughout each piece of your marketing campaign.

  • Companies have knowledge of marketing strategies and an understanding of how those strategies work.

Pros of DIY:

  • When you establish your own brand, there’s no need for consulting. You can make your brand entirely yours.

  • Hiring a company to design your brand is expensive and ROI for advertising is hard to measure.

Monetary Cost vs. Opportunity Cost

It’s important to weigh hiring a third party vs. taking on the job yourself both in monetary terms and terms of cost in time. While outsourcing is far and away more expensive than a DIY project, you will lose valuable time when you handle these services on your own. It could prevent you from handling the everyday activities of a facility manager or owner. Web service management is time consuming, and the cost in your time may ultimately justify the monetary cost.

Let’s say that a web marketing company has 30-40 employees. Each of those employees is specialized in their field and adds expertise to your company’s marketing strategy. They are each dedicated to one part of the process and their time is spent developing that piece of the marketing puzzle. And let’s just assume this service costs $6,000 per month.

Now let’s assume you hire 2 people to handle all of your marketing needs in-house. But you have to pay them $50,000 each, or around $8,300 a month. This is already more expensive than outsourcing but you’ll never match the combined expertise of 30 people. You’d save the money, but the time spent handling your web marketing would probably be better focused on other business aspects.

So What’s Next?

The most important thing you can do when deciding how to proceed in the web marketing field is to educate yourself. Learn about the web marketing industry and what the services should do for your business and how much they should cost you. Research the companies and the services they provide. Speak with those who have outsourced and those who have done the work themselves. Only when you are equipped with this knowledge can you properly decided what option is best for you.