Man with MegaphoneWhether you’re a small business owner just starting out or you’ve been an entrepreneur for a long time, you can actually outsource a lot of the marketing tasks and projects that seem to cross your desk every day. While you may want to keep a close eye on your overall plan, marketing is made up of a whole list of small steps that can be done efficiently and effectively by someone other than yourself.

  1. Tracking Your Name: Whether you’re working under your own name or using a company name, you can track mentions of both online by setting up alerts through Google Alerts, as well as sites that offer more specific tracking, like Twilert for Twitter.
  2. Customer Relations: When your name pops up on a blog or someone leaves a comment about your website, you may want to respond to it. You can bring in a community manager or customer relations specialist (or a virtual assistant able to take on those roles) to handle such responses.
  3. Website Design: Every business — and even most individuals — need a website these days. Bringing in a web designer to handle setting up and maintaining the site can free up some time.
  4. Blogging: You may find that blogging guarantees constant visitors to your website and improves your sales, but takes up a lot of time. Many freelance writers will create content for your blog, either under their own names or as ghostwriters.
  5. Distributing Press Releases: There are several websites that will distribute press releases for you automatically, such as PRWeb. If you have specific media contacts that you want to send your release to, a virtual assistant can handle emailing out releases along with personalized messages.
  6. Finding Media Contacts: There are beat reporters, bloggers, and members of the media that cover every niche — the key is finding the ones in your niche. Generating a list can be a time-consuming project, but a virtual assistant with research skills can get it off your plate.
  7. Social Networking: Filling out profiles (and keeping them up to date) on all those social networking sites is time consuming. But there are actually virtual assistants, as well as PR specialists, who have made social networking a major part of their services. Some are even willing to Twitter for you on a daily basis.
  8. Placing Advertisements: Whether you advertise online, in print, or on the radio, comparing prices, sizes, and reach of potential advertising slots can be tedious. However, it’s a task that a virtual assistant can easily handle: just ask for a report of the findings.
  9. Writing Press Releases: Many companies hand their press releases off to professional PR writers. You can hire such a writer yourself, as well as putting your press release project up for bid on sites such as Elance.
  10. Marketing Research: No matter what your marketing research project is, there are thousands of firms willing to take it on in a heartbeat. In many cases, professional researchers even have access to resources that you might not know about.
  11. SEO: Modern marketing relies, at least in part, on getting good search engine results. Outsourcing your search engine optimization to a SEO specialist can ensure that your website ranks well for your niche.
  12. Affiliate Marketing: Even if you set up an affiliate marketing campaign on your own, it can be difficult to convince bloggers and other website owners to promote your products. An affiliate marketing manager can get the best affiliates to offer your products and manage your affiliate program.
  13. Crisis Management: When a company finds itself in trouble, whether internal or external, it can often be easier to have an external PR person manage discussions of the crisis — if only to let the regular staff take care of the actual issue. However, it’s important to make arrangements for a crisis management specialist before any problems pop up.
  14. Database Management: If you rely on a database of existing and past customers — or you’ve built a database of individuals you think could become future customers — you may want to turn that database over to a virtual assistant before you do anything with it: you’ll want to have your database checked to make sure addresses and other information are still correct.
  15. Ad Design: Advertising projects are particularly easy to outsource — whether you’re looking for web banners or to have a television commercial made, there are thousands of firms ready to turn out professional-quality advertising for you.
  16. Sales Leads: If you’ve been trying to track your sales leads on a spreadsheet, it’s time to outsource that task to a company with better software options. Tools like SalesForce can organize all of your leads (and current customers) quickly.
  17. Event Organization: When it comes to planning an event, it’s worth bringing in a professional event organizer. Such an individual knows every step necessary for getting an event going and can do it in half the time. Even if you’re only thinking about a small event, an event organizer can handle all of the details.
  18. Creating Expertise: With your expertise in your field, you might make a great source for a member of the media — and getting your name in an article can promote your business. While a PR firm can connect you to some reporters, you can get great results for less time and less money by asking a virtual assistant to respond to requests on Help A Reporter Out that fit your experience and knowledge.
  19. Newsletter Management: Newsletters can provide a good way to stay in touch with your existing customers, but they can also take significant time and energy. But all parts of a newsletter, from writing the articles to managing the recipients’ list can be outsourced. The simplest way to do so is to outsource the project as a whole and let a project manager find writers, designers, and other subcontractors.
  20. Cause Marketing: Associating your company with a particular charity or cause can help promote your product or service. There are two ways to outsource cause marketing. The first is to give the project, from finding a cause to marketing the relationship, to a marketing firm specializing in such projects. The other is to agree to sponsor a particular non-profit or charity, with the understanding that it’ll take responsibility for making your sponsorship known.
  21. Article Writing: Distributing articles about your company’s niche, linking to your site, and citing you as an expert, can help market your company online. You can hire a writer to create just a few such articles or a large batch, just as you might hire a freelance writer for another project.
  22. Analyzing Marketing: Many marketing firms offer services that assess your marketing efforts and determine just how well they’re working, creating a report that boils down all your marketing information into what you actually need to know.
  23. Surveys: Conducting surveys and compiling results can be outsourced to one of many online survey services, such as SurveyMonkey.
  24. Marketing Materials: Business cards, brochures, and other marketing materials are a necessity for most businesses, but you can easily contract with designers who are specialists in such projects — and you can even outsource finding such a specialist to your virtual assistant!
  25. Finding New Marketing Ideas: The field of marketing is growing, especially in its online options. Contracting with a marketing specialist to find new ways of marketing your business lets you focus on your work but still get the benefits of new options.

Image credit: RichVintage / iStockphoto
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