How to Get Started Outsourcing

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Watch “How to Get Started Outsourcing…” on YouTube

So if you have one little thing bugging you on your site and you want to get it fixed…but you’re not a programmer…where to you go to get that done? What if you want to find someone to build a site for you, but you want to get a bunch of bids to review for the best price? Or what if you want someone to do something else for you, like offer legal help or IT support? The answer is to outsource. Outsourcing is easy now with the help of sites like eLance.com, vworker.com and odesk.com.

Outsourcing online gives you access to literally a world of people that would love to help you. You get to review bids and portfolios, work history and ratings from other employers…and your money is totally safe. In this video, I talk about where to go to outsource and how to get started.

How To Improve the Results Your Marketing Team Generates For You

Hiring a marketing team or a contractor to help you with your marketing can be a very scary thing: how do you know if paying them to help you get people to pay you is going to pay off?

Do you look at their case studies from working with other clients? Do you ask for their references? Do you ask questions and hope you can find certainty in their answers?

This gets even trickier when you aren’t really certain how to market your own offerings. If you’re not sure exactly who to market to (because your product or service could benefit “anyone”), or where to find those people you want to market to (online or off-line), or when to come into their lives or their day to share what you have to offer…then handing off all these decisions to a marketing team or a contractor gets even dicier.

If you feel like it’s daunting to hire out your marketing to a third party, imagine how it might feel for your prospective customer to decide to invest in you. You’re offering a product or service to them. You want them to bet on you, to trust that paying you is going to help them get something they want.

It’s a risky situation on both sides!

How can you mitigate this risk for yourself (and also learn how to mitigate the risk for your prospective customer)?

In my experience, one of the best ways to do this is to improve your ability to “perspective.” The better you know your customer and why they buy from you, the more clearly you can hire people to help you market to them. If you have a clear idea of who you’re selling to, what they want and what they don’t want, then you can hire a third party to assist you.

A marketing team or consultant can assist you with your marketing—but you lead them. You lead them because you know your customer better than they do. You guide them on where to research, what you’ve learned in the past and what your vision is in the future.

With this kind of leadership, a marketing team or contractor starts off with a foundation they can springboard from. You’re hiring them to manage the smaller details that you don’t need to get bothered with: setting up Facebook ad campaigns, posting to social media, building your website, etc. It’s not necessary to know all the technical details involved with your marketing. But it IS necessary to be the one leading the direction. Getting input, suggestions and coaching from a marketing consultant will be much more effective when you come to them with this kind of clarity. A marketing consultant can guide the way of positioning your brand against competitors, the strategy for reaching your prospects, the components of a launch campaign and so on. But you’re providing the structure they build upon.

Your ability to “perspective” also applies to helping mitigate the risk for your prospective customer. The better you know your customer, the more you understand what drives them to buy and what concerns they have. With a clear idea of who you’re selling to, the easier it is to talk to them. Instead of talking about yourself and what you’re offering, you can talk about them. Your marketing can include sharing stories they’ll relate to, offering tips and education they’ll benefit from and entertaining them because you know what engages them. This is much more interesting to your prospect, and more effective for converting them into your best customers.

If you want to outsource your marketing or increase the effectiveness of what you already have, try thinking about your ideal customer and answering these questions:

1. What does my prospective customer already know about my product or service?

2. What does he/she probably assume about my product or service?

3. What does he/she probably misunderstand about my product or service?

4. If my customer could wave a magic wand and get exactly what he/she wanted after purchasing from me, what would that be?

Once you’ve answered those as best as you can, test out your assumptions. Ask your existing customers and ask several people that haven’t seen your offerings to give feedback. When you have a clear idea, share this with your marketing team along with the profile of your ideal customer. This will save time for them and greatly increase the likelihood of better conversions.

3-Step Technique to Communicate Effectively With Your Team


Watch “3 Step Technique to Communicate Effectively With Your Team” on YouTube

A big frustration with outsourcing work to a web designer, a developer or another person in general is that there can be a breakdown in communication…and you end up getting back something that isn’t what you intended. This can cause friction between you and the other person, and can slow down a project considerably. By learning how to communicate so that the other person completely understands you, you ensure that you get the result you want. This video explains a technique for explaining what you want so that you are understood and work smoothly with other people in your life.

When I started using this to work with my developers–it was like adding grease to a squeaky engine! Suddenly it appeared that, overnight, my team turned into ROCKSTARS. What actually happened–though they ARE rockstars–is that I became more aware of communicating to them in different ways. They could get a clearer picture of what I wanted, so they delivered back what I had intended in the first round.

 

How to Not Screw Up With Your Web Designer

Have you been wanting to get your website up and going–or improve it–but find yourself stuck in limbo?

Have you tried getting a site up yourself, but only having average results and spending WAY too much time getting it going?

You may have heard stories about people spending tons of money or wasting gobs of time and not getting the website they wanted. Or you personally may have had a rough experience with a web or marketing team.

Or perhaps you’ve never approached a web designer or marketing company and feel uncomfortable because you are in unfamiliar territory.

The good news is that it’s natural to feel that way. When you hire a web designer, they’ve worked on more web design projects than you. Here are some tips to bring you up to speed on the best way to work on a project. Know that this is based on how I (as a web designer) work best with clients – it’s not a bad idea to ask the one you hire how they typically like to work.

1. Be prepared.

If you are thinking about taking on a web design project, know that you are required, as a client, to do some prep work. Make sure you have time in your schedule to take it on, or it’ll result in delays in the project because of you. Being responsible about the information you need to provide will help ensure that you get what you want in the end.

Before starting a web design project, you’ll need to have things like:

  • Your style guide (if you have one)
  • Your logo (preferably in vector format)
  • High resolution versions of photography or graphics you want to use
  • A list of your competition and what works (or doesn’t) about their sites
  • A list of sites you like the look and feel of, and why
  • A list of access to everything technical – like domain registrar access, hosting access, access to third-party things like newsletters or ecommerce solutions)
  • Your colour scheme
  • Fonts/typefaces
  • Existing print collateral
  • A site-map
  • A list of elements that go on each template in order of importance
  • Content written for all pages (this doesn’t need to happen prior to the project starting, but this typically where projects get held up).
  • Know that changes to scope result in changes to price and timelines
  • This should fairly obvious, but if you decide during the project that you want something a little different, then be aware it can result in the price and timing being a little different as well. more work takes longer.

If you have an existing website that the designer will be working on, you’ll also need:

  • Website hosting account login username and password.
    (For example, this may be a HostGator, BlueHost or GoDaddy account username 
 and password. The company that hosts your website, for which you pay a monthly 
or annual fee.)
  • Website Control Panel login information
    If you do not have this or know what in the world this is, your designer can generally find this through the website hosting account login username and password, so don’t stress too much over this one. For example, this would be an admin login and password for “cPanel” access on
    your website.
  • FTP Username and Password for your website
    Again, this is something that your web designer can access through your hosting account, so that’s the most important information.

2. Do your homework.

What type of designs do you like? What do you not like? By looking at your competitors’ sites and other websites that you enjoy, you can start to see the type of navigation, imagery, layout and look that suits you for your website. By having a list of 3-4 examples of sites that you like and don’t like, you’ll be able to help your designer have a good idea of a direction to get started.

3. Know a few basics.

Even for web professionals, keeping up with technology is difficult. Fortunately, , you don’t need to know the ins and outs of the latest trends to commission a website, but it does help to understand a few fundamentals. Understanding the difference between a domain name, a web host and a website is a great start.

Domain Name: this is the address of your site, like www.techdivamedia.com

Web Host: this is a company that “hosts” your website files. Everything on your website (pages, images, text, etc.) has to be saved somewhere for it to be accessed by other web servers. This is what your hosting company does. Examples include Bluehost.com, HostGator.com and GoDaddy.com.

Website: this is your site that displays all the files that you are hosting with the web host. It’s what shows up when someone types in your domain name.

4. Be prepared to get comfortable and collaborate.

By talking to your designer, showing examples and explaining your ideas, you’ll be able to create something together that produces the result you want. If you hope to hire a designer, tell them to build you a site and then expect to do nothing for a couple weeks…you could be surprised what you get back from them. It doesn’t have to be labor-intensive, but good communication is key to getting a great website AND even having fun while you do it.

Take care to look for a designer that doesn’t seem too eager or hurried. Reputable designers tend to be selective in whom they work with, because they understand how important a good match is to a project’s success.

5. Know what you’re paying for.
Once the match is made, a contract is the next step. Everything that’s meant to be included in the project–from the payment schedule to the number of revisions that a client is allowed to request–should be spelled out. While some designers are flexible about small changes, you shouldn’t count on it. Ask your designer if it is not included in their proposal or contract.

You should also be prepared to put down a deposit to start the project. The amount of the deposit can vary, depending on the scope and projected length of the project.

6. Hold up your end.
While the designer provides a site’s visual and technical framework, normally you would be responsible for providing the site’s content–most commonly the text. Failing to do so on time can delay completion of the project, sometimes drastically so.

If the text isn’t already prepared, you can hire a professional copywriter. Your designer may offer this service or may have recommendations for you.

7. Be decisive.
Content aside, the most common cause of delays or extra costs after the contract is signed are sudden changes or additions. Again, being clear on the terms and knowing what you like/don’t like can really help.

From the moment you get the first proof, be honest with your designer. If it’s way off the mark, tell them. It can be faster to start fresh on something new. If it’s close but there are a few adjustments, be very clear on what those are so that it saves you both time and any additional fees.

It can be exciting to go online with a new or revised website! Reviewing the items in this list can help you leap forward with confidence when you start looking for a designer to build your site. It’s like describing a sunset to someone…the more distinctions of colors you have, the more clearly you can explain it.