Research shows that more businesses are outsourcing specific marketing tasks to skilled professionals in order to maximize time, productivity and ROI. This is especially true for small business owners; in fact, it’s estimated that getting even one hour back in their day from doing tasks like email marketing is worth $273 per hour.

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Whether you’re looking to completely outsource your marketing strategy, co-source specific tasks or supplement your in-house efforts, there are a few best practices that make for a healthy, productive and overall effective outsourcing relationship. Here are three signs of a healthy outsourcing relationship (observed from someone who has been relied on for outsourcing and co-sourcing for years):

There’s Mutual Trust

Chances are you’ve spent months vetting the perfect candidate to spearhead parts or all of your marketing strategy—now have faith in that individual to meet and exceed your expectations. No one likes being micromanaged, so give yourself a break and entrust the professional to do the job that he or she was hired to do. Being too controlling of specific processes and workflows is unnecessarily time consuming and counterproductive. After all, one of the main reasons companies outsource is to gain back valuable time. It can be especially difficult for small business owners to offer their full trust to an external party, as their hard-earned dollars tend to be more valuable compared to a large enterprise. Nevertheless, believe me when I say that this yearning for trust isn’t an excuse for freelancers to get away with doing a bad job or having an easy work environment. Rather, a client’s willingness to be open minded, collaborative and trusting is what encourages freelancers to confidently do their best work. It gives them a creative license to take brands to new levels that produce unparalleled results.

There’s Consistent Communication

For some companies, outsourcing becomes an “out of sight out of mind” situation. For these companies, the goal is to hand off certain tasks and never speak with the freelancer again until projects are completed. In today’s fast-paced world, I can understand the appeal of this approach—but I don’t encourage the practicality of it. An effective outsourcing relationship is one in which companies save time and money, but also understand that outsourcing is a two-way street. Just like everything else in life, a healthy outsourcing relationship heavily depends on a steady flow of communication. This doesn’t have to be every day or even every week; however, communication should be as consistent as needed to ensure the outsourcer is seamlessly integrated into your brand. In my experience, the greatest discrepancies and dissatisfactions come from clients who discover months down the road that none of their content aligns with their brand vision or goals—likely because they went MIA.

There’s Supporting Collateral

Outsourcers cannot read minds. I repeat: outsourcers CANNOT read minds. As such, the more supporting collateral you can give your freelancer either in the beginning of your working relationship or prior to a new project, the better. I encourage clients to share anything they can with me if they feel comfortable, and knowing that some documents will be observed in complete confidentiality. These can include, for example, investor decks, quarterly and yearly roadmaps, event calendars or examples of past blogs to use as a foundation for getting started.

At the end of the day, the goal is to help your freelancer help you. By keeping these pieces of advice in mind, you surely will.

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