DIY marketing for small business: Make the most of your resources

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Starting a small business takes hard work and a clear vision of what you hope to accomplish long-term. Keeping that business going, however, sometimes requires you to take a step back and figure out how you can grow your business in the short-term while still working toward your vision. A key part of this is delegation — when should you handle marketing tasks yourself, and when should you hire someone else?

The good news is that DIY marketing for small business is a great option if you’re working with a smaller budget and willing to get creative. (Though, still, some things should just be left to the experts…more on that later!)

Here’s how to figure out what to outsource and what to do yourself, plus how to get the best results when you do hire out.

When to DIY vs. outsource your marketing

Marketing your brand to customers yourself can be exciting and save you money, but some tasks call for expertise. When it comes to hiring outside help, you’ll need to find the right partners, manage their onboarding and budget for the cost of the work.

The first step in determining what you should outsource and what you should DIY is a self-evaluation. What are your strengths and weaknesses? Where can you apply your unique skills and expertise, and where are there knowledge gaps you may need to fill? For example, you may be able to wow customers with your unique clothing designs, but when it comes to designing a business website, you might be completely lost. Or perhaps your strengths lie in promoting your new craft beer company at local markets, but you have no idea where to start with creating outdoor signage that stands out.

Also think through your time and budgetary restraints, as these will play a large role in what you end up deciding to outsource rather than take on yourself. At the end of the day, the decision will be different for every business owner depending on your unique skills, experience, situation and budget. This is why it’s so important to self-reflect and evaluate your needs before setting out.

With the above mapped out, you can start to think through common marketing tasks and put them into the two buckets: what you can do yourself, and what you need someone else to do.

Keep in mind that there are often ways to bridge gaps and leverage free online tools to get the best of both worlds.

For example, when it comes to initial business branding, design and other specialized work, hiring professional help is usually the best option — but not always. If you have a creative touch and a limited budget, you can use free templates, drag-and-drop interfaces and logo-making tools to create your own brand identity. Once you’ve established your business and feel more financially comfortable, you can regroup with a designer to take your brand to the next level.

VistaPrint Tip

There are often ways to bridge gaps and leverage free online tools to get the best of both worlds — take Logomaker by Vista, for example. This free tool lets you quickly create and customize a logo that fits your brand.

Keep in mind that once you have a brand identity in place, you can more easily do other marketing materials yourself. It can be a smart investment to hire assistance with the essentials upfront, like your logo, as you’ll be left with a professional design that you can add to business cards, postcards, packaging, apparel and more.

Here are some other questions you can ask yourself when creating a marketing resources plan:

What tasks can I do better than anyone else?

Nobody knows your business better than you do — and as a result, there are just some things you won’t be able to outsource, such as creating new products or meeting with potential investors. For other tasks, you may feel like it’s something only you can do, but that may not really be the case. Be reasonable with the amount of tasks you’ll be able to handle solo, and don’t be afraid to ask for help with other items on your to-do list.

What’s more, small business owners frequently undervalue their time. If hiring a marketing agency for $150 an hour to do a project seems expensive, consider what your time is worth. There is only one of you, and your hourly rate is likely much higher than you realize.

One area where you may find value savings is web design. You may be surprised at how straightforward it is to create your own website with the platforms that are available these days.

VistaPrint Tip

With drag-and-drop templates, access to a variety of high-quality stock images and the ability to leverage powerful SEO tools, Vista x Wix gives you what you need to get a stunning site off the ground in a weekend. If you need extra help as you go, there are service options that can get you to the next level affordably.

What kind of free tools are available for small business owners?

If you are really struggling to afford marketing services, consider how you can mix and match free resources with paid help. You may start out with some social media templates or content planning calendars, then hire a writer or web designer to complete the work. Every step in the marketing process could be outsourced, so when thinking of DIY business ideas, break down each into small actions and decide what can be done for free. Then, go from there with paid project partners.

VistaPrint Tip

Free templates can often be the starting point for amazing ideas. Browsing free Instagram templates from VistaCreate can jump-start your creativity and social campaigns.

DIY marketing for small business: Start at the beginning

When it comes to deciding how to focus time and money on different marketing efforts, many entrepreneurs get stuck. However, you don’t have to stay stuck. Many resources are available to help you make the most of what you have and help you grow your business at your pace.

By investing early in the marketing journey, you can avoid costly missteps and give customers a clear idea of what you offer. From there, like so many things in small business, it’s a matter of trial, error and figuring out what works best for you — refining your marketing strategy over time as your business grows and your budget expands.