Running a business can be a challenge and you know that you need to allocate resources to marketing. But how much and should you handle your marketing in-house or outsource it to an Internet marketing firm? One way of viewing this question is to take the middle ground – sign up with an Internet marketing service and let them take care of some of your marketing needs, while keeping others under your control. For example, you may wish to have an Internet marketing firm create content for you and run your organic search campaign. You can re-purpose that content and create your own email newsletters, formatting those and blasting them yourself. There are lots of ways to set up a synergistic relationship with an Internet marketing firm. You can have the best of both worlds – a cost-effective online marketing campaign and more time to run your business. Here’s how to do it:

1) All of the work doesn’t fall on the Internet marketing firm’s shoulders. You can create a great relationship with your Internet marketing service by keeping the lines of communication open. Here’s an example: You may be creating a prototype of a new product and like some innovative companies, you want to purposely leak a few of the details to create buzz. Be sure to let your agency know about your intentions. Have them help you create social media buzz (even if you run your own social accounts). Have your agency perform key phrase research for this new product line. Be sure to use the key phrases when you create your social posts. Ask your agency for social post additions for your editorial calendar.

2) If you publish press releases on a regular basis, send them to your Internet marketing firm first so that the firm can optimize them for search. Even though releases today use no-follow links, most major wires have evolved their templates to be highly shareable on social networks. These social templates and the ability to embed videos and images make news releases an underappreciated online visibility tool in 2016.

3) When was the last time you added a video to your YouTube channel? If it has been a while, get going on adding videos regularly and ask your agency for ideas. Once you have created a video, have your agency optimize the title and description for search. Need to know why you should have a YouTube channel and great ways to maximize it’s value for your campaign? Check out ‘The Complete Guide to Building a Successful YouTube Channel,’ by Neil Patel.

4) Have you done an image audit on your site recently? You and your agency can work together to inventory and add images that can be optimized with image ALT tags.

5) Let’s mention email marketing again. Some companies like to write all their own email newsletters and offers and blast them out themselves. Others like to split the work with their agency. Talk to your Internet marketing firm and find a good middle ground where each party contributes to your email marketing success. Tip: Have the firm help you segment your lists so you are sending the most relevant offers to each audience.

6) Keep innovating. There is definitely a grey area that exists between in-house and outsourced digital marketing. Many firms provide training for clients, so you can take on even more of the marketing responsibilities yourself, if you like. Ask your agency what types of training they offer and if they will provide it to you via webinar or in-person.

Key Takeaway: Get on board with an Internet marketing firm after you have done some research and interviewing. Start small and continue to build your campaign. Keep your relationship going with your Internet marketing service and learn as you go. They can take away a lot of the time consuming tasks and offer new ways to reach your audience.