Should a Small Business Hire an In-House Marketer or Outsource Link Building to an Agency?

All businesses want to conduct business in a cost-effective manner. That’s the bottom line (pardon the pun).

However, when it comes to developing a marketing plan and outlining business growth, it is not always clear which direction will give businesses the results they want and need; and within their budget.

Small businesses in particular deal with a unique conundrum: should they outsource their link building initiatives or use their own in-house marketing team? That question is critical to reaching their marketing goals.

They need to decide whether their link building objectives can be met by the advanced expertise of agencies or if an in-house marketing team, whose goals are closely aligned with their company culture, provides more value.

However, one could argue that the more important question is whether building and training an in-house team is more cost-effective and more cost-beneficial than using an external and well-trained team. That is the question that most businesses ponder in deciding where to allocate their marketing resources that will lead to small business success.

While there are certain instances that necessitate hiring in-house marketers, hiring an agency can be a practical and smart move for a majority of businesses, particularly small ones.

There are several factors that must be considered to determine this. Let’s run through them.

Skill Diversification

Online marketing is simply too complex and too vast of a field for one person to master. Many online marketers specialize in specific areas like search, link building, SEO, social media, content marketing, etc. Most companies, particularly small businesses, don’t have the resources or need to hire a full marketing team to cover all marketing areas and business ideas.

If they know that they need a specific marketing skill set like link building expertise, they partner with a marketing agency that has people on their team that can expertly deal with that specific focus area.

But if a business chooses to hire an in-house marketer to run and manage their link building initiatives, they need to hire someone who will provide great results within that area of expertise.

small business strategy

It all comes down to what your online needs are. If you plan to focus on just link building, hiring an expert in that specific area makes sense.


The turnover rate for hiring an in-house marketer can be quite costly.

Factor in the fact that most creatives constantly want need to work on something new. Looking at the same set of targets and numbers will eventually lead to boredom, causing them to seek new ventures elsewhere. In fact, junior to mid-level marketers change jobs every 2-3 years.

That means that you will eventually have to rehire and retrain a new person for the role, every couple of years. Not to mention that you will have to continually invest in professional development and recertification for them.

The hiring process also has its own set of headaches: finding the ‘right’ people is not an easy feat. The best candidates may be unavailable or out of your budget.

Agencies train and recertify their own employees at no cost to you. They also have an easier time retaining employees as their teams work on multiple different projects which keep them creatively engaged and satisfied. Additionally, marketing agency employees are surrounded by other creatives which can stifle boredom.

That’s why most marketers prefer to work for agencies.

That’s not to say that marketing agencies don’t lose employees. However, should an agency lose someone that’s working on your account, they have multiple others who already know the ins and outs of your business to delegate the work to.

If you are a small company, it is simply more practical to go with a marketing agency if you want to avoid the high turnover rate of hiring an in-house marketer.

You can also think about it this way: when you hire an agency, you only pay for the staff, skills, and tools that run your campaign. Nothing else. In contrast, if you decide to hire an in-house marketer, you will need to pay a salary (which will grow annually as the individual gains seniority), professional development, certifications, vacation time, a yearly bonus, office space, utilities and more.

The Perks

Your marketing budget probably isn’t big enough to make the most of your link building initiatives, unless you’re Walmart. If you hire an in-house marketer, you will be responsible for providing the tools, platforms, and features they need to do the job effectively.

Agencies, on the other hand, manage multiple accounts and spend a great deal of money on each tool and platform they use. Since they invest so much money on marketing tools and platforms, they are offered additional perks on certain tools (that most businesses don’t have access to). These are perks they can pass on to you, their client.

Perks may include early access to a beta and alpha program, more and faster support, discounts, and premium services. Those are all perks and advantages that you may not have access to as a small business owner. Even sweeter, those are extra perks that in some cases you won’t have to pay for.


Now, hiring an in-house marketer simply because their goals are more aligned with your company culture is a smart move. You can hand pick an individual who matches your company’s culture and values and has the skills you need.

It can be difficult to find a marketing agency that aligns with your company culture in that way. There is a fair probability that you will deal with issues (like miscommunication, wasted time, missed deadlines and low-quality work) that arise when cultures and goals are misaligned.

The good news is that you can optimize and refine your agency search and partner with the best fit for your company. So not all hope is lost.

Small Business Goals

Fresh Perspectives

An objective or fresh perspective is vital when it comes to creating impactful and effective link building strategies. It is actually a big factor in deciding whether to hire an in-house marketer or to outsource to an agency.

An in-house link builder needs to focus on the day-to-day operations of a particular link building campaign, so they could lose the ability to see their efforts from a different, more objective perspective. They develop so-called “blinders” that prevent them from seeing the changing marketing landscape of your industry.

On the other hand, digital marketing agencies keep abreast of market changes in their clients’ industries to identify the most effective link building strategies. That broad view and approach enable them to create more informed and competitive link building strategies.

They can take a higher-level look at your company, analyze your current link building efforts and create a strategy that aligns best with your needs. They are also able to look at your competitors; identify market trends and techniques that are working for them and apply those to your company.

Wrapping Up

Outsourcing your link building initiatives to a marketing agency is the best decision in most cases. When you weigh up all factors, hiring in-house marketer results in additional costs and provides lesser value.

Hiring an agency ensures that you pay for only what you need. You have more people working on your project, your hiring costs are lower, and you don’t need to worry about investing in various marketing tools and platforms. It is simply more cost-effective.