When it comes to outsourcing programming, I’ve struggled with this question for the past few years: “What are the benefits of paying 3 times the amount for a programmer onshore vs. outsourcing it offshore.“ It’s a fair question that deserves a detailed response. Let’s imagine the following scenario:
You have an offer that is ready after months of preparation. You business plan is stacked, your product formulated, manufactured and awaiting shipment in your fulfillment center. Your CRM is integrated. Your site has been tested and passed all quality control tests. You’ve spent months putting this offer together. Design and copy are finished. You just wired your mailer and he’s getting ready to blast your offer to 10 million recipients.
In addition to copious amounts of testing, you have spent a considerable amount of time and money tweaking shipping prices, re-bill prices, colors, terms and conditions, women vs men images, copy etc….
AhhhhhhYaaaaaYaaaaa! — think of all the work that went into the launch preparation. You should allow yourself a second to breathe because you’re finally ready to hit some volume!
The mailer drops to his entire list. Everything seems great but wait….a SQL database error — the first form sublit leads are NOT going into your auto-responder, PANIC ATTACK — what should I do? Its 4:00pm on Friday and where is your overseas development team? Maybe they’ve got a guy waiting up for you just incase you need their services – PANIC ATTACK AGAIN.
So you e-mail, Skype, MSN, AIM, Call — everything. No Answer.
Where does that leave you? Where does that leave the mailer? You’re left on the middle of a thin iced lake and the sun’s starting to come up. Your mailer is going to demand reimbursement at an average EPC and even if you pay, there’s a good chance you lost your traffic source.
I used to run into this situation all of the time and I can’t tell you how many times it stressed me the fuck out — using an overseas firm to handle your programming and development is not a wise decision.
As an advertiser and affiliate myself, I know how important uptime is. On larger scale campaigns 1 hour of downtime means tens of thousands of dollars lost. Even worse, relationships with your traffic sources can get irreparably harmed if you don’t provide them with reimbursement.
Whether to outsource programming or not is a rhetorical question for high volume campaigns. Even if you’re just getting started out, you can find half-way decent programmers here domestically on sites like eLance or oDesk.
But when it comes to scalable projects, you should always utilize seasoned programmers that understand the direct response space.
My boy Mike Salvaggio has a really good programming team. When I have one of those “we need to 100% Get It Done Right projects”, I have his developers hop on it. Their group actually “gets it” — This past year I’ve had Mike’s team work on a wide variety of programming tasks such as setting up tracking links, coding php, changing .html elements on our pages, fixing SQL errors, database reprograming, and .net development.
I choose to work with Mike for 4 simple reasons:
1. They have 30 full-time programmers, developers and designers in house.
2. Mike works 20 minutes away from me so if it’s super important I have the option of dropping in to meet with his team face to face.
3. Since Mike has run multiple campaigns himself as a direct response marketer, he’s one of the few that actually “get it.” That means that I don’t have to waste time that I don’t have trying to explain the project. I just tell him in a few short sentences what to do and he get’s it done right every time.
4. Mike isn’t just your average joe though. He has an extensive background in business development and had in fact graduated from the #1 rated business school in the world, The Wharton School of Business.
On projects I try to indentify the best of the best. i.e. If I wanted a turnkey system put in place for a new business, I’d retain Hersh Sandhoo. If I wanted to have the best direct response landing pages built, I’d have my partner Rob Shibley build it out. When I need rock solid developers, I turn to Mike Salvaggio.
At the end of the day, you get out of your direct response offers what you put in. When you retain the best services to create the best offer, you are positioning yourself for success. Put yourself in a position of advantage from the very beginning by keeping your programming onshore!
P.S. There are a select few rockstar programmers offshore. If you have a strong referral I suggest you use them for your less program intensive projects. I work with a group that is really solid at general programming tasks that do not have a time emphasis on them. They get the job done right every time. But if there’s a major project, I won’t risk it offshore.
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