Digital marketing involves strategizing how to showcase your product by communicating with your target audience in various online channels.
From creating content for every stage of your sales funnel for prospecting to positioning your brand and product that encourages the target audience to buy your product, there are a lot of steps involved that a digital marketer should do.
When competing with more prominent brands, you must know if the person you hire knows their onions, is adapted to the marketing world, and can drive demand for your products.
It’s common knowledge that an on-demand workforce can bring exponential growth to your small business in a short time.
Today, outsourcing is a necessity, not a choice, when your in-house team lacks the skill set and expertise for digital marketing projects on various scales. Relying on your in-house team may cost the reputation of your company and the product you are about to launch.
There are also huge expenses involving hiring, training, paying salaries, and other employee benefits.
Here’s when digital marketing freelancers and agencies come to the rescue.
“But who should I choose?”
Well, to make the right decision, let’s first learn a little about them.
What does a freelancer do?
A freelancer is a solopreneur who handles digital marketing-related tasks working from home. They first take over small projects to understand the nits and grits of marketing and slowly outreach to bigger clients. Successful freelancers are most likely to start an agency when they parallelly work with different clients.
What does a Digital marketing agency do?
A digital marketing agency provides an array of marketing services with an average experience working with clients from different industries.
Agencies keep abreast of the latest marketing trends like Google Algorithm updates, apply customized marketing strategies based on different business needs and optimize the campaigns according to guidelines, and know how to manage marketing campaigns keeping your business vision and goals in mind.
Freelance vs. Agency – How to make the right decision
Agencies with at least 3-5 years of experience have good resources and media buying experience. After running several campaigns and working with different small business owners, they understand how to market a product. Also, experience is the by-product of quality.
Freelancers are not well-versed in every aspect of marketing. Though their experience is limited, they dedicate most of their time to learning and honing different marketing skills to advance their career. But they do not have experience working on a large scale, which they eventually have to outsource.
Agencies often have a solid portfolio working with clients of different businesses. Agencies are on the higher end of the threshold when pricing their services since they have a committed team for each digital marketing service category, i.e., content marketing, SEO Service, Email Marketing, Social media marketing, and more.
The cost includes rental space, high-end marketing tools, insurance, etc.
Freelancers, on the other hand, charge less since they work according to their comfort with a workspace set up already. Freelancers’ pricing package is based on their monthly financial needs like personal expenses, software tools, and sometimes hiring subcontractors.
Agencies work with different clients simultaneously. They set up communication channels to record clients’ requests and work accordingly.
With multiple projects in hand, they send priorities that are required immediate implementation. So the low-priority tasks take time to complete.
When you are working with a freelancer, you can expect them to be at your disposal any time of the day since they are single-handedly working on your project. With effective communication, freelancers get things done.
There’s always an expert for every marketing activity in an agency team. A team with the right expertise can effectively manage the workload, improve productivity, and handle uncommon situations.
Freelancers operate individually and are not cut out for working in a corporate environment. Handling multiple marketing tasks can sometimes cause them stress and thus results in mismanagement.
Agencies, especially if you choose someone from your locality, can be flexible when working during business hours. One-off tasks and last-minute changes are handled with ease.
Freelancers do not meet your traditional business hours as they do not have fixed working hours. Most freelancers work with international clients, so the different time zones can delay last-minute emergency tasks.
Before hiring a freelancer, it’s best to hire someone who works at similar time zones or is flexible to your business hours so that they can meet short deadlines.
Best Practices before hiring a Digital marketing agency or a freelancer:
Establish your marketing goals
Your objectives and goals can help you understand what you are targeting to achieve and hire the right candidate based on that.
Are you promoting a new product?
Is your content outdated?
Are you not generating quality leads?
These days digital marketers take up projects from only companies who have a clear sense of deliverables like messaging, branding, budget, etc. You must farsee your vision and marketing needs before hiring the marketing team.
Do your research
Once you get pitched by agencies and freelancers, inquire with referrals and past clients. Ask these clients what qualities they liked about them, how they handled marketing requests, and how did they help their business grow.
Also, check how these digital marketers market their services to see if they practice what they preach.
Track record of KPIs and Case studies
Case studies can help you analyze how the agency or freelancer handled client objectives and challenges from different industries at a diverse scale.
Digital marketers are expected to close leads and hit targets. To know the performance, review their past client’s customer success metrics like conversion rate, Return on Ad Spend(ROAS), traffic to lead ratio, and many more that you are mainly targeting to achieve.
The freelance vs. agency dilemma comes down to what you are targeting to achieve results in specific marketing needs, then freelancing would be the correct fit as they offer basic packages. If you are looking to hire an expert team to market through all digital channels for your small business, irrespective of budget, then investing in hiring a digital marketing agency will be the best alternative.
Although both of them can provide results, it involves who is willing to make an extra effort to make your small business stand out in a crowd of competitors.