There comes a time for any growing business when the business functions grow beyond the capabilities of people handling it. This is especially true for small or mid-sized businesses where people play multiple roles. For example, the marketing guy doubles up as the CTO, and the content guy tries his hands at graphic designing!
Eventually, company leaders have to decide on handing over their marketing to experts. If that’s how it is with you, you may be considering getting some outside help. You may even be wondering if you should go with an agency or get a freelancer.
A digital agency is a one-stop-shop for all things related to digital marketing. Typically, you can approach one to fulfill your SEO, content development, social media campaigns, or other digital marketing needs.
One other way to get digital marketing solutions is by choosing a freelancer. A freelancer is an expert in a few or many functions of digital marketing. You can approach them directly through their contact channels or look for a suitable one via freelancing platforms.
Finding a digital marketing freelancer is relatively easy as this profession lends itself well to the freelancing model. A freelancer digital marketer can work from almost anywhere and set up and perform all types of digital services.
With online consulting becoming the norm for both freelancing gigs and agencies, it makes sense to do a little online research about your options.
Isn’t that why you are here reading this article?
Here are the top factors that are bound to influence your decisions.
Let’s now take a closer look at them.
While deciding between freelancing or agency services, you must also look closely at your requirements.
Do you only need a competent campaign manager as you are doing your content and excelling at it?
Do you need to quickly launch your product and run a digital campaign complete with landing pages and targeted marketing strategy?
Does your product need to reach as many users as possible quickly so you can move inventory?
The cases mentioned above would require different approaches.
Pros: You can find someone quickly with a specialized skill if that’s what you need.
An SEO expert will help your content become more attractive to the search engines with the right keywords. They would be able to shave off valuable time off the period it takes to boost your site’s ranking.
Cons: On the other hand, the SEO expert may not be able to write an engaging copy using the exact keywords. Again, you may need to deal with multiple vendors or rework some deliveries.
Pros: A digital agency can take your entire digital marketing work off your hands and free you or your resources to focus on core deliverables of the business.
You can make more sales calls or focus on business strategy when you know your marketing engine is up and running efficiently.
Cons: You are one of the many clients of the digital agency. You cannot be sure that their best resources work on your account. They may re-assign resources at will and not take your wishes into consideration.
High-quality work is why you are looking to outsource your digital marketing in the first place!
Pros: Specialists can consistently deliver high-quality work. They will work with you to ensure they provide services as per your requirements.
Cons: If you do not like a freelancer’s work, there is not much wiggle room for you. You can ask them to redo it, but the number of reworks is often capped. If you want to get it done differently, you will need to hire another freelancer.
Pros: A digital agency has more than one person specializing in a particular function. If you don’t like a deliverable, they can have someone else take a stab at it.
Cons: The agency may charge you premium rates for delivering specialized or custom services. This is especially applicable if you have precise requirements.
This is one of those factors that can make or break your business.
Pros: Freelancers often get work on referrals, reviews, and ratings, so they must be careful about timely delivery. You would get timely status reports, or you could ask for them directly.
Cons: However, many factors can impact a freelancer’s timelines – other project timelines, infrastructure challenges, illness, or unforeseen circumstances.
These factors can delay your project and set your business planning back.
Pros: Digital agencies can be on top of the timelines in a better way. They have backups built into their processes to deal with almost all types of sudden challenges.
They can assign different resources or add more people to speed up delivery. Digital agencies would have periodic status reports and project tracking capabilities as well.
Cons: If you have strict timelines and they need to put more people on it, they will build that extra effort in the price.
If a project gets delayed, it’s tough to put your finger on what went wrong or who is responsible.
Some businesses require more flexibility than others. They may want to frequently pivot their strategy or update their offering. In such scenarios, flexibility becomes an important factor.
Pros: Since a freelancer is a person working on a project, they can switch up the deliverable easily.
Cons: The switching up may not be smooth, and there may be extra charges.
Pros: As many people are involved in a project, it may not be easy to quickly switch the requirement. However, with multiple resources, the changes can be done without losing out on quality.
Cons: Changing the requirements in the middle of the project would not be typically possible. You may get billed for even the undelivered work as their resources were used.
One of the most significant factors that will drive your decision is the cost of the service.
Pros: Freelancers can give you a competitive rate, and the negotiations are faster as they are making decisions for themselves.
Suppose a freelancer is skilled at many marketing functions. In that case, chances are you can get a discounted rate as it is easier for them to handle all tasks for one account.
Cons: Freelancers may not be able to fulfill all your requirements. For example, they may be excellent at campaigns but not good at SEO.
Hiring more freelancers will cost you more if you have specialized requirements, and it will also increase your hassle.
Pros: A digital agency can offer bundled services or a subscription model to keep initial costs low. Adding one more account to an already existing process is not difficult for them.
Cons: Digital agencies would have people assigned different roles, so you would have to take multiple meetings.
You would not be able to negotiate below a specific standard market price.
A lot depends on what you need from your digital marketing function.
Your budget, business model, a business’s dependency on market trends, and need for timely deliveries will determine your choice. You marketing goals will drive your marketing strategy which will in turn help you choose the right mix of marketing professionals to work with you.
A digital agency is often the way to go for businesses that are growing and require a constant and consistent running of the marketing engine. Digital agencies have a group of professionals working together on various projects, leveraging their specific skill sets.
A full stack digital marketing agency like Scion who has successfully worked with start ups is more likely to understand the requirements of a growing business. We bring our experience of working with enterprise-level International clients and always deliver at the highest level.