Every business is unique, and you should hire your marketing staff according to what works best for your organization. But which option is best for you: hiring a freelancer, an agency or having an in-house marketing team? Well, here is some insight into the pros and cons of each option.
Skills and Talent
There are many aspects of marketing that can, and probably should be, included in a marketing plan. With that being the case, it’s a good idea to hire people with a variety of online marketing skills, like SEO, social media, lead generation, PPC, etc.
Freelancers can be an excellent option for rounding out your marketing team. Or, if it’s just a simple one-off project, they may be able to easily take care of your needs. One thing to remember with freelancers is that they typically specialize in one specific skill. So, if you need someone for SEO, a freelancer may be able to handle it. But, if you need them to do SEO and website development, they might not be the best fit; even if they promote both services. This doesn’t mean they can’t do both services. But, it’s just a general rule that a freelancer typically specializes in one type of digital marketing service. You may want to hire multiple freelancers to cover the various skills, if you’re needing different types of digital marketing to be handled.
Consider this statement: 59% of US companies use freelancers as a flexible workforce. This demonstrates that freelancers are definitely a viable option to consider if you’re getting ready to start marketing your business and need some help.
While freelancers can be a great solution for an individual project or one specific type of digital marketing, agencies tend to be able to cover a greater variety of services. For example, an agency will likely be more equipped to assist with your SEO, website development, content writing, social media management, etc.
As mentioned a moment ago, you could certainly hire a variety of freelancers to cover your various marketing needs. But, if you do this, it would likely be a good idea to hire an extra freelancer who will make sure the messaging is consistent and all your marketing efforts are working together. Read our blog post titled The Importance of Having Integrated Marketing Communications to learn more about the value that comes from using an agency or hiring one freelancer to manage others.
If you run a business, you want to have people with all the necessary marketing skills at your disposal. Depending on your budget and marketing plan, you will probably want a social media marketing specialist, an SEO expert, a PPC specialist, and so on. With an in-house marketer or marketing team, you can use the skills within your business anytime. And as technology evolves, your team can learn new strategies through training.
Additionally, as your team works together, they can become a more cohesive unit that works well together and can easily collaborate regarding new projects. On the flipside, in-house marketers may have a problem with redundancy. Since they keep doing the same tasks over and over again, they may feel demotivated, which can hurt productivity. Having an outside marketing consultant come in once a year, and breath new life and vision into the marketing team, is a good strategy some companies use to help prevent complacency.
Quality at A Price
This is a key factor when deciding which marketing option to use. You don’t necessarily want to choose the cheapest option. Rather, it’s best to go with the most cost-effective solution. “Cost-effective” and “cheap” don’t mean the same thing. And if you haven’t already decided on your marketing budget, you may want to check out our blog post titled How to Set a Marketing Budget.
You can always find a freelancer to suit every budget. They are usually preferred when you want someone to handle small marketing tasks. If you have a big project, or a long-term project, you should be very cautious about hiring a freelancer who has not yet earned your trust. There are definitely very trustworthy freelancers out there. But, how many freelancers will you have to hire and fire before you find the right freelancer to keep long-term? It can take a lot of time, and money, to find the “right” freelancer.
Also, depending on the complexity of the project, you may need an entire team of freelancers. But because freelancers usually juggle multiple projects, they may not be able to pay 100% attention to your projects. Make sure this won’t be an issue if you choose the freelancer route.
Agencies have a team of experts in place and typically charge based on an hourly rate or retainer. Although the hourly rate is probably higher than that of a freelancer, there are no additional management fees, benefit costs, training, equipment or other miscellaneous expenses associated with having an in-house marketing team. With an agency, you just pay for the specific services you need.
Having an in-house marketing team is a costly option. You may need to hire a marketing manager, PPC expert, SEO expert, content writer, social media person, and so on. The cost may go up further if employees decide to leave and you have to replace them.
Despite the high costs, an in-house team is part of your company culture. If you use it well, you can meet the long-term vision of the company. The second benefit is that you get better collaboration with the other departments. Your marketers need to liaise with other teams to get the job done. This can be difficult when you hire an agency or a freelancer.
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Now that you have a better idea of the sills and costs associated with each marketing option, let’s look at the topic of management.
Freelancers are not managers. But make no mistake – some can manage a project like a professional and even improve its performance. When you hire a freelancer, you get something between a full in-house team and an agency (a little bit of both worlds).
Another thing to keep in mind is that you may have to do a lot of handholding to get the job done. A freelancer can also be met with unexpected circumstances making it hard to meet the project deadline. With this in mind, you should only work with reputable freelancers.
Agencies have dedicated project managers who ensure your projects are completed on time. Even if there’s a glitch, the task is assigned to the next available person. This means you can concentrate on doing your business without worrying about your marketing goals.
As a business owner, you don’t have to approve every marketing process. Another benefit of using an agency is that they will do a follow-up to ensure the process runs smoothly. Depending on the services you purchased, they can take care of any updates and fix future bugs.
Having a productive in-house team requires good management. If you are unable to personally manage the marketing team, be sure to bring on an experienced marketing professional who is qualified to manage the team for you. Never leave the marketing management to inexperienced hands if you want your marketing efforts to yield results.
The main benefit of working with a freelancer is flexibility. There is no shortage of freelancers available to help with your marketing. This saves you the time of hiring an agency or in-house marketing team. According to the latest statistics, more than 30% of US citizens are freelancers.
An agency is a professional team that works on a pay-as-you-go basis. They have all kinds of professionals to meet your marketing goals, often including designers, writers, SEO professionals, editors, etc. All you need to do as the business owner is to share your project details and leave the rest to them. This saves you valuable time that you can spend on other tasks.
When you use an in-house marketing team, you have the luxury of getting immediate updates from your team in real-time. Besides that, you get more control in promotional campaigns. To achieve your overall marketing goals, you may need a mix of agency and in-house resources.
How to Choose Your Marketing Team?
There are many factors to consider. But, as a general rule, if you need help with a small or short-term project, a freelancer might be the best fit. If you need a long-term marketing solution or someone to handle various types of digital marketing, an agency is probably the best option for you. If you have the desire and budget to build a team that can work directly with other departments in your company, and you wish to have more direct control over the management of the team, then hiring an in-house team is probably your best choice.
We hope this blog post has helped bring clarity as you prepare to hire for your marketing needs. And of course, if you’re interested in getting help from an agency, let us know by filling out the contact form below.