So you decided to step up your game and hire a freelancer instead of a marketing agency to manage your Facebook page. And your Twitter account. And your Instagram. And then you needed some web development work and a little SEO optimization… eCommerce… and then you branched out into Google AdWords… added weekly email campaigns… needed a graphic designer for a few odd jobs and then…
Six months later you’re wondering where the heck all these freelancers came from. Who hired these people? Who’s paying them? And for the love of God, who’s managing them all?
You never wanted a marketing team. That’s why you hired a freelancer (or six) in the first place. While it may seem like you’re saving time and money at first, managing freelancers — especially multiple freelancers — poses unique challenges that you wouldn’t encounter when working with an agency.
Here’s the bright side: these are growing pains. They’re a good thing. Your business has outgrown its shoes. Now it’s time to go shopping for an upgrade.
4 Reasons Why You Should Hire a Marketing Agency
1. Time Saved
You have a general idea of how your in-house staff manages their time because you have established the workflows. When working with freelancers, your projects and requests are being scheduled into their workflows. Ensuring that your project is top-of-mind requires communication, planning, and coordination on your part. All of this takes time.
For example, if you’re hiring multiple freelancers — say a graphic designer, a developer, and a copywriter — you will be the project manager. As an added layer of complication, if one individual stalls the project, the other freelancers may not be able to get you back on their schedule immediately after the first finishes his job.
Agencies have a marketing team already in place. If someone is behind on a project, a good agency will know before the client and will pull additional resources if necessary to get the job done. They’ll handle the project management. All you have to do is review the finished work.
2. Human Resources
Communication, delays, and scheduling issues are all time management hurdles, but the biggest hurdle occurs if your freelancer goes dark. Unfortunately, this is the most common issue with independent contractors.
She may be your “go to” web developer, but you might not be her “go to” client. She’s going prioritize the clients whose work and hours are the most consistent — and those who are paying a higher rate. This common conundrum puts you in the role of HR Director. You will find yourself frequently finding, trying, and hiring multiple people for the same role.
As part of having an in-house team, marketing agencies will get two-weeks notice from their employees just like you do. This means you will never have to deal with a resource gap again. They will be able to address any lapse in resources quickly and professionally. Oftentimes the transitions are so smooth, clients hardly notice there has been a change in staff.
One of the benefits to hiring a freelancer is specialization: a graphic designer with experience designing for B2B tech companies, a writer with experience in healthcare, a social media manager with experience in the fashion industry.
You can locate agencies that have a broad range of experience or you can often find agencies that specialize in a few select niches. Not only will your social media manager have experience in the fashion industry: the entire team will — right down to the in-house web developer and eCommerce expert.
4. Lower Rates
It’s arguable that small businesses at critical stages of growth are the companies that need marketing agencies the most. There is a misconception that a marketing agency isn’t an affordable option. Freelancers, entry-level “marketing assistants,” and even unpaid interns appear to be the budget-conscious choice.
Asking one person to handle all of your marketing needs means that their time and attention will be spread thin across all activities. Inexpensive in-house hires are also likely to be entry-level or college-level employees and your marketing efforts will progress slowly as a result. However if you hire multiple freelancers for each specialty, the cost will add up fast.
At an agency you are contracting a team of experts and buying part of their time. Because you are purchasing a sliver of their time, you get an entire marketing department for far less than the cost of a full-time entry-level employee. A marketing agency might be more accessible than you think.