Posted by Ashley | Download Our Free Guide: Freelance Marketers Vs Marketing Agencies
We all know that successful marketing is vital to the growth of any business, large or small. But not all businesses have the budget for an in-house marketing team and in that case, a lot of businesses turn to Freelance Marketers.
What are Freelance Marketers?
The world of freelance marketing is growing and evolving and it can be difficult to know what the term even means. A freelance marketer is someone who can provide a specific marketing service unattached to a business or agency. Freelancers are essentially a small business themselves and the service they offer is usually very specific. They’re a one-man band when it comes to marketing.
What is a Marketing Agency?
A marketing agency is a business that specializes in every area of marketing. While most agencies have an in-house team to cover these areas, even agencies can hire freelancers when they need someone who is highly specialized for one-time projects. The biggest difference between the two is that with an agency you’re hiring an entire team to provide you with a wide variety of services to choose from.
Both freelancers and agencies have pros and cons, and as much as we all wish there was a one-size-fits-all approach, there really isn’t. Depending on your business size, specialty, and goals, one might be a better option for you. Both may be a great option at different stages of your business, and in fact, you may find that utilizing both at the same time gets you the results you’re looking for.
Let’s take a closer look at things to consider when looking to hire a freelancer vs. an agency:
Pros of the Freelance Marketer
Flexibility is the biggest asset Freelancers have. There’s far less red tape when it comes to starting projects for freelancers. When you’re communicating with your freelancer, you’re communicating directly with the person doing the actual work. They know exactly what information they need upfront and will make sure to get it and get started. And since freelancers set their own hours, they quite literally can get started right away.
Freelancers can also cost less upfront. True freelancers who don’t find work through freelance agencies have the flexibility to set their own prices and can offer discounts on those prices. Even if they charge hourly, it’s only one person, and since freelancers are always looking for the next job, they have the motivation to finish quickly and efficiently to move on to the next job. And while some freelancers charge a flat rate for work, even that is usually going to be a one-time payment.
One of the best qualities about freelancers is that they are hyper-specialized. Many of them have either gone through extensive education or have a wealth of experience in their field that truly makes them experts. When you hire a quality freelancer, you’re bound to get an incredible product in return.
Cons of the Freelance Marketer
The biggest drawback to finding a freelance marketer is finding them in the first place. While many freelancers choose to work through a freelance agency, not all of them do. Many freelancers find work through extensive networking and word-of-mouth advertising, meaning that if you don’t know them or know someone who knows them, they can be hard to find.
Which is why so many freelancers these days are using agencies to help them find work. This, of course, means that your cost in hiring them now includes an agency fee. And while these agency fees can be nominal, you have to pay the fee every time you hire a freelancer. While someone who is truly freelance may have the flexibility to cut you a deal or negotiate for larger workloads, a freelancer who works with an agency doesn’t have that freedom.
Another big con when it comes to Freelancers is they require a bit more vetting. Most freelancers provide incredible work with integrity, but not everyone does. Just because your freelancer has provided you with a portfolio, doesn’t mean it’s actually their work.
The other unfortunate truth about freelancers is that they usually aren’t going to have any loyalty to you. While an agency is looking at working with companies in the long term, freelancers have to move from one job to the next. They may have provided incredible work for you, but if you haven’t hired them in time, or their fees for a specific project are too high, they have no incentive to continue working with you.
Even if you find a great freelancer who loves working with your company, they are limited in how much they’re capable of doing. As a solo team, freelancers can’t work as many jobs as agencies. So if they have reached their job capacity your’s, unfortunately, may fall to the side.
Finally, one of the hardest things about working with freelancers is that, while they may seem more affordable than an agency, you are going to need more of them. Freelancers’ skills are highly specified, which makes them experts – in one particular area. The freelance copywriter is not going to know the first thing about designing and building a website, and the freelance web designer is less likely to be up to speed on this month’s social media algorithm changes. The freelancer is a great affordable option, until it’s not.
Pros of the Marketing Agency
Marketing Agencies are a larger team of highly skilled individuals. It’s their job to stay on top of trends within the world of marketing, as well as the best practices for a variety of industries. Basically: the job of a marketing agency is to know how to get your service into the hands of your ideal customer.
Another great thing about agencies is that because it’s their job to stay on top of best practices for your specific business, they will be able to offer services you might not even be aware of!
Beyond that, they have a large team, which means you’re getting a wide pool of fresh eyes, creative minds, and innovative ideas. An agency can not only help you meet your marketing goals but can help push past those goals.
This also makes agencies incredibly flexible. They’re willing to try new things to get results. The capabilities of an agency are far larger than that of a freelancer because they have the benefit of a large team that can easily pivot into new directions.
Agencies rely on referrals and testimonials when it comes to finding their clients. This means they are motivated to deliver premium service and excellent results in order to gain those referrals and testimonials. A dissatisfied client is bad for business and agencies take their reputation and reliability very seriously.
Cons of the Marketing Agency
A marketing agency is going to cost more than a freelancer. However, keep in mind what you’re paying for when you hire an agency. You’re hiring a team of skilled individuals who can offer you a variety of quality services. Which is great if you need to utilize those services, but if your business doesn’t have use for all the services you’re paying for, an agency might not be the right choice for you.
Great communication with the team you’ve hired is key to the success of any kind of marketing you pursue. While most agencies are great at promptly communicating, you may not always be communicating directly with the person who will do the actual work. Unfortunately, things can be lost in that back-and-forth communication. This is why we at Pulse are dedicated to communicating with our clients and each other as a team, but other agencies may not have the same communication process.
Because of the team nature of agencies, they’re able to take on more clients and larger projects. Which means that your projects may not seem like they are always top priority.
Conclusion: Which one works for you?
Every business is unique and requires a lot of thoughtful consideration when it comes to choosing who they bring on to work for them. While there’s no black and white answer on what the best marketing choice is, this makes us here at Pulse even more excited to work with our clients. Because we know how much goes into making that decision. This is why we’re dedicated to providing our clients with not just a great service, and a great experience as well.