The marketing industry is witnessing an explosion in freelancers fueled by the pandemic, the great resignation, and advertising budget cuts. 58% of digital marketers now freelance. The hopeful freelance digital marketer is usually lured by the enticing prospect of higher fees, flexible working hours, and more freedom.
But why would a business choose to hire a freelancer? When considering the choice between a digital marketing agency and a freelance digital marketer, what is actually at stake?
The future of your business depends on your marketing efforts. Your entire organization suffers if the right audience doesn’t hear your voice, or worse yet, your brand message is garbled or misrepresented. With the challenge of a recession looming, everyone focused on business survival needs the best marketing possible.
At the same time, a slowdown is upon us. The power of the internet has led to market saturation in many industries. It’s more challenging than ever to stand out from the noisy clutter of boring content, poor technical SEO, and unoptimized ads created by unskilled marketers.
So what do you get when you hire a freelance digital marketer? And above all, can you trust freelance digital marketing with your business survival?
Let’s take a deep dive into answering these critical questions as we explore the crucial differences between trusting a professional digital marketing agency and flying with a freelancer.
What Is Freelance Digital Marketing?
The term “freelance digital marketer” is an umbrella phrase covering freelancers involved in any of the many aspects of digital marketing, including:
- Website development
- Content marketing
- Search engine optimization
- Search engine marketing
- Social media marketing
- Graphic arts and design
Good freelance digital marketing requires a marketer with a diverse skill set, or they must subcontract portions of a marketing campaign to cover all the aspects of online marketing.
How Do Freelancers Compare to Traditional In-House Marketing and Agency Digital Marketing?
A digital marketing consultant can specialize in a single area or wear many hats to provide all the services in-house marketing and agencies do so well.
In-house teams give you the most control over digital marketing, but typically only large firms can afford the expense of paying several professional salaries. Hiring an agency grants businesses access to the full spectrum of professionals without carrying an in-house team’s financial and management burden.
Interestingly, some companies and agencies are turning to hybrid teams. They’ll have a key digital marketer like a strategist on staff and then hire freelancers for specialized roles. This can quickly lead to communication and productivity issues as they try to manage diverse individuals spread across broad geographic regions.
Why Might Someone Choose Freelance Digital Marketing Services?
There are many reasons why freelance digital marketing appears attractive to businesses. Most of them sound good until you think them through.
The Belief in a Lower Cost
Business owners considering freelance marketers often believe freelancers are cheaper than agencies. But freelancers are freelancing because they think they’ll make more than the boss did at their old agency job. Any freelancer who knows what they’re doing knows the value of their work and bills accordingly.
A Credo survey discovered that while rates are all over the place, experienced freelance marketing consultants charge a higher average hourly rate than agencies. And if you look into the difference between assigning bulk work in many different specialties to freelancers versus an agency, you may discover that the bill for all those specialized freelancers adds up quickly.
Short-Term or One-Time Projects
You might consider hiring a freelancer for a short-term or one-off project, but these always turn into more because marketing constantly evolves. ROI on digital marketing campaigns eventually goes down while trends and markets change. Do you want to go through the uncertainty, trouble, and expense of finding a new freelancer every time you need help with a new client base?
Increased Workflow Causing Overflow
Sometimes businesses fall behind, but adding freelancers to an already struggling marketing department can cause an even more significant burden as overworked employees must find, onboard, and manage competent freelancers. And if the freelancer’s content is substandard, that creates even more work for your employees.
Supposed Quick Turnaround
Many freelancers advertise a quick turnaround time that can appeal to businesses on a time crunch. But freelancers have many balls to juggle. They must do everything it takes to run a digital marketing career and keep potential clients happy simultaneously. Their number one problem is the feast or famine nature of freelancing. They’re either so busy they’re overwhelmed or have no work and are scrambling to market themselves. Either way, a quick turnaround is never guaranteed.
What Are the Shortcomings of a Freelance Digital Marketer?
There are many possible pitfalls in working with a freelance digital marketing professional. Most issues won’t be easily discernible until you get into a project.
Possible Lack of Expertise
Fake it ‘till you make it is the motto of many freelancers. They often think all they need to do is take an online course or get a few months of experience and start marketing their stellar new digital marketing strategies. But the expertise to run successful social media accounts or impressive email campaigns doesn’t come overnight.
Not Enough Talented People To Collaborate With
The best marketing results often come from collaboration as experts in each aspect of digital marketing toss ideas around the room and build on each other’s insights. Other people’s points of view often trigger “Aha!” moments.
Freelancers are too often stuck on one way of approaching a marketing dilemma. You don’t get the different options you would when collaborating with a roomful of experts.
Lack of resources
Many freelancers are beholden to a tight tool budget and limited online presence. Producing premium marketing content requires premium tools and the expertise to use them.
Overload and Manpower Issues
The best freelancers, capable of producing content superior to your competition, often run an overloaded freelance business and may not have enough resources to handle more work.
Freelancers Often Juggle Too Many Projects With Too Few Hands
Every project has a deadline. When a freelance digital marketer tries to juggle many deadlines, the quality of their work usually suffers because they don’t have extra hands on-call to help out or a digital marketing manager to supervise. This results in poorly represented social media platforms and ineffective digital marketing efforts.
Lack of Comprehensive Services
A freelancer might not have the holistic digital marketing skills to strategize and implement a complete digital campaign for a prospective client. The best strategic planning requires years of experience working with different channels and mediums before a marketer accumulates sufficient insight to make the most productive choices.
Bad Client Experiences Are Possible
Freelancers are doing all the jobs. They’re in charge of marketing themselves, communication, and creation. A freelancer might be unable to give you the best level of care through the entire project process because they’ve got too much on their plate.
Benefits of Using a Digital Marketing Agency
Still on the fence about whom to hire to get the best results from your marketing budget? Working with an agency has six benefits freelancers can’t compete with because one person can only do so much.
Full-Stack Team of Specialists
A full-stack team of digital marketing specialists will have the knowledge and experience in all aspects of online marketing critical for getting the highest ROI from your ad spend.
They’ll know all the channels and mediums, from PPC to organic and social media to websites. You’ll benefit from their in-depth knowledge of when a video will outperform an image or when a graphic will get your message across better than an article.
A full-stack team usually has:
- A marketing strategist or director who understands how to find and reach the target audience most effectively.
- An SEO expert who finds the most productive keywords to build content around.
- A content writer who creates engaging content that attracts and moves prospects through your sales process.
- A PPC manager to target prospects ready to buy now.
- A graphic designer who creates informative, attention-grabbing content that makes your brand memorable.
- A front-end developer to showcase your website content.
- A social media expert to develop and monitor buzz and manage your reputation.
The tools and resources needed by digital marketers continue to grow as the digital landscape expands. Each specialist in a full-stack team needs a specialized tool kit:
- Content writers: SEO tools, a writer’s platform, trend analysis, and more
- Graphic artists: Quality design software, asset library subscriptions
- Videographers: Video editing software, photo/video equipment
- Analysts: Marketing analytics programs
And, of course, everyone needs communication apps. Having the best tools enables specialists to produce the best content. But paying for all those tools is an expense that agency teams bear much easier than individual freelancers with only one income.
Proven Track Record
Google makes it easy to check a digital marketing agency’s track record and reviews. Every reputable agency displays a list of clients on their website and numerous case studies about marketing challenges they’ve overcome.
Do you appreciate a personal touch when you’re doing business? If you do, you’re not alone: 89% of marketers experience a positive ROI when they use personalization.
However, with the advent of multi and omnichannel marketing, running a successful, personalized campaign that follows consumers across multiple platforms requires skills you’re far more likely to find at an agency. This way you can enjoy successful email marketing campaigns, powerful content creation, and winning digital marketing projects.
Holistic & Niche Campaign Options
Agencies can provide a broad spectrum of options from full-blown to niched-down campaign goals geared to deliver the desired outcomes because they have a full-stack team that can quickly scale. If you need to scale up, you can stick with the same team without having to find and onboard another freelancer with the specific experience needed.
Every campaign costs you money. Tinkering with, or even worse, having to scrap, a substandard effort can be disastrous as low sales’ painful ripples expand through your business. Agency work often delivers top-level results the first time around.
Beating Freelance Digital Marketing Services
The most successful marketing efforts come from a coordinated approach that communicates your brand message across all channels and mediums your target audience frequents.
Elevato provides the full spectrum of services that businesses need to succeed in the challenging conditions of today’s marketplace. No freelancer, no matter how skilled they are, can hope to match the track record of Elevato’s full-stack team of professionals.Put the Elevato team’s power to work on boosting your ad spend ROI by scheduling a 30-minute discovery consultation now.