The battle between agencies and freelancers has been going on for ages. Ask any marketer and they’ll have an opinion. But today, The Good Marketer has decided to put the question of who is better for your business and overall digital marketing needs to rest. Here are the various areas in which agencies and freelancers differ.
Collaboration and accountability
Freelancers work independently even though they work on a contract basis with you. This means you are constantly required to keep a check on their work.
On the other hand, agency teams are made up of a variety of different talents and skillsets. They have their own managers and executives to take care of your project in-house and rarely require your interference in getting the job done. From copywriters to content strategists and more, each member of an agency team brings their own unique perspective to the table that can help your business succeed.
By working together as a team, agencies are able to develop strategies that are designed to make your business better — not just create content for the sake of creating it. While freelancers can do the same for you, it isn’t always surefire because there is nobody to ideate with them.
Level of comprehension of campaigns
A comprehensive inbound marketing campaign includes:
- Search engine optimization (SEO) – changes on the website that make it easier for search engines to find and index it properly. SEO also involves creating content that helps attract visitors from search engines.
- Pay-per-click advertising (PPC) – paid ads that appear at the top or bottom of Google’s search results pages or on websites built using Google’s AdSense program. These ads usually appear alongside organic results based on search terms you have bid for, enabling your business to reach new customers quickly and easily.
- Email marketing – reaching out directly to your contacts via email with relevant content, discounts, offers and other valuable information that encourages them to visit your website again and again. This improves brand awareness, builds loyalty among existing customers and increases conversions over time.
- Social media marketing – building a presence across multiple social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc., posting regular updates about your company and sharing content from other sources related to your niche/industry as well as responding promptly when customers ask questions or leave comments about their experience with you.
One of the main benefits of hiring an agency is that it can provide a more comprehensive campaign, which includes all of the above.
A freelancer, however, may be able to help you with your on-page SEO or run a PPC campaign or build an email marketing campaign but they can’t do it all at once – either because they lack the necessary specialised knowledge and experience or because they lack the bandwidth to do everything simultaneously. Understandably!
Management of resources
When it comes to digital marketing, you can’t simply rely on in-house marketing teams or freelancers. Why? One key reason is the management of resources.
Agencies bring more people to the table. Because of their high revenue, agencies can afford the best tools available, which help them provide high-quality work at a faster pace than any freelancer or employee could do on their own. Agencies also have more experience with marketing in general and can better manage a budget compared to someone who’s only worked as an employee (for example).
No limit to the scope
This is probably the most important reason why agencies triumph over freelancers. Freelancers typically have a specific area of expertise, so chances are you will need to hire more than one freelancer if you want to cover all your digital marketing needs.
Agency teams, on the other hand, can provide a wider range of services with higher quality output. And while individual freelancers tend to focus on their niche, agencies employ multiple experts who can help you with any and all aspects of digital marketing.
There is always a risk of a budget overrun when it comes to digital marketing, and it is not limited to freelancers; agencies can overshoot their budgets too. But when working with an agency, there are some protections to keep you from bill shocks.
For example, contracts can protect both parties from unexpected or unreasonable requests; they can also hold clients accountable for payment when work is complete as they do when the agency fails to deliver on the promised results.
Quality of services
Since agencies typically specialize in a particular field, they have a more comprehensive understanding of the subject matter. This means better quality content and advice for you.
Agencies are also usually more experienced than freelancers, especially when you pool in the experience of everybody on the team. So, they know what works and what doesn’t better than freelancers.
They also have more resources at their fingertips like statistics, data, case studies and research to back up their knowledge. Because of this expertise and access to resources, an agency can provide a level of service that an average freelancer simply cannot.
Freelancers can quit at any time. There are times when someone you are working with may need to leave the project, either because of urgent personal matters or even because they don’t think it will help build their portfolio.
You need to be prepared for this scenario and have backup plans in place, so you can keep things moving regardless of whether your freelancer decides to pull out or not. But this can create high unreliability.
Besides, you will never know how available a freelancer is until you start working with them. And this is one of the biggest challenges faced by hiring managers when they go down the path of hiring a freelancer.
The only thing you can do is ask them how many projects they typically take on at once and hope that they can accommodate your project as well as deliver on time.
Agencies are much more reliable in this case as they follow a hierarchy. There is always somebody who is keeping track of your progress and monitoring your project at all times. The chances of an agency shutting down overnight are also one in a million. So, you don’t have to worry about your project being abandoned halfway, either.
Agencies vs. Freelancers: Who can better handle the needs of a small business?
In the past few years, freelancers have become more and more popular. According to a recent study, there are now over 59 million Americans who freelance — nearly 36 per cent of the national workforce.
That’s no small chunk of people. And clients are taking notice. But the increasing popularity of freelancing doesn’t mean working with an agency isn’t worth your time or money. It all depends on what you are looking for in an agency or a freelancer as well as how much money you are willing to spend for quality marketing help.
For instance, if you only need help with one aspect of marketing and don’t mind supervising, you are better off hiring a freelancer. But if you need comprehensive services, agencies are the way to go.