Effective online marketing strategies have become paramount for businesses to succeed in today’s digital world. Having a strong online presence is essential for driving brand awareness, attracting high-value website traffic, and boosting sales and revenue. Easier said than done though, right?
The question of whether to hire a digital marketing agency or a freelancer to handle these strategies is a crucial one. Naturally, each offers distinct advantages and considerations.
This blog post aims to explore the factors surrounding this decision to help you make an informed choice. We’ll explore 5 major considerations, including:
- Experience and expertise
- Communication and collaboration
- Tools and technology
Buckle up and get ready to equip yourself with the knowledge to choose the most suitable option for your business’s digital marketing success. Here we go.
Experience & Expertise
When it comes to experience and expertise, it makes sense that digital marketing agencies can be trusted to deliver comprehensive and effective strategies – it’s what they’re there to do. Agencies are built up of professionals with expertise in numerous areas, including Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), social media management, and paid advertising, which means they can offer the best advice no matter what you’re after. They invest in continuous training to stay updated with industry trends and best practices.
Alternatively, freelancers each come with their own area of expertise and experience, so you’ll have to hunt to find the right one for your needs. They may have narrower skill sets and potential knowledge gaps (after all, it’s unrealistic to expect the world from one person), but they’re usually fantastic in the area they specialise in. When choosing between a digital agency and a freelancer, assess your specific business needs and consider how complex they are.
Communication & Collaboration
Effective communication and collaboration are essential for a successful professional relationship, and digital agencies and freelancers will handle it differently.
When working with a digital marketing agency, you can generally expect structured communication channels and dedicated account managers who serve as a single point of contact. Having a dedicated account manager comes with the advantage of streamlined communication because the account manager understands your goals and objectives, ensuring clear and efficient communication between the client and the agency team delivering work. This helps in maintaining transparency, addressing concerns promptly, and making timely adjustments to your marketing campaigns.
When working with freelancers, communication dynamics may differ. Naturally, every freelancer communicates differently so you might mesh with one but not another. They may offer a more customised approach, but can also be less predictable when it comes to availability and response time. Setting expectations upfront will likely be vital for smooth collaboration.
Regardless of which option you go for, start off on the right foot by establishing strong communication channels with your digital marketing provider. This could include regular progress reports, mutual feedback loops, and clearly defined project timelines and deliverables.
When it comes to accountability, we’re going to have to side with digital marketing agencies. Working with an agency generally means working with a contract, and although every agency’s T&Cs will differ, it will always hold them accountable to certain professional standards. Digital marketing agencies are therefore typically accountable to provide regular reports, analytics, and consultations that allow you to accurately measure the performance of your marketing campaigns. The individuals you work with from an agency are also held accountable within their own professional circumstances.
On the other hand, the extent of a freelancer’s accountability will depend on the individual. While freelancers also strive to deliver results, clear expectations and milestones should be established upfront to ensure both parties are aligned on objectives, timelines, and deliverables to achieve the level of accountability you’re after. Some may work on a contract and others may not, so it will ultimately be your responsibility to set expectations.
Tools & Technology
Let’s face it – the better your digital marketing tools and technologies are, the more successful your marketing will generally be.
Digital marketing agencies have dedicated budgets for industry-leading analytics and marketing platforms, such as Ahrefs, Klaviyo, and other software tools, because it allows them to diagnose performance, identify trends and opportunities, target specific audiences, and maximise the return on investment (ROI) for their clients. These tools aren’t cheap but are worth the investment for the comprehensive insights and data-driven decision-making capabilities they offer.
When working with a freelancer, the marketing tools and technology used will once again depend on the individual. While some invest in paid subscriptions that offer the premium features and comprehensive analytics you need, others may use free versions. This can limit their ability to execute complex campaigns and provide in-depth insights. Of course, if you’re after simpler campaigns that require fewer specialised tools, freelancers can be a cost-effective, short-term solution.
Depending on your business, budget can be a significant factor to consider when choosing between a digital marketing agency and a freelancer. There are a range of agencies out there, from local and boutique to international, and similarly, there is a range of freelancers to choose from too.
Hiring a digital marketing agency generally involves a higher cost compared to hiring a freelancer. Agencies often have established pricing models, such as monthly subscriptions, monthly retainers or project-based fees, which can vary depending on the scope and complexity of the marketing services required. On the other hand, freelancers typically have more flexible pricing structures, allowing you to negotiate rates based on the specific project or task. This can be particularly advantageous for smaller businesses or those with limited marketing budgets.
However, it’s not as simple as ‘the cheaper the better.’ Consider the trade-off between cost and quality – while freelancers may offer cost savings, agencies offer a higher level of expertise, the benefit of a team approach, a wider range of services, and access to advanced tools and technologies. Overall, they generally make the slightly higher price tag worth it by maximising your return on investment (ROI) with more comprehensive and integrated marketing strategies.
Ultimately, It’s Up To You
Choosing whether to work with a digital marketing agency or freelancer is certainly not a simple, or one-size-fits-all decision. There are many factors to consider, including those we’ve touched upon today – experience and expertise, communication and collaboration, accountability, tools and technology, and budget.
Finding a digital marketing partner that will help you achieve your goals online is an important decision, so we definitely recommend doing your research and talking to multiple agencies and freelancers, and then make a decision based on your specific business needs and who you think is most likely to deliver the results you are after.
So, why Springboard Digital? We’re proud to offer personalised, comprehensive, and highly strategic digital marketing for a range of industries and budgets. Explore our SEO, Google Ads, and Social Media Marketing plans to discover how our team can help you achieve your marketing goals.
Our fantastic Client Success Team are all ears – contact Springboard today if you’re ready to get the ball rolling.
Until next time,
The Digital Marketing Team at Springboard Digital.