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Freelance Digital Marketing vs Employee vs Agency For Fire & Security Companies

by Jo Shaer, on March 28, 2018

Freelance digital marketing might be the right option for you if you have a gap in one particular aspect of promoting your Fire & Security business

Freelance Digital Marketing vs Employee vs Agency

However, because it is such a wide ranging subject, freelancers tend to specialise in one or two critical areas of digital marketing -

  • graphic design
  • web development
  • social media marketing
  • content marketing
  • pay per click or
  • email nurturing

If you have lots of gaps in your digital marketing arsenal,  you will, obviously, need several freelancers.

Sometimes this will work well. Other times it will become a project management nightmare!

Is it cheaper to employ a freelancer than train an in-house employee?

Although they can demand a higher hourly rate than an in-house employee, freelance digital marketers are often good value. They are experts at what they do and can be employed for short time periods.

However, there are lots of areas of potential risk in sourcing your freelancer.

Employee or freelancer? If the freelancer only works for you there will be HR/Pension and holiday issues. They are effectively an employee and should be treated as such.  

You would like to think that you are not paying for them to learn. In one real world example, we saw the results of freelancers who were hired because they had gained the trust of the business owner for one skill, website design. And then they were asked to handle the set up of a PPC campaign. Instead of explaining that this was not one of their skills, the freelancer took the money and did a poor job. But the business owner had no idea until several months of wasted money later.

In another example, a coder transitioned from web design into a local SEO specialist. Having set up the company map listing incorrectly, he morphed into a marketing expert. And emailed everyone on his own contact list in the name of his new employer - GDPR anyone?

Not that there is anything wrong with charging for multiple skillsets if they have acquired the requisite skills. But how do you know that you and your business are not paying top rates to be used as their guinea pig? Ask about their previous results first!

How to find a freelance digital marketer

Don't just settle for local talent that you meet at networking breakfasts. Always get recommendations from people who have actually used these individuals for the skills you require.

In addition, Upwork and Fiverr can be great sources of freelancers across a wide range of skillsets. But the best won't be cheap and they may not be available for your time frame. And they may not be the right choice for handling personal data. Again GDPR is an issue for freelancers who are not based in the EU.

Never assume you can find serious talent without serious disqualification. In his book on 80/20 Perry Marshall advises that you look out for people with good ratings and do a small project with a bidder before commencing a large one. He also talks about how you can use this method to audition a large number of prospective contractors in a very short space of time for a small outlay. Then bring them on board for a trial basis before hiring them.

Is it more productive to outsource to a freelancer rather than an agency?

Many digital marketing freelancers work part-time without staff of their own, so can be stretched thin. With an employee, you have the option of switching projects if something becomes more urgent. With an agency, there are other staff who might have spare capacity. A freelancer may not be able to cope with extra work or rush jobs, especially if they are working for a number of other customers. 

Their way or the highway - many freelancers want to work in a particular way. That is fine, they are the experts but… what about their CPD? If they fail to spend the time keeping up with the ever-changing digital marketing world, you could end up paying for yesterday’s knowledge and having to redo the work.

Real Life Example
Most freelancers sell their digital marketing skills to several other customers. When one client shouts louder than the others, their work gets prioritised leaving you with deadline issues and increasing frustration. You may decide to be the shouting client but that is a time issue in itself!

 

Freelancer Priorities

Ready to work with digital marketing experts?

If you have your strategy in place but don’t have enough capacity to get the work done, then hiring a freelancer is an excellent option. But this is just one individual, not a team who are used to working together to solve marketing problems.

You may need to augment your workforce by more than a factor of one. In that case a digital marketing agency can be a more effective option. Either to give your existing team a strategy to achieve your goals or to take over the role of marketing department entirely. 

Want to talk through your digital marketing options? Click here

Still thinking about the many ways to fill your digital marketing gap? Read our ebook to assess all the pros and cons of DIY, employing or hiring for Fire & Security!

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