Agencies vs Freelancers: Which is Right for your Business
Ahh, to agency or to freelancer, that is the question.
When it comes to the running of your business’s day-to-day activities, the last thing you want to spend too much time thinking about is ‘who should manage my marketing for me?’
That being said, the answer is very important.
Working with either a freelancer or an agency is an exciting stage in your business’s growth. You want someone who really understands your business, what your aims are and can make your aspirations a reality.
Let’s set the scene…
Early on in your business, it is easy for you to manage everything on your own – marketing, business development, sales and pretty much everything else in between. But, once your company begins to flourish and grow, you’ll likely find your time and attention being pulled in other directions.
It’s at this point that you’ll likely bring in support.
The dilemma for many growing businesses when it comes to their marketing is whether to hire a freelancer or an agency. Well, we’re here to help simplify that decision by setting out the pros and cons of each option.
Let’s dive straight in!
Freelancers & Agencies: what are they?
Before we continue, let’s take a minute to define agencies and freelancers, so we know exactly what we’re dealing with.
Freelancers are independent, self-employed workers. They are not part of an organisation, but rather they are the organisation themselves. Sometimes a freelancer will specialise in one specific area (in which case you may need the services of a few), or they may have a generalised knowledge across multiple areas of marketing.
Agencies are a group of dedicated specialists. Depending on their size, they may have entire sub-teams dedicated to individual areas of marketing, and they will likely have dedicated account managers for each of their clients.
So, which is best for your business?
Let’s start by talking about skills.
When it comes to agencies, a huge benefit is the breadth of skill sets you have at your disposal.
As a business owner, you may know general marketing best practices, but you may not know the ins and outs of email marketing, content strategy or SEO. You may not know how to get the best out of your budget or even what budget to set.
Well, with an agency, you have instant access to a group of people who likely have each of those specialisms.
You’ll have an account manager who specialises in the day-to-day running of campaigns and a content team who can create scroll-stopping copy and graphics for your ads. You’ll have experts on individual platforms guiding you on how best to utilise them and market your product, and you’ll have the combined experience and know-how of the entire agency.
On the side of freelancers, things are a little different. Freelancers either specialise in one area or can be a generalist, meaning that they have some knowledge of each specialism.
Your chosen one might be at the top of the game when it comes to web design and user experience or google ads and campaign management, but in the areas where they’re not quite so confident – they don’t have another team member to step in.
So, if you’re looking for a full-service marketing strategy for your business, we think agencies take the lead when it comes to skills.
A freelancer’s reputation is core to their business, so providing high-quality service is almost certainly a guarantee for freelancers. You become the best marketing platform for freelancers as they want you to recommend them to your friends who own businesses.
However, a problem can arise due to freelancers working remotely and having no higher power to answer to, so they can ghost out of the blue. This lack of communication can cause worry to some business owners as there is no way to know if a job has been completed or what the progress is at any particular time.
Digital Marketing Agencies have a set structure in place, will provide a good level of service, and have meetings to track the progress of each business. Agencies have access to premium support from companies like Google. The Good Marketer is a Google Partner, which means we get access to new features and more support from dedicated account reps directly at Google which means we can deliver better performance.
Agencies have a lot more expertise and experience from different backgrounds. Here at The Good Marketer, we’re incredibly proud of our diversity as an agency. We believe it can benefit an international business like Hall & Partners because, more often than not, there are anything between 2-5 people working on the account, which means you benefit from multiple experiences and expertise all looking at the account, not just one.
An agency like The Good Marketer has tried and tested processes in place, from setting up the account to conform with best practice to a 6-step approval process that helps to avoid errors and issues. We’ve formulated these processes over many years, and they have been built based on feedback from our clients and team members.
An agency’s reputation is important to the business; however, the individuals working for the agency may not have the same sense of personal investment as a freelancer.
Freelancers tend to be more flexible as you can set expectations at the first meeting and set time frames for projects. Freelancers can communicate more informally with you through social media or direct messaging applications.
As freelancers can be from any region, communication can be slightly more challenging, especially if they are not in your time zone.
Digital marketing agencies will have set methods of communicating with clients. The account manager assigned to your business will set weekly, biweekly or monthly calls to keep you in the loop and inform you about the performance of your business.
Calls and reports for a large majority of agencies will have extra costs or will be taken out of the time allocated for your business.
In the traditional sense, freelancers usually do not ask for a salary but will ask for payment per hour of work per project. They are generally more productive than office workers as they have far fewer distractions or disruptions.
Digital agencies will provide high-quality work for a comfortable payment plan.
Depending on the required work, it may be better to hire a freelancer directly as it may be more cost-efficient.
When it comes to choosing between a freelancer and an agency, you should consider where you are in your journey and to what extent you could utilise all the specialist services an agency has to offer.
Individual freelancers make a great choice when you are starting your project, while agencies are better equipped to handle larger projects that cover multiple industry disciplines.
Ultimately, both options have advantages and disadvantages: It all comes down to your project’s scale, demands, and of course, budget.