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COVID-19 demanded many businesses to decrease their ability to operate, or worse, entirely stop. From face-to-face offices, organizations transitioned to online remote work to continue business as usual. However, with layoffs, furloughs, and unguaranteed stable jobs, many employees have resorted to taking a leap in freelancing, resulting in a surge of freelancers competing in the market.
Many factors affect how businesses in the same industry price similar services, the same way freelancers may price the same services differently. This pricing decision considers the cost of living as it significantly affects the rate feasible for a freelancer to survive. Third-world countries have an advantage in this scenario.
There are no standardized rates for most freelancing services. In reality, the rate is however low a freelancer is willing to go. And because of that, it makes it easy to choose the wrong freelancer when you are looking for services you need, and you find them for practically two cents a pop. The downside? The quality you'll get is not always guaranteed.
The pros of hiring freelancers
As a business, it makes sense to consider costs when purchasing products or services such as marketing. Individual freelancers are much cheaper than full-blown marketing agencies, so it's easy to get tempted to spend less. However, working with one freelancer for your needs or multiple freelancers for different needs can be more costly (and stressful) for you and your business. That's because you can only work with the limited knowledge of usually a specialized freelancer or a generalist freelancer when you need more than that to launch a marketing plan.
Works from anywhere
Freelancers are also digital nomads. And that is an advantage for them if they can work from anywhere. But they can also disappear without a trace and leave you hanging out to dry.
They are also flexible with their time and usually don't work a strict 9 to 5 schedule. So there may be instances where you miss each other during the day, or you'll be forced to communicate with them outside of your working schedule.
In addition, freelancers are usually more temporary and lack the ability to scale. Imagine getting triple the business you currently have and you outsource key services to a couple of freelancers. They won't be able to help you out (at least not immediately). You are likely to make a mistake in hiring other freelancers or having the need to switch to an agency, or you end up postponing engagement with the new business.
THe pros of getting a digital marketing agency
Breadth of skills
On the other hand, an agency has a breadth of skills available because they employ a wide range of people who specialize in different tasks. Getting an agency gives you access to a team of individual specialized experts working together. Your access to a team under one wing offers you the best marketing tools and efforts for your business.
Agencies assign leads to oversee each client and their projects. Anything that goes to you is triple-checked by experts so you can almost always guarantee quality and consistency in every output.
Enterprise-level resources and tools
Agencies can also pull in additional resources or use enterprise-level tools to help you out with your requirements. Because they service more than one client, costs are taken as an investment, or a fraction of the price is tucked into their rates which means you won't need to pay full price in getting enterprise-level benefits.
Rates are also a lot more standardized when working with an agency so planning for your budget is easier. You are likely negotiating with a freelancer for each different project and the price can be very different from freelancer to freelancer.
There are benefits to both, but if you want to utilize your resources correctly, harnessing a team's power is more cost-effective and more convenient for a business.
The true cost of marketing.
Let's put that into perspective.
Mark is a freelance writer who charges $50 for every 1000-word article. He wants to earn $1,000 weekly while working only 15 hours per week. This means that Mark needs to write twenty (20) 1000-word articles in 15 hours (or 45 minutes each). Because of his low price and high earning needs in that span of time, he needs to exert a lot more effort in pitching to new clients so he can get paid for twenty articles a week. Unfortunately, even if Mark has an unlimited stream of clients, he won't have unlimited time or the energy to give within his allotted 15 hours. He has to write each piece for a maximum of 45 minutes each. And that is one of the ways that the quality of work can be compromised.
Now imagine working with a lot of Mark's to complete the marketing services you need— social media strategy, content marketing, paid media, SEO, and so on. You can't easily verify the credentials they claim, guarantee the quality of their work, or validate each review they have on their job board profiles. And each of them may end up having a problem of their own. For example:
Low price requires them to have more clients
A "digital marketing expert" with just one year of experience in one facet of digital marketing
Freelance social media strategist for ten companies but with no proof of ROI
A "pro" telling you that all it takes is organic content, and he can make it happen
A "paid media expert" with a stack of online certifications but has never launched a digital campaign or created ads in his life
Compromised quality due to sheer lack of expertise
A freelancer who thought it's his chance to learn the skills you need through your business
Someone who finished online courses but never applied any of the learnings
A "freelance content writer with 20 years of experience" with peanut rates and no-repeat clients
The list goes on
Paying for $100 instead of $1,000 for a content strategy or blog posts or web development because it's a cheap investment if it works and a small amount to lose if it doesn't is a huge risk. However, it t can also be a huge waste of time and money, not to mention the amount of unnecessary stress and inconvenience you'll get. It can be treated as sunk costs on your business, but it's also the kind of sunk cost you could have avoided firsthand.
On the other hand, if a paid media specialist with multiple certifications but no real experience handles your digital ads, you may save hundreds of dollars from the amount you'll pay the person, but waste thousands of dollars spent on ads with wrong targeting or one that doesn't generate qualified leads.
You may sometimes encounter freelancers that are actual gems among the rocks. But other times, you will hire more rocks that you could have paid for the gem on the onset instead, only with less stress and inconvenience.
You don't have the luxury to source freelancers and hope it's a hit and not a miss. And you can't risk saving money now but end up spending a lot more on resources you can't get back because you got the wrong freelancer to do your work.
As a business owner, you want to do your marketing the right way, the first time. We want to help you plan your plans. Get a free quote now; no strings attached.