Marc Hardgrove is the CEO of The HOTH, a white label SEO firm located in St Petersburg, FL. INC 5000 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020.
Businesses today are so lucky. Technology has made it easy to hire a freelancer or connect with an agency to help with their digital marketing. Most of these freelancers or consultants can work on SEO or Google Ads without ever stepping foot in the office. (We’re now living in an age where, according to Upwork, 22% of American workers are expected to continue operating remotely by 2025.)
Here’s the big question for your business: When is the right time to outsource? Do the benefits outweigh the risks?
If you’re familiar with my company, then you know we employ hundreds of top freelance writers and marketers to help businesses scale up their SEO and PPC. You can think of us as “outsourcing experts” because we deal with it on a daily basis.
I wanted to write this article to share some outsourcing pros and cons to help your business make the decision for your 2021 marketing.
Let’s dive into what you really get when you hire a freelancer or consultant.
Most freelancers work on the cutting edge of their industry. They also work with multiple companies at the same time, so they’re exposed to more productive ways of getting work done. If you need an expert with skills in a field or niche that your staff doesn’t have, freelancers can be a highly desirable option.
It sounds cold to say this, but it’s expensive to hire a full-time employee. Besides a competitive salary, you also have to provide a full benefits package. Businesses can hire freelancers on a part-time or temporary basis, utilize them when needed, and pay a lower rate than bringing in a full-time employee.
Access to Multiple Services
While this benefit can apply to solo freelancers, it’s more specific to agencies. Businesses can contract with a digital agency to perform a variety of tasks. One full-time employee may have limited skills, yet the entire staff of an agency can provide you with a menu of options. In some cases, you can outsource your entire marketing operation to an external agency.
Now let’s flip to the other side and discuss some of the disadvantages of outsourcing.
Brand Consistency Issues
Failing to maintain brand consistency can dilute your value and reputation over time. Keeping your brand consistent is hard enough, but it gets further complicated when an external freelancer or agency is helping with your marketing. When you decide to outsource, you also need to design a quality-control mechanism to ensure that everything being released is 100% on-brand.
No Control Over Freelancer Schedules
Effective freelancers will work with you to build timelines and deliver materials on deadline. But most freelancers or agencies have multiple clients. You won’t have the luxury of rearranging their priorities like you could a full-time employee. It’s possible they won’t have the availability you need for a specific project. As a result, you may have to change your entire timeline or find a different freelancer with comparable skills.
Losing Your Personal Touch
Many small businesses build their brand on providing a personal touch to customers. This is a fantastic business plan, but when outsourcing, you need to communicate this to a freelancer or agency. Some materials may lose that personal touch you once coveted. Freelancers can try mastering your tone and voice to match items as closely as possible. But it may not be the same.
What Are Your Options For Outsourcing?
There are many outsourcing pros and cons, but flexibility is your biggest advantage from outsourcing. If you find the right freelancer or agency, you can negotiate an option that is beneficial for your business.
Based on my experience in the world of outsourcing, you can hire someone on a temporary basis (reaching out to finish overflow work), put them on a retainer (negotiated by both parties) or bring them on part-time (less than 30 hours, for example).
Agencies operate in a similar manner. You can hire them to complete individual services like SEO research or content writing. Or you can hire them to manage all aspects of your digital marketing, choosing to be as hands-on or hands-off as you want.
When deciding whether the time is right to outsource, simply consider what we discussed above and crunch the numbers to see if it works for your budget.