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Is a Digital Marketing Freelancer The Answer?

by | Aug 8, 2022 | Blog, E-commerce, Tips | 0 comments

In the information age, digital marketing has become increasingly complex and difficult to navigate. It feels like every day, we wake up to some new buzzword out there that even the most elite marketing professionals have yet to learn. Whether it’s untangling the cryptic blockchain technology of Web 3.0 or hating yourself for loving to watch CEOs dance on stage to promote the next multi-level marketing scam, it’s more difficult than ever to keep up with the latest trends in the digital marketing world. But, we have good news: you don’t have to be like the MLM “snake oil salesman” making a fool of themselves for the world to cringe-watch. Rather, there are plenty of options for white-label business owners to find white-label marketing services to help promote their future success stories. 

For most people, the decision comes down to two options: should I go with a professional digital marketer (such as one you would find on Fiverr or Upwork) or a full-service marketing agency? Since our answer may determine the success (or lack thereof) of your company or product, let’s define what we mean by digital marketing freelancers and full-service marketing agencies, such as what they do and how much it costs to hire their respective services. Using what we know, we will create our “pros and cons” list for both digital marketing freelancers and full-service marketing agency professionals. Afterward, we will have a clearer sense of which option outweighs the other and explore a few quick resources for you to further investigate this superior option.  

Who’s the Best Choice for Brand Development?

digital marketing freelancer photo

Digital Marketing Freelancer

A professional digital marketer is an all-around professional who throws digital marketing into beast mode for their clients. When it comes to modern digital marketing, these jacks of all trades have a wide range of skill sets, which are crucial to the success of any contemporary brand. These skills may include search engine optimization, web design, social media management, strategic copywriting, and much more. Their work extends far beyond what any one person should be able to manage, but many of them do a fantastic job scraping together a wonderful online presence for their clients. There are many who become wildly successful entrepreneurs and have very impressive portfolios for you to review before making your decision on which one to choose. Their talent as an individual truly shines through with their diverse range of skills.

How much does it cost?

Depending on the diversity of their skillset, how much experience they have, and the quality of their content (typically based on previous reviews), these freelance marketing gurus can range anywhere from $20 – $200/hr. If you’re ballin’ on a budget, we recommend taking a good look at the prior campaigns run by less experienced digital marketing professionals. Much of their work is high in quality, but they are in need of clients to beef up their portfolios. Who knows, you may be getting a discount from a future leader in digital marketing!

digital marketing freelancer pro cons

Pros

One Point of Contact 

First and foremost, working with one person can be refreshing, especially if you already have a vision for your product and are familiar with some digital marketing trends. Together, you and your freelancer can create the image you want for your business without worrying whether you will have a point of contact at a more prominent agency. They can be your one-stop shop for any and all copywriting, SEO, and social media management needs. 

Specialists in Their Field 

Although there are a lot of professional digital marketers out there who are talented in many facets of brand development, it is also possible to find people who specialize in a specific field for your digital marketing needs. One of these that has changed a great deal over the past few years is SEO or search engine optimization. Before the explosion of internet-based content, it used to involve a few keywords added to your website, and voila! You’re suddenly at the top of AskJeeves.com for everyone to see! Nowadays, we have to worry about long-tail keywords, SERPs, and other acronyms that make up modern SEO work. Someone who specializes in this would be super helpful for brand exposure.

Costs Less (maybe)

While it can be very accurate, we put an asterisk next to this pro as it ultimately depends on the freelancer you decide to work with. Most digital marketing freelancers are in the $50 – $75/hr range. That being said, if you want the best in the biz, you will need to shell out $150 – $200/hr. If you are willing to give one of the new talents a chance, you could pay much less than average, but it depends on whether you are ready to risk your brand’s image. This is for you to decide.

Cons

Limited resources

The very thing that can make a freelancer more convenient and easier to work with is the same thing that can make working with a freelancer your worst nightmare. If you are working with someone with little to no experience or cannot afford to pay for the resources necessary to give you the best service possible, your next best idea could be your last. It doesn’t matter how “good” someone is at their job, a digital marketing freelancer is only as good as the resources they are willing to pay to use. Without these resources, they are just a few steps behind the leading full-service marketing agencies. 

No one is “the best” at everything

No matter how good your freelance agent might be at their job, it is impossible to stay completely in step with the ever-changing interface of digital marketing. It is unreasonable to think that one person could be a complete expert at SEO, web design, coding, copywriting, UX interface design, and so much more. In-house marketing agencies take months to find the perfect person for each job simply because each person must be an expert in their respective field. We love you all, but those jacks of all trades are few and far between.

You get what you pay for

The majority of the time, you can pay close to the same amount or just a little bit more for an entire team of people, as opposed to just one person managing all of your marketing needs. One possible solution is to hire a freelancer for each specific category of your strategic marketing plan. The main issue we see with this is the lack of cohesion between the respective elements of your marketing team. If each one is a separate entity, wouldn’t it make more sense to pay the extra buck and have a dedicated team behind you that can work together as a cohesive unit? We say the answer is a definite yes.

Potential Morale Issue?

We know this one is a bit more theoretical than practical, but we have found that companies that rely too heavily on outsourcing their marketing needs tend to run into morale issues. As we said in the previous paragraph, we believe each product needs a cohesive element to fully develop its brand. When there isn’t anyone truly invested in the success of your product, who will stick around when things get tough? 

Now that we have reviewed the pros and cons of hiring a digital marketing freelancer let’s switch gears and take a look at the pros and cons of a full-service marketing agency. 

Full-service Marketing Agencies

Simply put, a full-service marketing agency creates a comprehensive digital marketing strategy to execute based on what you want your brand to look like. As part of your team, these agencies offer a specific person for each facet of the marketing process. This includes but is not limited to: copywriting, graphic design, web design, SEO and PPC analysis, UX design, and so much more. In fact, their lengthy hiring process ensures that you will get a well-established expert in each area of the promotional, marketing, and advertising process. Using their vast network of resources, each member can communicate with one another directly and make you as involved or as ‘hands-off’ as you want to be. Only the most effective campaigns function as a cohesive unit across all digital channels. Your brand’s mission becomes its mission.

(This post on Brand Strategy and Why it Matters will go into further detail about what they do.)

How much does it cost?

This is a hard question to answer. With something as fluid as brand development, the vast amount of unknowns, and the transparency of specific ad agencies, these costs can vary too much to put a number on. This article from Element Three discusses the nuances of hiring a digital marketing agency and why the prices vary so much. One thing to garner from this article is what you can do as a client. Be very specific with quantifiable goals, along with expectations as to what you want most from the company in question. If this same transparency is not reciprocated, then it’s time to find another agency. They should be able to give you definitive answers on how they will meet those goals and what it will take to do so. Any reputable company should be able to provide those specifics without question. 

full-service marketing agency

Pros

Integrated, Cohesive Team 

When you’re looking for a full-service marketing agency, it’s important to find one with professionals who are invested in your product. These agencies have the best people the marketing world has to offer. They’re not dabbling in web design, or just looking for something flexible to work from home, they have honed these skills and made it their career to be the best at what they do. Not only are they the best, but they are in constant communication with one another so your product looks as cohesive as your vision. It’s hard to turn a dream into a reality when it’s not realized from every possible angle!

One-Stop Shop

As previously mentioned, the world of digital marketing has grown tremendously complex and difficult to understand every facet. There are nuances that are easily missed or misunderstood when there is only one person to complete every task necessary for your private label product to succeed. This is the main reason why rather than an expert for SEO and a separate contractor for copywriting, etc., you get all of the experts all in one place. They have a targeted plan for each facet of the digital marketing strategy and you’ll be able to easily set goals with the project manager who facilitates all the other moving parts so you don’t have to. You can focus on the important part: your private label product just waiting to be discovered!

Flexibility

Whether you have one product, or many, marketing in a fast-paced environment means that your needs will change on a daily basis. With a company like Unhinged, we can adjust to any scenario at any time. Our vast experience with many brands means that we have seen the evolution of brands and how we have been able to cater to their developmental needs. The fluidity of human interaction with brands and products varies to such a degree that no one can truly predict the needs of your product from day to day. Although we can develop the best strategy possible, we may need more social media presence or better-targeted advertising. Going into that unknown space with an entirely new product means you will want a team you can depend on!

(Need another “Pro” to add to the list? Check out some of the best Ad Campaigns from 2010’s. They’re way too big for just one person!)

Cons

Costs May Vary

Much like the flexibility needed in today’s advertising market, the amount of money it takes to successfully launch a new brand can be, at times, daunting and difficult to determine. The good news is, with a full-service marketing agency, you will certainly get out what you put in. While the costs may seem high, you have to ask: what is my brand worth? What could my brand be worth? If you truly believe in your product, you will undoubtedly see the benefits of adding even more value to your brand with a team of marketing professionals.

Poor Agencies mean Poor Contact

If you decide to use the wrong company, these larger firms can have terrible communication with their customers. At Unhinged, we make sure there is a dedicated team representative to answer every email, call, or question, personally and professionally. We know that your brand is a part of who you are and we want to do everything we can to make sure that part of you is appropriately represented and appreciated. That’s why it’s important to us that we are always just one click away at any time day or night. We understand the vulnerability it takes to launch these private-label products and we want to do our best to honor that courage.

(Poor agencies also mean poor knowledge. Find out the difference between a brand identity and a logo here!)

Conclusion

A Professional Digital Marketer is Great but… Full-service agencies are the way to go.

We have a great deal of respect for digital marketing freelancers as many of us have been in those positions as well. They have a difficult task ahead of them with all of the nuances of today’s marketing platforms and strategies. Because we have been there, we actually know first hand how difficult it actually is to be a freelancer. For this same reason, we honestly feel like an agency is the best way to comprehensively market your private label product. Without individual experts working together as one network of professionals, pieces of your marketing strategy will inevitably fall through the cracks. 

(Check out our recent post on Digital Marketing Strategies and Why bots can’t replace real people!)

Not sure which marketing agency to choose? Check out Unhinged! They’ll help you write that break-up letter with ‘boring’ so you can start writing your success story.

For more of the latest brand design trends and advice from a quality creative agency, check out our blog: “Off-the-Hinge!”

Our latest post on “How to Promote Custom-Made Perfume in a Digital Marketplace” has a bunch of useful tips and tricks that apply to any company!

References:

“27 Best Freelance Digital Marketers for Hire in August 2022 – Upwork.” Upwork, https://www.upwork.com/hire/digital-marketers/.

Berry, Sarah. “What Is a Full-Service Digital Marketing Agency?” WebFX, https://www.webfx.com/blog/marketing/what-is-a-full-service-digital-marketing-agency/.

“Chapter 3: Marketing and Advertising Agency Pricing and Costs.” Element Three, 9 June 2022, https://elementthree.com/guide-to-marketing-agencies/agency-pricing-and-costs/.

From, Rakefet Yacoby. “The Top Digital Marketing Freelancers + Where to Find Them: Mayple.” RSS, 14 July 2022, https://www.comindware.com/blog-12-must-tools-marketing-agencies/.

Malhotra, Anil. “Council Post: Four Predictions for Digital Marketing in 2022.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 21 Mar. 2022, https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescommunicationscouncil/2022/03/17/four-predictions-for-digital-marketing-in-2022/?sh=6ff1db507ccb.

“What Are Long Tail Keywords? and How to Find Them.” Backlinko, 17 Mar. 2022, https://backlinko.com/hub/seo/long-tail-keywords.

“What Is SEO / Search Engine Optimization?” Search Engine Land, 18 Apr. 2022, https://searchengineland.com/guide/what-is-seo.

Wong, M.L., et al. “Applied UX and UCD Design Process in Interface Design.” Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, Elsevier, 23 Oct. 2012, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877042812033666?ref=pdf_download&fr=RR-2&rr=73bb72a4db23a032.

Yeezy, Kelvon. “7 Successful Entrepreneurs Who Began as Freelancers.” Hongkiat, 17 Nov. 2020, https://www.hongkiat.com/blog/top-freelance-entrepreneurs/.

About Jake Tripp
I'm a content strategist and copywriter who specializes in social media and blog content architecture. I help brands nationwide to communicate their values and build loyal audiences.
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