Should you use a marketing agency or freelancer?

Updates / 07.03.19
Mike Vine

Over the past year or so I’ve been heavily involved in the project/studio management at Tomango working on various branding, website, and marketing projects. This work requires managing multiple projects, clients, and third parties like freelancers on a daily basis.

Working with a freelancer

Some of these projects have seen us work with freelancers; either ones that we’ve brought onto a project to bridge a skills gap or ones that the client has already built a relationship with and wants to use for a particular part of the project.

While working on these projects, I’ve been able to gain great insight into both the benefits and disadvantages of using a freelancer for the creation of your brand, website or digital marketing.

If you’re not sure whether to use an agency or a freelancer for your project, I’ve listed a few things to consider to help you make a decision.

DISCLAIMER: This is by all means not an article about dismissing the use of freelancers; there are many very talented individuals out there who will be more than capable of tackling your project and giving you a great end result, this is more to question about which route is best for you and your business!

1. Budget

This is the main one.

There’s no way of getting away from it – using a freelancer will be cheaper (on paper) than using an agency. However — there are hidden costs to consider when opting to go down this route!

Let me explain, using a different sort of freelancer as an example.

I’ve recently completed a major renovation on my house, and — mainly due to budget constraints — I decided to manage the individual trades myself rather than instructing a single contractor to carry out the work.

This undoubtedly saved me money. However…it took far longer to complete than I thought. THIRTEEN months to be precise. It also took up all of my spare time, and with a young family, there wasn’t much to begin with!

Using freelancers will take longer and require more of your own time and input

At Tomango, I have the privilege of working closely with a number of different clients on a daily basis. Some decide to use all of our services, but there will always be some who prefer to carry on using their current copywriter, photographer, designer or developer.

We always try to accommodate the needs of our clients when working on a project, however, there’s no getting away from the fact that the project will take longer and require more of your own time and input in managing the different disciplines – which in turn will take you away from the day to day running of your business.

It’s probably better to only be pulled in one direction than two, three or more!

2. Planning

For us, getting a solid plan in place is such an important part of a project — especially when it comes to creating a website.

If we’re working with you, before we even think about writing the first line of code, we need to understand what you’re trying to achieve. We work closely with you to develop a brief, which leads to the creation of a project plan, which forms the foundations of the project.

“You know what they say; fail to plan, plan to fail”

If you decide to use a freelancer, you’ll probably need to create the brief yourself. This can take time; first for you to get your head around exactly what you want, and then to make sure you’re communicating this in a clear and comprehensive manner to a freelancer.

FYI if you’re unsure where to start with a website design brief, take a look at Mark’s article on how to create a website design brief, you’ll also find a handy template that has already been tens of thousands of people!

3. Knowledge

There are many freelancers that claim they’re a one-stop-shop, able to design and develop for the web, and also have experience with digital marketing. All I would say here is to be wary!

At Tomango, I’m lucky to be able to work closely with people that have chosen to specialise in one of these areas and as a result have gained valuable experience and knowledge in their chosen field. Every day, I see how having people that are actual experts, rather than a ‘jack of all trades’, can make a huge difference to a finished project.

4. Support

Tomango will be six this year, and we’re planning on being around for many more years to come. On the flip-side, there are a few freelancers that I’ve come into contact with recently that have decided that going it alone isn’t for them any more and are looking to return to a permanent role.

If you’re faced with this situation, you might be left with a website with no support or, even worse, an unfinished project.

Either way, it’s then going to take you time and possibly further money to find someone else. What happens if your freelancer takes a well-earned break and whilst they’re off your website/emails go down? You might need a plan B!

From time to time you might require additional support. If you work with Tomango, we’ll always try and respond to your queries in a timely manner and keep you updated on the progress – no support tickets here!

How we can help – whichever decision you make

If after reading this article you feel that using a freelancer is your preferred option, then please feel free to get in touch. I have a number of freelancers that I can happily recommend, however, if you would like to find out more about our services and how we can help grow your business, get in contact via our contact page or call us on 01273 814019.