As a small business owner, you’ll hopefully have reached or are looking forward to reaching that point where hiring help is the next step in continuing to grow your business and add to your team of professionals. But rather than default to the traditional full-time hire for marketing or any number of roles, you may want to consider an alternative: Contracting a freelancer or boutique marketing agency. Why? Let me share several strong reasons.
It’s likely (MUCH) more cost effective. I want to start with the money side of things, because this may be the strongest argument for using a contract marketer or small agency. Whether you pay per project or are on a monthly retainer with a professional marketer, the fees involved are typically going to include everything for that professional’s services. With my agency, for example, one pre-negotiated contractual total is what you’re billed for. I take responsibility for my own benefits, overhead and taxes associated with running a business which is a giant headache my clients don’t have to be concerned with.
When you hire a full-time marketer, you’re expected to pay salary, benefits and employee taxes which, in total, can easily be double or more what you’d need to budget for a freelancer.
What’s more, most small business vendors are already going to be paying subscription fees and asset costs for tools they use on a regular basis such as stock image sites, project management platforms, photo editing software, graphic design software, etc. When you bring on a full-time hire, your company is responsible for providing these tools, which can add up quickly.
You avoid the long-term commitment to an employee. Hiring a marketer is a serious commitment. Even someone with great experience and recommendations can turn out to be a bad fit for your team or business vision. You may go through the hiring process only to have them leave or need to let them go for a number of reasons within weeks or months. Then, you’re faced with going back through hiring all over again.
By contracting your marketing work, you have a defined contractual end, meaning you can test run this professional or agency for a few months and move on to someone else far more smoothly (and less emotionally) than with a hired employee.
A contracted marketer means convenience and flexibility. In the same vein as short-term commitments vs. long-term hiring, outsourcing your marketing also gives you the needed convenience and flexibility for a growing, changing business. Before your small business is big enough to warrant full-time teams of employees, you may prefer short-term help as needed.
For example, many of my clients are in residential real estate or other seasonally-based or phase-based industries. They’ll need aggressive marketing for a while to sell homes or a certain product, then the demand either dies down for a few months or they need to build the next phase before marketing and selling.
If you’re concerned about what a full-time employee is going to do during the slow months of your business, maybe your choice should be to contract out marketing instead. At Lindsey Wagnon Marketing, our contracts are 6 month or 12 month – the perfect time frame to ensure you have marketing when you need it without signing up for a prolonged investment that isn’t always needed.
You get the benefit of a business-minded marketer. I’ve made this point before and it’s one of my favorites because I don’t think many CEOs and business owners consider how important this quality is for a marketer. A marketing professional who also owns their own business is a double threat – someone far more qualified to bring you results than the entry-level marketing employee or young marketer you can afford to hire.
This person won’t only be thinking about social media strategies and Google Analytics, they’ll also have a sense for protecting your budget, how your business goals need to guide marketing goals and results, various types of business models, and the pressures that come with owning a business. In essence, someone who’s owned their own business for a while is going to have a sophistication and maturity that’s difficult to find in someone who has only ever worked for others.
Now sure, this isn’t the case with every freelance marketer (I’ve certainly worked with some who are completely clueless when it comes to business), but it’s not hard to tell if the person you’re considering contracting out to has this quality. In fact, much of my previous blog is devoted to helping you identify the business savvy of a marketer if you’re interested.
Contract to hire is possible. You may be one of the small business owners lucky enough to partner with a freelancer or contract marketer who later becomes a full-time employee. Things change and what began as a great outsourced solution could become a perfect long-term fit. Being willing to contract out your marketing gives you and the professional time to work together without the pressure of employee-level commitment, which is a great way to vet one another and build trust for an increased commitment later.
Before you hire a marketer, consider contracting out your marketing needs for all these reasons and more. And if you have questions about how we arrange contracted marketing services, always feel free to contact us or drop a comment here!